In this post, we are continuing from a previous post, looking at the benefits of sun exposure. In that previous post I explained that the benefits of regular, responsible sun exposure vastly outweigh the risks, and I explained the responsible bit, which I suggest you go back and read again! The goal is to spend some time outside every day, exposing some skin and making vitamin D naturally. The goal is not to stay inside for 50 weeks of the year and then burn for two weeks on holiday! And tanning beds are not the answer either!
I’m pretty much going to just repeat that message (it is worth repeating, in my opinion) in this post, but before you close this and stop reading, we’ll add a fair bit more detail and back it up with a little bit more science.
Multiple studies show than overall, adequate levels of vitamin D have a protective effect against several common cancers, including some of the most common, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Breast cancer and prostate cancer are the most common cancers in women and men (respectively) in the UK.
Personally, I think it is important to remember that while skin cancers are quite common, they are also among the easier cancers to detect and treat, so survival rates are high. Skin cancer mortality in the UK is very low compared to breast, prostate and bowel cancer. In my opinion, if good high levels of vitamin D offer proven protection from breast, prostate and bowel cancer, then the small risk of occasionally burning and possibly promoting skin cancer is a risk well worth taking. Especially if we factor in all the other benefits of sun exposure and good vitamin D levels.
As an aside, it’s also worth noting that while adequate levels of vitamin D are recommended for cancer prevention and many other benefits, it’s not always a case of ‘more is better’. There seems to be no evidence so far that excessive vitamin D offers any proven benefits, and indeed at extremely high levels, vitamin D can prove toxic. I don’t want to sound like I am saying Read more