Rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, have been rising for at least the last three decades, and this increase has been largely blamed on exposure to our good old friend Mr. Sun. However, research published in the British Journal of Dermatology shows that the sun is likely nothing more than a scapegoat.
Over the years, several studies have confirmed that appropriate sun exposure actually helps prevent skin cancer. In fact, melanoma occurrence has been found to decrease with greater sun exposure, and can be increased by the selective UV filtering of sunscreens. This factor has to do with the type of UV exposure.
There are two primary types of UV rays from sunlight, the vitamin-D-producing UVB rays and the skin-damaging UVA light. Both UVA and UVB can cause tanning and burning, although UVB does so far more rapidly.UVA, however, penetrates your skin more deeply than UVB, and may be a much more important factor in photoaging, wrinkles and skin cancers.
Research now agrees that although intense, intermittent outdoor UV overexposures and sunburns initiate malignant melanoma, an increased UVA exposures and inadequately maintained cutaneous levels of vitamin D3 promotes it as well. To put it simply, UVB appears to be protective against melanoma– or rather, the vitamin D your body produces in response to UVB radiation is protective.
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in your body, and is easily one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. So I want to stress again that if you are shunning all sun exposure, you are missing out on this natural cancer protection.
With over 200 functions in the body, Vitamin D exerts a powerful influence over:
- Cancer protection
- Gut Health
- Sex Hormones, fertility
- Mood, preventing depression
- Immune function -preventing auto
- immune conditions
Using the sun therapeutically means getting the proper dosage to optimize your Vitamin D levels. This typically means exposing enough of your unclothed skin surface to get a slight pink color on your skin. For most skin types a dose of 10-20 minutes is all that is required.
Simple Skin Cancer Prevention Strategies
Consuming a healthy diet full of natural antioxidants is another useful strategy to avoid sun damage to your skin, as fresh, raw, unprocessed foods deliver the nutrients that your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 oils in your skin, which is your first line of defense against sunburn.
Fresh, raw vegetables also provide your body with an abundance of powerful antioxidants that will help you fight the free
radicals caused by sun damage that can lead to burns and cancer.
It’s important to remember that if you choose to take Vitamin D supplements, you also need to take Vitamin K2. The biological role of Vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth. It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues. Vitamin K2 can be found in supplement form or via Grassfed animals, organic Grassfed butter, NATTO and surprisingly emu oil is one of the richest sources.