Health From The Sun

father at the beach

Baby it's getting warm outside!

For all of us Southerners, we are looking forward to long, hot humid days - 

In the words of Iva Davis:

"Out on the patio we sit. And the Humidity we breathe"

And it's a wonderful life! But our great outdoors lifestyle can come with a  price - essentially skin cancer!

But is the sun the only culprit?

Let's have a look at the facts:

  1. Melanoma rates appear to be rising despite the sunscreen and "slip,slop,slap" campaign (https://melanoma.canceraustralia.gov.au/statistics)
  2. Vitamin D levels are actually falling with as much as 75% of all Australians are now Vitamin D deficient (eek)
  3. The Australian government no longer funds having vitamin D levels checked so how many cases are actually being missed?

There is now a growing school of thought that it is not only the sun that contributes to skin cancer - if it would just be about the sun, surely our incidence should be falling as more and more people choose to spend their time indoors. And whilst nobody actually advocates going out and getting fried ( because that WILL damage your skin and predispose you to skin cancer), maybe it is actually wise to go and get some gentle skin exposure so that our bodies don't burn the minute we see that sunshine! Also research shows that having a diet high in omega 6 oils (those from vegetable seeds such as canola and that is in most processed food), can cause internal inflammation. Combined that with the chemicals we choose to put on our skin and call cosmetics (or sunscreen...) and then hit with a dose of radiation and we have the perfect storm: Severe precancerous sun damage.

Ironically it is has also been shown that sunscreen may actually block life-saving vitamin D but not the harmful radiation that actually causes the cancer.

So  Mother Nature probably got it right (again!)

Whilst the sun can be severely damaging, it also contains vitamin D which is cancer protective in the first place! If we were still living the nomadic lifestyle, we would have skin that is far more used to the sun and more resistant to burning.

sunset

Here are some facts on how important Vitamin D is to us:

  1. Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all - it is in fact a  hormone but was incorrectly named last century and the name has stuck!
  2. If you are pregnant, having adequate vitamin D levels in your body can help  prevent preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, possibility of a caesarean section and vaginal infections, 
  3. Vitamin D deficiency can actually cause a degree of infertility
  4. Vitamin D can decrease the incidence of some cancers by 30%
  5. Vitamin D prevents depression (have you heard of SAD syndrome? Seasonal Affective Disorder - it's when we get down because there is not enough sun outside in winter - this is more common in the Northern Hemisphere) 
  6. Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis and even the incidence of falls in the elderly 
  7. Vitamin D helps with insulin resistance, so can help manage diabetes and even prevent weight gain
  8. If the mother has enough vitamin D in her body, the baby will be a better size, more robust and generally healthier
  9. New research shows that vitamin D is essential for adolescent breast development
  10. Vitamin D is essential for a properly functioning immune system.
  11. Vitamin D is vital for good quality and number of sperm
  12. And the list goes on.

So sure, be sunsafe, but also make sure that your body gets touched by those beneficial rays, change your sunscreen to one with less chemicals eat your good fats (aka omega 3s) and insist on getting your vitamin D levels checked - even if you have to pay for them.

Enjoy summer <3