Discover how muscle aches can be helped by sunshine

The Good Life Letter

Friday 3rd Aug  2012

  • Its all change at the Good Life Letter
  • Find out why muscle aches and fibromyalgia are helped by the sun
  • The latest research into fibromyalgia shows that itís not all in the mind

Today Iím going to look at muscle aches including fibromyalgia and how a really simple vitamin that we all get for free can help.

Also, I want to tell you about some changes that are happening to the Good Life Letter.

Whilst I was away in the sunny Algarve I set my technical team a challenge. I wanted a bigger, brighter and better Good Life Letter.

My dream was to have something a bit cleaner and easier to handle.

You see, if your inbox is anything like mine it all gets a bit congested and I have begun to value anyone who sends me stuff that makes it easier to manage.

When I got back to the office the other day the chaps didnít disappoint me, and the new look letter will be with you on Sunday.

Something else surprised me as well.

My editor Jane used my absence to revisit some of my old letters and sent them out to you, and we have received lots and lots of e-mails saying how interesting you found them.

Not all of the letters I have written are in the website archive and she dipped into some of the really early Good Life Letters from 2005 when I first started writing.

So your new letter will also include some archive material as well!

The all NEW Good Life Letter

Basically the layout as of Sunday will have two letters in one.

The first will be a newly written letter and the second will be a blast from the past, but donít worry about it trailing off for pages and pages, because each letter is edited down with an option to read more through a simple click of the mouse.

There will also be a couple of links to things of interest.

What this means is that you will have all of the info available to you on one screen without having to scroll down.

Have a quick butchers at the first paragraph and if it tickles your fancy you can dive in for the full version.

How much fun is that going to be?

So, Sunday is a big day for me and all of those who help me get the Good Life Letter together.

I have the biggest news of the year for you and an entirely new whizzy layout to deliver it in. You lucky people!

A bit of summer has done us all good

The weather may have returned to its normal drizzle, but I hope you had the chance to enjoy a few days over the last few weeks where the sun blazed down from the heavens.

I managed to walk all over the county and thoroughly enjoyed myself in the process.

Sometimes we forget just how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful and diverse landscape.

From the golden sands and cliffs of the coast, through lush grassland, swaying fields of golden barley and deep cool woodland I made my way.

Sometimes I managed to get one of the kids out with me for a bit of a nature ramble.

On one such day myself and my 11 year old daughter we delighted to see a pair of iridescent blue dragonflies, a young fox leaping as he hunted mice in the grass and she even found a little toad which tickled her hands as she carefully carried him across the road and into a cool damp ditch.

To the sound of a buzzard and a jay disputing territory in the treetops we walked through the shade of a wood, and sat to eat our picnic lunch in a little glade.

It was real Enid Blyton stuff I can tell you Ė with lashings of ginger beer!

Do you know what though; the combination of being outdoors with the sun on my skin, the company of an enquiring mind and the rich pageant of Avonís finest fauna and flora has really lifted my spirits.

Of course there has been much research into the link between vitamin D and the positive effect on mood, but I hadnít realised that it also has a very positive benefit on Fibromyalgia, a very debilitating condition which affects about 2% of the UK population.(1)

In 2007, a team led by Dr Armstrong published an interesting study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology which concluded that Vitamin D deficiency is common in fibromyalgia and occurs more frequently in patients with anxiety and depression.(2)

The mistake in reading this conclusion though would be to consider fibromyalgia as being purely a type of depression or mental illness Ė because it isnít.

More and more research is showing that fibromyalgia is a condition that has very specific physical causes for the way it affects sufferers.(3)

In particular there are little organelles in each of our cells called mitochondria which are responsible for generating the energy our bodies need to work and move.

Consider them like miniature power plants that guzzle up glucose and produce huge amounts of electricity to power our muscles.

Well it seems that among many other things we need to do to keep these chaps happy is a ready supply of vitamin D.

So, if we get a late blast of sun this year make sure you pop a bit of suncream on and get yourself out in the fields if you can, at the very least stick a chair outside and have an hour giving your mitochondria a boost!

Iíll be back on Sunday with the new look letter Ė so keep your eyes peeled for that one!

Yours, as always




(1)Fibromyalgia Association (UK)

(2) Armstrong DJ, Meenagh GK, Bickle I, Lee AS, Curran ES, Finch MB (2007)

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Apr; 26(4):551Ė4. Epub 2006 Jul 19

(3)Cordero et al(2010): Mitochondrial dysfunction and mitophagy activation in blood mononuclear cells of fibromyalgia patients: implications in the pathogenesis of the disease. Arthritis Research & Therapy 2010, 12:R17





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