the sun is more than (just) a vitamin

I talk about vitamin D a lot. It’s useful for healthy bones, healthy immunity, healthy levels of inflammation, healthy mood. In the past decade it’s gotten a lot of press.

But in the same way whole foods are better sources of nutrients than a multivitamin, there are things the sun can do that a supplement cannot. When it comes to health, Nature almost always does it better. And it turns out that sun is more than (just) a vitamin. 

Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview.

A 2016 review published in the journal Dermatoendocrinology offers a lot of science to back this notion. If you’re feeling super geeky, you can read the whole thing for free here.

If you’re less geeky, or don’t have the time to spend, here some bullet points.

  • Is sunshine good for you? Yes.
  • Is sunburn bad for you? Yes.
  • Does a base tan prevent melanoma? Yes.
  • Does sunscreen prevent melanoma? Not so much.

Also, and importantly, the review shows ways in which sunshine helps health irrespective of Vitamin D levels. In other words, and in at least some cases, the sun is doing the healing, not the vitamin we make from it. For instance, the authors found that:

  • Sunshine promotes immune resilience.
  • Sunshine (but not Vitamin D) reduces obesity.
  • Sunshine helps you see better (by preventing short sightedness.)
  • Sunshine boosts mood.
  • Sunshine lowers blood pressure.

The bottom line: Get outside.

Does that mean you don’t need Vitamin D supplements? The jury is still out on that. We know that lower Vitamin D levels are associated with impaired health on many levels. What we don’t know is whether the low Vitamin D is a cause or an effect. I generally find patients with low Vitamin D levels feel better with supplementation.

The first step is to get your Vitamin D levels checked. This is a standard blood test doctors can order along with your cholesterol and similar tests as part of an annual preventive visit.

If my patients’ levels are low, we talk about why that may be the case and decide how to proceed.

So get outside every day, because nature is the first and the best healer. Getting your Vitamin N (Nature) will help your health, with and without Vitamin D.

And if you want to get your Vitamin D levels checked, let’s talk. Click here to make a telemedicine appointment.

telemedicine visits are now available.

The world has changed. I want you to know that you’re not alone in it.

In March I shifted my medical practice to 100-percent telemedicine visits. My patients and I are loving it.

These work just like regular appointments, except we meet over a secure, HIPAA-compliant video portal. All you need is a private space, decent light, a good internet connection, and your computer or device. It takes just one click to connect, with no downloads required.

This is the right way to offer non-emergency medicine in this crazy time. It lets more people be seen, and keeps everyone safe.

This avenue for care is opening up all over the country in many ways. Insurance companies seem to be stepping up. State and federal organizations are easing up on restrictions that have limited this in the past.

These medical visits are available to anyone in Oregon. Click here to schedule your appointment.

If you are not in Oregon and want to see me, please get in touch. What I’m able to do depends on your state.

Things are changing fast. One thing that’s not changing: I am here for you.

— Dr. Orna

dr. orna’s immune resilience action series

Health is all about resilience.⁠ ⁠

When I discuss this with my chronic disease and mental-health patients in clinic, I explain that resilience it’s about reacting without flaring, feeling without falling apart. Resilience means being able to rebound appropriately in the face of a stressor.⁠ ⁠

This is a time full of stressors. And even if the current pandemic’s first wave may be flattening, we’ve got more waves ahead.⁠ ⁠

To get us ready, I’m offering a deeper dive: Dr. Orna’s Immune Resilience Action Series. ⁠ ⁠

It’s a 10-week series of live discussions about supporting physical and mental/emotional resilience with ACTIONS.⁠ ⁠

Each week we’ll will dig deeply into one tip from my Immune Resilience Action Guide. I’ll explain what each point is, how it works, why it matters — and answer your questions live.⁠ ⁠

The Tuesday evening series starts at 6 p.m. PDT on May 5. Recordings will be available for those who can’t attend in person.⁠ ⁠

Now is the time to build and maintain our resilience. Let’s use the approaching summer to TAKE ACTION so we are prepared to ride the next wave.⁠ ⁠

Click here to register for the Immune Resilience Action Series. I look forward to talking with you on Tuesdays!⁠ ⁠

— Dr. Orna⁠ ⁠

P.S. Want to get a head start? When you register for the series you’ll automatically get my Immune Resilience Action Guide. Print it out, give it a read, post it someplace visible like your refrigerator. It’s our roadmap for the coming weeks.⁠ ⁠

P.P.S. These talks are intended as general health education and are not a substitute for medical care. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your health regimen. If you’re in Oregon and would like to customized recommendations, please schedule a telemedicine appointment here. If you’re in another state, please get in touch and we’ll see what we can arrange.