Despite being mid-February, the early morning sun today is strong, illuminating the gold of the witch hazel blossom and the grey-blue of the waters of the Wye. In response to his call, the birds sing loudly in celebration of the light and of life, while frogs and newts begin their annual courtship dances in their ponds.
It felt discordant to hear that a new report recommends we take supplements of Vitamin D daily to protect our health and guard against colds and flu, since we lack the benefits that come from sunshine particularly in winter and spring. While it is good that the importance of the sun for our wellbeing is acknowledged, as it has been before, I wonder how necessary it is to rely on the substitute rather than the original? Some people for different reasons cannot access the sun, and may need synthetic Vitamin D, but for others of us it should be possible to be outside, in the sun and the light, for a half hour or so every day, which some scientists believe normally is sufficient.
Being out of doors, preferably in nature, is, to me, one of the best ways to encourage physical good health and mental serenity. More and more we find ourselves separated from the natural elements that are the foundation for life, as pills derived from chemicals are chosen over healing tools derived from plants, for example, – just as, if not more, effective and much cheaper – and when the air we breathe in cities is allowed to be so toxic we are forced to retreat into cars or houses to escape from it. It is sad, to me, that through choice, ignorance or necessity people who care for their health are choosing, more and more, to take a capsule instead of the truly healthy alternative, or to cover their skin in sun screen all the time, even when the sun is weak. Sometimes it has to be done, but not always.
At least, for now, we can decide for ourselves if we want to take Vitamin D or any other pills, or wear heavy sun screen, and your views may be different from mine, or your neighbour’s: you will do what you believe is right, and rightly so. It is of concern to me that there are suggestions to force citizens to take extra Vitamin D through adding it mandatorily to bread or milk products, just as fluoride has been added to some water supplies. Vitamin D is important to our health, but the more we can take it naturally, using the gifts of the Planet, and the sun, the better off we will be. Even the scientists acknowledge that artificial Vitamin D can be toxic if taken to excess or mis-used.
In the end, for all of us, it is about using common sense, and remembering that the original invariably is better than the copy.