Well, the summer sun and fun are upon us and many of my patients are asking how best to protect their skin and maintain optimal overall health during the summer….so keeping it short and sweet, here are some key pearls regarding skin health and sun.
Remember the skin is the largest organ in the body and has a very important role in elimination of waste products and toxins. As such, it is crucial to keep your skin healthy, especially in the sun…a sunburn can reduce the permeability of the skin, reducing your bodies ability to perspire and excrete toxins. Therefore, protecting the skin and maintaining good detoxification function are crucial for optimal health.
We all know that a high quality sunscreen applied to dry skin and reapplied as directed is a key component to protecting the skin from sun damage. What many don’t know is that there are natural nutrients that we can take as supplements that help to reduce the harmful effects of the sun….one of these is…
Astaxanthin! This incredible nutrient is produced naturally by phytoplankton in response to the sun’s energy, protecting organisms from UV radiation. When taken orally, this super antioxidant actually reduces the damage to your skin from sun exposure, all the while reducing oxidative damage to your cells and tissues. I recommend 4-8 mg/day of naturally produced Astaxanthin.
Another natural substance called Fernblock, also exhibits some anti-UV damage protection, although is it is modest and more studies are needed to better understand its benefits.
One important aspect of radiation damage is damage to DNA. One thing we can do to reduce damage to DNA is to make sure we have adequate levels of methylation donor support…methylation is a key biochemical reaction needed to maintain healthy. DNA. Supplements such as MSM, TMG, and SAMe are loaded with methyl groups which are used by the body to keep the DNA healthy and happy, especially as we age!
In conclusion, remember that we do need a little bit of UV B radiation to generate vitamin D synthesis in our bodies. I recommend 15 minutes of full body exposure between 10 am and 2 pm at least 3-4 days a week, unless a person has a history of skin cancer or other issues which would prohibit that exposure. It is useful to supplement with vitamin D3 for most people in the range of 4000-8000 iu per day to maintain a healthy serum vitamin D level, especially if regular healthy sun exposure is not feasible.