Nonprofit public health research organization, GrassrootsHealth (GRH), recently released a video featuring some of the most prominent experts on vitamin D, and their professional opinions and recommendations about “The Sunshine Vitamin” and the benefits of sun exposure.
Carole Baggerly, GRH’s executive director, recognizes the conflicting public views on sun exposure and the general concern about the sun’s UV rays contributing to skin cancer, but they are hoping the video would help clarify best practices with sunshine. Below is a condensed version. For the full version, click here.
Every year, more than 5 million Americans are treated for skin cancer. Melanoma, an aggressive type of skin cancer, is the most fatal variation, estimated to be the cause of death of one person every hour. About 86 percent of melanomas are linked to excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun. UV exposure has also been linked to a significant majority of genetic aberrations that drive melanoma, with one study suggesting a person’s risk for developing melanoma doubles after getting more than 5 sunburns.
The video was released simultaneously with GRH’s Vitamin D for Public Health 2-day seminar in San Diego, co-hosted by UC San Diego. Attendees were able to sit in live lectures from Dr. Robert Heaney and Dr. Michael Holick, who also participated in the video.
Dr. Heaney, a John A. Creighton University Professor Emeritus, explains in the video: “The most natural way to make vitamin D is to expose our skin to the sun particularly around midday when the intensity of the sun’s rays will be at their maximum, particularly in the summertime.”
Vitamin D advocates and experts are not refuting the link between sun exposure and skin cancer, but they are avidly recommending a sensible amount of non-burning exposure to sunlight in order to naturally boost levels of vitamin D, which has shown to have protective properties against a myriad of serious health concerns. The key to reaping the benefits of vitamin D, while avoiding skin cancer, is moderation.