The Many Health Benefits Of Sunshine

2012-06-22 | |
Last updated: 2012-06-22

Cancer Risk And Exposure To Sunshine

Now, returning to the earlier comment regarding public health warnings about cancer and sun exposure, most people will immediately think of the dangers of skin cancer. However, getting a healthy amount of sunshine can actually reduce the risks of a number of cancers. According to 2006 research from the University of California, exposure to sunlight reduces the chances for developing 16 types of cancer. In general, it is thought that the production of sufficient vitamin D is what reduces these risks.

A more current example of cancer risk reduction from sunlight relates to the risks for pancreatic cancer, the number four cancer killer of men. Research that was just published from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research found that men living in climates with the greatest UV exposure had a 24% lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer than men living in regions with the least ultraviolet radiation from the sun. What this means is that for men living closer to the poles, it is important to take the extra steps to get sufficient sunshine.

Sunshine And Depression

Sufficient levels of sun exposure are also important for another reason that does not involve vitamin D. Research from McGill University reports that more than 50% of people living away from the equator experience a lower mood during the winter months because of the lower levels of light and about 3% of the population can develop depression when light levels are less intense. The research has found that light levels affect the operation of brain communication meaning that it is even more important for many people to take steps to get more sunlight during the winter months.


While public officials do their best to prevent skin cancer by promoting the need to protect ourselves from too much sun, many people are actually getting less exposure to the sun than they actually need to stay healthy. Though it may seem hard to find that middle ground between getting too little and getting too much sunshine, research has found that there is a safe level that we should be getting regularly. They key is to simply be mindful of how much time we spend in the sun.

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Category: Disease Information, Disease Prevention, Health Risks, Medical Research

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