Vitamin D deficiency is something we hear a lot about these days. After years of being told to slather on the sunscreen all day every day, along with decreasing amounts of time spent outside, and decreasing amounts of vitamin D found in our food sources, we are finding that many, many Americans are now deficient in vitamin D.
Vitamin D is necessary for literally thousands of processes in the body, including: happy, healthy mood stability, bone growth and remodeling, immune system function, sex hormone synthesis, heart health, reduction of inflammation, and more.
My patients are sometimes surprised to hear when I recommend occasional visits to the tanning bed to get in a megadose of vitamin D. Just a a short amount of time, anywhere from 5-10 minutes, in a low level basic tanning bed, every few weeks in winter, no need to overdo it. The benefits of this can be far and wide.
Some of my patients are concerned about tanning beds causing cancer. This may be true in cases of overuse/abuse of the tanning bed, use of toxic chemical tanning lotions, and overall poor health. If cancer is occurring in the body, it is likely a result of a combination of many different health factors, including multiple organ system dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, high toxic load and systemic inflammation, mental/emotional and physical stress, and more. This is another topic completely, but that is to put it in a nutshell.
In fact, vitamin D is protective against cancer, is actually necessary for the body to fight cancer.
So, if you are feeling low/depressed, sick or like you may be fighting something off, or just plain feel like you haven't seen or felt the sun in days, go for a short session in the tanning bed. It will likely be instantaneously uplifting to your mood and body. You can put sunscreen on in sensitive places such as the face, but leave other large areas of the body exposed to the rays, such as your arms and legs. Also, always tan in the daytime when the sun is normally out, so as not to throw off the circadian rhythm of your body (your body's own internal clock).
While certain vitamin D supplements are also a good alternative, there is occasionally nothing quite like the real deal of the sun.
Now let's just make it through the next couple of months, so we can get outside to get our sunshine vitamin!