Is the sun good or bad for me?
Welcome Summer! Now that the summer solstice is behind us, the temperatures have risen, and we’re spending more time outside, let’s talk about the sun.
Before we get to the article, we would like to share a few pieces of information. Firstly, Dr. Kate will be hosting a discussion on vaccinations and children this TUESDAY, JUNE 28th at Sages’ Healing Center (1101 E. Gurley St.). This is a great opportunity to have all of your questions answered regarding vaccines in a comfortable, stress-free environment. Vaccinations are a very personal choice for parents, so this presentation is just to provide you the resources for making informed decisions regarding your child’s care.
Secondly, we want to inform all of our patients that our clinic will be closed the week of July 11th – 15th. If you have any medical emergencies that arise, please feel free to call our normal office number (458-6748) and leave a message with our answering service to contact us, or they can direct you to a practitioner that can help you at another clinic in town.
Take care and have a safe happy 4th of July.
Dr. Kate, Damon & Sophie
Is the sun good or bad for me?
There are numerous rumors running around about the controversial effects of the sun. Is it pro-cancer or anticancer? Sun is prided in its ability to give a person 10,000IUs of Vitamin D in a single golden tan. Vitamin D receptors are found throughout the body, concentrated in most organs, including the brain, heart, skin, gonads, prostate, and breasts. Vitamin D supports cell proliferation, differentiation and immune function.
Research has shown an association between decreased Vitamin D and autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis, and Crohn’s Disease. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, infertility, fatigue, depression, and seasonal effective disorders, Syndrome X, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
On the other side of the spectrum, sun exposure has been shown to increase the risk of skin cancers, specifically melanoma. This is absolutely true if you spend many hours outside daily in direct sunlight without adequate protection. However the actual amount of risk of cancer has been debated, saying that an imbalance in omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids in our diets may have more to do with a propensity for melanoma, than does sun exposure. A typical American diet includes a 20:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids whereas the ideal amount is a 6:1 ratio. Although the “good fats” are important, burning the skin can produce free radicals, which are harmful to the body. Therefore it is also beneficial to ensure you are getting plenty of antioxidants, which will help to clean up free radical damage.
The benefits of sun exposure vastly outweigh the risks. However, it is important to take some specific precautions with regards to sun exposure. First, gradually introduce your skin to the sun each season. Start by spending 10 minutes in the sun every day. Then slowly work your way up to 1 hour, without allowing your skin to burn. This will allow your body to build up melanin for proper protection. If spending all day in the sun, be sure to cover up your skin or wear a natural sun block from your local health food store. Remember that Vitamin D is oil soluble so when you exercise in the sun, be sure to cool down before showering to allow your skin to absorb all of the Vitamin D that it has produced. But whatever you do don’t stray too far from those sunrays. They are very loving when used properly!