Fun In The Sun

You're packing up for a winter vacation somewhere warm, and you're really looking forward to breaking in that new swimsuit. Then you remember the warnings about wearing sun block, shades and big, floppy hats. While it's true that overexposure to the sun can have harmful effects, a new study conducted by the US Department of Energy in conjunction with scientists from Norway suggests that moderately increasing your time in the sun can help your body produce more vitamin D. Turns out that people living in Australia just below the equator produce 3.4 times more vitamin D than people living in the UK, and 4.8 times more than Scandinavians.

The Bigger Picture: Your body uses UVB, short solar radiation wavelengths at the earth's surface, to convert precursor chemicals to vitamin D. The long ultraviolet wavelengths known as UVA are the primary cause of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Wearing skin block is important to protect against the harmful rays, but it 'blocks' both UVA and UVB sunlight. Supplementing with multivitamins may make up some of the difference in obtaining the nutrients your body needs.
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