Setting the record straight about Vitamin D, UV rays and skin cancer risks
Just recently, I wrote an article about vitamin D deficiency. Thirty-five percent of Americans suffer from a lack of vitamin D, increasing their risk of osteoporosis, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Since the sun is our natural vitamin D donor, I found it reasonable to jot down all the facts and myths about vitamin D, UV rays and skin cancer risks for you.
In that article (vitamin D deficiency), I also wrote how we can meet the daily required amount, for example, by staying regularly in the sun.
But what about skin cancer risk? Is UV Radiation indeed enhancing the skin cancer risk? What is the truth, and what are the relationships? Learn here how to absorb vitamin D through the skin, enjoying yourself into the sun without increasing your risk of skin carcinomas.
Small summary and repetition: What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that our body can make when we expose ourselves to the sun. If UV radiation hits 3-deoxy-cholesterol on the skin, it forms the precursor, namely vitamin D.
Vitamin D is active in every tissue in the body, an important growth factor, involved in the implementation of 3000 genes.
It is, furthermore, an essential regulator in the immune system and has a preventive effect against numerous diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. A vitamin D deficiency is anything but desirable.
It goes even further: Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium from food. So if you have a vitamin D deficiency, you need more calcium in your diet to meet your calcium needs.
Vitamin D always works together with Vitamin K2, both together are a dream team. Vitamin K2 is also a classic deficiency vitamin – so I recommend adding vitamin K2 or looking for vitamin K2 foods.
In the summer months, we should definitely get our required vitamin D via the sun. The officially recommended daily dose of 800 I.U. vitamin D is based on a calculation error with a factor of 6+. So the actual daily dose that humans need is around 5000 I. U.
Going into the sun for 20 minutes a day with face, hands and forearm is far from enough to meet your vitamin D needs; that’s not even close. You have to do the following instead:
1- Expose as much of your body as possible to the sun.
2- Wait 30-60 minutes for the body to be able to make vitamin D before applying sunscreen. This is essential, because sunscreen blocks the formation of vitamin D almost completely.
3- Applying common sense. Go into the sun, but do not burn yourself. You still know your skin best.
These basics had to be said. But what is the connection between vitamin D, UV radiation and skin cancer risk?
Many people deliberately do not go so much into the sun as they do not want to increase their risk of skin cancer. However, this greatly increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency. What is best to do, and where lies the truth?
Vitamin D, UV radiation and skin cancer risks – My thoughts about it
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and certainly not a dermatologist. I give my opinion here, but without diagnosing and suggesting treatments. I refer to scientific studies, personal research, books and experiences of recent years.
Every year, 3 million people in America are diagnosed with skin cancer. That’s quite a lot – 9,500 people per day. UV radiation leads to skin cancer, as too much UV radiation destroys skin cells and provokes mutations in the DNA of skin cells, which can lead to cancer.
It’s a risk to just stand in the sun – for a few minutes. However, the actual risk of skin cancer increases only when you get a sunburn. Then, skin cells damage on a large scale, and only then does the skin cancer risk increase significantly.
The trick is to lie down in the sun and produce vitamin D without burning yourself. Meaning: You know your body the best. Lie for at least 20 minutes, preferably even 30, with the entire body in the sun without burning yourself.
Wait at least 20-30 minutes until you either leave the sun, or you put cream on. I have a fair complexion and burn easily. However, I found out that my skin can take 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the intensity of the rays) of Californian sun before I have to apply sunscreen.
It is also wise to not expose yourself to the sun between noon and 2 pm, as the sun is the strongest at those hours. Anytime before and afterward, you should do fine.
In these 20 minutes, your body already forms about 10,000 I.U. of vitamin D. In 30 minutes that are already 15,000 – 25,000 I.U. This is incredibly important to your body and your health! Healthy living is possible!
Lying in the sun just long enough without burning does not significantly increase the risk of skin cancer. It only becomes problematic when you spend several hours in the sun every day and you burn yourself regularly. Only then does it cause serious and damaging stress for your skin.
Over time you will tan if you are lying in the sun regularly. Responsible for this is a dye called melanin. Our body forms melanin to protect against UV radiation. Melanin still allows vitamin D production on the skin, which is good, plus it reduces the damage caused by UV radiation.
Over time, however, the body becomes more resistant to UV radiation, melanin is our body’s protective factor against skin cancer! Please never forget that!
Many dermatologists may not want to believe that, regular sunbathing, without getting burned and while creating melanin, is a better precaution against skin cancer than avoiding the sun altogether. This is only a precursor for vitamin D deficiency and getting sick to burn immediately at the smallest ray of sunshine.
Did you know that with proper nutrition you can enhance the natural sun protection of your skin? Learn more here: 17 foods that increase the sun protection of your skin.
The damage of vitamin D deficiency
Every year, 3 million people in America contract skin cancer, which is quite a lot. But what about the 35 percent with vitamin D deficiency? With vitamin D deficiency you have an increased risk for:
Cancer in general
Vitamin D deficiency increases your risk of developing about 200 other types of cancer, as well as autoimmune diseases, which affect as many as 50 million people in America according to the AARDA.
Osteoporosis? 44 million of people. Depressions? The WHO made an estimate of over 300 million people worldwide dealing with depression. And vitamin D has a preventative effect!
So weigh it in: What is the risk worth to you? I do not say you should spend hours every day in the sun and risk skin cancer or sunburn.
I say, go regularly to the sun, not too extended. Just long enough, however, for your body to produce vitamin D. Thirty minutes of sun a day are already sufficient, and it’s all that it takes.
Makes sense, right?
About roofers and office workers
Occupational groups who work outside all day, such as construction workers, roofers, gardeners, etc, are naturally at an increased risk for skin cancer, as they spend hours each day in the sun. But, you know what?
Office workers who sit indoors all day and are hardly ever in the sun are also at an increased risk for skin cancer. Since they barely see the sun, they are missing melanin. thus, they burn immediately and then also have an increased skin cancer risk.
The best is still to soak up a bit of sun every day to create vitamin D and melanin. This is the golden rule to prevent many risk factors and diseases.
The healing powers of the sun
Now there is no esoteric or spiritualism involved, but scientific findings: The sun has healing powers! It has always been this way, but for a few years now, we have all the dread of skin cancer and avoid the sun like the plague.
Yes, the numbers of skin cancer are increasing every year – but the same is true for vitamin D deficiency. Perhaps the actual cause of the increasing skin cancer statistic is not the sun at all, but the ingredients of the sunscreens? Just my own sentiments…
Do not forget that the sun has healing powers and affects your health in various ways (not just vitamin D):
1- Sunlight stimulates immune cells and increases the body’s defenses against infections and cancer.
2- Infrared radiation in the sun kills pathogens in the body – it has an antibacterial effect.
3- Sunlight increases blood circulation and is a natural way to lower high blood pressure.
4- The sun regulates the day-night rhythm and ensures balanced hormone levels and healthy sleep.
5- Sunlight increases serotonin production, prevents depression and makes you happy. Optimal combination: meditation in the sun
6- The infrared radiation of the sun penetrates deep into the body, relieves tension and has a pain-relieving effect.
Use vitamin D supplement during Fall and Winter seasons
Outside of the sun months, and whenever else you cannot manage to go out into the sun on a regular basis, you should supplement with vitamin D 3 and K2. I also recommend adding vitamin K2 foods.
Do you know what our true problem in society is? We always think only in extremes: lying on the beach in the sun for 8 hours is one extreme, never being in the sun, and the fear of skin cancer is another. Both are harmful in the long run, common sense and golden balance are the best. Vitamin D deficiency is fatal to the body, you do not want to risk it.
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