How much Vitamin D is too much Vitamin D?

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 14:56

Remember that Baz Luhrman song about wearing sunscreen – circa 97? If not, he is basically imparting life changing advice and one of his resounding and recurring tips throughout the song is to wear sunscreen.  It was and still is extremely good advice.  

Now, that said, nothing is ever black or white.  The type of sunscreen you use not only impacts your overall health, but it can also have a dramatic impact on the environment.  Plus, avoiding sun altogether is also not healthy. 

So, to begin let’s talk about sunlight and it’s effect on us.  Like everything in life, putting the word “too” in front of anything is a recipe for trouble.  Too much sun, bad.  Too little sun, bad. 

We need sunlight to make vitamin D and vitamin D is responsible for helping us keep our bones strong by facilitating the absorption of calcium.   It helps to lower blood pressure. And vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to type 1 diabetes and cancers of the breast colon, prostate, ovaries, esophagus, and lymphatic system.  

Plus, sunlight can help fend off depression and even help with certain skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.  

The general rule of thumb for sunlight is 15 to 20 minutes of sun daily on non peak hours – early morning or later afternoon.  

The rest of the time it’s sunblock city kid.  The goal is to avoid as many chemicals as possible in your sunscreen.  In particular oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.  As well as the usual perfume / fragrance, phthalates, and parabens.   These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and can contribute to all kinds of health issues like thyroid conditions, infertility, cancer etc. 

You want to look for mineral sunscreen with NO nano-particles.  They can be labled as micronized zinc, micronized titanium dioxide, micro-sized particles. The big concern here is that because the particles are so micro they are easily absorbed into the skin and can also cause health issues. 

Another really good option for when you are swimming, in the pool or at the beach, is a rash guard or bathing suit that has built in sunscreen. This avoids any possible issues with chemicals and protects our oceans from deleterious effects of sunblock as well!