The Yin Yang of Fun in the Sun


The sunshine and warmth of summer is finally here! Being outdoors and soaking up as much sun as possible, the Yin Yang of fun in the sun begins…

Drawn to being in the sun because it’s good for us and it feels good, we soon learn that we must balance exposure to the intense rays of the summer sun with common sense, nutrition, and appropriate sun protection – or we may get ourselves into trouble. One of the greatest benefits of being in the sun is that we can easily obtain one of the most important and powerful substances needed for our health – Vitamin D. Acting like a hormone, Vitamin D regulates and controls many body processes, including those affecting bone density, cell longevity, and overall health.

How does the sun transform Vitamin D precursors in our body into Vitamin D? When exposed to the ultraviolet B rays of the sun, the oils in our perspiration carry the Vitamin D precursors above the surface of the skin and create Vitamin D. The Vitamin D that was created then serves to protect us from the burning effects of ultraviolet B rays. In order to avoid deactivating the wonderful supply of Vitamin D created by being in the sun, it’s important to avoid several things. Unfortunately, jumping into that inviting pool of chlorinated (or brominated) water or showering with chlorinated tap water must be avoided for approximately one hour.

Twenty to thirty minutes in the sun on exposed arms, legs and face provides approximately 10,000 IU’s of converted Vitamin D3, but this varies with skin pigmentation. Those with light skin make the fastest conversion, while those with darker skin take longer. This means that darker skinned people must spend more time in the sun to obtain similar levels of Vitamin D. A study published by the Anticancer Research journal found that most people needed 4,000 to 8,000 IU per day to keep blood concentrations at beneficial levels.

According to most medical advice, there is no amount of sun exposure that is considered safe, as far as skin cancer issues go. Since skin cancer can lead to other cancers, it’s important to look at your health and your lifestyle to help you decide how much or how little sun exposure is right for you. Vitamin D3 obtained from the sun plays an important role in cancer protection, yet too much sun can be harmful – a perfect example of the yin yang of having fun in the sun.

Superior nutrition – the kind which assures adequate amounts of free fatty acids circulating within the blood – offers the kind of protection that may allow you to spend more time in the sun with little or no sun protection. On the other hand, many people get into trouble from even short periods of time when they aren’t adequately protected from the sun, making it difficult to obtain their needed Vitamin D from the sun.

Raw organic cream and butter are some of the best sources of the nutrition you may need which supply the free fatty acids that could help you handle your fun in the sun. These foods also contain the Wulzen (“anti-stiffness”) Factor described by Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions. Previously called Vitamin F, free fatty acids transfer calcium from your bloodstream into your tissues where it’s needed. As early as 1937, the Department of Agriculture reported the decreasing vitamin and mineral content of foods to Congress. Not surprisingly, most people today have severe nutritional deficiencies. For those who either don’t or can’t eat foods that provide these essential free fatty acids, nutritional supplementation may be necessary.

In addition to being deficient in free fatty acids, most people are deficient in Vitamin D. For this reason, I suggest having Vitamin D3 levels tested. If your medical doctor cannot or will not do this test, I have access to a relatively inexpensive test kit.

What should Vitamin D3 levels be? On the conservative side, Vitamin D3 levels should run between 60 and 80. The levels of people who live near the equator are often between 100 and 150. Although low levels of Vitamin D3 may lead to problems, high levels of Vitamin D3 can also lead to problems. A condition called hypercalcaemia takes place when there’s an excess amount of calcium in the bloodstream. Since both calcium and phosphorus absorption into the bloodstream increases when Vitamin D levels increase, the result may be too much calcium in the bloodstream.

To avoid hypercalcaemia, adequate amounts of free fatty acids must be available to help move calcium from the bloodstream into the tissues where it’s needed. To further explain, blood should contain one percent of your body’s total calcium in solution as ionized calcium. This is so that the blood can transport the readily available calcium to the bones, muscles, tissues and organs and keep the body functioning normally. The bones act as a bank in which minerals are stored and then released as needed. The trick is to keep the bank account re-supplied with funds so you can make withdrawals. This is one bank account where the penalties for being overdrawn are severe: muscle spasms, unclear thinking, weakness, fatigue and even broken bones to name just a few of the possible consequences.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released information on the new labeling for sunscreens. The EWG website provides the most comprehensive information on the safest and most effective commercial sunscreens. Beware of sunscreens that contain chemicals with estrogen-like hormone disruptors, such as oxybenzone. Unopposed estrogen by natural progesterone is a formula for cancer. Also beware of those containing metals, such as titanium dioxide powder that may get into and harm the brain. It’s upsetting to know that some of these metals are also found in over the counter vitamins.

For your protection, read the labels on both the front and back of the containers. Many products say they’re safe on the front of the container and then give warnings about their use on the back, contradicting what was claimed on the front. According to the EWG, European Union standards are much higher than FDA standards for safety.

For more information on the benefits of Vitamin D, read my previous article archived at called “Let the Sun Shine In.” Also, come to my workshop on July 27th to learn more about skin care products and how to have more safe fun in the sun!


DR. William Karl D. C.

Dr. William H. Karl, D.C., is a Brimhall Certified Wellness Doctor with over 30 years experience helping people to achieve optimal health. On behalf of the Foundation for Wellness Professionals, he will speak at the Livonia Civic Center Library on Wednesday, July 27th at 7pm on “The Yin Yang of Fun in the Sun!” For more information, visit: or call 734-425-8220.


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