Health Alert 312
Last Monday, I came into the office after working a weekend in my herb garden with a new tan line. It wasn’t long until I heard the scold: "Dr. Sears, you should know better than to spend time in the sun!"
It seems to be common knowledge that sunshine causes cancer. But like too much dietary fat causing heart disease, I can’t find convincing evidence. In fact, exposure to sunshine actually helps prevent many forms of cancer.
In today’s Health Alert, I’ll show you some eye-opening studies that reveal the health benefits of sunshine. In addition, you’ll find out why sunscreen may do more harm than good.
Here in Florida, we get an abundance of sun all year round. Yet, modern health dogma tells us to avoid the sun. I always grow suspect when modern theory seems to contradict our instincts.
For thousands of years, we knew the sun was good for us. Now there is scientific evidence to back it up.
Researchers in Sweden found that people who get lots of sun are less likely to develop lymphoma than those who stay indoors. Exposure to the sun lowers your risk by thirty to forty percent.(1) (Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the immune system.)
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. But at the University of New Mexico, they discovered that people with melanoma were less likely to die from the disease if they had lots of exposure to the sun.(2)
In fact, sunlight can help prevent many forms of cancer and disease. These include breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis.
Vitamin D slows and even prevents the growth of cancer cells. One of the most natural ways to get vitamin D is from the sun. When ultraviolet B rays interact with your body’s cholesterol, you form vitamin D.
There’s no reason to be afraid of the sun. Just don’t overdo it. If you use common sense, you can enjoy the sun with all its benefits without danger. Taking a ten to fifteen minute walk in the sun every day could cut your risk for many cancers.
To avoid getting burned, wear a wide-brim hat in mid-day. Sunscreens block ultraviolet B rays, which help make vitamin D. They will lower your vitamin D production by as much as ninety-five percent.
Sunscreens also contain dozens of toxic ingredients. It’s anyone’s guess what the long-term effects will be. It may take several generations before we really know. I recommend you stay away from them altogether.
Your diet is also important when it comes to skin care and cancer prevention. In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences published a study showing that the omega 6:3 ratio was the key to preventing skin cancer development.(3)
You can get a healthy dose of both vitamin D and omega-3 by supplementing with fish oil.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
(1) Swedish Research Council. Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure and Risk of Malignant Lymphomas. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Feb 2005.
(2) American Cancer Society. Sunlight May Not Be All Bad for Some Cancers. ACS News Center. Feb 2005.
(3) Liu G, et al. Omega 3but not omega 6fatty acids inhibit AP-1 activity and cell transformation in JB6 cells. National Academy of Sciences. 2001.