Sunlight Found To Reduce Lung Cancer Rates

A study published in the January (07) issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that lower levels of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are associated with a higher incidence of lung cancer across 111 countries. This study, along with many others, suggests that we need to reevaluate the amount of time we spend in the sun. While too much sun is not a good thing, too little sun isn't great either because sunlight helps the skin manufacture healthy vitamin D.

"It would be false prudence to stay out of the sun to prevent skin cancer and not get enough vitamin D," says the study's senior author Cedric Garland, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and participating member at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center in La Jolla, Calif.

Previous research, much of it by the same group, has found a strong association between breast cancer, colon cancer and other internal-organ cancers and living in latitudes with less sunlight. For example, one paper observed that the death rate from colon cancer in areas above the U.S. Mason-Dixon line was double that of the rates below the line, leading the researchers to focus on a lack of sunlight as the culprit. Another study linked lower levels of a vitamin D metabolite in the blood with a higher level of colon cancer.

For the study, Garland and his colleagues looked at the association between latitude, exposure to UVB light and rates of lung cancer in 111 countries, using figures came from an extensive United Nations database.

Although smoking showed the strongest association with lung cancer, exposure to UVB light&emdash;which is greatest closer to equator&emdash;also had an impact. The study showed that lung cancer rates were highest in regions farthest away from the equator and lowest in those regions nearest to it. Higher cloud cover and aerosol use (both of which absorb UVB rays) also were linked with higher rates of lung cancer. For men, smoking was associated with higher rates of lung cancer, while greater exposure to sunlight was associated with lower rates. For women, cigarette smoking, total cloud cover and aerosol levels were associated with higher rates of lung cancer, while sunlight was again associated with lower rates.

info from Looking Fit (12/07) More Vitamin D May Lower Lung Cancer Rates

Another Study Shows Sunlight Improves Lung Health

As reported in Reuters News (12/05), higher amounts of vitamin D could help make it easier to breathe, offering possible good news for smokers, asthmatics and other people with respiratory problems.

Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found people with higher levels of the vitamin in their systems showed better lung function than those with lower amounts. While the vitamin, which people get mostly from sunlight, is linked to lung health, the exact relationship is unclear, they said.

"Although there is a definite relationship between lung function and vitamin D, it is unclear if increases in vitamin D through supplements or dietary intake will actually improve lung function in patients with chronic respiratory diseases," said Dr. Peter Black, who led the study. Black, an associate professor in the university's Department of Medicine, and his team analyzed information from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The team collected data on 14,091 people from 1988 to 1994. Their new analysis found those who had higher levels of vitamin D were able to inhale and exhale more air.

That link was seen in blacks and non-Hispanic whites and was stronger in people older than 60 and smokers. Non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans showed lower levels of the vitamin compared to whites. The study, funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, also found levels of the nutrient were higher among men and lessened as people aged or gained weight. Dr. Rosalind Wright, a professor at Harvard Medical School's Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, said the vitamin could be an easy way to boost lung function. "Vitamin D would be a relatively simple, low-cost intervention that would likely have high compliance to prevent or slow loss of lung function in susceptible subgroups," said Wright, who wrote in an editorial accompanying the study.

She added that more studies are needed to see who would benefit most. Other recent studies have suggested Vitamin D may help strengthen bones as well as prevent some cancers and multiple sclerosis.

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Tanning & Natural Health News is a publication of Tan Plus /Essentials Of Life, Barclay Square, 350 Route 108, Somersworth, NH. This publication is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be presented as medical advice. Product statements made have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.

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