It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

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It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby natman » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:10 pm

When Should You Go Out in the Sun?
[LINK TO ARTICLE] (May require free membership)

New research shows that to get an optimal vitamin D supplement from the sun at a minimal risk of getting cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM), the best time of sun exposure is noon.

That means that common health recommendations given by authorities in many countries -- that sun exposure should be avoided for three to five hours around noon and postponed to the afternoon -- could be wrong and may even promote CMM.

This is in part because the action spectrum for CMM is likely to be centered at longer wavelengths than that of vitamin D generation.

Sources:
Advanced Experiments in Medical Biology 2008; 624: 86-88

Dr. Mercola's Comments:
This is an update for my own personal knowledge as for many years I have advised people to avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. if they were at risk of sunburn. Well it turns out that this is the case where a little bit of knowledge can actually be dangerous.

Cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is the most serious form of skin cancer, accounting for about three-quarters of all skin cancer deaths.

New research now supports that while avoiding the sun at mid-day will decrease your risk of painful sunburn it will actually increase your cancer risk.

How can this be?

If you are a member of my Mercola Inner Circle, and you listened to last month’s expert interview with Dr. William Grant, internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, you already have your answer.

Though he was not an author of the study above, his research found the same findings: that going out in the sun at mid-day is best for your health.

“Our recommendation, this is based on work in England and Norway, and the United States, that the optimal time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is near to solar noon as possible. That would be between say 10:00am and 2:00pm.

The reason is two-fold.

First of all, you need a shorter exposure time because the UVB is more intense.

Now, the second reason is that when the sun goes down towards the horizon, the UVB is filtered out much more than the UVA. And it turns out that the long wave of ultraviolet called UVA, which runs from about 320 to 400 nanometers, is highly correlated with melanoma -- where the UVB is the one that produces the vitamin D, and that’s from 290 to 315 nanometers,” Dr. Grant explains.

This is truly a profound concept, and one that is just beginning to permeate through the mainstream media.

For instance, U.S. News & World Report featured an article on time in the sun, and in it Robyn Lucas, an epidemiologist at Australian National University, agreed with these findings.

“I believe we all need a little unprotected time in the sun during the middle hours of the day when the sun is at its highest and UV-B rays can penetrate the atmosphere,” she said.

So let me restate this crucial new information:

If you want to get out in the sun to maximize your vitamin D production, and minimize your risk of malignant melanoma, the middle of the day is the best time and safest time to go.

“Squamous cell carcinoma is linked to lifetime ultraviolet B irradiants, whereas melanoma is linked to lifetime UVA irradiants, or sporadic sun burning in youth and things like that,” Dr. Grant says. “And so dermatologists, by telling people to put on sunscreen and avoid the mid-day sun, were actually giving recommendations that led to increased melanoma. And it’s because they didn’t carefully look at the wavelength dependents related to melanoma. And so they just didn’t figure out that they were giving bad advice.”

Both UVA and UVB can cause tanning and burning, although UVB does so far more rapidly. UVA, however, penetrates your skin more deeply than UVB, and is thought to be a much more important factor in photoaging, wrinkles and skin cancers.

Going Out in the Sun Will Lower Your Cancer Risk … NOT Increase It

Getting about 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D can help you to reduce your cancer risk by up to 50 percent!

And according to Dr. Grant, about 30 percent of cancer deaths -- which amounts to 2 million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States -- could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D.

However, most people only get 250-300 IU a day from their diet, so another source -- ideally the sun -- is essential.

How Long You Spend in the Sun is Also Critical

A common myth, aside from that of avoiding the mid-day sun, is that occasional exposure of your face and hands to sunlight is "sufficient" for obtaining healthy vitamin D levels. For most of us, this is an miserably inadequate exposure to move vitamin levels to the healthy range.

You need to expose large portions of your skin to the sun, and you need to do it for more than a few minutes.

In Caucasian skin, an equilibrium occurs within 20 minutes of ultraviolet exposure. It can take three to six times longer for darkly pigmented skin to reach the equilibrium concentration of skin vitamin D. So, bearing in mind that you need to gradually increase your time, starting in the spring, you should be aiming toward exposing large areas of your skin to the sun, anywhere from 20 minutes at a time to two hours at a time, depending on your skin type and environmental factors.

Longer exposures will be needed if sunbathing occurs at off-peak times for ultraviolet light (before 12 p.m. or after 3 p.m.) or at the beginning or end of the summer (April or September).

You’re probably wondering, now that fall and winter are approaching in the United States, what to do when it’s too cold for sun exposure.

In the winter months, if you’ve had your vitamin D levels tested and found them to be low, a vitamin D3 supplement (cholecalciferol), which is the type of vitamin D found naturally in foods like eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil, and fish, can be used. Continue to have your vitamin D levels monitored during this time, though, so you don’t overdose.

