What's contributing to high levels of vitamin D? Could it be the sun?: image via independent.co.ukThere's good news and bad news in three of the most recent studies on protecting your skin from sun damage and possible skin cancer. One study, in particular, may cause some concern among those with high levels of vitamin D....
No question, a preponderance of research shows that Vitamin D is essential for good heath, strong bones, balanced blood levels, and that it helps to prevent and fight various cancers, including breast, ovarian, prostate, and colorectal cancers.
First The Bad News
But researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, found that the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSC) increases among those with higher blood levels of vitamin D. The most common NMSCs are basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma (Some earlier research indicated that vitamin D might even reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma.)
Whether the higher levels of vitamin D in the Henry Ford Hospital study were produced by sun exposure to xray, UVB, or D supplements was not determined, however, and unfortunately, the primary contributor to high levels of D in the blood, may be difficult to determine. Naturally, further research is needed.
The Good News
Dietary sources of vitamin DThe good news within the bad news about D levels and NMSCs is that there was no distinction in the Henry Ford study regarding the source of the Vitamin D. It could have come from too much sun exposure; according to the National Cancer Institute, sunlight-induced skin cancer is the
most prevalent cancer in the United States with more than 1 million new cases
each year. The good news is that we probably should continue to proceed cautiously and protectively in our sun-exposed activities, but until more specific evidence against nutritional intake of vitamin D is available, we should not forsake a diet rich in vitamin D or vitamin D supplements that are likely protecting us in other ways.
Optimal blood levels of vitamin D are between 50 and 80 ng/ml; you can obtain your blood levels of vitamin D through a simple blood test. Because it is estimated that most of us are deficient in vitamin D and don't get enough of it in our diets, 1,000 IU of vitamin D supplement is generally recommended as a daily dose.
Then there's a study being conducted by the Laval University Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods in Quebec that hopes to corroborate the results of recent German and British researchers showing that eating at least 3 squares of dark chocolate per day will protect the skin from sun damage.
3 SQUARES (of chocolate, of course): image via tastykitchen.com
The theory is that polyphenol antioxidants in chocolate increase blood flow to the skin that help protect against ultraviolet rays. Only 60 volunteers are needed for the chocolate study; females between the ages of 25 and 65. This may not be the easiest study to get into!
Also good news, especially for java fans.... Coffee drinking has
been associated with lowering risk for several types of cancers,
including skin cancer. Here's a study that suggests that smearing it on
your skin might really inhibit the the ATR enzyme that is activated by
Skin Food Green Coffee Sunscreen: image via cosmetic-candy.com
In experiments conducted at Rutgers University and the University of Washington. mice whose ATR was genetically reduced at the molecular level and 'regular' mice were exposed to intense UV rays. The mice that were genetically altered grew 69 percent fewer tumors and 75 percent fewer invasive tumors than the regular mice.
This led the researchers to conclude that ATR reduction prior to tumor development can be used to prevent and protect against skin cancer. Coffee sunscreen! Lather it on and drink it too.
Hmm. And coffee sunscreen is already available to import from Korea. How about coffee and chocolate sunscreen?
sources: Medical Express (1) (2) (3), Archives of Dermatology, National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet