Vitamin D, The Sun
The sun promotes health and vitality. Still, we want to protect ourselves and our children from the sun during the summer.
Which sunscreens are healthy to use?
Not all are helpful, and many are harmful. Recent studies reveal that some sunscreens can cause vitamin D3 deficiency and increase the risk of skin cancer.(1)
Approximately 87 percent of the population is vitamin D deficient in the winter months. Seven out of 10 children and 70 percent of breastfed babies are deficient in vitamin D3, which affects their growth and development.(2) Because of these alarming numbers, many doctors recommend significant daily supplements of vitamin D and, more specifically, vitamin D3.
Vitamin D is a hormone known in its active form as calcitriol. A deficiency of calcitriol may be responsible for over seventeen cancers, autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and genetic disorders, and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.(3) Rickets (bone softening) is a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency.
The American Medical Association recommends we get at least 15 minutes of direct midday sun, without applying sunscreen, several times a week.
For about 25 years, we have used sunscreens that block out UVB rays, but not UVA rays. UVB rays were thought to be the cause of skin cancer, but studies now reveal that sunscreens were blocking UVB cancer-protecting rays and allowing in UVA rays that can cause cancer. There is no vitamin D toxicity from sunshine, because UVA rays break down excess vitamin D.
We can store vitamin D in fat cells and use it in the winter months if we get enough in the summer.
UVB rays are at their peak in the summer and are not available for most of the winter north of Atlanta, Georgia. When UVB rays stay on the skin’s surface, they help the body make vitamin D3, which is why they were incorrectly blamed for causing skin cancer. The SPF rating only measured the UVB blocking power.
Sunscreens reportedly reduce vitamin D3 levels in the blood by up to 99 percent.(4)
What do you do about sunscreen if you need to be outside for long periods?
Stay in the shade when you can, wear protective clothing/ hats, and select the safest sunscreen you can.
Some sunscreens have carcinogenic ingredients and hormone disrupters that should be avoided: oxtinoxate, octisalate, oxybenzone, homosalate, avobenzone, and retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A). Check all sunscreens for these ingredients. They absorb easily through the skin and are toxic when combined with sun exposure.
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have been called safe, and reportedly do not penetrate the skin. But, my most recent research leads me to believe they are not safe. Micronized metals will penetrate the skin and enter the blood stream, resulting in cancer and tumors. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a known carcinogen.
Dr. Elizabeth Plourde, in her research paper “Exposing the Hazards of Sunscreen,” says there is concern that “sunscreen chemicals should be examined in relation to rising autism rates.”(5)
In her work she states that “Sunscreens are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) or TiO2 or ZnO nanoparticles. Current research shows these are toxic to all life.” (6)
She also found that sunscreens are a major toxin to coral reefs and could be a predominant factor in their decline. When exposed to sunscreens, “Coral dies in 96 hours. Plankton dies, jeopardizing our vital-to-life source of food and oxygen. Fish become intersexed, and some even stop spawning.” If you are interested in any of these subjects (autism, coral death, etc.), I recommend reading her papers or books. (7)
Which Sunscreens Are Safe to Buy?
I’m 62 now, and I personally haven’t used commercial sunscreens in about 18 years. If I know I am going to be at the beach all day, I use a combination of essential oils that are completely non-toxic, but have a sunscreen effect.
I mix a combination of non-GMO: raspberry seed oil, vitamin E oil, Moroccan Argan nut oil and jojoba oil and use that as my personal sunscreen oil. I rarely even wear sunglasses. I truly believe the sun is a positive and healthy part of our life.
If you feel you absolutely have to use sunscreen, then look for sunscreens that are non-nano, because extremely small particles can penetrate the skin. You want particles so large, that they cannot penetrate the skin.
The Environmental Workers Group (EWG) tested more than 1,500 sunscreens for safety and effectiveness.
The sunscreens listed below still contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in some form. Keep in mind, titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a known carcinogen.
The ones listed with an asterisk are recommended as the safest by the EWG.(8)
Thinkbaby and Thinksport **
Purple Prairie Botanicals*
Just remember, never wear sunscreen when going into fresh water rivers, lakes or the ocean, because it is highly toxic and it will harm aquatic life.
Drinking carrot juice or eating carrots or supplementing with beta carotene in addition to vitamin E, also gives the body some natural sun protection. (9)
This is just one more positive reason to be eating fresh, organic vegetables and fruits!
So, this summer, eat fresh vegetables and fruits, and get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise!
1. Dr. Joseph Mercola. “Slathering on Sunscreen Does Not Prevent Cancer.” Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website. articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/08/02/sunscr een-cancer.aspx
2. Dr. John Douillard, DC. “Vitamin D Has Astonishing Health Benefits.” Dr. John Douillard’s Lifespa.com website. http://www.lifespa.com/vitamin-d-has-astonishing-health- benefits
3. Dr. John Douillard, DC. “Sun Exposure: Don’t Be Fooled By Your Sunscreen.” Dr. John Douillard’s http://lifespa.com/dont-be- fooled-by-your-sunscreen
4. Dr. John Douillard, DC. “Vitamin D Has Astonishing Health Benefits.” Dr. John Douillard’s Lifespa.com website. http://lifespa.com/vitamin-d-has-astonishing-health-benefits/
5. “Exposing the Hazards of Sunscreen.” Elizabeth Plourde,
CLS,NCMP, PhD. Price-Pottenger Journal Vol. 36, No. 1
6. “Exposing the Hazards of Sunscreen.” Elizabeth Plourde,
CLS,NCMP, PhD. Price-Pottenger Journal Vol. 36, No. 1.
7. Sunscreens – Biohazard: Treat As Hazardous Waste,
8.”Sunscreens Exposed: 9 Surprising Truths. EWG’s Skin Deep—Sunscreens 2011.” Environmental Working Group website. June 20, 2011. http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2011/06/9-\
9. WebMD -Beta-Carotene and Vitamin E Help Prevent Sunburn, By Gay Frankenfield, RNhttp://www.webmd.com/beauty/news/20000302/beta-carotene-vitamin-e-help-prevent-sunburn#1
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Dance in the sunshine and your heart will catch the light!