For every person who dies from skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure, 30 people die of cancer related to vitamin D deficiency. These cancers are caused by insufficient sun exposure or too little Vitamin D in the diet. So 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. Without proper Vitamin D in our bodies we are at a much higher risk for osteoporosis, low libido, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, birth defects, depression, and all auto-immune diseases.
How do we get enough Vitamin D?
By not wearing sunscreens, which penetrate much more deeply into skin, and appear to play a much larger role in cancer promotion and skin aging than previously thought. Sunscreen also blocks the body’s ability to synthesize Vitamin D.
Can we just get enough Vitamin D from food? Well, the highest food sources of Vitamin D are anglerfish liver, cows blood and Cod Liver Oil. I don’t even know what an anglerfish is, and I haven’t gone anywhere near crazy enough to drink cows blood (yet. Ha!). So I choose to take Cod liver oil 3 times a day.
“The University of Manchester team, led by professor Lesley Rhodes, began publishing relevant research in 1994, starting with two small tests in human subjects, designed to examine the effects of dietary cod liver oil (10 grams per day, containing EPA and DHA) on skin inflammation induced by solar radiation.
Following the positive results of these preliminary investigations—which showed that people taking cod liver oil became increasingly resistant to sunburn over a three-month period—the Manchester team conducted two well-controlled clinical trials of omega-3s, whose results were published in 2003 and 2004. Both double-blind, randomized studies produced positive results.
The results showed that the groups taking cod liver oil enjoyed reductions in several early markers of cancer risk in skin, including sunburn, UVR-induced p53 [a cancer-suppressing gene], and strand breaks in peripheral blood lymphocytes. These positive changes indicate that cod liver oil protects against the genetic damage in skin tissue associated with increased cancer risk.
While dietary cod liver oil does not block the sun’s UVA or UVB rays, or reduce the amount of direct tissue damage those rays can cause, it reduces the excessive, cell-damaging inflammation produced by the body in response to UV-induced tissue damage. This is why it took more UV exposure to redden the skin of the University of Manchester study subjects who took supplemental cod liver oil.”
- Storey A, McArdle F, Friedmann PS, Jackson MJ, Rhodes LE. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid reduce UVB- and TNF-alpha-induced IL-8 secretion in keratinocytes and UVB-induced IL-8 in fibroblasts. J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Jan;124(1):248-55.
- Shahbakhti H, Watson RE, Azurdia RM, Ferreira CZ, Garmyn M, Rhodes LE. Influence of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, on ultraviolet-B generation of prostaglandin-E2 and proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 in human skin in vivo. Photochem Photobiol. 2004 Sep-Oct;80(2):231-5.
- Rhodes LE, Shahbakhti H, Azurdia RM, Moison RM, Steenwinkel MJ, Homburg MI, Dean MP, McArdle F, Beijersbergen van Henegouwen GM, Epe B, Vink AA. Effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, on UVR-related cancer risk in humans. An assessment of early genotoxic markers. Carcinogenesis. 2003 May;24(5):919-25.
- Jackson MJ, Jackson MJ, McArdle F, Storey A, Jones SA, McArdle A, Rhodes LE. Effects of micronutrient supplements on u.v.-induced skin damage. Proc Nutr Soc. 2002 May;61(2):187-9. Review.
- Pupe A, Moison R, De Haes P, Beijersbergen van Henegouwen GMW, Rhodes LE, Degreef H, Garmyn M: Eicosapentaenoic acid, a n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, differentially modulates TNFa, IL-1a, IL-6 and PGE2 expression in UVB-irradiated human keratinocytes. J Invest Dermatol 2002; 118: 692-8
- Rhodes LE, Durham BH, Fraser WD, Friedmann PS. Dietary fish oil reduces basal and ultraviolet B-generated PGE2 levels in skin and increases the threshold to provocation of polymorphic light eruption. J Invest Dermatol. 1995 Oct;105(4):532-5.
- Rhodes LE, O’Farrell S, Jackson MJ, Friedmann PS. Epidermal lipid peroxidation. J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Aug;103(2):151-4.
Interesting huh? Traditional cultures had an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of 1:1 to 3:1. In America the average person is at a ratio between 20:1 to 37:1. My thoughts are that if the sun reacts with the fats in the skin to prevent sunburn and synthesize Vitamin D, and the ratio of fats in the blood are all messed up, then you are more likely to burn and you will not synthesize Vitamin D properly. Make sense?
Cod Liver Oil and more Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet can prevent sunburn, many diseases and a host of different cancers. Wearing sunscreen prevents the body from creating much needed Vitamin D, which causes many diseases and a host of different cancers. (not to mention the list of chemicals in sunscreen are a mile long).
My own evidence
I am a red-head with very fair skin. In intense summer sun, I usually have a sun burn in 30 minutes. I use a combination of Green Pastures High Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil 3 times a day (6 capsules per day). I also slather coconut oil on my skin before going outside, and reapply it every hour or two. I haven’t had a sun burn in 5 years! I have taken 2 hour bike rides in the heat of the day and came back home very red. Within an hour my skin is back to normal color, and no burn ever results. How cool is that?