For most of our lives, we’ve been told the same story when it comes to sun exposure and cancer risk: the sun is dangerous and cancer-causing, so slather on that sunscreen and avoid harmful UV rays whenever possible.
There’s certainly at least some truth to this belief. Sun overexposure can damage the skin, and the oxidative stress that accompanies this damage is an underlying factor in the development of cancer.
But the narrative that hiding from the sun will therefore prevent cancer hasn’t quite played out. In fact, quite the opposite is true: rates of skin cancer have increased a shocking 660% since the introduction of sunscreen. And that’s just the average increase; among women, skin cancer rates have increased by 2300%!
These numbers continue to worsen year after year, despite that fact that over 70% Americans always use one or more types of sun protection. In fact, some evidence even suggests that individuals who wear the most sunscreen are at highest risk for skin cancer.
It’s clear, then, that sunscreen and sun avoidance are not the path to preventing skin cancer (and that they can actually be more dangerous that the sun itself).
As we’ve discussed in past articles, part of the problem is the plethora of toxic chemicals that make up most conventional sunscreen products. If you still feel the occasional need to use sunscreen after reading this article, that link also teaches you how to make your own non-toxic sunscreen at home.
But the greatest problem with sunscreen (and sun avoidance in general) is that it leads to vitamin D deficiency.
The complex relationship between the sun, vitamin D, and your health
One thing has become clear after decades of research: human beings are not meant to hide from the sun. Proper precautions and moderation notwithstanding, many health experts now believe that sun exposure is as important to optimal health as water intake, proper diet, and sleep.
This is, in large part, because your body cannot properly synthesize vitamin D without exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
Vitamin D has been all the rage for a number of years now, but let’s recap. Gone are the days when the medical establishment believed that vitamin D is only good for keeping bones strong. While this is one of its benefits, its role in the body is decidedly more pivotal.
Optimal vitamin D levels is a powerful way to prevent a wide variety of ailments and diseases—including skin cancer.
Vitamin D modulates over 2,000 genes throughout the body, acts as a critical hormone, and safeguards the health of nearly every one of your cells. For this reason, maintaining optimal vitamin D levels is a powerful way to prevent a wide variety of ailments and diseases—including skin cancer.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that up to 70% of cancer patients exhibit severe vitamin D deficiency, and that conversely, optimal vitamin D levels promote cancer cell apoptosis and inhibit the development of cancerous cells.
So here’s the bad news: the vast majority of the American population is vitamin D deficient. Some accounts posit that 90% of people have sub-optimal levels of this critical nutrient, and even conservative estimates place the number at least 50%.
The vast majority of the American population is vitamin D deficient.
How to optimize your vitamin D levels
Our epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and its associated diseases does have a silver lining: vitamin D deficiency is a simple problem to fix, and doing so has far-reaching benefits. Unlike environmental toxins, EMF pollution, or other disease factors that are harder to control, vitamin D deficiency is something we can directly address with just a couple simple practices.
First things first: go get your vitamin D levels tested, even if you’re not yet experiencing any disease symptoms (prevention is key, especially with conditions like skin cancer). It’s essential that you monitor your levels, so that you know how much work needs to be done to optimize them.
Next, get outside everyday. Don’t wear sunscreen, and try to expose as much of your skin as possible. No need to go overboard, though—just twenty minutes in strong, direct sunlight is all your body needs to synthesize its daily dose of vitamin D. The short duration will also ensure that no damage is done to your skin.
Here’s where it gets tricky, though: throughout much of the United States (basically anywhere above Atlanta, Georgia), there are times of the year when your body won’t be able to produce vitamin D from the sun’s rays (this effect has to do with the angle at which UV rays reach your latitude). This is one reason why vitamin D deficiency is more common in northern latitudes.
The solution is to couple your sunbathing routine with vitamin D supplementation. Not all supplements are created equal, though—seek out a liposomal formula for maximum absorption. Also, never take vitamin D without vitamin K; doing so can increase vitamin K deficiency and worsen some of the very problems you’re trying to prevent.
If you’re searching for the right vitamin D supplement, look no further than Purathrive’s Liposomal Vitamin D3 with K2—it’s optimal quality, liposomalized for perfect bioavailability, and complexed with MK7, the most absorbable form of vitamin K2.