Thank goodness summer is on the way.
I am so happy to finally feel sunshine on my face again.
Picnics, gardening, bare feet, after dinner strolls… they all become so much easier with a little sunshine!
But that means more sun exposure… typically something we read a lot of negative things about.
And as usual, each time the weather turns warmer I get tons of emails flooding me asking for my recommendation on a good sunscreen (I give you a link to the one I use below!)
So today, I thought it would be important to share with you something not often talked about â€” something more uplifting about the healing power of spending time in the sun… and that is:
…medical proof that time spent in the sun actually lengths your lifespan!
It’s really important to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and now a major medical study backs that up.
Published in the Journal of Internal Medicine on March 16, 2016, researchers found that folks who avoided sun exposure had a decreased life expectancy, worse than even heavy smokers who bathed in the sun.
This study looked at almost 30,000 participants (females ages 25 — 64 year old with no history of malignancy) over a span of 20 years, tracking health outcomes and life span.
What did they find?
Researchers found that even when smoking was factored in, the life span of those who avoided the sun was over 2 years shorter than heavy smokers who got the highest amount of sun exposure!!!
So even heavy smokers who soaked in the sun their whole life outlived non-smokers who avoided sun exposure… by several years.
Participants who avoided the sun had higher rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pulmonary disease.
And the results were dose-specific… meaning that the benefits of increased life expectancy with sun exposure went up directly in correlation to the amount of sun exposure.
Longer time in the sun = longer life span.
And yes, though risk of skin cancer did increase with increased sun exposure, the patients that had skin cancer occur in relation to sun exposure actually had a better long-term prognosis!
This on top of recent research revealing that melanomas that occur in patients with low Vitamin D actually have more malignantly aggressive melanoma and their prognosis is worse than those with adequate Vit D from sun exposure.
And even further than that, there are plenty of holistic things we can do to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays (see below) so that’s not a good reason to avoid ever heading outside.
Because these results show that avoiding the sun is a â€œrisk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smokingâ€ â€” directly quoting the medical report.
To safely get some sunshine on your pineal gland daily
(but dramatically reduce your risk of skin cancer)
just follow these 5 simple holistic steps:
â€¢ Step 1: Go outside the early AM or later PM hours
Simply avoid the sun during the peak UV hours in mid-day â€” this is the easiest thing you can do to decrease skin cancer risk. Peak sun hours (10AM — 4PM) have the most UV radiation. You want to get some incidental sun exposure (10 minutes or more) on some exposed skin daily, but to decrease the UV intensity ideally you want that exposure to be in the earlier AM or later PM hours! I highly recommend getting early morning sun exposure every single day — it’s an easy, instant way to boost mood, cure insomnia, even boost your libido. In fact, if you can’t get outside into the sunshine before 10 AM each day, invest in a light box and watch your health improve.
â€¢ Step Two: Wear a hat, wear sunglasses
The second best way to protect from the sun is uv protective clothing. Wearing hats, sunglasses and even sun protective clothing like rash guards if you are going to be outside all day. Just throwing on a hat is a major step towards protecting vulnerable scalp, ears, neck and nose skin. And be certain to protect your eyes by wearing UV protective sunglasses daily! UV exposure is one of the leading causes of lens opacity (cataracts) as you age. You can prevent this by diligently protecting your eyes for your entire lifetime with sunglasses.
â€¢Step Three: Use Mineral Sunscreens
The third best way to protect routinely exposed skin (most important on the face, scalp, forearms, etc…) is to have a non-nanosized, non-chemical based sunscreen on hand.
Sunscreens that include chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate should be immediately ruled out (here’s a blog post I wrote for you outlining exactly why this is so important!)
Use mineral based sunscreens only â€” zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide â€” and even those should not be nano-sized, please!
Here is a link to the one I use.
Step Four: Take Curcumin To Protect Against Melanoma
Did you know that Curcumin actually kills cancer cells in laboratory studies and has been specifically shown to target and kill melanoma cancer cells?
Read this study published in the International Journal of Cancer in October 2016 for a good overview on what we know about curcumin and melanoma so far.
If you want to add the anti-cancer benefits of curcumin to your health regime (which I highly recommend if you have any personal or family history of melanoma or even if you just have a history of intense sun exposure) I recommend taking a pharmacy grade supplement like Pure Encapsulations Curcumin that couples curcumin with bioperine to help increase the bioavailablility and absorption of the curcumin.
I have this waiting for you at an automatically reduced price right here, just for being a reader of my blog.
Step Five: Use Vitamin B3 to decrease all other forms of skin cancer
Clear evidence that a simple vitamin can be cancer preventive: Vitamin B3 dramatically reduces skin cancer rates.
Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 Annual Meeting in May 2014, Vitamin B3 has been shown to be a safe, effective way to reduce your risk of recurrent skin cancer.
