September 26, 2011, Information
We’ve all heard it before; ‘sun causes cancer’, ‘a tan is not healthy’ and all the other sun fear mongering that’s gone on since the ’80′s, but recently scientists have begun reversing their stance on sun and cancer.
In 2009 a group of Leeds University researchers found that higher levels of vitamin D actually improved skin cancer survival odds and that in fact optimum vitamin D levels are important for a strong immune system.
Unfortunately a significant proportion of Australians are deficient in vitamin D (www.mja.com.au/public/issues/182_06_210305/dia10848_fm.html).
Chronic vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous health issues including osteoporosis, hormonal imbalances, depression, lowered immunity and some have gone so far as to say that vitamin D alone can prevent between 50% to 80% of cancers (www.naturalnews.com/021892).
Dr Mercola, one of the world’s leading nutrition expert has long been touting the benefits of vitamin D, so much so that he has even brought out a range of in-home solariums. In his article(http://products.mercola.com/vitamin%2Dd%2Dspray) he gives a list of Vitamin D benefits including, heart and circulatory health, weight management, skin health, immune function, food digestion and absorption. In fact current scientific research is telling us that all cells and tissues in the body have vitamin D receptors, suggesting that every cell requires this vitamin for its well being.
So how can we increase our vitamin D synthesis responsibly(without getting burnt)? Of course this will depend on your skin colour, the fairer you are the less sun is required to produce vitamin D. Darker skins require more sunlight as the melanin blocks UVB rays.
Gradual exposure is the key to staying burn free. Start with 5-10 minutes a day and progressively increase to a level that suits your skin colour. By staying out of the sun between 11am-3pm you can further reduce the change of over exposure. A word of warning about sunscreen, nearly all contain toxic chemicals the sorts of parabens, benzophenones, solvents, petroleum oils, synthetic fragrance. These ingredients are highly toxic to our skin and body, producing free radicals and mimicking estrogen. I for one don’t want to slather myself in a cocktail of chemicals and sit in the hot sun, which opens up the pores and allows even more to be absorbed. Wearing hats, rash vests or long sleeves is a lot safer.
Now we come to my favorite sun protection strategy, your diet. Diet is undoubtedly important when it comes to internal sun resistance. In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences published a comprehensive review showing that the omega 6:3 ratio was the key to preventing skin cancer development. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are both essential for human health, however the typical Australian diet contains far more omega-6 fats(corn, soy, sunflower, safflower) whilst containing very low levels of omega-3 fats(fish, flax, chia).
Antioxidant-rich foods and superfoods also help to boost your internal sunscreen. The red algae astaxanthin is well known for boosting the skins ability to handle more sunlight without burning. Its fat soluble carotenoids are transported to skin cells where they protect from UV exposure (www.naturalnews.com/z032815_chemicals.html).
The more natural antioxidants you consume, namely fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably in their raw state, the more you can improve your UV resistance. This is what Mike Adams, the health ranger has to say on this subject;
“To create skin cancer you have to eat a junk food diet, avoid protective antioxidants, and then also experience excessive UV exposure. All three of those elements are required. Conventional medicine completely ignores the dietary influences and focuses entirely on just one factor: Sunscreen vs. no sunscreen. This is a one-dimensional approach to the issue that’s grossly oversimplified to the point of being misleading.
The medical industry, it seems, does not want people to figure out they can literally eat their way to healthier skin. It’s amazing, actually: Your skin is made entirely out of the food you eat, so how could your diet not affect your skin health? Yet no one in conventional medicine, not the dermatologists, not the doctors and not the health regulators has the intellectual honesty to admit that what you eat largely determines how your skin reacts to UV exposure.”
If you’d like to learn much more check out Mike Adams’ YouTube video; The truth about sunlight, cancer and Vitamin D. He throws the doors wide open on sun myths, sun scare and what we can do to protect ourselves naturally.