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Can Vitamin D Prevent Melanoma?

By , On , In Melanoma Awareness

Could it be that the best way to understand how to treat Melanoma is for us to actually spend more time in the sun? According to one of the latest studies, the evidence seems to suggest so. While Vitamin D alone won’t treat cancer, a recent study conducted by Cancer Research UK has shown that healthy levels of Vitamin D positively affects the aggression in melanoma cells, slowing growth and making the cells less aggressive.

The early tests, conducted at the University of Leeds, show promising signs to help cancer researchers understand how to better evaluate, and subsequently treat, skin cancers. Melanoma survival has doubled in the last 40 years, but has proven stubborn in the later stages (where the survival rate is 55%) when melanoma cells are at their most aggressive. This most recent development could help scientists and doctors develop treatment methods to increase the likelihood of survival, even at the advanced stages of Melanoma.

Woman in athletic clothing jogging on a path by the lake in West Kelowna, relating to getting more sun to produce vitamin D to prevent melanoma.
Just 15 minutes of midday sun per day is enough to help your body produce additional vitamin D.

Professor Julia Newton-Bishop stated, “After years of research, we finally know how vitamin D works … to influence the behaviour of melanoma cells … This new puzzle piece will help us better understand how melanoma grows and spreads, and hopefully find new targets to control it.”

It’s important to note once more that Vitamin D won’t fight cancer on it’s own, but managing the daily intake of Vitamin D will go a long way to controlling the aggressiveness of a cancer thus giving doctors a better shot for success and, most importantly, patients a better chance at survival.

We know that Vitamin D is best received by exposing bare skin to the ultraviolet rays of the sun in moderation. We recommend the sun in small doses, 15 minutes max. Especially in the summer!

So when should we be heading out into the sunshine? According to some studies, the body is most efficient at making Vitamin D at noon time. A story conducted by The Institute for Cancer Research in Oslo, Norway found the noon-time exposure to sunlight is preferable to exposure later in the afternoon.

How else can you supplement Vitamin D?

For additional Vitamin D, fatty fish like wild salmon are an excellent source of Vitamin D, as are egg yolks and wild mushrooms. Oysters are the tiny and delicious little bivalve that will not only impress your dinner guests, but help provide some Vitamin D as well. Vitamin D supplements can fill in the gaps as well, especially in those winter months where the sun sets early.

It’s tempting to hibernate in the cold winter months underneath blankets and warm sweaters. It’s easy too, to retreat to heartier meals, but it’s important to remember to get out in the midday sun, throw back an oyster, and toss some salmon on the grill every once in a while. It could very well save your life.