Our Friend The Sun
“The sun is good for you and does NOT cause cancer. Skin cancer comes from the wrong diet, chemicals, and stress.” – Jeff Primack, Conquering Any Disease
In the early 1900's, over one-hundred diseases were successfully reversed using what is known as heliotherapy. Using what was considered at that time to be a wholesome diet, combined with the energy of the sun, Dr. Auguste Rollier was first to use this technique, healing thousands of patients of their ailments. Sadly, after his passing in 1954, the pharmaceutical companies quickly extinguished this practice, and scared us away from the sun. Rather than embracing the many benefits attached to sun exposure, today millions of people live in fear of this beautiful star, afraid they will develop skin cancer. To 'protect' their skin from the therapeutic rays, they choose to lather chemicals all over their bodies, unaware that these synthetic toxins, combined with poor dietary choices, are the real culprits behind skin abnormalities.
The sun could play a role in the development of skin cancer, however not all cancers of the skin are caused by the sun. A majority of skin cancers generate from a mix of sun overexposure and toxic chemicals, bad food, poor lifestyle decisions, and less than optimal nutrition. Many of us have been fearful of the sun since childhood because certain people have manipulated us into believing it is harmful. While overexposure to the sun can impair the skin, avoiding sun exposure is equally as damaging.
A study on ultraviolet radiation exposure and cancer risk published in April 2012 in the U.S. International Journal of Cancer found that, “People who were exposed to more sunlight had a significantly lower risk of developing many types of cancer. The study followed more than 450,000 white, non-Hispanic subjects aged fifty to seventy-one over the course of nine years and calculated ultraviolet radiation exposure with the incidence of a variety of different cancers. A total of 75,000 participants in the study contracted cancer and many cancers were found to be reduced in those who were exposed to more sunlight.” A similar study published in the Cancer Journal in March 2002 found that exposure to the sun decreases cancer rates. This was determined after analyzing 506 different regions in Western Europe and North America and finding that there was an inverse relationship between cancer deaths and sun exposure. The less sun exposure the participants had, the greater there chances were of dying from cancer.
Without sunlight we become deficient in vitamin D. The ultraviolet rays of the sun penetrate the skin to synthesize vitamin D from the solar energy. The liver and kidneys then create a hormone known as calcitriol, and this hormone plays a role in the development and maintenance of cells. When deficient in vitamin D, cellular growth can become abnormal and cancerous. Aside from sunlight being our main provider of this crucial nutrient, food sources for Vitamin D are: alfalfa, arame, blue-green algae, clover sprouts, mushrooms, olives, and sunflower seeds. If you do not get out in the sun often, you may want to consider a vitamin D3 supplement. Be sure you find an organic vegan source such as this spray.
Knowing that the sun is not solely responsible for our skin conditions, and understanding how advantageous limited exposure to the sun really is, we have to wonder why so many millions of people are afflicted with skin cancers. To clarify, what is truly harmful is the outrageous amount of industrial chemicals that are being added to suntan lotions and sunscreens. Rather than permeating ourselves in fear over the shining sun, we can opt to use better protection and moderate our time in direct sunlight.
Toxicology studies conducted at the Missouri University of Science and Technology found that zinc oxide, which is common in most sunscreens, may react with sunlight and cause a chemical reaction that releases free radicals. The study suggests that the longer the zinc oxide is exposed to the sun, the greater the damage it will cause to human cells. Dr. Yinfa Ma, a lead researcher conducting the study, believes that, “When zinc oxide particles absorb UV rays, the ensuing reaction releases electrons that in turn create the unstable cancer-causing free radicals. Those free radicals then bond with other molecules and behave like parasites that damage the other molecules.” This study was published in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology in 2012.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health labeled titanium dioxide as a potential occupational carcinogen. This is another common ingredient found in sun protection products. Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) is found in close to ninety percent of sunscreen brands, and researchers found that this chemical undergoes biochemical changes that cause mutation and cell death upon exposure to sunlight. By applying these products that contain harmful chemicals to our skin, we place more of a burden on our health than we would by getting a little sun exposure.
In addition to zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and OMC, benzophenones are more chemicals added to suncare products. They are thought to protect against UV rays and appear on sunscreen labels as oxybenzone. A study published in the May 2012 edition of Environmental Science and Technology measured concentrations of five different variations of these chemicals in the urine of more than six-hundred women who were evaluated for endometriosis. According to WebMD, “Endometriosis is a painful condition that occurs when tissue from the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. When this tissue grows in other parts of the body, typically spilling into the abdomen around the ovaries or fallopian tubes, it behaves as if it were still in the uterus, thickening and shedding each month in sync with a woman's menstrual cycle. Endometriosis can lead to scarring and infertility.” The study found these benzophenones present in ninety-seven percent of the women and concluded that women with the highest amounts of benzophenone-1 in their urine had a sixty-five percent greater chance of having endometriosis compared to women with the lowest levels.
We should not expose our skin to anything that we would not eat, or that we do not consider edible, knowing that it will absorb into our system. Sunscreens are not food. Aside from shade and clothing, protection from overexposure to the sun can be provided by using virgin organic unrefined coconut oil on the skin. A primitive practice of the Islanders on the Fiji Islands is to cover their bodies with this oil. The reason why many tanning lotions smell like coconut is because the lotion companies first retrieve the protective compounds from the coconut oil, then add them to the lotion, before saturating it with industrial chemicals.
Sunscreens and suntan lotions are not the only triggers for cancer formation. Our dietary choices also have an impact. As reported by Ross Horne in his book, Cancerproof Your Body, “Skin cancer develops when the blood supply to the skin is obstructed by unhealthful dietary fats and cholesterol.” A diet rich in animal protein, fried or highly heated oils, clarified sugars, sodas or colas, cholesterol, synthetic chemicals, gluten, acrylamides, glycotoxins, and heterocyclic amines, all play roles in cancer development. These toxins are excreted through the skin and some food components clog the oil glands. The blood flow is then blocked and adequate nutrients cannot reach the skin.
In the August 2000 Cancer Research journal, a study was published declaring that, “Cooked omega-6 fats are stimulators of development and progression of a range of human cancers, including melanoma.” This study also pointed out that, “Long chain omega-3 fats inhibit the development and progression of cancers.” This study signifies by simply adding omega-3 rich foods such as raw fruits, raw vegetables, purslane, hemp seeds, ground flax, and chia seeds to our diet, while removing deleterious foods that contain cooked oils and free radicals, we could drastically reduce our chances of ever developing skin cancer.
When we make poor dietary choices, and block our skin with carcinogenic chemicals that make up the majority of the ingredients in suntan lotions and sunscreens, we help to lay the groundwork for cancer. Please, avoid spending money on more chemicals. Get a bottle of organic unrefined coconut oil and moderate the time you spend in the sun. Even wild animals know to limit their sun exposure, and will seek shade to prevent overexposure. Be smart about the duration of time you spend in the sun, and always be cautious of what you are eating, and how it has an impact on your overall health.
Jesse J. Jacoby ©2014