Cut the Risk of Cancer with Sunshine?Posted: July 9, 2009
One specific treatment for cancer brought to the “research forefront” is sunshine. According to a study, men with higher levels of vitamin D (typically obtained through sunshine exposure AND grass-fed meat, eggs and butter, which are your best source for Vitamin D) in their blood were half as likely to develop aggressive forms of prostate cancer than those with lower amounts.
Experiments also suggested vitamin D inhibits cell growth. Yet despite sunshine’s apparent health benefits, doctors are not entirely comfortable with prescribing the “sunshine vitamin,” though many see little harm in getting the 15 minutes of exposure time a day the body needs to make enough of this vital nutrient. (It is recommended people get a daily vitamin D amount of 400 international units.) Doctors warn, however, that there must be a “happy medium” to receiving vitamin D: Too little won’t do any good, while an overload can cause critical health problems such as skin cancer.
Sunscreen Found to Generate Harmful Compounds that Promote Skin Cancer
A team of researchers from the University of California has found that sunscreen can do more harm than good once it soaks into the skin, where it actually promotes the harmful compounds it is meant to protect against.
The research team found that three commonly used ultraviolet (UV) filters — octylmethoxycinnamate, benzophenone 3 and octocrylene — eventually soak into the deeper layers of the skin after their application, leaving the top skin layers vulnerable to sun damage. UV rays absorbed by the skin can generate harmful compounds called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can cause skin cancer and premature aging. The researchers found that once the filters in sunscreen soak into the lower layers of skin, the filters react with UV light to create more damaging ROS.
The Cal team’s research is the first to indicate that sunscreen filters — intended to protect the skin from the very UV damage they apparently promote — have reacted in such a way.
The researchers found that the filters only become damaging when they are soaked into the skin and another layer of sunscreen is not applied.
"This research confirms what the natural health community has been saying for years: That sunscreens are harmful to your health," said Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate. "The best sunscreen is actually achieved with a diet high in antioxidants," he explained. "When you eat berries, superfoods and fresh produce on a regular basis, these natural antioxidants are utilized by your skin to protect you from excessive ultraviolet ray exposure. Sunburns are caused more by poor nutrition than by UV ray exposure."