Today, the kick-ass iconoclast food blogger Food Renegade posted a fascinating article about the resurgence of rickets in kids (a degenerative bone disease caused by lack of bioavailable vitamin D) despite sun exposure and plenty of synthetic vitamin D in everything from milk to breakfast cereal. If kids ARE getting enough sunshine, AND they’re getting plenty of vitamin D – then what’s the cause?
One potential reason stood out to me:
Showering daily with soap can actually strip the skin of the synthesized Vitamin D before it has a chance to be absorbed into our bloodstream.
I’m talking about everybody’s favorite bedtime ritual with the under-8 set: bathtime.
No generation before this one has been bathed so frequently, or with such harsh chemicals. If it takes 8 days for vitamin D to travel from the surface of the skin to the bloodstream, then what happens when skin gets totally stripped every 24 hours?
This is hardly a scientific study, but my daughter Helen has the highest bone density her doctor’s office has ever seen. She weighs about a third more than identically-shaped kids her age. We used to call her the “neutron star” baby. She is… rock solid.
In her early years, Helen didn’t eat a particularly unusual diet for an American child. I was still on the S.A.D. treadmill and my milk wasn’t loaded with fermented cod liver oil or grass-fed anything. What was different? This kid just hated baths. Instead of being a calming, soothing bedtime ritual, baths were a harried, scream-filled, 15 minute hosing down that happened maybe two times a month. We only bathed her when we couldn’t stand to smell her any longer!
Now looking back, I have to wonder – did the distinct lack of soap in Helen’s early life contribute to her wonder-woman of steel physique? And what did that mean about all the soaping up that I was doing today, now that the bubble-phobia has passed?
About a year ago, I stopped using soap completely – on myself, and more recently on Helen too. I shower with a warm washcloth, a little heavily diluted tea tree oil, and whatever essential oils I’m in the mood for.
The result? I don’t smell (either that or my loved ones are waaaay too polite), and my skin is in the best shape ever. No cracks, no dry patches — even in winter.
Additionally, my calcium levels are high-normal, higher than they’ve been in 15 years. I had thyroid cancer as a teen, and due to complication from the surgeries I had, I wasn’t able to maintain normal calcium levels. The only treatment? Massive doeses of synthetic vitamin D, and even then my levels hovered below normal.
Today, I’ve stopped taking the synthetic D pill and my levels remain stable.
According to my friends, I am now officially a dirty, sun-worshiping, unwashed hippy. And proud of it.