Protect yourself from loss of nitric oxide during the heat of summer
July is the month we celebrate our nation’s Independence. Many will celebrate with a back-yard BBQ with friends and family and many will be on the beach, lake or a body of water somewhere. We all will be out in the sun. It is very important that we get the benefits of the sun while protecting against sunburn.
Most of us know about the health benefits of sunlight in the production of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is more than a vitamin, it is a hormone that controls many functions in the human body. We need sunlight to get the active form of Vitamin D. However, with the fear of skin cancer and melanoma, many people use sunscreen to block the sun’s rays on the skin. As a result, many Americans are low in Vitamin D and this can cause serious health problems.
Also, many people do not understand the importance of sunlight on the production of nitric oxide (NO), my favorite molecule. Aside from the benefits of sunlight on Vitamin D, sunlight exposure has been shown to improve mood, improve energy and even increase our lifespan. Sunlight also decreases blood pressure and increases blood flow and heart rate in humans, which is beneficial to the cardiovascular system. These effects are independent of Vitamin D and are explained by sunlight causing release of nitric oxide from skin stores.
This has huge implications in health and disease. It is well known that people that live at higher latitudes have higher incidence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The more north you live, the higher your chance of developing cardiovascular disease. Australians suffer from heart disease at one-third the rate that people that live in Great Britain, with lower death rates from heart attacks and heart failure, and fewer strokes overall. A five-degree change in latitude — between London and Edinburg, for example — shows a nearly 20 percent higher rate of mortality.
Research shows that this important health observation may be related to exposure to sunlight and the release of nitric oxide and this in turn is very important to cardiovascular health. In the north the hours of sunlight are much less, especially in the winter months. Also, blood pressure is higher in the winter months for most people than in the summer months. So we know sunlight is important and we know nitric oxide is extremely important. However, the effects of sunlight are dependent upon have sufficient “stores” of NO that can be re-activated by sunlight. If your body is deficient in NO due to endothelial dysfunction or due to using mouthwash, antibiotics, sendentary lifestyle and the many other things that disrupt NO production, then the effects of sunlight on NO production will be very limiting and in fact may eliminate many of the benefits of sunlight. After all, all chronic disease is caused by two things and two things only.
- The body is missing something that it needs
- The body is exposed to something that is toxic or that it does not need
If you give the body what it needs and remove the toxins that are interfering, then the body heals itself. It needs nitric oxide to do this.
The release of nitric oxide by the skin or “topical nitric oxide” is essential for anti-aging. Poor blood flow and circulation to the skin of the face is responsible for advance signs of aging including fine lines and wrinkles, poor complexion and texture of the skin. We need nitric oxide in and on the body. So how do we maximize our health and nitric oxide production this summer?
Below are four recommendations to make this summer a summer of health, wellness and independence from disease.
- Get at least 30 minutes of direct sunlight per day on as much of the body as possible. Depending on where you live and the time of day, anything more than half hour may cause sunburn.
- Do not use toxic sunscreen lotions or sprays. Many times, the chemicals in sunscreen cause more damage than the sun itself. If you are outside, cover up with clothing and not harsh chemicals
- Eat nitrate enriched foods such as beets, green leafy vegetables or take clinically proven nitric oxide supplements to boost your “NO stores” so you can maximum activation by the sunlight.
- Drink plenty of good clean water to stay hydrated. Municipal and tap water is toxic with fluoride, chlorine, drug metabolites and many other dangerous chemicals. Pay attention to what you put in your body.
Have fun, spend time with family and friends, laugh and get some exercise. All of which increase nitric oxide.
As we celebrate our Nation’s Independence, let us take time to educate ourselves to take the right steps to maintain independence from disease. After all, what good is freedom if we do not have our health?