To learn more about how to use sunlight for your health -- and the dangers of not getting enough -- keep an eye out for my new book, Dark Deception, which is coming out shortly.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

Get exposed to the sun, and get exposed to the Son.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Ramblinman » Thu May 28, 2009 4:03 am

Nathan,

It might be helpful to plug in a few numbers to see what a healthy summer day might look like as far as my skin is concerned:

My skin type is III, my home and favorite resort are at low elevation (maximizing atmospheric density and thus protection), sometimes it gets cloudy on a summer afternoon (take 20% off radiation when cloudy), but we get UV Index of 10 during solar noon (1:35 pm around here)
If it is well into summer, I have built up a base tan of SPF3, so I would need about an hour total of midday sun (thirty minutes on each side) to max out my Vitamin D production. I would probably have midday sunning sessions no more than 3 times a week. (It is hard for me to sneak away at that hour, but I have managed to find secluded wooded areas close to my job site on several ocassions.

Dr. Mercola is absolutely right about the need for nudity or near nudity to maximize Vitamin D production. As any one part of our skin reaches equilibrium pretty fast, the only way to make more D is to bare more skin during that 20 minute window. (I bare all when I can).

The rest of the day, I would be nude but not deliberately seeking sun exposure.
Because of where I live and my skin type, I would (except for thrice weekly Vitamin D sunbaths), probably stay indoors or in deep shade from 10:00 to 16:00 to avoid excessive sun exposure (and the heat of the day). UV Index falls way off on either side of solar noon, so I would actually have several hours in the mornings and late afternoons nude work or play time, particularly if I am not in full sun the whole time and maybe using sunscreen.

Extremely fair-skinned people should not follow the sort of day I laid out. They should probably stay indoors most of the day here in the sunny South. If they can't tan, they might as well get all their Vitamin D from dietary sources, such as oily fish, liver and fortified milk. I wouldn't even trust sunblock to protect me if I were that fair skinned.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby natman » Thu May 28, 2009 12:28 pm

Ramblinman wrote:I wouldn't even trust sunblock to protect me if I were that fair skinned.



Ramblin,



From what I have read, you probably shouldn't trust most sunblocks AT ALL. Although they are effective at blocking UVB rays and thereby reducing sunburn on the outer layers of skin, they are almost totally ineffective at reducing UVA rays which cause deeper damage.



Another concern is that the vast majority of sunscreens contain petroleum distillates and scenting agents that are known to cause far more cancers that they perport to prevent.



The best solution is to get a gradual natural sun tan during the peak hours of the day, increasing the skins natural sunblock, melanin as well as the bodies supply of Vitamin D. For fair skinned people, this will simply take longer that darker skinned folks. Additionally, it is essential that we balance our Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio with a diet that includes sources of Vitamin-E such as fish or krill oil.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

Get exposed to the sun, and get exposed to the Son.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Ramblinman » Thu May 28, 2009 1:01 pm

Nathan,

I think there are trustworthy sunblocks, but I would have to get back to you on which are free from harmful compounds. Zinc oxide is in itself harmless and a very effective physical barrier against all solar radiation, it's just a matter of what they add to it to make it spreadable and clingy that concerns me.

A light coating of mud on your back and shoulders would work fine, too, but most folks might not like the way it looks.

In summer I am outdoors for a lot more than vitamin D. To make vitamin D, I agree that midday is best. Most folks think that staying in the sun long enough to tan is necessary to obtaining adequate vitamin D. With my skin type (III), 20 minutes is all it takes to make around 20,000 IU of vitamin D when my skin is untanned at the end of winter. When my skin is tanned (to about SPF3), I triple the time to one hour of nude exposure to get the same amount of vitamin D. In other words, the time I need to make vitamin D is far less than the time I need to tan.

But I am still left wanting to be nude in nature for many more hours when I have accomplished the goal making vitamin D in that 20 minute to one hour span.
That's when I either stick to deep shade and hike in the woods, stay indoors or wait until morning or late evening.

One thing you said concerns me. I know some fair skinned people (type I skin or II) who absolutely cannot tan at all. They actually can absorb UVB up to three times faster than I can. At my springtime palest, it takes me 20 minutes to get the vitamin D that they can make in 5 to 10 minutes. People this fair skinned may be better off getting most of their vitamin D from fish and fish oils.

And don't forget to eat your leafy greens! Sunlight destroys folate. We can replace this nutrient (in the form of folic acid) by eating leafy greens. Folate depletion lowers male fertility, can lead to spina bifida in first trimester pregnancies and causes wrinkling.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby natman » Thu May 28, 2009 3:31 pm

Ramblinman wrote:People this fair skinned may be better off getting most of their vitamin D from fish and fish oils.