Researchers looked at over 380 patients with a prior history of non-melanoma skin cancers, giving half nicotinamide supplements and half a placebo, and followed them for a year. They found the patients in the Vitamin B3 group had a quarter less skin cancers total (a 23% decrease) than control patients:
- Basal cell occurrence decreased by 20%
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma decreased by 30%
- Actinic Keratosis decreased by 13%
Nicotinamide enhances DNA repair in skin cells damaged by UV light, as well as boosts the immune system and prevents the suppression of immunity by ultraviolet radiation. (Nicotinamide has other benefits as well, including preliminary studies showing a boost in cognition… helping to restore cognition in Alzheimers!)
So… if you have a history of serious sun exposure?
Or a history of previous skin cancers?
Or you just want less unsightly actinic keretosis popping up in the future?
Vitamin B 3 offers 100% all natural holistic chemo-prevention!
But unlike chemo, Vitamin B3 is safe, natural and inexpensive.
I like Allergy Research Group’s Vitamin B3. Again, just like all of my supplements in my pharmacy-grade, totally trusted and safe online dispensary, it’s waiting for you at an automatic discount right here.
The bottom line?
Under-exposure to the sun is actually dangerous.
Avoiding the sun is comparable to smoking in terms of decreasing life expectancy. Worse, actually… by several years.
Smoking and inactivity have long been known to be two lifestyle indicators of poor long term health… and now we can add a third: avoiding sun exposure.
Our skin naturally makes Vit D when exposed to the sun â€” it takes about 10 minutes or longer (depending on skin type) to get a significant boost of Vitamin D from the sun.
I believe this link between Vit D and being in the sun is one of the major reasons that being outside and getting sun exposure boosts longevity.
I’ve long advocated for the importance of Vit D â€” how it:
Is necessary for brain health:
Low vitamin D levels are associated with a substantial acceleration of memory loss and cognitive decline.
Published Sept 14, 2015 in JAMA Neurology, researchers looked at baseline vitamin D levels and mental status change in over 380 adults (average age 75 years old.). Vit D deficient adults with serum concentrations of vit D lower than 20 ng/mL declined 3 times faster in cognitive function and in memory impairment compared to those with serum vit D levels of greater than 20 ng/mL.
Another study, published in Neurology on August 9, 2014 found that patients with low levels of Vit D have a 122% increased risk of dementia compared to those with higher levels of vit D. Their findings showed that the critical level to prevent dementia is greater than 50 nmol/L.
2. Is necessary for bone health:
A study published in the January issue of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery found that at over half of the patients that present with stress factors of the bone have vit D insufficiency.
Vit D concentrations are linked to the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus… … in fact, if you are vitamin D deficient, you are only absorbing approximately 10 — 15% of your dietary calcium and only roughly half of the dietary phosphorus you consume.
So it’s easy to see how Vit D deficiency can lead quickly to a decrease in bone mineralization… and allow for more fractures to occur.
3. Decreases diabetes risk:
There are multiple studies showing that a deficit in Vit D levels increases your risk of developing diabetes… especially type 2 diabetes. In some studies, the risk of developing diabetes actually doubles in the face of low vitamin D levels!
4. Helps with weight loss:
By simply adding Vit D supplementation to your weight loss plan, you reduce your whole-body inflammation and blood markers of inflammation, shows a study published April 23m 2015 in Cancer Prevention Research.
5. Decreases depression risk:
Yet another amazing study has come out showing a positive correlation between Vitamin D and mood.
Published in the November 2011 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers followed 12,594 participants and found that higher Vitamin D levels are associated with a significantly decreased risk of depression.
6. Predicts better cancer recovery:
A huge meta-analysis looking at 25 different studies and 17,700+ cancer patients found definitively, yet again, that higher levels of circulating Vit D at time of diagnosis was associated with significantly better survival and remission rates in the future.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism on April 29, 2014, researchers found that colorectal cancer, breast cancer and lymphoma patients all had impressive, significantly higher survival rates in patients who had the highest Vit D serum levels.
They also had increased disease free rates afterwards (longer remission periods after cancer treatment) so it makes sense that Vit D may be the protective mechanism of action in prolonging life expectancy.
If you are unsure of what your vitamin D levels are (even folks who are outside daily can have vit D deficiency!) simply ask your physician to check your Vit D level and consider Vit D supplementation, if necessary.
In the meanwhile, enjoy your picnics on these gorgeous sunny days.
At least 10 minutes in the sun every single morning… more if you can!
Enjoy that life giving, mood boosting, beautifully warm radiant sunshine… just do it in a way that you protect your skin from too much exposure: try to avoid peak hours of sun exposure, avoid yucky chemical sunscreens and use mineral sunscreens instead, and consider using curcumin and vit B3 to decrease your future skin cancer risk.
PS — just in time for summer…
…pre-order my new Earth Lovers Beach Towel!