Ep. 006 – Get Out in the Sun

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Good morning and welcome to Episode 006 of the Train Your Brain Podcast with Dr. Michael Trayford. This is a shorter, five-minute episode where Dr. Trayford brings you a tip for improving the function of your brain.

In Episode 006, Dr. Trayford explains why the sun is so important to the health of the brain. It’s not just that fresh air and sunshine have a positive impact on your mood: There is a scientific reason behind all of the brain tips discussed on this podcast, and there is an explanation for the benefits of getting out in the sun, as well! So, please join us for this episode to hear Dr. Trayford’s explanation.

As we eluded to in the first episode there are some topics that we’ll talk about, many of them in fact that don’t appear to be directly related to brain training techniques. When people think brain training they tend to think of an activity, application or a game or a crossword puzzle, that kind of thing.

I’m here to say, as I did initially, that we need to look at the cognitive, the physical, the metabolic and the lifestyle factors involved with brain health in order to have the most effective brain training possible. So today is a perfect example of that.

Our topic today is get out in the sun and getting out in the sun has more implications for your brain than we can get into in this brief period of time. But I’m here to tell you that sunlight is a huge, huge, huge factor when it comes to brain function.

Now I’m sure you’ve heard of the one thing that happens in the sun that can be related to good health and I don’t want to put you on the spot Jason but are you aware of that?

Jason: Oh I’m ready for this one this time! Basically it helps to turn the ah Vitamin D in your body, or helps your body to absorb vitamin D from the sunshine.
Absolutely and it’s the bioactive or readily available form of vitamin D cholecalciferol that is most important.
Jason: Yeah I was going to say that… cholecalciferol

It’s a really important to note, because there are certain people in certain cultures that can’t absorb vitamin D very well, or can’t convert vitamin D into the appropriate source that is ready and available for the body as well as others.
So there are cases where there are people that need to take vitamin D supplements. There are many ways to do that, there’s pill forms, sublingual which goes under the tongue, topical forms and there’s also challenges with people that have had gallbladder removed.

For example where they can’t digest fats appropriately because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. So there are many different ways for you to get around that and it’s worthy of discussion with your health care provider as well as a healthcare provider that specializes in functional medicine.

It’s critical to understand, If, number one you’re having problems with Vitamin D levels, and two what you can do about that. They are very easily measured. The current measurements of vitamin D are coming more into question. So there are other ways to look at that, but it’s a good baseline to look and tell if someone has adequate stores of vitamin D in their body.

Now vitamin D doesn’t act like other vitamins. And some people say it’s really not a vitamin, it’s a pre-hormone. Vitamin D is used to synthesize many of the hormones that circulate in our bodies. With that said if we don’t have adequate stores of vitamin D we can’t form cholesterol appropriately. We can’t form other types of hormones that will help our bodies and brain works efficiently.

So the best way to get the bio active or readily available stores of vitamin D is to in fact get out into the sun.

Now for those people that are living in climates that don’t get a lot of sun. We’ve been under clouds pretty much every day here in Asheville for the past two or three months. Where as places like Washington State are actually in a drought right now with lots of sun.

But you never know when you’re going to be able to get that vitamin D. But it doesn’t take a long time 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes in direct sunlight can really help to boost those levels better than any pill ever could. But taking Vitamin D supplementally is an option for those that can’t do that.

There is much debate on the light boxes that have been used for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which was to boost Vitamin D synthesis and that’s a topic for discussion another day. But we will look into that further down the line.

If you have any concerns regarding the information and applications discussed in this podcast, please consult your physician and a doctor who is experienced in functional neurology. Michael Trayford DC, DACNB is available for consultation by calling (828) 708-5274. Thanks for listening.

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