With skin cancer rates on the rise, health officials have heavily advised Canadians to restrict their sun exposure. However, a new study on the relationship between sunlight and vitamin D levels in the body suggests that following this advice too strictly may actually be harmful to your health.
Statistics Canada reports that 12 million Canadians – or 35% of the population – have insufficient vitamin D levels due to sunlight deficiency. This number is extremely concerning, as vitamin D enables calcium absorption within the body, making it absolutely crucial in maintaining bone health.
The released report examines how various international organizations—like the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer—call for sun avoidance but ignore the harmful side effects of reduced exposure to sunshine, including vitamin D deficiency.
“If organizations warn people to stay out of the sun, then they should also let people know that they will not be producing vitamin D. Both the risks and benefits of UV exposure need to be addressed in the best interest of health,” says Dr. Reinhold Vieth, Scientific Advisor for the Canadian Vitamin D Consensus. “Unfortunately, the message Canadians keep hearing lately is that there is no benefit to being in the sun. [This new report] presents a clear case that good overall health does correlate with [some sun exposure].”