With millions of people diagnosed with cancer, every safe preventive strategy should be taken into consideration. Dr. Joseph Mercola mentions a strategy that is virtually free, and shows promise in reducing rates of several types of cancer. This strategy is sunlight exposure, which helps synthesize your vitamin D levels.
Studies that Confirm Vitamin D’s Positive Effect on Cancer
New research confirms that spending adequate time under the sun or in a safe tanning bed – or taking a supplement with proper amounts of vitamin D3 – can slash your risk of cancer.
This review is based largely on three studies from the U.S., as well as studies from countries such as Australia, China, France, Japan, and Spain.
Furthermore, there is smaller evidence showing that UVB rays from the sun may also lower rates of other types of cancer including brain, oral/pharyngeal, leukemia, and gallbladder cancer.
According to epidemiologist Cedric Garland, DrPH, about 200 epidemiological studies have helped confirm theories showing the positive effects of vitamin D with regards to cancer, and 2,500 laboratory studies have proven its physiological basis. (link) Some of the most significant findings are:
- If vitamin D levels were increased, thousands of cases of cancers and cancer deaths could be prevented each year.
- By optimizing your vitamin D levels efficiently, you may prevent at least 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers.
- Vitamin D can cut your overall risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent, according to a large-scale, placebo-controlled study on cancer and vitamin D.
- Women with light skin who have had high amounts of long-term sun exposure had a lower risk of developing advanced breast cancer, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Increase Your Vitamin D Levels through Sunlight Exposure
Vitamin D can protect you against cancer by:
- Inducing the self-destruction of mutated cells, which are the source of cancer
- Preventing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
- Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells lack differentiation)
- Preventing the transition of dormant tumors into cancerous ones by reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones
Even with these benefits, many Americans are still not getting enough vitamin D. One of the main reasons is the misconception that sunlight exposure leads to cancer. Dr. Mercola explains that skin cancer only occurs due to excessive exposure.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. To get the right amount, you have to expose large portions of your skin. Furthermore, the best time to do this is near or during noon time because at this time, the sun filters out UVB rays. During other periods of the day, the sun sends out UVA rays, which are dangerous for your health.
During solar noon, you should not stay under the sun for too long because this is the period when UVB rays are their strongest. Once you receive enough, your body will automatically stop making vitamin D due to a self-regulating mechanism. It is impossible to overdose on vitamin D because of this.
Once you have received ample amounts of sunlight, your skin will turn the lightest shade of pink. Do not attempt to stay longer because doing so will damage your skin.
If you reside in an area where sunlight is scarce, Dr. Mercola recommends using a safe tanning bed. Contrary to what people generally believe, tanning beds are not created equal. The safe models have electronic ballasts rather than magnetics ones. Electronic ballasts prevent you from being exposed to harmful electromagnetic fields (EMF), and they emit less UVA rays than sunlight.
What You Should Know about Vitamin D Supplementation
Another reason why vitamin D deficiency occurs in many people is the misinformation about vitamin D supplements. If you are opting to optimize your vitamin D levels with supplements, here’s what you need to know:
- Based on the recent findings of Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, the ideal adult dose to get into the healthy range appears to be 8,000 IU’s a day.
- When you take a supplement, make sure you avoid vitamin D2 and find a product with natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
- While you cannot overdose on vitamin D with sunlight exposure, you can with a supplement. In order to get the correct dose of vitamin D, have your levels checked first. Dr. Mercola recommends using Lab Corp in the U.S. to do this. The correct test your physician needs to order is the 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D test because this is the marker linked to overall health.
- The normal 25-hydroxyvitamin D lab range is between 20-56ng/ml but Dr. Mercola says that your levels should not reach below 32ng/ml or you’re facing vitamin D deficiency. The optimal range you should have is around 50-70ng/ml. If you get sunlight exposure on large amounts of your skin nearly every day, your level would be around 100ng/ml.
- Evidence shows that vitamin D is dependent on vitamin K, and vitamin D toxicity may arise with vitamin K2 deficiency. To be on the safe side, consider taking a vitamin K2 supplement or increasing your intake of fermented foods rich in K2 when taking oral vitamin D.
By optimizing your vitamin D levels, you not only get to help lower your risk of cancer, but you may also improve your overall emotional health.