A healthy dose of sunshine boosts cancer survival

According to a recent review, vitamin D deficiency might help explain the difference in cancer survival rates between black and white Americans.1

The authors of this study conclude that African Americans should take vitamin D. But evidence shows that most all Americans can benefit.

As I wrote in 2008, healthy levels of vitamin D actually protect against many cancers. Bladder, breast, colon, endometrial, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, rectal, testicular, and vaginal cancer are all lowered by higher serum vitamin D levels, as are Hodgkin’s lymphoma and melanoma.

And two good ways to increase your serum vitamin D levels are to:

1.) Take a vitamin D supplement (1,000–2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day)

2.) Spend more time in the sun.

Should  you be concerned about solar radiation and cancer ? You bet! But the concern should also be about getting enough sunlight to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D. I recommend at least 20 minutes a day of direct sun exposure (NO sunscreen).


1 “Differences in vitamin D status may account for unexplained disparities in cancer survival rates between African and White Americans,” Dermato-Endocrinology 2012; 4(2)