I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “I don’t want to sit next to her on the bus!” But in reality, I would be one of the healthiest people to sit next to.
We are going to explore two major avenues that showering affects:
- How showering affects our vitamin D3 levels, and
- How showering affects our immune system
Do you have that confused dog ’tilt-of-the-head’ thing going yet? Well, grab your shorts cause it’s about to get interesting…
But before we dive into the really juicy parts, let’s review the benefits of vitamin D3 so we understand what we may be missing out on, shall we?
- bone health
- cognitive function
- immune function
- healthy pregnancies and infant development
- lowers blood pressure
- cuts risk for both heart attacks and strokes
- lowers risk of cancer by 67%, but if you do get cancer, it will increase your chances of surviving it, and this includes melanoma patients
- it’s a natural antibiotic
Just to name a few…
Now let’s get on with it!
When we get exposed to sunshine, we are receiving both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays have longer wavelengths and therefore can penetrate materials more easily. Materials like the earth’s atmosphere and window panes. But UVB have shorter rays, so can’t join UVA everywhere it goes. This doesn’t bode well for us industrialized humans.
Many of us never venture outside much, so we are only exposed to UVA light through our windows. But one of UVA’s superpowers is to destroy vitamin D3.
Why is that a superpower?
This is so our bodies don’t overdose on vitamin D3. When we get sun exposure, we get a perfect balance of UVA & UVB rays. So our bodies, with proper sun exposure, will maintain the right amount of Vitamin D3 we need.
Overexposure to UVA will lower our Vitamin D3 levels PLUS it increases oxidative stress, and this scenario is one of the main culprits for the development of skin cancer.
Yes, that’s right. It’s not the sun that “causes” skin cancer but the imbalance of UVA & UVB rays. Proper sun exposure has shown to reverse cancer in melanoma patients.
Oh, and for those of you who worry about aging gracefully, this imbalance accelerates aging of the skin…
And for those of you who are still taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. First, fire you doctor and find one who is better informed. Second, these drugs decrease the body’s ability to manufacture vitamin D3.
When UV light hits the skin, it converts a specific type of cholesterol into D3. So by lowering your cholesterol levels, you are reducing the available cholesterol your body has to perform this conversion. Therefore reducing the amount of vitamin D3 your body can even make.
So what does all that have to do with showering?…
Vitamin D3 is an oil soluble, steroid hormone, that is formed when UV light hits the skin. It takes up to 48 hours for UV light to be fully absorbed into the blood stream. So, when we wash our body with soap, after getting some awesome sunshine, we are washing off the oils, therefore washing of all our vitamin D3 potential.
Ok, on to the other reason why I only wash my pits and my naughty bits.
I am an autoimmuner, so my head pops up, like a meerkat’s, whenever I hear about something affecting my immune system.
When we shower, especially with hot water, not only do we wash off our body’s natural oil but also the dead skin cells. (Did your head just tilt again?) Those dead skin cells actually protect us from harmful bacteria and helps maintain a healthy micro biome. Good bacteria help skin cells learn how to produce their own antibiotics!!
READ THAT AGAIN!
A healthy skin micro biome also makes it more difficult for some toxins to penetrate the skin and therefore prevents them from being absorbed into the bloodstream. And keep in mind if you are using municipal water you are pouring toxins onto your just-scrubbed, therefore vulnerable, skin…
Hot showers also dry out the skin, which open gaps that allow infection-causing germs to slip through.
So, when you are frequently soaping up in hot showers, you are preventing your body from producing antibiotics AND you are making yourself more susceptible to disease. If you are an autoimmuner, this is a bad combination.
There are so many more benefits that we get from the sun, from setting our circadian clocks, to supplying our mitochondria with light to improve communication and tons of other geeky stuff. However, those are all outside the scope of this blog, but I’m sure I’ll cover that in the future.
If you live in a hot, humid climate, enjoy a labor intensive job, or sweat a lot, like from exercising, then you should shower every day (Does your head tilt to the right or left?). Otherwise showering every 2-3 days is fine.
I live in a tropical area, so I rinse off, every day, with cold -to- lukewarm water. I soap my pits and my naughty bits daily and only soap the rest of my body once every couple of weeks.
When I first started doing this, I didn’t tell my husband, (because sometimes, you just don’t want those you love to know how truly weird you are). But, he began commenting on how fast I was showering, and since I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t getting the job done properly, I started to stay a little longer than I needed. However, my frugal alter-ego won, and I broke down and told him. He happens to be Japanese, and if you know anything about the Japanese, you know they LOVE their baths and put a strong importance on cleanliness.
So my statement hung in the air for a few. pregnant. seconds…
Then he smiled and nodded. If you know anything about Japanese men, you know that was a thorough, in-depth conversation…
So trust me when I say, I know this is going to seem a little strange at first. But it’s important to understand that implementing small changes, like this, into your life can bring significant improvements in your health, as every little step brings you that much closer to your health goals. I suffered from an autoimmune for years, but by implementing habits like this into my life, I am able to participate in life again.
Join me to find out more of the things I did/do to go from Zombie to Zumba!