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Daily Sunlight Can Keep Cancer Away

August 07, 2008 | 36,323 views
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In this video, Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, reveals the important role vitamin D plays in your health.

Dr. Grant, whose background is in atmospheric sciences, has applied the ecologic approach to the study of dietary and environmental links to chronic disease. He has worked at the level of senior research scientist at such notable institutions as SRI International, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the NASA Langley Research Center.

More recently, Dr. Grant has uncovered exciting potential for the use of vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of a number of high-incidence cancers found in Western populations. He is the director of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC), an entity devoted to research, education, and advocacy relating to the prevention of chronic disease through changes in diet and lifestyle.

Dr. Grant has also authored or coauthored over 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals, edited two books of reprints, and contributed half a dozen chapters to other books.

To hear the entire exclusive interview with Dr. Grant, join the Mercola Inner Circle.

How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health

A robust and growing body of research clearly shows that vitamin D is absolutely critical for good health and disease prevention. Vitamin D affects your DNA through vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which bind to specific locations of the human genome. Scientists have identified nearly 3,000 genes that are influenced by vitamin D levels, and vitamin D receptors have been found throughout the human body.

Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. Dr. Heaney is the Research Director of GrassrootsHealth and is part of the design of the D*action Project as well as analysis of the research findings. GrassrootsHealth shows how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.

In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. This was an ongoing campaign during the month of February, and will become an annual event.

To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)

As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey."

Vitamin D Kit
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What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

If I told you there was something you could do to cut your risk of 15 types of cancer by 50 percent -- and it wouldn’t cost you a dime -- would you do it?

Well there is, and it’s called sun exposure.

This simple thing is so widely overlooked in the United States, despite the fact that only smoking is a bigger risk factor for cancer. After that, Dr. Grant, who is one of the top experts in the world on this topic, believes that your ability to get proper sun exposure is the next largest variable in whether or not you’ll get cancer.

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is different from other vitamins in that it influences your entire body -- receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones.

In fact , your organs can actually convert vitamin D in your bloodstream into calcitriol, which is the hormonal version of vitamin D. Your organs then use it to repair damage, including that from cancer cells.

Some physicians are even experimenting with extremely high doses of vitamin D -- upwards of 50,000 international units (IU) a day -- to help advanced cancer patients heal (which is not something I’d recommend doing without very close supervision from an experienced health care provider).

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.

How Much Vitamin D do You Need?

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. However, most people only get 250-300 IU a day from their diet.

This means you simply need some sun exposure if you want to get enough vitamin D. Your body is capable of producing about 10,000 IU of vitamin D each day when you’re out in the sun, but depending on how much skin you have exposed, cloud cover, location, skin color and other factors, you may make much less than that.

As Dr. Grant pointed out, if you only have 10 percent of your body exposed to the sun you can make about 1,000 IU per day, and if half your body is exposed you can make 5,000 IU.

Keep in mind also that as you age your body’s ability to produce vitamin D decreases significantly. Typical unhealthy adults over 60 actually have just one-quarter the production rate of vitamin D than do younger people, so if you’re over 60 you’ll need to stay out in the sun longer to get enough vitamin D.

The best thing about getting your vitamin D from the sun is that it’s impossible to overdose, and it just feels so good!

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.

So How Much Sun Should You Get?

A common myth is that occasional exposure of your face and hands to sunlight is "sufficient" for vitamin D nutrition. For most of us, this is an absolutely inadequate exposure to move vitamin levels to the healthy range of 45-55 ng/ml.

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.

A light-skinned person fairly far from the equator (such as in the UK or the northern U.S.) needs at least three of these 20-minute sessions per week, in bright midday sunlight and with few clothes. Longer 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) when the sun is lower in the sky for most of the day. A dark-skinned person, of course, should be outside significantly longer.

What You Need to Know About the Sun and Sunscreen

The sun’s rays contain two primary wavelengths: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).

UVB is the more beneficial of the two, as this is what converts into vitamin D. UVA, meanwhile, is now believed to be a primary risk factor for cancer.

UVB has a wavelength that is more easily filtered through the atmosphere, so on a cloudy day you won’t get as much of that beneficial radiation on your skin to make vitamin D. However, UVA does not get filtered as well and will penetrate the atmosphere more easily, so it will STILL increase your risk of cancer on cloudy days, in the early morning and late afternoon.

Now, if you think you can protect yourself from UVA by using sunscreen, think again.

Many of the sun lotions on the market do not screen for UVA. Unless it specifically says so on the label, assume it doesn’t. What most sunscreens end up doing, then, is screening out the beneficial UVB, and therefore limiting your vitamin D, while allowing the dangerous UVA to filter through!

If you’re using sunscreen, please make sure you use a product that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays, and contains non-toxic ingredients.

Even then, I only recommend using it when you know you’ll be outdoors for a long period and won’t be able to cover up. Ideally, get out in the sunshine with no sunscreen just long enough to get your vitamin D (this can vary from 15 minutes to two hours depending on the factors I mentioned earlier), then cover up with some loose clothing and a hat.

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