Research has shown that a little more sunshine in our lives may make us live longer. Johan Moan, a researcher at the Institute for Cancer Research in Oslo, Norway, led a study which has concluded that the benefits from sun exposure outweigh the risks of skin cancer.
“What we find is that modest sun exposure gives enormous vitamin D benefits” says Dr. Moan. Sunlight encourages the body to produce Vitamin D, which helps the body’s immune system to work properly.
Several studies have found that higher amounts of Vitamin D actually protect against some cancers and conditions such as rickets, osteoporosis and diabetes. Some foods contain Vitamin D, but the sun provides the body’s main source. However fears about skin cancer are keeping many people indoors.
Many Cancer Societies around the world recommend a balance between avoiding an increased risk of skin cancer and maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels. They recognise both the very real benefits and risks of sun exposure and so they are very specific about advising on a safe number of hours to be in the sun and urge sun protection during peak ultraviolet radition (UVR) periods.
Enjoying time in the sun while maintaining sensible sun protection in the summer months, such as applying sunscreen and wearing protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses should not put people at risk of Vitamin D deficiency.