Could sunshine help fight cancer?

The Good Life Letter 
15th August 2010

I live in a topsy-turvy world.

When the summer comes, all the kids run gleefully
through the school gates, seeking freedom.

Other people take their holidays. They do
gardening or jet off to sunnier climes to read
books, dine out and "stroll".

But for me, it means the end of my freedom. The
end of peace and quiet.

No more pottering round the house on my own all

Pandemonium is back!

Screeching children... yelping dog.... and me in an
apron trying out recipes for my new book.


Summer holidays don't care, though. They don't
care about the struggling writer trying to keep up.

And of course, I have to factor in my addiction to
writing weekly emails to you.

So I hope that for today's email, you don't mind if I
delve back into the Good Life Letter archives. I've
unearthed some good advice that still stands,
almost exactly two years on.

Are they about to tax sunlight?

For the past ten years or so, we've been
frightened by skin cancer stories, to the point
where people lather themselves in factor 80 skin
cream as soon as they leave the house in
Have we become a nation of vampires?
It's fine to warn people of overexposure. I mean,
when I see people pouring tanning oil over
themselves on a hot day, I wonder what it is that
drives people to cook themselves in public parks.
They look like my famous barbeque garlic prawns!
But on the other hand, recent evidence shows that
sunlight can actually help prevent the skin cancer
malignant melanoma.
Could sunlight help fight cancer?

Researchers in Sweden have claimed that the
sun's UV rays could reduce skin cancer risk by
You don't read that every day in your newspaper,
do you?
This is backed up from some interesting
conclusions by researchers at the University of
Bristol, which said:
'Perhaps, while we await the conclusions of such
formal analyses, those of us who enjoy spending
time in the sun can rest (on out deck chair, sun
lounger...or whatever) assured that the chance we
will be one of the people dying from our tan is
And then this from Marianne Berwick, Ph.D., a
researcher and epidemiologist at Memorial
SloanKettering Cancer Center in New York City:
'Anybody who tells you you're supposed to wear
sunscreen... all day every day, even in the office,
hasn't looked at the data.'
Okay, great... But then another statement by the
Health Education Authority said that this kind of
research could make people complacent about
skin cancer.

So what's the truth?

The truth is, sunshine has so many benefits
treating osteoporosis, kidney failure, multiple
sclerosis, depression and psoriasis yet this side's
not promoted so heavily by the establishment.

Why not? Are they really scared everyone will run
out and burn themselves to a cinder?
Or is it because of a more sinister reason...?
Is it, perhaps, because sunshine is free?
I mean you can't patent it, bottle it, put it in an
expensive pill, tax it or export it. Maybe that's why
it's not talked about too much.
Or perhaps it's because the enormously profitable
sunscreen industry would have a lot to lose if
people used their products less often.
...Who knows?
But until they find a way to tax sunlight and sell its
benefits properly, let me give you some straight
Cooking yourself in the sun is bad. Exposing
yourself to the sun in the middle of the day, at its
hottest, without protection, is just silly. Covering
yourself in cooking fat and tinfoil and splaying
yourself on a slab of concrete for ten hours... is
But other than that, you should make sure you get
at least 20 minutes in the sun each day. Ray's
Because this is the only way you can boost your
body's vitamin D intake. And the health benefits
are enormous...
Sunlight vs. bone decay, cancer and high
blood pressure

Vitamin D is produced when UV rays hit your skin.
It's actually a hormone, rather than a vitamin,
produced by your own body.
When you get older, it gets harder to produce
vitamin D. But in one study I saw, out of 300
young adults who were hospitalised for a variety of
ailments, 57% had a deficiency in vitamin D.
So no matter your age, you need more of the stuff
* Strengthen your bones. In a study at Tufts
University, a group of men and women over 65
experienced less bone density loss when they
took 500mg or calcium and 700 IU of vitamin D
daily for 3 years. Other studies have shown it can
lower the chance of getting a hip fracture.
* Fight cancer. According to Dr Michael Holick,
your skin synthesizes vitamin D and then the
blood circulates it directly to the breasts, colon,
and prostate. In these organs, researchers
believe, vitamin D inhibits cancer cell growth.
* Lower blood pressure. The Lancet published a
study in 1998 that showed that systolic and
diastolic blood pressure was reduced after
subjects received six to 30 minutes of ultraviolet B
radiation three times a week for six weeks. The
theory isb that vitamin D helps your intestines
absorb calcium, which is instrumental in helping
your arteries control blood pressure.

I hope this helps you enjoy the sunshine this
summer - without all the fear and paranoia!



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