The search for cancer cures has been going on for years, but most people know prevention is better than cure. One of the most dangerous skin cancers people get is Melanoma.
Similar to most cancers, this one is deadly if left untreated. It gets even more serious and dangerous since melanomas can spread quickly.
If you’re worried about getting this, you likely closely monitor your time under the sun to lower your risk. Luckily, a recent study found a possible way to reduce your risk even more, other than UV protection.
What Is a Melanoma?
While more uncommon when it comes to skin cancer, Melanoma is one of the most dangerous ones. It develops when melanocytes cells that provide pigment to the skin, start growing uncontrollably.
The danger of melanomas stems from the fact that it has a higher chance of spreading to other parts of the body if not caught and treated in their early stages.
Additionally, they can develop anywhere on the skin. However, they commonly start on the chest or back among men or on women's legs. Other common sites where melanomas start include the neck and face.
Some melanoma skin cancer risk factors include UV exposure, moles, fair skin, and freckles, among others.
The Link Between Vitamin D and Skin Cancer
A new study recently published in Melanoma Research found a link between regular vitamin D supplementation and a reduced rate of developing melanoma.
The study was done in collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland and the Kuopio University Hospital.
The study observed 498 Finnish adults between 21 and 79 years old at a high risk of developing skin cancer, as determined by dermatologists. This risk included not only melanoma but also squamous and basal cell carcinomas.
The research included 253 men and 245 women, who were grouped under three categories based on how often they use vitamin D supplements: non-use, occasional, or regular.
The study suggests that maintaining decent vitamin D levels may help lower a person’s risk of developing melanoma. However, scientists remain unsure as to why.
This remains controversial; scientists have admitted that there needs to be further evidence to understand how healthy vitamin D levels can help lower the risk of developing skin cancer. While the “how” remains inconclusive, they still can’t deny how important vitamin D is to our bodies.
The Importance of Vitamin D
Also known as calciferol, vitamin D is a fat-soluble substance found in certain foods and supplements. Humans can also get it when sunlight hits the skin, prompting the synthesis of vitamin D in the body.
This essential nutrient helps in a long list of essential bodily functions, including reinforcing our immune system and helping our body build strong bones. On the other hand, a lack of vitamin D is linked to several adverse effects on a person's physical and mental health.
Why Vitamin D Deficiency is Common
Despite being one of the most important nutrients our body needs, most people suffer from insufficient vitamin D. In the United States alone, 29% suffer from this deficiency, while 41% receive an inadequate amount of it, despite the vitamin being available through numerous sources.
One of the likely reasons people don’t get enough vitamin D is that most people don’t get enough sunlight daily to reach healthy vitamin D levels due to several factors. First, people in northern climates see less sun than those near the equator.
Another is that sunscreen dampens the vitamin D synthesis our body can do since it screens out UV light. Despite this, wearing sunscreen is still more important as you can get more vitamin D by other means.
Additionally, even though vitamin D is an essential nutrient, its proper daily dosage is still debated. Many published materials claim that, for adults, at least 500 IU of this nutrient is sufficient. However, many argue that this amount needs to be higher, considering most people's needs in the United States.
Many doctors and experts believe that 4000-5000 IU of vitamin D is a healthy and sufficient level.
Dietary Sources of Vitamin D
If a person doesn’t get enough sun exposure, what are the best sources of vitamin D?
Watching what you eat is a healthy way to get more vitamin D into your system. If you’re looking for good sources of vitamin D3, the form of this nutrient naturally found in animal products, you can get it from fatty fish and fish liver oils.
Some grocery items you may want to add to your list include salmon, sardines, swordfish, and tuna. While not as packed as in fatty fish, small amounts of vitamin D can also be found in beef liver, eggs, and cheese.
On the other hand, mushrooms are rich in vitamin D2, which is the form of this vitamin found in plants. Many commercially sold mushrooms that you can easily buy in the market are rich in this form of vitamin D since they’re intentionally exposed to UV light.
Food items are fortified with vitamin D. These include juices, dairy, plant-based milk, and cereal.
Vitamin D Supplementation
While incorporating vitamin D into your meals is an excellent way to add more to your system, arguably, the best way to know you’re getting enough of it is through supplementation.
However, remember that not all supplements are made the same. Many companies choose to deliver doses under optimal levels or use the lesser form, vitamin D2, instead of vitamin D3 in their formula. Luckily, Xendurance® offers Omega+D3, a supplement that delivers 4,000 IU of vitamin D to support one’s overall health.
Taking supplements, along with vitamin D-rich food incorporated into your diet, can help you reach the optimal levels of this nutrient that your body needs.
Help Lower Your Risk of Skin Cancer
While how it helps remains a mystery, this new study has shown the benefit of healthy vitamin D levels in reducing one’s risk of skin cancer. It also shows how essential vitamin D is to our body’s health needs.
Despite being one of the most essential nutrients our body needs, vitamin D is also what many people commonly lack. Fortunately, while it’s not common in food, getting this nutrient without dangerous UV exposure is still possible.
Incorporate a vitamin D supplement into your diet and experience the numerous benefits it brings to your body.