To sun or not to sun? Hmm...
Though the dangers of excessive sunbathing are well known, don't give up the sun altogether. In fact, exposure to adequate sunlight may be a key factor in fighting breast cancer.
Researchers at the Northern California Cancer Center, the University of Southern California, and Wake Forest University School of Medicine report that women with more exposure to sunlight have a lower risk of developing advanced breast cancer. A 50% lower risk. That's a big deal.
"We believe that sunlight helps to reduce women's risk of breast cancer because the body manufactures the active form of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight," said Esther John, Ph.D., lead researcher on the study from the Northern California Cancer Center.
Only women with lighter skin pigmentation derive the benefit. Dark skinned women, such as Hispanics and African-Americans, do not enjoy the same protection following exposure to sunlight. This is because dark skinned women produce as little as one-tenth the vitamin D as lighter skinned women following equal sun exposure.
Don't despair. There are many healthy - and easy - ways for women to assure adequate vitamin D intake. This beneficial vitamin is readily available as a supplement, and is found in fatty fish and fortified foods.
"If future studies continue to show reductions in breast cancer risk associated with sun exposure, increasing vitamin D intake from diet and supplements may be the safest solution to achieve adequate levels of vitamin D," said Gary Schwartz, Ph.D., a co-researcher from the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get some sun - or, buy some vitamin D tablets, or throw a fish fry...To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To learn more about vitamin D, see this from the Office of Dietary Supplements.