Soak up the sun
Q: I’m a teenage girl who loves spending time out in the sun. But all I ever hear from my mother is that I’m going to get wrinkles if I don’t slather on sunscreen. The sun is good for you, though, right?
Dr. Wright: The blinding light of vitamin D research continues to pierce the darkness of a peculiar 20th century scientific myth…the commercially driven delusion that “sunshine kills.” At the 2006 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, two reports documented yet another benefit of sunshine-induced vitamin D: a reduced risk of breast cancer.
A research group from the University of California at San Diego found that the higher the blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the lower the risk of breast cancer. Women with a blood level of 52 ng/ml had 50 percent less breast cancer risk than women with a serum level of 12 ng/ml or less. To achieve this blood level, you either have to take about 3,000 IU of vitamin D daily or have a daily sunlight exposure equivalent to women who live in Southern California and spend considerable time outdoors.
In another study, Toronto researchers interviewed 576 patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,135 women who had no breast cancer. They found a direct correlation between reduced breast cancer risk and exposure to sun as an adolescent. Women who worked an outdoor job between the ages of 10 and 19 had an estimated 40 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, and women who participated in frequent outdoor activities between the ages of 10 and 29 lowered their breast cancer risk by an estimated 35 percent.
One of the researchers said: “What you are exposed to during breast development may be particularly important in determining future breast cancer risk. Current thinking is that exposures during adolescence or before a full-term pregnancy may have a greater effect, as that is when breast tissue is going through the most rapid development.”
My advice: Continue to copy Nature and thousands of generations of your ancestors and get as much sunshine as possible. And don’t waste your money on sunscreen!
If you can’t get out in the sun, take 3,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D from cod liver oil and other sources daily. Remember, researchers have found that the upper limit for safe vitamin D intake is 10,000 IU daily.