Vitamin D and a Healthy Relationship with Sunlight

Body | Beauty | Culture The dangers of skin tanning beds and unprotected sun worshipping are generally well known. As the incidence and death rates of malignant melanoma — the deadliest of the skin cancers — are rising, young women especially can’t get enough of the sun. 

Paradoxically, a vitamin D deficiency is spreading in epidemic fashion, too.

Not readily found in food, vitamin D is plentiful in sunshine, and experts advise spending 10-15 minutes a day in the sunlight, without sunscreen to generate a day’s worth of vitamin D. 

A US News and World Report 2008 story references new research that low vitamin D levels double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes over an eight-year period,  compared with those with the highest vitamin D levels. See also

While UV rays generate free radicals that can do damage, dietary antioxidants and skin pigmentation are nature’s way of fighting free radicals. Millen et al. [2004] reported that diets high in antioxidants and low in fats and alcohol can reduce the risk of melanoma by about 50%.