Finding balance between getting Vitamin D and avoiding skin cancer

Vitamin D is crucial for bone health, but it's also considered to reduce the risk of some cancers, reduce heart disease, and even help improve mood. There's one natural way that can help people get Vitamin D, but some risks come along with not protecting your skin from the sun.

Nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner from Spectrum Health,  discusses how people can find the perfect balance between getting their daily dose of Vitamin D, while reducing the risk of skin cancer.

People get most of their Vitamin D from the sun, yet approximately 50 percent of people are Vitamin D deficient. People tend to get less Vitamin D if they:

  • Live north of the equator.
  • Live near a heavily air polluted area.
  • Have darker skin.
  • Stay indoors often.
  • Don't take supplements when not exposed.
  • Have a history of bariatric surgery or malabsorption.

Adults need 1000 to 4000 liquid units of Vitamin D per day. The sun is the best and most natural way to get Vitamin D, but people can get it from other sources such as:

  • Supplements
  • Fortified dairy
  • Fatty fish
  • Fish oil supplements

While the sun is the best way for the body to absorb Vitamin D, it's also putting the body at risk to contract skin cancer if people don't protect their skin. The American Academy of Dermatology says in order to avoid skin cancer, people should do the following if they are to spend long periods of time outside:

  • Seek Shade from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (when the sun is the most damaging.)
  • Wear Protective clothing.
  • Generously apply sunscreen SPF 30 or greater every two hours.
  • Use caution near water.
  • Perform regular self exams; be aware of the warning signs of skin cancer.
    • Asymmetry
    • Border
    • Color
    • Diameter
    • Evolving

Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

All information was provided by Dr. Diana Bitner, her blog. Read more.

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