Sun can prevent cancer
New research suggests that the sun in limited quantities may help prevent cancer. Too much sun may have the opposite effect.
Several studies point out that sun has a preventive effect against cancer, as it helps build adequate levels of vitamin D in the blood. It may protect against colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Vitamin D is received primarily though sun exposure. However, too much exposure to sunshine can cause skin cancer. Therefore, the recommendation of the Danish Cancer Society is not to exaggerate.
Two or three 15-minutes’ sessions per week with revealed face and arms. This is how long most adult Northern Europeans most stay in the sun during summer to produce enough vitamin D. At the time, most manage to build up a stock of Vitamin D to draw on in the winter when there are fewer hours of sunshine and less power in the sunrays.
“Vitamin D has long been a subject of debate among doctors and nutrition researchers. Some think that we get too little vitamin D, while others warn of the opposite, “says Ms. Anja Olsen, Master. Scient. with the Danish Cancer Society.
A survey of blood donors reveals that up to one third have low levels of vitamin D in their blood during winter. Studies show that this figure is significantly lower during summer. Moreover, we know that the older you get, the lower is the level of vitamin D in blood.
In addition to sunbathing, you can also get vitamin D from food. Types of fish high in fat, such as salmon and herring, are good sources of vitamin D, but meat, dairy products and eggs contain vitamin D as well. However, it can be quite hard to achieve adequate levels of vitamin D through diet alone – and therefore sun can be a good supplement.
Nevertheless, Cancer Society recommends a ‘sensible exposure to the sun’, where you avoid it at midday. Children, young people and people with sensitive skin should exercise extra care, as they are in a high risk group to develop skin cancer with excessive sunbathing.
You are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, if you:
- Are with an older age group – the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D decreases with age
- Have darker pigmentation of the skin. Pigment acts as a sunscreen
- Wear clothes covering the entire body
- Never or rarely stay in the sun
- Consume a diet with low levels of vitamin D