Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sun Exposure Both Risky and Healthy

news you may not knowFriend or Foe?

What type are you?

Do you dash out into the sun, casting off all but the most essential elements of clothing, and immerse yourself in its life-giving rays? Or, are you more the tiptoe type, slathering on sunscreen, then donning extra layers of clothing to reduce the total surface area of bare skin to less than seven square inches?

The debate is a serious one - with serious consequences. Consider:

-One million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year.

-1 of every 5 Americans, including 1 of every 3 Caucasians, will develop skin cancer during their life.

-Sun exposure is responsible for over 90% of all skin cancers.

-Your risk of skin cancer doubles if you have had 5 or more sunburns.

But, the sun also provides terrific health benefits.

A recent study from the Institute for Cancer Research in Oslo, Norway indicates the benefits may outweigh the risks. Previous studies have shown increased exposure to the sun provides health benefits through the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps protect the body from many diseases, including various cancers, rickets, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Vitamin D also helps the immune system to function properly.

So, do you or don't you?

It's a tradeoff to be weighed carefully. The researchers estimate that by doubling the amount of sun exposure in Norway, the number of skin cancer deaths each year would also double, to approximately 300. That's the downside. But, they also estimate the number of deaths from other types of cancer - due to the protective benefits of vitamin D - would be reduced by about 3,000. Hmm...

So, what type are you now?

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about skin cancer, including prevention and treatment, see this from The Skin Cancer Foundation.


Anonymous Ezliving said...

Better to receive moderate exposure to UV light in the time controlled environment of a professional indoor tanning salon. Don't sunburn!

One can get 15,000IU of healthy vitamin D3 in a single session in a tanning bed.

Look good and feel better with a natural tan.

3:18 PM  
Blogger TedHutchinson said...

The benefits of a higher vitamin D status are not limited just to reduced cancer risk.
Wang has recently published work in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association showing those with low levels of vitamin D in their blood were 62 per cent more likely to develop heart failure, strokes and other circulatory problems than those with more of the nutrient.

Effective strength Cholecalciferol is available over the counter.

Not enough vitamin D Health consequences for Canadians shows us Canadian Doctors are being told the oral dose of vitamin D3 to attain and maintain 25(OH)D levels >80 nmol/L is 2200 IU/d if baseline levels are 20 to 40 nmol/L.

Raising Vitamin D status to above 80nmol/l improves the absorption of calcium from the diet and may eliminate the need for calcium supplements which are associated with higher myocardial infarction, stroke, and sudden death.

You can make effective amounts of vitamin d using high UVB output light sources without tanning. Holick suggests half the time needed to tan is ample.
Regular short sessions are more advantageous than longer sessions. Once the vitamin d has been made further heat turns it to products the body cannot use.

4:47 AM  

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