It’s the middle of summer; you’ve probably spent some time in the sun by now — no doubt protected with your SPF 30+. But new research suggests you might want to spend a few minutes of that time un-slathered, to boost your levels of natural Vitamin D, protect yourself against aggressive breast cancers and possibly improve your prognosis if you’re already diagnosed.
It’s hard to imagine going sunscreen-free, isn’t it? My kids will tell you, getting fully coated in the stuff every time we go near the pool, an outdoor event like a baseball game, or the 4th of July parade is Just The Way It Is. And Australia, skin cancer capital of the world, has advised the rest of us for years to wear wide-brimmed hats and protective lotion religiously. Even cosmetics are available with SPF these days. But the informative Vitamin D Council explains that since the human body was designed to process sunlight into this prohormone (it’s actually not a “vitamin” at all), sunlight should be the “method of choice” for increasing your Vitamin D levels, and all that habitual SPF can block the healthy UV-B. They recommend different small amounts of sun exposure for different skin types and locations — anywhere from 15 mintues to an hour a day.
Researchers on this study say oncologists should definitely be monitoring, and possibly correcting, Vitamin D levels — but that more research is needed before we draw any firm conclusions. Is your doctor doing this? Ask her about it at your next visit. Meanwhile, pick up some salmon, tuna, orange juice, and milk on your next grocery run — these foods also have small amounts of beneficial D.
Do you wear sunscreen every day? Do you pay attention to the amount of Vitamin D you get?