Get more sunshine to top up your stores of vitamin D

Warnings about staying out of the sun may have been overdone.  ‘Safe sun’ advice has overstated the cancer risk and underplayed the vital importance of vitamin D, which sunlight stimulates.

The policy is based on data that was produced 30 years ago—which even then was considered controversial—and so it’s time to recalculate the risks and benefits of sunbathing, say researchers from King’s College London.

They have been testing the optimum level of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UVR) that is needed before we start producing vitamin D.  After taking into account the risk of sunburn and skin cancer, the researchers say we need to be exposing our skin for longer than the few minutes current health advisory suggests.

(Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of sciences, 2021; 118 (40): e2015867118)

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