If you’re close to us here in Charleston SC, you may have been wondering if summer is actually coming. I grew up here and can’t believe I am still wearing long sleeves and have my windows open in late June. I’m chalking it up to all the other craziness in the world right now, but this happens to be a welcome one. (My favorite billboard sign at the moment is, “June 2020 – Welcome to Jumanji, Level 6.”)
Summer solstice is this weekend and the sun and heat are sure to follow. I’m a proponent of getting out in the sun for its many researched benefits, but I’ll share a couple quick reasons I recommend sun exposure in practice.
1. Improved sleep:
We don’t often think about the need for sun when it comes to how we are sleeping, but it’s an integral part. Sun exposure earlier in the day helps to set the body’s circadian rhythm. We are actually working on the timing of our natural melatonin surges later in the evening by getting sun exposure earlier in the day. So, if you are having trouble sleeping, you may benefit from getting some more sun in the morning. A good night’s sleep starts first thing in the morning!
2. Lowered blood pressure:
Sun exposure increases the signaling molecule, nitric oxide (NO), in the body. Nitric oxide increases vasodilation, lowering blood pressure and sending oxygen to the muscles. Every athlete is keenly aware of the benefits of improving nitric oxide levels in the body. I see a lot of slowed NOS (Nitric oxide synthase) genes, contributing to low NO levels in the body. Sun is the perfect, natural way to improve NO levels and lower blood pressure.
Sun has so many benefits, but we do need extra antioxidant protection in the summer months and we never want the skin to burn!
How we can protect the skin from UV damage in the summer months:
1. Vitamin D:
Typically I recommend lowering vitamin D dosages in the summer from daily dosing to every other day or lower total daily dosing, depending on labs. However with viral #’s increasing and the association with infection and low vitamin D levels, I am keeping most on vitamin D for the summer.
2. Krill oil:
I tend to make sure everyone is taking krill oil during the summer. For some, I switch their fish oil to krill and for others, we add to it. Krill has the unique property of containing omega-3 fatty acids along with a powerful carotenoid, astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant offering protection from UV rays. This red carotenoid has the ability to reach the dermal layers, preventing free radical damage and preserving skin’s elasticity. Since Krill is naturally high in astaxanthin, it is an ideal summer nutrient.
The amino acid, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a thiol compound, helping to produce the powerful antioxidant, glutathione. We have been recommending NAC as a lung antioxidant and immune supportive nutrient, but it also has specific properties related to skin health. NAC inhibits proliferation of fibroblasts and keratinocytes after UV-induced oxidative stress.
4. Vitamin C:
We prefer liposomal liquid form for easy absorption and it is gentle on the GI tract. Vitamin C is often referred to as the sun-damage protectant, neutralizing free radicals from sun damage. Vitamin C also preserves collagen cross-linking in the skin.
Make sure your diet is rich in colorful vegetables. Drink at least 1 cup of green tea per day. Include mineral-rich, unrefined sea salt in your diet. Drink adequate water – as a rough guideline, your urine should be a very faint color, not clear as water (over-hydrated) and certainly not dark (under-hydrated).
Let us know if you wish to add any of these to your daily routine our take a look for yourself at our storefront: Visit our HEALTHE SHOP
It’s Functional Friday and today we are talking thyroid treatment options.
Functional Friday: Thyroid Treatment
Functional Friday Series: Brief conversations between an MD and an ND exploring common health concerns they see in their shared practice. Find out what really works when you combine 30 years of practice, 2 different models of healthcare and a common goal of optimizing health.
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Take care of yourself and take care of each other.
~Dr. Sherri and Dr. Kennedy