We are big fans of summertime here at Bambú Clinic. Summer in Portland means higher temps, hiking trips, and fresh fruit and vegetables in our gardens. Most importantly though, summertime means sunshine. Since we live in a place where gray clouds and rain prevail, it is vital that we soak up the sun when we have the opportunity. Sure, you can take a vitamin D supplement, but sunlight provides therapeutic effects that a supplement can’t even begin to match.
The most crucial benefits of sunshine are:
- improves well-being by spiking a feel-good chemical in the brain called serotonin
- helps regulate biological clock and determines circadian rhythm
- lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
- regulates immune system and stimulates insulin production
- promotes heart muscle contractility
- improves cellular metabolism (did you know your hair grows faster when you’re in a sunny environment?)
- helps to treat many types of diseases and cancers
The main function of vitamin D supplements is to maintain balance of the body’s calcium concentrations. More than 90 percent of the vitamin D we need is met by internal synthesis with the aid of sunlight, not with the aid of supplements. Sunshine can do everything a vitamin D supplement can and much more. Of course, we want you to be careful of burns as those can be as detrimental to your health as no sunlight at all. We recommend that you move in and out of the shade in intervals depending on your skin tone (as sunscreen actually blocks the rays that help to build vitamin D levels). Light skinned people can generally tolerate 10-15 minutes of direct sun in Portland, while darker skinned folks may be ok with up to 30 minutes. Either way, take a break in the shade every so often. Otherwise, spend as much time as possible outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature’s gifts. The health benefits are unending and we promise the extra outdoor time will boost your mood, calm your mind, and inspire your creativity. Have a wonderful day outside!