From Drug Addicts To Sun Worshipers…It Could Happen

Without the sun, there would be no life on planet earth. Without the sun, our bones would not be strong. The sun is what makes Vitamin D in our bodies. It was making Vitamin D before any company was making vitamin D supplements, so don’t start pushing back yet. And now, the sun may be responsible for helping people curb and potentially stop craving opioids. Recent studies are pointing to this as a very strong possibility. Consider the following statements:

“Vitamin D deficiency (italics mine) strongly exaggerates the craving for and effects of opioids, potentially increasing the risk for dependence and addiction, according to a new study led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). These findings, published in Science Advances, suggest that addressing the common problem of vitamin D deficiency with inexpensive supplements could play a part in combating the ongoing scourge of opioid addiction.”

A Little Bit Of Sun Goes A Long Way

We Americans are extremists. If we find out a little bit of something is good for us, we tend to think more will be even better. But that is not the case. In fact, one of the worst examples of this kind of thinking is present in the prescribing of opioids. Some doctors actually believe that the more opioids they give their patients the better off they will be. (If you want to see what I mean, tune into the Netflix documentary The Crime of The Century.) So, please do not think that because I’m suggesting a little bit of sun that an extreme amount is going to be better. And, for those who are gasping at the idea because of skin cancer, let me assure you, there is a tremendous amount of evidence that is suggesting our fear of the sun is causing even greater health concerns.

In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has this to say on the subject. “While it is accepted that solar UVR exposure is the main cause of skin cancer, evidence is accumulating on the health benefits of sun exposure, as well as widespread vitamin D deficiency, and has revealed a possibly significant public health problem resulting from insufficient sun exposure. This suggests that current public health advice on sun exposure ought to be reconsidered to communicate a better balance of the benefits and harms of sunlight, particularly at higher latitudes where ambient levels of UVR are comparatively low even in summer.”

Chances are, if you do not spend much time outdoors with skin exposed to the sun and you are not supplementing, your vitamin D levels are most likely insufficient. The truth is that most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods (15 to 30 minutes) with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen. You do have to be careful and not overdo it. Getting sunburned is not healthy.

It’s Summertime And The Vitamin D Is Free

Spending a day on the beach is not going to cure the opioid epidemic, but it is a step in the right direction. Understanding the detrimental effects of Vitamin D deficiency and the role it plays in addiction can lead to more helpful programs and treatments for those who are currently dependent on opioids. This is a great time to be exposed to this information. It is the height of summer and the Vitamin D is absolutely free.