This morning we are seeing the first sunshine in days, which makes this article by Dr Mercola on sunlight, melanoma and the protective role of vitamin D very interesting.
"Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect."
A number of associations between sun exposure and melanoma can be found in the medical literature, such as:
- Occupational exposure, such as farmers and fishermen, and regular weekend sun exposure are associated with decreased risk of melanoma
- Sun exposure appears to protect against melanoma on skin sites not exposed to sun light, and melanoma occurring on skin with large UV exposure has the best prognosis
- Patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D have thinner melanoma and better survival prognosis than those with the lowest vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D Reduces Your Risk of Cancer
This is an important point, because if you are shunning the sun for fear of skin cancer, you are, ironically, missing out on one of the most potent natural cancer protections available. Vitamin D's protective effect against cancer works in multiple ways, including:
- Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
- Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
- Causing cells to become fully differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
- Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
A study by Dr. Grant found that about 30 percent of cancer deaths -- which amounts to 2 million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States -- could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D.
Check out my blog back in March on how much vitamin D we can actually get from the sunshine, or get in touch if you want to check your own vitamin D levels.