In an effort to update my post about seasonal allergy relief, I began researching Vitamin D supplements, remembering that I once read that an increased amount of Vitamin D can alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms. I came across this report in my search, which discusses a study that found Vitamin D supplements to benefit allergy sufferers, but also included this statement: “Vitamin D should be obtained through diet and supplementation, because the sun is a known carcinogen and it causes skin cancer. Right now, there is a big skin cancer epidemic,” from Dr. Maral Skelsey, M.D., of Georgetown University. I can only hope that the gentleman was misquoted because his statement is misleading and, quite frankly, ridiculous.
As we move into the spring and summer seasons and will be spending more time outdoors, let’s be clear: do not fear the sun. To say that Vitamin D should be obtained mostly through diet and supplementation is piss-poor advice, considering “most vitamin D – 80% to 90% of what the body gets – is obtained through exposure to sunlight” (NIH). Additionally, placing blame solely on the sun’s rays for increased incidences of skin cancer is ignoring the fact that other components are at work in the cancer epidemic. Environmental factors and diet can affect how our bodies react to stressors. The sun gives living things energy. To advise that humans avoid a life-giving component of the natural world is not only wrong, it’s stupid. In her book, Food and Healing(one of my greatest resources), Annemarie Colbin discusses the theory that skin cancer may be the result of the sun drawing toxins OUT of the body and to the surface, rather than the idea that the sun CAUSES cancer, as the media and parts of the medical community would have us believe.
And what about sunscreen? There is some evidence to suggest that sunscreen could actually contribute to skin cancer. See here and here. However, anyone who has ever gotten a sunburn knows that too much time in the sun can have a negative effect on our bodies. Just as a plant not accustomed to to prolonged exposure to the sun will wither, humans with fair skin were not “designed” to spend hours in the sun at high noon without a physical reaction.
The Bottom Line: Don’t avoid the sun, for it benefits your body. Limit exposure during the hottest parts of the day, but always get your daily sunshine. If you must use sunscreen, use one with limited additives. I really like Sunny Sunscreen by Episencial. Though it is marketed for kids, it works great on adults, too.