Al Sears, MD, CNS – When Hippocrates told his overweight patients to walk outside naked, he was on to something important.
Exposing as much skin as possible would have made a big difference in not only weight loss, but in preventing an epidemic that would strike his ancestors thousands of years later. More on this in a moment…
Today, excessive weight gain is a symptom of what I’ve named Syndrome Zero. This condition is at the root of almost every chronic disease — like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, hypertension and diabetes.
Mainstream medicine has no clue how to treat it because they can’t see the forest for the trees. You see, Western medicine focuses on treating individual symptoms instead of getting to the root causes of a disease.
But the symptoms of Syndrome Zero share the same root — your body’s “metabolic” response to our modern, grain- and carb-heavy diet and the chronic insulin overload it causes.
Your body wasn’t designed to handle all these carbs and sugars. Every time you eat carbs your pancreas releases the hormone insulin. The insulin is supposed to carry glucose into your cells to make energy.
The more carbs you eat, the more insulin builds in your bloodstream. It overwhelms the receptors in your cells. It makes them insulin resistant. And insulin becomes less effective at pushing glucose into your cells.
And too much insulin blocks fat from leaving your body. This triggers fat storage — causing oxidation, inflammation and eventually all the conditions associated with Syndrome Zero.
But here’s what Hippocrates got right when he told his patients to get naked…
Exposing your skin to sunlight triggers the synthesis of vitamin D in your skin. And the latest research proves that your body needs this critical vitamin both as a defense against Syndrome Zero and in order to fight it.
You see, vitamin D is utterly essential for proper insulin function.
Studies show that vitamin D improves your body’s ability to use insulin and that it’s also needed by your body to stimulate the beta cells in your pancreas to produce insulin in the first place.1 But the effects of vitamin D don’t only take place in the pancreas. Vitamin D receptors are triggered in all the target tissues for insulin, like muscle and fat tissue.
A recent study by scientists involving nearly 500 patients found that 58% of those with a vitamin D deficiency also had insulin resistance.2 In fact, the lower their vitamin D, the greater their occurrence of this disorder.
In another study of 10,000 Americans over the age of 45, researchers found that boosting vitamin D levels reduced the incidence of Syndrome Zero — thanks to its effect on insulin function. Vitamin D also repairs damage to the heart and blood vessels caused by high blood pressure.3
The problem is that almost everyone today is vitamin D deficient — thanks in a large part to the bad advice we’ve been given to stay out of the sun. But just 30 minutes of daily sun exposure during the summer months, your body is capable of producing 50,000 IUs of vitamin D over the following 24 hours.
Naked and Protected
Like Hippocrates, I recommend getting “naked” in the sun. Expose as much skin as you feel comfortable. Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out how long you should stay outside:
- If you have fair, freckled skin, you have a higher risk of sunburn, but you also make vitamin D3 much more quickly. Aim for 10 to 15 minutes of sun in the morning or in the late afternoon during summer. In winter, add 10 to 15 minutes.
- If you have light brown skin, aim for 30 minutes of sun each day in the summer and a little longer during the winter season.
- If your skin pigmentation is very dark you are walking around with the equivalent of SPF 8-15 sunscreen. Although you won’t burn easily, you have a much higher risk of being vitamin D deficient. Aim for 40 minutes to an hour in the sun during summer and longer during winter.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Bornstedt ME, et al. “Vitamin D increases glucose stimulated insulin secretion from insulin producing beta cells (INS1E).” Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2019;17(1):e74255.
2. Schmitt EB, et al. “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women.” Maturitas. 2018;107:97-102.
3. Khan A, et al. “Nanomedical studies of the restoration of nitric oxide/peroxynitrite balance in dysfunctional endothelium by 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D 3 – clinical implications for cardiovascular diseases.” Int J Nanomedicine.2018;13:455-466.