Free vitamins—want to know how to get them? Get some sunlight! Vitamin D is naturally made by our skin when it’s exposed to sunlight. This gives you all the more justification to tell your kids to get outside and get some fresh air. However, according to Today show’s nutritionist, Joy Bauer, using sunscreen prevents our skin from converting sunlight into Vitamin D. Yikes! Even if you regularly wear sunscreen on your face, nose, ears or other chronically-exposed areas, why not roll up your sleeves for a few minutes each day to get some sun on your arms? The diseases that occur from a deficiency of Vitamin D include colon, breast, ovary and prostate cancer (according to the above nutritionist).
Getting merely 10-15 minutes of exposure to bright summer sun each day allows your body to make plentiful amounts of Vitamin D. And since recent research has shown that supplementation with Vitamin D(3) with calcium prevented 77% of all cancers in women (including breast cancer), getting fresh air and/or taking 1000 IU of Vitamin D/day could prevent many cases of cancer [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition June 2007]. In fact, the Canadian Cancer Society announced a national program in June 2007 to prevent cancer using Vitamin D. The caveats to sun exposure are:
1) the exposure must be to areas WITHOUT sunscreen because sunscreen prevents the body’s ability to make Vitamin D
2) People living north of the 37th parallel can’t make enough vitamin D in the winter due to the sun’s angle (Denver is at the 39th parallel so that includes us)
3) dark-skinned people have difficulty making enough Vitamin D, so supplementation should be used.
Not using sunscreen sounds contradictory to preventing cancer, doesn’t it? The non-profit group Environmental Working Group (www.EWG.org) published a recent report stating that 84% of sunscreen products are harmful to consumers. The FDA has never approved any sunscreen ingredients and it’s possible those chemicals could absorb into the skin.
Boosting your intake of Omega 3 oils and the Omega 6 GLA (i.e. evening primrose oil) reduces prostaglandin, the chemical responsible for sunburn. Over several months of use, it takes longer and longer for the same amount of UV exposure to redden the skin, studies have found.