The Crap From the 80s
Today, I found myself again trying to undo the crap from the 80s. Really, what did happen in that decade?
I can forgive the big hair, shoulder pads, and dubious tastes in music. However, the years I spent spreading margarine, steaming skinless chicken breasts, and applying sunscreen are harder to reconcile. How much destruction of coral am I to blame for?
Self-help was newly minted. Eat six times per day, never get hungry and remember to power dress. Just take the pill. We trusted pharmaceuticals in those days. We trusted doctors too. And so I power dressed, took the pill and, became a doctor.
I was well on the way to becoming an obese, frustrated Gen-Xer, mindlessly going through the motions and the flow-charts of Family Medicine. Thankfully, life-events prompted me into questioning the prevailing wisdom. After much time and money spent on courses, fellowships, and Pubmed, I pulled the chain.
My practice now focuses on Personalized and Functional Medicine. It is a relief to be free from the 80s medical dogma that still prevails. I am happier, leaner, fitter, and stronger than ever.
Below is what I tell my patients now.
Let the sun’s rays heal you. The flow of energy in waves from the sun changes cells and molecules in our skin. The most well-known effect is the production of Vitamin D. However, taking Vitamin D does not confer the same benefits as sun exposure. Vitamin D is now seen as a proxy for sun exposure, rather than being considered the single beneficial molecule from the sun.
Ultraviolet radiation results in the release of different chemical messengers from the skin. One of these molecules is Nitric Oxide (NO) which dilates blood vessels and improves immunity.
Sufficient sun exposure is linked to a longer lifespan, lower breast and bowel cancer, improved heart health, less obesity and diabetes, less age-related cognitive decline, less respiratory tract infection, less allergy, less autoimmune disease, and less short-sightedness.
Excess ultraviolet irradiation does result in DNA damage that is linked to melanoma and other skin cancers as well as eye…