The heat and sun are here in force.

Sun safety. What an issue to discuss! The medical community is split on this topic. In a previous newsletter from Novermber 2010, I went over the science of sun exposure. In this section I just want to highlight the need for sun exposure in vitamin D development. Contrast this with the need to prevent burns and DNA damage that occurs with overuse.

Nature has dictated that the sun promotes the development of the hormone vitamin D in our skin and all animals on earth. 20 to 30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure in North Carolina will generate 10000IU of D. This hormone is critical in preventing autoimmune diseases and cancer in humans. Low vitamin D levels are highly associated with increased disease morbidity. Get outside without sunscreen for 30 minutes everyday. There is no data that this level of exposure has a negative effect on the average person.

Preventing burns to your skin is a prudent plan. Know the range of when your skin gets red and definitely avoid the pain of a burn. There is evidence that burns and excessive sun exposure are associated with cancer. Individuals with darker skin tones can tolerate more sun and actually need more sun exposure to generate adequate amounts of vitamin D. Check out www.vitamindhealth.org.

Good quality sunscreens with low chemical residues can be found at www.ewg.org. I like All Terrain or Blue Lizard at a 30 block rating.

My take home point today: Nature says "get out in the sun but Do Not Burn!"

Live well,

Dr. Magryta