Monday, June 1, 2009

Fish Oil Deflects Sun Damage

In recent months, leading cancer and vitamin D researchers have voiced concerns about extreme sun avoidance. They calculate that more cancers may be caused by under-exposure to sun than by moderate exposure (20-30 minutes per day).

For example, Harvard’s Edward Giovannucci, M.D. told NPR recently that for every person who dies from skin cancers caused by excessive sun exposure, an estimated 30 people may die of non-skin cancers related to vitamin D deficiencies caused by insufficient sun exposure or dietary intake.

This seems to leave us on the horns of a dilemma. We need to get sufficient sun exposure to prevent cancer, but not so much that we will suffer sunburns or increase the risk of skin cancers.

Sunscreen offers some protection, but statistics suggest that its anti-cancer benefits may have been oversold. They offer relatively weak protection against UVA rays, which penetrate much more deeply into skin, and appear to play a much larger role in cancer promotion and skin aging than we thought.

The omega-3s in fish (EPA and DHA) exert significant anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body, and the results of new research suggest that, as a consequence, omega-3s can help counteract the deleterious effects of solar radiation.

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Related Article: Sunscreens Increase Rate of Skin Cancer

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