Fish and fish oils are sources of Vitamin-E, not D. As I recall dark greens provide some source of D, but, as our bodies do not injest D very well, we would have to eat about 50 pounds of brocolli per day to get the same amount our bodies produce in a short time in the sun.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

Get exposed to the sun, and get exposed to the Son.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Ramblinman » Thu May 28, 2009 4:50 pm

Nathan,

Cod liver oil has been regarded as a good source of D3 for years.

I mentioned leafy greens not because of D, but because they are a good source of folate, which is depleted during sun exposure.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Larryk1052 » Thu May 28, 2009 8:50 pm

I am using a tanning booth to get my tan started off. I don't have time to get out into the sun around noon and what time I do have out doors I can't tan in the nude. At the end of June I am going to Avalon for the CNC and I want a good tan so I don't burn.


My wife tells me a tan won't protect me from burning. If that is so other than not looking so pale and the vitamin D you get from the sun why should I worry about tanning and just put sun screen on?



Will a tan protect me from burning?
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Jon-Marc » Thu May 28, 2009 10:00 pm

The Florida sun at that time of day and this time of year (especially during the summer) is WAY too hot for me. I stay indoors during the afternoons.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Ramblinman » Thu May 28, 2009 10:41 pm

Larry,

If you burn after 20 minutes without a tan, you could expect to burn after 60 minutes with a tan. (Tans are comparable to SPF 3 sunscreen protection).

If you use sunscreen that is, let's say SPF 30, and you burn in 20 minutes without sunscreen, then you would not burn until you had been in the sun for ten hours.

Not that I am recommending ten hours of standing naked in full sun in an open field.
I am not sure that even Masai warriors are up for that and they are generally well-protected by black skin.

Here in Georgia, summer afternoons are way too hot to be real active. It's good to get your work done early, before 10:00 a.m. if you can. It is tolerable again after 7:00 pm. for hard work, but you'll still sweat a lot on a hot day. And Florida and Texas have us beat for hot summer weather. Everyone there knows to take it easy when the sun is high or you'll faint.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Larryk1052 » Thu May 28, 2009 11:02 pm

Thanks for the info. I will certainly use sun screen at the CNC. I have used sun screen in previous years and it does keep me from burning.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby natman » Fri May 29, 2009 8:15 am

Ramblinman wrote:Cod liver oil has been regarded as a good source of D3 for years.



Based on an article I read earlier this year, as I recall, fish oils do not actually contain Vitamin-D. Rather, they contain omega-3 fatty acids (Vitamin-E) and by balancing the omega-3 and omega-6, help our bodies synthesize Vitamin-D.



That is one reason why women who have been encouraged to drink Vitamin-D fortified milk for the last forty years and to avoid the sun have actually seen an increase in female issues including ovarian and breast cancer as well as osteoporosis and rheumatory artheritis.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby natman » Fri May 29, 2009 8:21 am

Jon-Marc wrote:The Florida sun at that time of day and this time of year (especially during the summer) is WAY too hot for me. I stay indoors during the afternoons.



Unfortunately, in Florida or any state along the gulf coast, not only are you dealing with the sun, but you are also dealing with humidity which also increases at the peak of the day, making it feel all that much hotter.



We have one of those warehouse fans we keep turned on while tanning, just to move air around and reduce the humidity.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Ramblinman » Fri May 29, 2009 12:38 pm

Nathan,

Cod liver oil is not the same as ordinary fish oil.
Liver of fish and land animals all have plenty of D3, so does oil derived from liver (of any kind).

There is a problem that I forgot to mention. Cod liver oil has so much vitamin E that you would have to consume toxic levels of vitamin E in the cod liver oil in order to get the optimal dose of vitamin D3 in cod liver oil.

The reason people have been taking cod liver oil over the years is that as long as they take less than a toxic dose of E, the D3 in it is beneficial. But in order to prevent cancer and maximize our health we need even more D3 than we can safely consume from liver or liver oils.

Milk tends to be fortified with D2, which the body has to process further to make it into D3. Rats benefit from D2, but humans don't seem to get much benefit from D2. Mushrooms also have D2 by the way. Humans need D3. I realize that we have to be careful not to overdose on D3 vitamin tablets, but it may be a necessary part of the solution for some people.

We can get D3 from supplements and people with type I skin should not be in the midday sun at all and should avoid fluorescent lights. People with type II skin are almost as vulnerable and should not attempt to tan, but could probably stand a few minutes of sunlight enough to make their dose of D3 and then head for shade.

