At Dr. Welsh’s office we include daily sunscreen use in all our patient’s treatment plans. Mineral based sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher are an essential step we all can take to prevent skin cancer and premature aging.
Now a study by Dutch researchers has given us more reason to avoid the sun. This study found a link between longevity and Vitamin D, a vitamin synthesized from sun light. According to Diana Van Heemst, PhD of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, offspring of parents who live into their 90s had lower levels of vitamin D when compared to controls. Participants in the study all had similar intake levels of vitamin D in food and supplements, however participants in the control group with higher levels of vitamin D reported sun exposure and tanning bed use. Researchers also isolated a gene responsible for vitamin D production from sunlight. The offspring of the parents with higher mortality rates were less likely to have this gene.
Previous studies have found that low vitamin D levels leads to higher mortality. However, a possible explanation for these findings may be that people who are ill or overweight are less likely to be active and in the sun.
Vitamin D is essential to bone formation and immune system functioning but this research suggests that we should eat foods rich in Vitamin D or take supplements versus basking in the sun.
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