They say you can't bottle sunshine...
... and if you could, it'd be immeasurably valuable.
Not just because it currently appears to be pretty rare (unlike rain – which, ironically, we can bottle), but mostly because sunshine makes us feel good.
Have you ever wondered why?
Our bodies are, for the most part, actually pretty smart.
Locked deep into the unconscious part of our brains – the parts responsible for pure emotional reactions – are the survival instincts that both developed and allowed humans to survive and thrive for thousands of years on Earth.
Whilst technology and culture have evolved very rapidly, this more primitive part of our brain tends to be somewhat geared towards 'old-fashioned' survival instincts... like fear of deadly threats or predators that perhaps no longer pose any real danger to most of us.
Or, on a more fitness/aesthetic theme: those sugar cravings that can cause you to break your diet are a left-over from when your ancestors may have happened upon a sudden source of energy (such as a fruit tree or animal-raided, abandoned bees nest) and gorged themselves on high-energy sugar as a survival strategy, not knowing when the next opportunity to eat would present itself. (Nowadays, you can take 'Ripper' to tap fat/energy reserves when low on fuel, but that's not why we're here, so please read on!)
Whilst the above examples are not completely relevant to all of our everyday lives, there's one thing that is clear: we all instinctively feel better when we can get some sunshine – and many of us feel 'down' when we can't.
In fact, there's been a massive increase in cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in recent years – up to 29% of the British population (according to extrapolations from GP visit data) seem to suffer.
There's also been a big rise in cases of osteoporosis over recent decades.
Depression, clinical or general, is very much on the rise.
Also, perhaps most worrying for us guys (and you ladies that still want a men to be men) a global decrease in testosterone levels that's come about during the same period.
How could these things be linked?
Our diets aren't what they used to be, that's true. But with modern professions ever moving towards indoor jobs, loads of us are having to 'look forward to our holidays', because we 'need some sun'. We just don't get enough of it any more.
For crying out loud... most of us don't even spend any time hanging our clothes outdoors to dry anymore – just one example of how things have changed!
Sunlight has profound effects on the human body... much more than 'skin deep', although it all starts in the skin.
We humans have a somewhat unique ability to produce our own vitamin D, when exposed to sunlight.
This then converts into a hormone called calcitriol, without which, we struggle to absorb many nutrients – but especially calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.
Lower calcium levels = weaker bones (osteoporosis)
Lower iron levels = less efficient transport of oxygen by blood
Lower magnesium = disrupted sleep patterns and stress reactions
Lower zinc levels = lowered testosterone and other hormones
Excuse the following capitols, but this is VERY important:
TAKING MORE OF THESE MINERALS (and many others) AS DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS DOES ALMOST NOTHING WITHOUT ADEQUATE VITAMIN D LEVELS.
So, no amount of ZMA, or even protein supplements will work to their full potential if you aren't getting enough Vitamin D – either from the sun, or from supplementary sources.
If you're training hard, eating right and still not getting where you think you should be, Vitamin D supplementation should be your first stop.
How much is enough?
The old UK RDA is woefully short – and has recently been revised upwards, but for hard-training individuals, especially those who sweat out minerals (such as zinc) and replace them with supplementation on a regular (at least weekly basis), we'd say they're still too low.
Remember, those Reference Intakes (that replaced RDA's) are for average people. It's likely that you're not average, or training not to be average... or just not living the average lifestyle.
That's why our new Vitamin D3 tablets come in at 5,000iu EACH!
We recommend between 5,000 and 15,000iu per day, depending on bodyweight and activity.
We're currently selling the UK's best vitamin D3 supplement at just £8.99 for 90 tablets – enough to last one month if you take the maximum 1,500iu per-day (longer if you take the lower doseage)!
You can go direct to checkout using this link!
To further educate on yourself on the testosterone issue facing so many men in the UK... Check out Mo Saleem's article on the Causes, Symptoms and Treatment...