The Vitamin D Debate
One of the strongest opposition statements to sun protection comes from the indoor tanning industry, which states that sun protection leads to Vitamin D deficiencies. I want to be very clear....this is a marketing campaign that is not supported by the world's leading healthcare organizations!
The American Academy of Dermatology is the largest association of dermatologist in the United States and "does not recommend getting vitamin D from sun exposure (natural) or indoor tanning (artificial) because ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds can lead to the development of skin cancer."
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only international organization focused solely on the world's most common cancer, skin cancer. They have also set the standard for public and medical professional skin cancer education, and the Skin Cancer Foundation "cautions the public against intentional exposure to natural sunlight or artificial UV radiation (tanning beds) as a means of obtaining vitamin D, since the health risks of UV exposure - including skin cancer and premature skin aging - are significant and well proven."
Let's learn a little more about this incredible important Vitamin. I recently wrote an article on nutrition for healthy skin for the Hello Beautiful Health, and here is a few paragraphs from that article that cover the topic of Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is known as one of the most important vitamins and plays a role throughout our bodies. Vitamin D is produced in the epidermis layer of the skin when the skin is exposed to UV light from the sun. The role of Vitamin D in the skin is to help control the growth of skin cells for proper skin cell replenishment and to prevent overgrowth of skin cells.
In addition, studies have shown that Vitamin D may protect against certain cancers due to its ability to control cell overgrowth. Vitamin D is also critical for regulating Calcium levels in our systems, and helping to absorb dietary Calcium, which is why you will often see Calcium supplements formulated with Vitamin D.
On average, 15 minutes of sun exposure on arms and legs twice a week is typically sufficient to produce the proper level of Vitamin D in our system. However, many factors affect the level of Vitamin D production in our skin, such as the weather, season, time of day, latitude, amount of skin exposed, sunscreen, age, natural skin color, and the list goes on.
The safest and most reliable ways to maintain Vitamin D is through diet, both through food and supplements.
Additionally, the American Academy of Dermatology released the Top Reasons To Get Vitamin D From Your Diet.
Reason #7: Vitamin D from food and dietary supplements offers the same benefits — without the danger of skin cancer — as vitamin D obtained from UV light.
So how do we know make sure that we are getting enough Vitamin D from our diet?
Foods with naturally higher levels of Vitamin D include: fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, and chanterelle mushrooms. Vitamin D fortified products can include almond milk, soy milk, orange juice and other dairy products.
For a Vitamin D packed meal, here is an amazing recipe from Food & Wine - Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Chanterelles and Asparagus
If you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels and dietary intake, we recommend that you discuss with your healthcare provider how best to obtain the appropriate amount of Vitamin D for you.
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