Summer Health – bugs, sun  and Vitamin D Vitamin D

by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

Enjoying summer used to be the most natural thing in the world, particularly for children.  Fancy free, not a care to worry about, running in and out of the house, going to the pool, playing summer games, breaking now and then for an ice-cream,  some juice or a barbecue. Vitamin D

Things are certainly not so simple now, neither for children nor for adults.   From the totally natural state I mention above, fear of the sun gradually moved us to a state of being chemically protected,  misunderstanding the risks of chemicals put us in conflict with nature, and that has led us, finally, to an awareness of the risks of being completely unnatural.. Vitamin D

Bugging Out Vitamin D

We have all heard of the downside of DDT, but how about DEET?  Fine if you don’t need your brain cells! Or other popular chemical sprays for insects, such as Black Flag, containing pyrethroids – do not be misled because they have a natural counter-part, pyrethrum – they are a man-made poison. Vitamin D

What are our more natural options to fight the insect world? Vitamin D

There is some evidence that making the blood a little less tasty to the mosquito palate can help repel those flying pests.  Less sugar in the diet, high levels of Vitamin B and Garlic can help achieve this, and there will actually be other positive health effects as well. Vitamin D

Failing that, there are a number of pleasantly fragrant and relatively inexpensive Essential Oils which can repel insects.  They need to be diluted in a carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed before use:

CEDARWOOD (Juniperus mexicana)
CITRONELLA (Cymbopagon nardus)
LEMONGRASS (Cymbopogon citratus) Vitamin D
PENNYROYAL (Mentha puleglum)
TEA TREE OIL ( Melaleuca alternifolia)
GERANIUM (Pelargonium graveolens) Vitamin D
CATNIP (Nepeta cataria) – contains nepetalactone, supposedly
more effective at repelling mosquiotoes than DEET. Vitamin D
EUCALYPTUS OIL (Eucalyptus globulus) – Some allergies reported:
patch test before using on your skin. Keep out of mucus membranes.

Their only draw-back is that they have to be re-applied more frequently than the chemicals. Vitamin D

Splendor in the Sun Vitamin D

Remember the days of innocence, when the function of sun oil was to make you tan more quickly?  Then came the news that the sun was our enemy, and we needed to protect ourselves against it it all times.  Of course, we were not advised simply to wear a hat and protective clothing – we were presented with a bewildering range of information about SPF numbers on products we had to buy. This is where the law of unintended consequences stepped in! Vitamin D

  • In March 2008, the Centers for Disease Control ( revealed that 97% of Americans are contaminated with a widely-used sunscreen ingredient called oxybenzone that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. Vitamin D
  • Consider that since sunscreens began to be recommended in the 1960s,  skin cancer rates began to climb, not fall. For example, melanoma rates doubled from 6 to 13 per 100,000 people since 1973. Today, skin cancer diagnoses surpass all other cancer, with over 1.3 million new cases each year, with new melanoma diagnoses to be close to 48,000 in 2002, according to the American Cancer Society. Vitamin D
  • You are also drinking your sunscreen:  a team of scientists reports  high concentrations of two sunscreen ingredients in fish tissue samples taken from rivers in northern Switzerland. The findings imply that on a hot summer day, chances are that if people are wearing sunscreen, it’s also likely to be in their drinking water or fish dinner too.  ( Vitamin D
  • Children using sunscreen developed more moles , which are predictive of melanoma ( Vitamin D
  • Rickets is re-appearing as a childhood problem in the United States (;111/4/908) Vitamin D
  • The National Osteoporosis Foundation is linking sunscreen use, inadequate sunshine and osteoporosis. Vitamin D

What are the alternatives to the chemicals?  First, note that some exposure to sunshine is essential for proper Vitamin D status, and therefore to health.  The trick is to limit yourself to timing that does not burn.  The first line of defense is to cover up with a hat (or even a parasol)  I have found a zinc oxide product on Amazon which I can recommend – you will find it in the column to the left – and below, you will find a recipe for a natural sun lotion. Vitamin D

Consider that Vitamin D is not only essential for the absorption of calcium, but also protects against falls by improving the ability of the cell to contract, thereby improving muscle strength:  well, as you age you are not only going to fall, but you’ll be sure to break a bone as well!  See the research at!gc=1!gid2=2881. Vitamin D

If you go to, you will be fascinated, as I was, to discover the extent that geography governs our cancer rates. Death rates for breast, colon and ovarian cancer clearly diminish the further South one goes.  What is the significance of this? The founder of SunArc, Dr. William Grant,  argues that exposure to sunlight and Vitamin D account for the difference.  In effect, that regular, moderate exposure to sunshine helps lower our cancer risk Vitamin D

These are the conclusions of 2 studies  on Vitamin D and the heart:

  • Vitamin D deficiency is associated with incident cardiovascular disease. Further clinical and experimental studies may be warranted to determine whether correction of vitamin D deficiency could contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease.   (
  • Serum 25(OH)D levels are associated with important cardiovascular disease risk factors in US adults. Prospective studies to assess a direct benefit of cholecalciferol (vitamin D) supplementation on cardiovascular disease risk factors are warranted.  (

Make sure through testing that your Vitamin D levels are adequate;  if they are not, schedule some careful time in the sun for yourself, and/or supplement. Remember, the form you need is vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol.  It appears to be the more effective at raising and maintaining blood levels.

Enjoy summer’s gifts from Nature – the more natural way!

Production, Storage and Proper Application of Natural Sunscreen Vitamin D

Avocado oil, sesame oil and shea butter contain a low SPF sunscreen. However, they have limited VA/UVB-filtering ability and you should not use them as your only skin protection. Only the chemical sunscreens have higher SPFs Vitamin D

To keep homemade sunscreen from spoiling, use only clean utensils for preparation and storage. Store lotions in the refrigerator, where they will keep for about 3-4 weeks. Vitamin D

To achieve maximum protection, apply sunscreen to dry skin 30 minutes before exposure. Limit your sun time to under an hour. Vitamin D

Natural Protection Cream Recipe

  • 3 tbsp. unrefined sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. unrefined avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp. unrefined jojoba oil
  • 1 tbsp. walnut or almond oil
  • 1 tbsp. shea butter
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa butter
  • 1 tsp. beeswax
  • 1 tsp. soy-lecithin liquid
  • 2 tbsp. aloe vera gel
  • 2 tbsp. rose or lavender water
  • 1/2 tsp. borax powder
  • 20 drops carrot-seed essential oil
  • 3-5 drops coconut fragrance oil (optional)
  1. Melt the first 4 oils, butters and beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat until just melted. Add the soy-lecithin, and stir to blend. Remove from heat.
  2. In a small saucepan, gently warm the aloe vera gel and rose or lavender water, and stir in borax powder until dissolved. Remove from heat.
  3. When the oil and water mixtures are still warm to the touch and about the same temperature, set the small saucepan into a bowl of ice. Drizzle in the oil mixture while mixing rapidly with a small whisk; a cream will quickly form. Vitamin D
  4. Add carrot-seed essential oil and coconut fragrance oil, if desired; blend thoroughly. Vitamin D

NOTE: avoid using citrus oils, such as bergamot, orange, lemon or lime. They may cause unpleasant skin reactions when exposed to the sun. They also reduce a sunscreen’s effectiveness. Vitamin D

For After-Sun Relief

  • To help cool and moisturize sunburned skin, apply a thin coat of yogurt or aloe vera gel to reddened areas. Vitamin D
  • Spray pure lavender water or hydrosol freely on sun-damaged skin to keep skin hydrated, prevent peeling and promote the regeneration of cells.
  • Add 2-3 drops of lavender oil to 1 tsp. of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, and massage into affected area. Or apply diluted St. John’s wort oil.

Thank you, Ellen Lord, for this information. Vitamin D

Find the recommended supplements here

Inexpensive test for Vitamin D levels

Why blood tests are essential