Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for July 11, 2006


Three days ago we went up to Wasaga beach. My wife has a friend that owns a cottage right near the waterfront. The weather was a hot 32 degrees, full sunshine and not a cloud in the sky so it was the perfect day to go to the beach. Every year this guy has a party and invites all of his friends from work and we spend the day playing Beach Bocce, volleyball and of course swimming.

We were invited up two years ago and I got a really good sunburn from being in the sun so long. My arms were red, the back of neck was sore and I was so red that everybody at work made comments because it was so bad. And I seem to recall that I was wearing sun block but I can’t say for sure.

This time with my knowledge of chemicals, I refuse to put on any sun block and I’ll just watch my exposure in the sun. We had such a great time that I ended up spending a lot of time in the sun and forgot that I wasn’t wearing any sun block. I must have spent a least three hours in direct sunlight. I’ll pay for this tomorrow….and I’ll look like a lobster again.

The next day, I check out my arms and to my surprise there is no sign of sunburn. No redness whatsoever and I can’t believe it. The back of my neck is fine and my arms and legs show no sign that I was in the sun at all. How is this possible? Doctor Google…

Guarding against Sun Singe

Of course, we all know that a milligram of prevention is worth many pounds of cure when it comes to sunburn. The best way to prevent sunburn is to simply use common sense by avoiding excess exposure and using sunscreen. You can also help your skin by taking some supplements when you know you’re going to be exposed to the sun.

Vitamin C has qualities that can help protect skin from sunlight, and it’s also well-known for its antioxidant properties, says Leon Hecht, N.D., a naturopathic doctor at the North Coast Family Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

For people who spend a lot of time in the sun, Dr. Hecht suggests up to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C three or four times a day. “Vitamin C stimulates repair of sun-damaged skin,” he says.

In a controlled study, 10 people took either 2,000 milligrams of vita min C with 1,000 IU of vitamin E a day or an inactive substance (placebo). The sunburn reaction after eight days of treatment revealed that the skin of people in the treatment group showed less damage than that of those in the placebo group.

Dr. Hecht also states that vitamins C and E used in topical sunscreens prove effective as well. “Early studies show that it is prudent to add vitamins C and E to your sunscreen to protect against ultraviolet phototoxic injury to your skin,” he says. Sunscreens with these vitamins already added can be found in drugstores.

Well as it turns out, vitamins C and E have been part of my daily vitamins for months now. I’ve also read that vitamin D can have a positive effect as sunblock and I’ve just added that.

Doctor Google found this:

Sunblock and skin cancer: Not the relationship you thought there was.

1. You need vitamin D. Sunlight on the skin (up to an hour a day) is the most important source of vitamin D. The other source of vitamin D is the food you eat.

2. Vitamin D may have a role in preventing skin cancer and certain other cancers as well (breast and prostate).

3. Using sunblock prevents production of vitamin D by your body. Therefore, using sunblock could actually increase your risk of getting cancer.

The biggest issue with vitamin D is that, at the levels thought to provide protection from cancer, it depletes the level of calcium in the body. This can lead to problems with osteoporosis, but you can take supplements to deal with this.

1. Build up your sun exposure in spring and summer so you can get an hour of sunlight on your body every day, without sunblock. Start slow and AVOID GETTING SUNBURNED. It doesn’t have to be an hour straight – several periods of exposure adding up to an hour is enough. In other places, I have read that (for caucasians, anyway), all that needs to be exposed in summer is the arms and the face, not the whole body. One source says that for caucasians twenty minutes is enough to provide all the vitamin D you need for the day. I wish these guys could come to an agreement, but it looks like 20 to 60 minutes total would be a good idea, more than that is probably asking for trouble with sunburn and increased cancer risk.

2. If you are staying out of the sun, and for everyone in winter, take fish oil as a supplement. African-Americans and others with dark skin living in temperate latitudes should probably take fish oil routinely rather than increase sun exposure, because the melanin in your skin cuts down on the amount of vitamin D produced. (Read this in other places, not in the article – some scientists think that caucasians are humans that lost pigmentation as an adaptation to allow their bodies to produce enough vitamin D in relatively sunless northern latitudes. The jury is still out on that one.) Anyway, Mercola recommends cod liver oil for everybody, both for the vitamin D in it and for the Omega-3 fatty acids. I also read that in the winter, at the latitiude of Boston, a fair-skinned person could stand outside naked all day and not get enough sun to produce any vitamin D. That person would also probably have a severe case of frostbite and an arrest record by the end of the day. Take your cod-liver oil.

3. Reduce your consumption of foods containing Omega-6 fatty acids. If your favorite snack is sunflower seeds, you might want to reconsider that, or reduce your consumption of them/balance your consumption of sunflower seeds by eating more fish containing Omega-3 fatty acids. Remember that corn oil, safflower oil, etc. (he lists them in the article) are almost pure Omega-6 fatty acids and also need to be reduced so that you get as close as possible to a 1:1 ratio of consumption. This is coming out more and more as being important to prevention of certain cancers.

Dr. Mercola points out the irony in our (appropriate) concern about cancer and exessive sun exposure, while at the same time it appears that moderate exposure to sun may actually help to prevent skin cancer and sunblock use could be a problem.

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July 12, 2006 - Posted by | Health | , , , , ,

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