(Natural News) Do you hide from the sun, slathering on sunscreen and wearing a hat every time you step outdoors? The biggest star in the solar system has been demonized in recent years for its connection to skin cancer, but those who go out of their way to avoid it entirely could find themselves facing the very problem they’re trying to prevent.
A series of studies that were recently presented at a conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology demonstrated the protective effect that vitamin D has when it comes to cancer – and the sun is the top way to get enough of the vitamin.
Researchers from the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute revealed that people who are deficient in vitamin D have more than double the risk of developing pancreatic cancer as well as a greater risk of colorectal cancer, while a different study found a link between daily vitamin D supplements and a reduction in prostate cancer.
In a third study of nearly 80,000 healthy adults, those who took a supplement of vitamin D for three years had a 13 percent lower risk of dying from any type of cancer in their lifetime. The study was carried out by researchers from Michigan State University.
The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Tarek Haykal, said: “I would like to see more oncologists and primary care doctors consider prescribing vitamin D for their patients as it carries many benefits with minimal side effects.” He also encouraged more researchers to study this topic.
Vitamin D is believed to help fight cancer by boosting the immune system, regulating cell growth, and making cancer cells less aggressive.
It’s not just cancer you need to worry about if you’re failing to get enough vitamin D. Studies have also shown a link between a deficiency in this nutrient and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and autoimmune diseases.
Get more sun to prevent cancer
Your body makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunshine, but our modern lifestyles see many of us stuck at desks all day and then parked in front of the TV or smartphone in our free time. All of this time away from the sun is leading to unprecedented levels of vitamin D deficiency, and it’s not helped by the fact that people are so afraid of skin cancer that they largely avoid the sun. More than a billion people around the world are believed to be deficient in this vitamin, while half of the population has vitamin D insufficiency. The elderly and obese are at particularly high risk.
University of California, San Francisco, Professor of Medicine and Dermatology Daniel Bikle told the media that he’s a “big believer in sensible sun exposure,” emphasizing the need to strike a balance between getting some sun but not burning. He urges people to take vitamin D supplements in the winter months when it’s hard to get enough sunlight. You can also get vitamin D from foods like eggs, oily fish, and meat, but it’s very challenging to get proper amounts through diet alone.
Getting the right amount of sun can be tricky given all the factors involved. Studies show your body makes vitamin D most efficiently around noon, with 13 minutes in the sun at midday three times a week in summer generally enough for Caucasian adults in the U.K. to maintain healthy levels. Of course, your skin’s natural tone, your distance from the equator, and the amount of skin you expose all play a role.
Keep in mind that sitting by a sunny window won’t help, and wearing sunscreen of SPF 30 or more can reduce your body’s vitamin D production by as much as 98 percent. Never stay out long enough for your skin to burn, pay attention to skin changes, and be sure to protect your eyes when you’re out in the sun.
It’s time to stop hiding from the sun. If you want to reduce your chances of dying from cancer or even getting it in the first place, vitamin D can make a big difference.
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