(NaturalNews) Now that much of the Northern Hemisphere is well into the summer and the sun is blazing relentlessly in the sky, the idea of sunscreen and sun consumption is on a lot of people's minds. But before lathering on that sunscreen, there are a few things that might be important about how this simple action might have significant consequences down the road. Sunlight, or more specifically the ultra-violet bandwidth of sunlight, is the human body's main source for vitamin-D. This vitamin is essential for our bodies' absorption of what might be the most important mineral that the human body requires -- calcium.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, conversely it is also the most difficult to absorb. In order for this all-important mineral to be reduced to an ionized state (the state in which the body can use it) several constituents need to be present. The first and most important is vitamin-D. Vitamin-D is a vitamin that is not prevalent in a lot of foods; you can find it in fatty fish and fish oils and it is artificially put in milk, orange juice and several other products. But the best and most efficient way for the body to take in this vitamin is from sun exposure, specifically the ultra-violet bandwidth.
When ultra-violet light hits the skin and eyes, it creates a chemical reaction with a vitamin-D precursor called 7-dehydrocholesterol. Once this chemical reaction occurs, the result is a fatty substance called Cholecalciferol. Cholecalciferol is processed through the liver and then the kidneys where calciferol, or vitamin-D, is created for the body to use in the digestion of calcium. Conversely, putting on sunscreen stops about 95% of ultraviolet light from being absorbed into the skin and significantly hinders the body's ability to create Vitamin D; so don't put that sunscreen on right away, wait for a few minutes.
When you take in bioavailable calcium through foods like yogurt, milk, spirulina and dark green, leafy vegetables the hydrochloric acid in the stomach breaks it down to its ionized state. After it leaves the stomach and moves on to the small intestine it interacts with vitamin-D and other calcium binding proteins where it is absorbed through the intestine wall and is taken to two places in the body. 99% of the calcium is placed in the bones; the final 1% of calcium left over is placed into the blood and plays a very important role in the body -- the bioelectric operation of every single cell.
The human body is a bio-electromagnetic organism. Every cell in the body works off of the principle of minute electrical charges and the regulation of these positive and negative charges via the body's cellular pH balance. In order for the nervous system to fire and the body's cells to operate correctly, ionized calcium must be present in intracellular (inside the cell) fluid. When this ionized calcium collects inside the cells, it lowers the pH Balance to around a pH of 6.6. This creates a positive electrical charge within the cell. The fluid outside the cell is optimally a pH of 7.4, which creates a negative charge. This difference in polarity induces a voltage of around 70 millivolts across the cellular membrane. The creation of this voltage opens pathways for nutrients and waste to be absorbed and expelled into and from the cell. This is how our cells breathe and operate. When the body does not have enough calcium it starts to significantly become more acidic; cellular operation starts to break down and this can eventually lead to disease conditions throughout the body like arthritis, asthma, hypertension and heart disease. In extreme cases it can possibly lead to the development of diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's.
The Institute of Medicine (http://www.iom.edu/) states that the adult human body needs 1000 mg (milligrams) of calcium a day. Children and the elderly need 1200 to 1300 mg per day. A healthy human body absorbs about 30% of the bioavailable calcium that it ingests through food. That is of course if the body has sufficient vitamin D to assist in the absorption. If it doesn't, calcium absorption drops to 10-15%. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D due to sun exposure varies on where you are in relation to the equator and upon your skin pigment (note again: sunscreen decreases your UV light absorption by 95%). The general guideline for the body to gain sufficient amounts of Vitamin D is that it needs about 5 to 10 minutes of sunlight a day for a Caucasian (or light skinned person) and 15 to 30 minutes and quite possibly up to 1 hour per day for darker skinned individuals due to their skins' natural ability to protect itself from the sun. You can also eat foods that contain vitamin D like salmon and other fatty fish or take a Vitamin D supplement of 1000 IU (International Units) per day, but sunlight by far is the best way to gain a sufficient supply.
If you are interested in getting more information on calcium and vitamin D, you can check out Mike Adams's ebook interview with Dr. Michael Holick The Healing Power of Sunlight & Vitamin D as well as the rest of the references below.
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