I know it can be dangerous in large doses without protection, but get out for some fun in the sun this summer if you can.
Your colon may thank you for it.
A recent study by researchers at the University of California San Diego found that there was a strong correlation between sun exposure and the risk for severe genetic mutations in the colon.
Perhaps surprising to some, they found that more sun exposure was associated with a lower risk of trouble.
But you’ve spent a lot of time hearing about the dangers of sunlight. Too much sun exposure, particularly without adequate application of sunscreen, can age skin and cause harmful genetic mutations in your skin.
The sun’s UVA and UVB rays have different effects on your body. UVB is what can lead to burns, while UVA may contribute to skin aging. UVB rays, however, also prompt your body to produce a very important nutrient: vitamin D.
Not all sun exposure is bad. Many experts suggest getting a small amount of direct exposure each day, ranging from about 10 minutes to 40 or so, depending on your complexion. Lighter-skinned people should be at the lower end of the scale, while darker-skinned people can handle more exposure to meet vitamin D needs.
The researchers observed global levels of UVB light in 2017 then examined colon health among people in 148 countries the following year. They found that the less light exposure, the more likely there were to be problems – especially for those 45 and older.
Although vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps the body stay healthy and function optimally (and people who get less light are far more prone to deficiency) it might not be the only explanation for the sun’s effect on colon health.
People who are getting more sun exposure are likely more active than those that get less. If they are outside they are likely participating in some type of activity, which is also associated with better colon health.
An active lifestyle also tends to translate to a better diet and other health-promoting factors.
In any event, try getting a little more sun this summer – just remember to do it safely. Apply sunscreen after a short period outdoors and do your best to get your direct exposure in off-peak hours.