October 8, 2014

Letter from the Director


I have been to many conferences about the science of vitamin D, disease prevention, and public health. From all the presentations I have heard, one illuminating moment that stands out was hearing Dr. Alexander Wunsch speak on the healing properties of the sun. He started by explaining many of the sun's properties, and how the image of the sun as a god was very naturally understood based on mankind's experiences with its healing powers. Sometimes we take everyday things for granted and forget that there is a reason for the sun beyond lighting the daytime sky. It is not an evil nemesis to be avoided at all costs via sunscreen, clothing, and hats. The sun can help our health when we use its power wisely, and avoiding it can be detrimental.


We will be discussing the sun during the first day of our upcoming seminar, Vitamin D and Public Health, on December 9-10 in San Diego. I am excited to announce that Dr. Wunsch will be here from Germany to be a part of the discussion. After presentations on the sun and sun health, we will hold a panel session for you to ask your questions about the sun and how it relates to vitamin D, optimal health, and disease prevention.


But we won't stop there. We will come back the next day to answer the question, "HOW?" We will have experts speak on implementation - how they implemented or recommend implementing a health program in their practice, county, or constituency. We will end again with a meeting of the minds as we discuss and answer questions about implementation of Sunshine, Vitamin D and Measurement for our health.


I am very excited about getting all the experts together in San Diego to present and discuss the benefits of   

Vitamin D for Public Health - Integrating Sunshine, Supplements and Measurement for Optimal Health.  


Hope to see you there,


Carole Baggerly

Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

The Benefits of Sunshine 

GrassrootsHealth asked some of our panel of experts about sunshine, and compiled some of their responses to share with you.


Does the sun produce vitamin D?


The most natural way to make vitamin D is to expose your skin to the sun, around mid-day, between 10 am - 2 pm.


Vitamin D is made through sun exposure. One quick tip to determine if you are getting proper vitamin D sun exposure is to check your shadow. When your shadow is shorter than you are tall, your skin can make vitamin D - that is, if your skin is not covered by clothing or sunscreen. The more skin you have exposed to the sun, the more vitamin D you can make. Always take care not to burn.


There is an app available, dminder, that tracks the Vitamin D you get from the sun. If you are trying to get vitamin D from the sun, dminder allows you to optimize levels based on your location, body type, and time of day, all while making sure you stay safe by warning you of any risk to your skin getting burned.


A Daily "D break" instead of a lunch break?


As part of their national vitamin D awareness day, Australia recommended everyone take a "D-Break" during lunch. Instead of working or staying inside, they promoted going outside and getting some sun (without sunscreen).


"We should do this all year long - not just in the winter!" said Cedric F. Garland, Dr. P.H.



Are there other advantages to sun exposure?


Vitamin D is produced by a very narrow band of the sun's light, yet the sun has a full spectrum, and there are many other benefits. For many of us, being out in the sun simply makes us feel happier. One reason for this is that the sun stimulates production of beta-endorphins in our skin, giving us the well-known "runners high." The sun also stimulates production of nitric oxide which helps to regulate and decrease blood pressure.


Another potential benefit which needs more investigation is the production of vitamin D-like photon products. There may be several of these products that appear to play a role in reducing skin cancer and enhancing overall skin health.  


Is it better to get sun exposure or take supplements? 

There are three main ways to get vitamin D - sun, food, and supplements. A smart strategy is to use all three sources and to test regularly so that you can ensure your vitamin D serum level is between 40-60 ng/ml.


We will talk about these questions in depth, and more at our seminar "Vitamin D and Public Health - Integrating Sunshine, Supplements and Measurement for Optimal Health" - register NOW!


Editor's Note


My family uses the sun for overall health. We are out in the sun daily - without sunscreen, or only on our faces - exercising and experiencing nature. I also like to sunbathe mid-day to combat illness. We call it "getting our vitamin D." This has helped us combat many a cold.


I remember when my children were really young the sun seemed most effective. I remember taking my sick (with a cold) one-year old out naked to lay with me in the sun at mid-day for a little bit (we are light skinned and live in San Diego - so 20 min for us). The next day she was significantly better! Now, that is just a common cold - but I have noticed firsthand how sun can improve overall health.


Susan Siljander      

Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion &

Research Organization  

Moving Research into Practice NOW!



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Free Seminar
Integrating Sunshine, Supplements and Measurement for Optimal Health


San Diego, CA

December 9, 10

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Skin Cancer vs. Sunscreeen

The Dilemna

Edward Gorham, PhD 

February 2009

Watch Video



Vitamin D: Sun or Supplement

Michael Holick  

MD, Ph.D.

Professor, Boston U.

July 2013

Watch Video


Sun and Vitamin D tracking app

Find out more

Australian D-Break

News Article

June 2014

Read here

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You can prevent disease if just one more person finds out about the preventative properties of vitamin D and starts moving their blood serum levels to 40-60 ng/ml. 


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