The TRUTH about sun exposure and how it REALLY affects your body
If you’re an avid reader of this newsletter…you already know that I’m not a fan of the FDA or Big Pharma.
But this winter, I‘m adding two new big business groups to my naughty list: The cosmetic industry and the dermatology community.
These two groups have duped us into buying the idea that avoiding the sun and using ridiculous amounts of sunscreen are the ways to stay healthy.
You see, sunlight and vitamin D are so incredibly important that sunscreen and sun avoidance could be FLAT OUT DANGEROUS…
As dangerous as, say, smoking or eating sugar.
Today, I’m putting my foot down; I’ll show you that optimizing vitamin D and getting your body exposed to the sun are 100 percent worth any risk of skin cancer.
This theory is not just mine…
I’ll share with you a growing body of evidence that reveals just how important sun exposure truly is to your health.
Then, I’ll give you a few different ways you can make sure you’re MAXIMIZING the sun’s health benefits, while MINIMIZING any risks!
[REVEALED] Sunlight’s LIFE-PROLONGING superpowers
Here’s some powerful data…
A study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine in 2016 out of Sweden tracked the sunbathing habits of nearly 30,000 women over the course of 20 years.
The results were STUNNING: People who avoided time in the sun were TWICE AS LIKELY TO DIE compared to those who got regular sun exposure!
Not only that, “sun worshipers”:
- Had significantly lower rates of diabetes;
- Were less likely to form dangerous blood clots; and
- While they had a higher incidence of melanoma, they were EIGHT TIMES LESS LIKELY to die from it.
Folks, if any prescription medication could improve life expectancy by that amount…it would be plastered on the front pages of every newspaper.
The problem is, there are very few dermatologists or doctors willing to go against the massively trendy “sunscreen crusade” trend and talk about it.
One—a clear-headed and down to earth dermatologist from Scotland named Richard Weller—is ready to make waves and say that the American Academy of Dermatology is WRONG; sun exposure is worth the risk.
And one of his most groundbreaking studies to-date is about to be published. Therein, he looked at close to 350,000 Americans in 2,000 different areas of this country.
What he found was fascinating: people in sunnier areas had lower blood pressure just from being exposed to more sun!!
Literally, getting more sun was like taking a blood pressure pill!
Anecdotally, I’ve seen the same kinds of trends in my own patients…
Every year, I’m amazed how hard the Northeast winters are on my patients.
The holiday stress and the inevitable poor dietary choices that people make during the festive time of the year, the cold and flu season, mixed with falls on the ice and shoveling injuries can derail any well-intentioned patient from achieving their health goals.
But after all these years of being an integrative doctor…. I actually think holiday stress, cold temperatures, colds and flus, and snow “injuries” PALE in comparison to the detrimental health issues caused by lack of sunlight.
And now that I’ve begun noticing the problem, I’ve realized my patients start to nosedive right when daylight savings time strikes and the days start to get shorter!
And it’s no wonder; the sun gives us one of the most important components for our health—one that should NEVER be minimalized or ignored…
Vitamin D’s ALL-IMPORTANT role
There are two points everyone—including mainstream medicine—will agree on:
- Overwhelming data shows that over 80 percent of Americans are low in vitamin D; and
- A constant stream of studies link low vitamin D to almost every known medical malady and disease.
It’s no wonder the hormone (yes, Vitamin D is actually hormone, not a vitamin!) is all-important…
The body’s process of making vitamin D unlocks an AMAZING array of health benefits, which include:
- Lowering blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide levels
- Improving mood by releasing endorphins and serotonin (explaining the medical condition of Seasonal Affective Disorder)
- Reducing the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer
- Improving circadian rhythm (explaining why insomnia is very common in blind people)
- Reducing the deleterious effects of the autoimmune response
- Slashing inflammation
When you look at this laundry list of positive effects, it makes sense why, back in the early 1900’s, the only real treatment for tuberculosis was to send people to the southwest U.S. to places like Tucson, Arizona…
There were no medicines for a deadly tuberculosis infection back then, but the sun and its now-known, immune-boosting and beneficial effects were one of the big reasons why people recovered.
[DISGUSTING] Why mainstream demonized sunlight
The truth is, there are millions of Americans who purposefully avoid the sun because the American Academy of Dermatology has them scared to death they’ll get skin cancer!
In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology has a pretty darned strict policy on sun exposure. Their website reads, “You need to protect your skin from the sun every day, even when it’s cloudy.”
I am also here to tell you that the cosmetic industry is perpetuating this theory to make MONEY; they want us lathering our bodies in their sun-blocking products!
The REAL TRUTH is this: Skin cancer is not really that big of a deal.
“What?!,” you might be saying as you read this. “How can you say that, doctor?”
Well, bear with me, because some of the fears and truths about skin cancer are not really being explained properly.
First of all, the most common skin cancers are almost NEVER fatal.
The two most common forms of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma) are basically benign.
In fact, Dr. Weller—the vitamin D expert I discussed with you earlier—say he “congratulates” people for getting basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas. He says it means they are most likely getting sun exposure, and the more sun exposure that you get… the higher your vitamin D and thus the better your life expectancy!
Now, the deadly skin cancer we fear is called melanoma and the truth is, data is very conflicting with regards to the risk of sun exposure and this form of cancer…
Some studies don’t link melanoma to amount of sun exposure and some do… but the consensus is this:
The risk of melanoma is tied more to skin burning and sunburns than amount of exposure of sun.
That makes a lot of sense; skin DAMAGE and the oxidative events that occur from sunburn is the REAL FEAR…not plain old sun exposure!
Indeed, Dr. Weller did research in Ethiopia and discovered that even though most of the country is at altitude (which gets you closer to the sun) and they never wear sunscreen…. there is NO skin cancer!
That’s because the darker your skin color, the less chance you have of sun burning.
But it also means you need more sun exposure to get adequate vitamin D, which brings me back to the American Academy of Dermatology…
They do not take in to account anyone’s skin color! And indeed, African Americans’ the vitamin D levels are much lower than their lighter-skinned counterparts—yet outrageously, the rules and recommendations for sunscreen and sun exposure do not change.
How to get more SUN in your life
Optimizing your vitamin D level with a mixture of oral vitamin D intake, as well as sun exposure, is a potent way to treat many medical maladies and to prolong your life.
Therefore, I’m also telling patients who have the funds and time that if you live in a higher latitude and the dark short days of winter are getting you “down”… getting down south to a sunny environment is totally worth it.
Be aware there’s a report card that you can use to check your D levels…
It’s simple as asking your doctor for a vitamin D blood level; I recommend you have this checked at least annually (some insurances only pay for it once a year). I strive to have my patients get their levels above 40 (the cutoff for normal is 30) … where a level above 50 would get to the level of a “star pupil.”
Additionally, there’s an amazing app you can get for your phone called DMINDER…
This incredibly cool tool tells you the best time of day to optimize vitamin D and personalizes this using your personal geographic location and body type.
- Lindqvist PG1, Epstein E2. Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort.J Intern Med. 2016 Oct;280(4):375-87. doi: 10.1111/joim.12496. Epub 2016 Mar 16.