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You Need Vitamin D, But Avoid Sun Exposure

By Sydney Cook
Posted On Apr 08, 2016
You Need Vitamin D, But Avoid Sun Exposure


Vitamin D has been linked to help lower risks of colon, breast, lung, and bladder cancer, but exactly how much do we need to benefit from its cancer-combatting abilities?

Cedric Garland, researcher and adjunct professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, conducted a study involving 2,304 women. Garland and his team found that with increased levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D the cancer rates declined. More specifically, women with 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of 40ng/ml or more were 67 percent less likely than those with levels of 20 ng/ml or less to develop cancer.

Before you go running off to the beach, brace yourself for some discerning news.

Though considered the sunshine vitamin, research has shown that too much tanning and sun exposure can result in vitamin D deficiency. Puzzled? Let me break it down for you; researchers have long known that sun exposure helps the body make vitamin D. However, they’ve recently been able to confirm that too much time in the sun could contribute to deficiencies of the vital vitamin.

It’s also been confirmed that tan skin can also block the vitamin D production. So, while we’re all out trying to get that summer glow, we may also be harming our bodies. It’s true, tan skin provides some protection against harmful UV rays, but the more sun exposure you have, the less likely your skin can generate the vitamin.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Now that we’re all confused…

Dr. Francisco Bandeira, of the University of Pernambuco Medical School in Recife, Brazil, presented the study at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston. His findings looked at about 1,000 males and females, ages 13-82, from the tropical region, which is located 8 degrees south of the equator. Some participants had lighter skin that burned easily while others had darker skin that tanned easily. All contributors experienced sun exposure without taking any vitamin D supplements or sunscreen.

After evaluating each person’s skin, researchers found that most of the participants with very high sun exposure had vitamin D levels that were lower than normal. In fact, 72 percent of the participants were deficient in vitamin D.

My goal in writing this was not to ruin your plans of going to the beach and laying out because I’ll be on a boat myself this weekend, but I should probably introduce you to a healthier source of the sunshine vitamin.

Popular foods and beverages that contain vitamin D are eggs, fish, milk, and orange juice. Eating properly may not be enough, so most doctors recommend also taking a supplement, and never depending on the sun. The sun only reinforces the vitamin, which should be received through diet or supplements.

When gaining sun exposure, always protect yourself, and don’t worry, sunscreen does not block the synthetization of vitamin D.


Cover/Feature Photo Credit: Shutterstock