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Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health 7

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The media commonly emphasizes one side of the sunlight health story, either siding with the danger or the benefits.  However, M. Nathaniel Mead feels that a balanced message is the most intelligent approach when understanding how sunlight affects human health.  Get the pros and cons of the sunlight & health debate in Part 7 of Benefits of Sunlight.

Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health

M. Nathaniel Mead
Creating a Balanced Message

A growing number of scientists are concerned that efforts to protect the public from excessive UVR exposure may be eclipsing recent research demonstrating the diverse health-promoting benefits of UVR exposure. Some argue that the health benefits of UVB radiation seem to outweigh the adverse effects, and that the risks can be minimized by carefully managing UV exposure (e.g., by avoiding sunburn), as well as by increasing one’s intake of dietary antioxidants and limiting dietary fat and caloric intake. Antioxidants including polyphenols, apigenin, curcumin, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, and silymarin have shown promise in laboratory studies in protecting against UVR-induced skin cancer, perhaps through antimutagenic or immune-modulating mechanisms.

Central to the emerging debate is the issue of how to best construct public health messages that highlight the pros and cons of sun exposure in a balanced way. Such messages must necessarily take into account variations in skin pigmentation between groups and these groups’ differing susceptibilities to the dangers and benefits of sun exposure. Moreover, says Patricia Alpert, a nursing professor at the University of Las Vegas, age matters. “The elderly [have a] declining capacity to make vitamin D,” she says. “Many elderly, especially those living in nursing homes, are vitamin D deficient, [even] those living in areas considered to have adequate sunshine.”

Many experts are now recommending a middle-ground approach that focuses on modest sun exposures. Gilchrest says the American Academy of Dermatology and most dermatologists currently suggest sun protection in combination with vitamin D supplementation as a means of minimizing the risk of both skin cancer and internal cancers. Furthermore, brief, repeated exposures are more efficient at producing vitamin D. “Longer sun exposures cause further sun damage to skin and increase the risk of photo-aging and skin cancer, but do not increase vitamin D production,” she explains.

Lucas adds that people should use sun protection when the UV Index is more than 3. As part of Australia’s SunSmart program, “UV Alerts” are announced in newspapers throughout the country whenever the index is forecast to be 3 or higher. “Perhaps,” she says, “this practice should be extended to other nations as well.” U.S. residents can obtain UV Index forecasts through the EPA’s SunWise website (

In the near future, vitamin D and health guidelines regarding sun exposure may need to be revised. But many factors not directly linked to sun protection will also need to be taken into account. “Current observations of widespread vitamin D insufficiency should not be attributed only to sun protection strategies,” says Lucas. “Over the same period there is a trend to an increasingly indoor lifestyle, associated with technological advances such as television, computers, and video games.” She says sun-safe messages remain important—possibly more so than ever before—to protect against the potentially risky high-dose intermittent sun exposure that people who stay indoors may be most likely to incur.


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This entry was posted on Monday, May 18th, 2020 at 2:07 am and is filed under Articles.

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tltandr said:

on October 14th, 2009

it ia biophoton of the sun that enter our eyes DIRECTLY by sungazing during early sunrise and exceeding 7 a.m. OR INDIRECT SUNRAYS DURING DAYTIME.
BUT CERTAINLY NOT THROUGH THE SKIN and UV is harmful for our skin.
We do’not feel BIOPHOTON entering our eyes BUT DNA IN OUR PINEALGLAND REACT BY PRODUCING HORMONES and the vitD (a hormone) is produced and other hormones. There is a pathway that connects the retina cells to the pinealgland.

DR TAN tjiauw liat


tltandr said:

on October 14th, 2009

post script on my comment.

DR TAN tjiauw liat


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