Every year Dr. Mercola posts an April Fool’s Day article. I love these.. he does a good job combining reality with fiction to create an article that makes you think. This year he’s targeting the current misguided belief that the sun is somehow harmful to humans, and is the ONLY cause of skin cancer.
The facts are much different than the American public is led to believe by most doctors, medical organizations and the “powers that be.” It’s sad that so many people believe that spending time in the sun is dangerous, and the sheer number of people who buy into the “never go outside without sun screen” line is staggering.
The truth is that moderate sun exposure is PROTECTIVE against the most deadly forms of skin cancer. In fact the most deadly skin cancers occur on areas that do not regularly receive sun exposure. People who engage in moderate amounts of unprotected sun exposure are overall healthier than those who avoid the sun. The reason for this difference is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is quite possibly one of the most important essential nutrients. Without adequate amounts of Vitamin D, the human body simply can not function correctly. Everything from heart function, cancer development, bone growth, to mood and outlook on life is dependent upon adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Humans simply can NOT be healthy without enough Vitamin D. The absolute best way to get your vitamin D is from sunlight. Sure, you can eat salmon, sardines, and other foods high in D. You can even eat as much Vitamin D enriched food as you can stomach. It still might not be enough to satisfy Vitamin D requirements. That’s because the human body is designed to absorb and utilize Vitamin D and it’s components through the SKIN. Of course, when you ingest the hormone and it’s components you get some benefit, but the only way to get truly get the Vitamin D your body needs to be healthy is to get it the way nature (or God, if you prefer) intended — from the SUN.
While it is true that sunburns are dangerous, and you should never allow yourself to sunburn, it is ALSO true that many studies have found the chemicals in most sunscreens to be just as damaging to skin and general health as sunburn itself. It is far better to prevent sunburn by managing your time in the sun, and allowing your skin to develop a protective base tan.
One great resource for everything Vitamin D related is The Vitamin D Solution, by Michael F. Holick. It’s my “go-to” resource for all things sun and Vitamin D related.