If your ancestors adapted to a part of the world that receives little sunlight: northern and western Europe for instance, and then moved to a sunnier climate closer to the equator, say Texas or Florida, chances are natural selection has not had time to select the proper skin color for the amount of sunlight your skin receives. It makes sense to come out of the sun when it is higher in the sky (and burns more) than the angle of the sun in the land of your ancestry.

I remember walking around in the sun all day in England and not getting the slightest burn, but my fair skinned companions were quite red at day's end. Here in the southern USA, I have to be much more careful.

Here are the skin types I have been discussing:

Skin Type I:
Usually bright white or pale skin, blue or green eyes, red hair and many freckles. This skin type always burns outdoors, never tans.
NOTE: A person who is a true Skin Type I should avoid tanning indoors and outdoors. Scottish, Irish, some Scandinavians


Skin Type II:
Beige skin, blue or grey eyes; blonde or light brown hair and some freckles. This skin type has a strong tendency to sunburn outdoors, but sometimes tans. Scandinavians, northern France, northern Germany, Poles, etc.


Skin Type III:
Light brown skin, brown eyes and hair. This skin type sometimes burns outdoors but always tans. Peoples whose origin is from Central Europe (some French, Swiss, southern Germany, Austria, northern Italy, Czechs, etc.)


Skin Type IV:
Light brown or olive skin, dark brown eyes and hair. This skin type sometimes burns outdoors and tans readily. Most Spaniards, northern Asians, Portuguese, southern France, southern Italy, Greece, Balkans, most Arabs, etc.


Skin Type V:
Brown skin, dark brown hair and eyes. This skin type rarely burns outdoors and tans easily. Southeast Asians, Native Americans, India, some Australian Aborigines
and many lighter skinned Africans and Afro-Americans.

Skin Type VI:
Black skin, black-brown eyes and hair. This skin type rarely sunburns outdoors. African blacks or their descendants, southern India, Melanesians, some Australian Aborigines


This is only a general guideline, colors vary within each skin type and region, but there is a strong correlation between your skin color and the amount of sunlight that falls on your ancestral homelands.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby DaveT » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:14 am

It is my understanding, (from sources other than the standard medical field) that a proper amount of sun exposure has very little to do with skin cancer, it's only excessive sun that has some effect, and that is still only a minor contributing cause. It's actually our diet and other factors that set up the conditions that make the cancer grow. Mainly a diet high in the wrong kind of fats. The medical system likes to downplay diet as a factor in health, and yet it has a huge amount to do with it. How much emphasis do the doctors place on refraining from animal fats and unnatural modified vegetable fats as a solution to heart disease? I haven't heard much from that source. People go to the doctor with clogged arteries, the doctor treats the symptoms, and says not a word to them about what caused it and how to prevent it.

Oh by the way, 2 options; there is a root of a wild flower out here in the woods that will pull skin cancers out.
And then there's a little weed growing around the gardens that will do the same if it's prepared properly.
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Re: It Turns Out that Noon is the BEST Time to Suntan

Postby Ramblinman » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:15 pm

DaveT wrote:It is my understanding, (from sources other than the standard medical field) that a proper amount of sun exposure has very little to do with skin cancer, it's only excessive sun that has some effect, and that is still only a minor contributing cause. It's actually our diet and other factors that set up the conditions that make the cancer grow. Mainly a diet high in the wrong kind of fats. The medical system likes to downplay diet as a factor in health, and yet it has a huge amount to do with it. How much emphasis do the doctors place on refraining from animal fats and unnatural modified vegetable fats as a solution to heart disease? I haven't heard much from that source. People go to the doctor with clogged arteries, the doctor treats the symptoms, and says not a word to them about what caused it and how to prevent it.

Oh by the way, 2 options; there is a root of a wild flower out here in the woods that will pull skin cancers out.
And then there's a little weed growing around the gardens that will do the same if it's prepared properly.


Dave,
I think "proper amount of sun exposure" is the key concept.
And you are correct, it is not just the amount of radiation you are exposed to, but your risk of cancer is a function of if it was intense enough to cause more damage to your skin cells than your body can repair.
Whatever your skin type, whatever the sunlight in your part of the world, make sure you do not get sunburned.

Your body may still be able to repair the damage if you eat a diet rich in antioxidants.
Fresh greens, vegetables with bright colors, berries and other fruits are important in providing what you need to repair sun damage and the effects of daily life and aging. You need other things for a balanced diet, but these are the main foods involved in preventing cancer and delaying aging.

There are other herbs that may help as well. Turmeric is one. You have also heard that vitamin D from the sun is also helpful and it is. You don't need to burn your skin to make vitamin D.

I can't promise that you will never develop skin cancer, but as you said, it can be prevented by proper diet.
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