We’ve all heard that too much sun can cause skin cancer—but
did you know that not enough sun can also increase your cancer risk? Among
other illnesses and side effects, a lack of sunlight can cause Vitamin
D deficiency, which studies have linked to several types of cancers, according to
Vitamin D deficiency is more widespread than most people realize. Dr. Betty
Kovacs Harbolic elaborates in
this article from MedicineNet: “Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is now a global public-health
problem affecting an estimated 1 billion people worldwide.” This
problem is most prevalent during winter months when we naturally receive
less direct sunlight.
Dangers of lack of sunlight
Besides increased cancer risks as mentioned above, a lack of sunlight (more
specifically, a lack of Vitamin D) has been linked to a number of ailments, such as:
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD);
- Weight gain;
- Lowered immunity (you get sick more often);
- Increased risk for heart disease;
- Increased risk for dementia;
What you can do
Since most of the negative effects of getting too little sun can be traced
to a Vitamin D deficiency, taking steps to increase your Vitamin D levels
will reduce your risks. For example:
- Eating foods rich in Vitamin D, like salmon, egg yolks and fortified milk/juice/cereal;
- Taking a Vitamin D supplement (in moderation—too much Vitamin D can
- Cutting back on the sunscreen;
- Getting direct sunlight when possible (15-20 minutes per day is sufficient);
For more extreme deficiencies, a dermatologist might recommend
light therapy treatments.
For more information on winter safety, see our Checklist for
Winter Weather Preparation.
If you believe you’ve been a victim of medical error or malpractice,
talk to our
Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys to discuss your options.