William Campbell Douglass, MD strikes a personal chord with your humble writer in the article below, titled: Sun exposure finally declared healthy . Being of Irish descent, reddish hair (when younger) freckles, fair complexion that burned terribly whenever at the local municipal pool or the beach on Long Island’s south shore. I can remember times of being in excruciating pain with awful sunburns during my adolescence. But, because all my friends were at the pool or beach - - I HAD to be there too. The key here is: I did not get reasonable amounts of sun. I was fried to a crisp and this was the era of pre-sun screen!
Many years later I experienced my first surgery for basil cell carcinoma, then another and another. I visit a dermatologist roughly every three months hoping to head off more serious forms of skin cancer. I am always admonished during my visits by my doctor to stay out of the sun unless I’ve lathered myself up with spf 30 sunscreen. Deep down inside I knew this very good man was ill-informed, since the old adage of, “everything in moderation” (including sunning oneself) was at play here.
Without further bantering from me, please read another COMMON SENSE composition by WC Douglass, MD ll that is, as usual, short, to the point without the usual nonsense available in other medical/nutrition web sites.
Sun exposure finally declared healthy
The fact that the sun is actually good for you isn’t exactly news these days. But in most cases, even people who recognize its benefits still say that they don’t override its harmful effects.
A new study was recently released suggesting that the health benefits of the sun actually OUTWEIGH its risks—specifically the risk of skin cancer. Wow. That might be the closest they’ve ever gotten to getting it right.
Everyone’s worried about developing malignant melanoma, but as I’ve written before, the sun DOES NOT cause melanoma or any other kind of fatal cancer. Dermatologists continually warn that it does, but they have absolutely no scientific basis for this assertion. Of course, if you want to spend hours and hours in the sun, it’ll turn your skin dark and leathery, and you’ll wind up looking like a shriveled prune. But it won’t give you skin cancer.
The truth is that a LACK of adequate sunlight is a strong factor in the development of melanoma. And it’s no wonder. Exposure to sunshine spurs your body to produce vitamin D, and studies continue to prove that an increase in vitamin D helps defend you from certain forms of cancer. That’s right: Exposure to the sun can actually help PROTECT you from cancer—including melanoma.
That’s because vitamin D’s chief benefit is that it helps your body’s immune system work properly, which is what makes it such an effective ally in the battle against cancer.
A reasonable amount of sunscreen-free natural sun exposure is ESSENTIAL to your health. I don’t care that the American Academy of Dermatology maintains that sunscreens are necessary in the fight against skin cancer. That is pure hooey, and there is no scientific justification for it.
A good rule of thumb is to stay in the sun—without sunscreen—until your skin gets just slightly pink, then head back inside. But just because you’re soaking up the sun’s rays doesn’t necessarily mean you’re soaking in all of the vitamin D you need.
The sun’s rays simply aren’t as strong in places that are farther from the equator, like Britain and Scandinavia. The results of this study reaffirmed this when it found that Australians produced 3.4 times more vitamin D than people living in Britain, and 4.8 times more than people who live in Scandinavia—even when they had the same amount of sun exposure.
All the more reason to have your blood level of vitamin D tested. An optimal level is 45 to 50 ng/ml. If you need to supplement with vitamin D, be sure to use the D3 form, and not the D2 form. And wherever you are, try to get a healthy dose of sun as often as you can.
Keeping a sunny disposition on sun exposure,
p.s. I’ve lived in the tropics for a considerable amount of my life and make sure to get my sun ration every day. I’ve never had a problem with skin cancer or any of the other media-hyped diseases supposedly “caused” by the sun. Don’t let the anti-sun propagandists scare you away from doing what’s really healthy.