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How much sun exposure? New study hopes to answer question

Posted on: September 27, 2013   by  Vitamin D Council


A new study is set to take place in Australia, examining whether people are getting too little, too much or just enough sun exposure.

In Australia, while many people have low vitamin D levels, it is also a country that has a high incidence of skin cancer. Thus it is a difficult task in making sure people get the right balance of sun exposure – enough to make vitamin D but not too much where you start to burn.

Universities and research centers are teaming up with Cancer Australia and are gathering about 1,000 people throughout Australia for the study, called the Sun Exposure vitamin D Supplementation (SEDS) study.

The subjects will be given sun exposure advice, a vitamin D supplement or placebo, and some will receive a dosimeter wristband, which will measure precisely how much sun exposure they’re getting. Furthermore, the dosimeter will alert the participants when their skin has gotten adequate sun exposure.

According to the lead researcher, Dr Robyn Lucas, their goal is to establish an understanding of the amount of sun people are exposing themselves to and then to see if behavior needs to be modified. Ultimately they want to answer the big question of whether people should seek more sunlight, or look to supplements.

The study has just finished gathering its participants and hopes to have all data collected to begin analyzing in December 2014.

For more information, visit the SEDS website: http://www.sedsstudy.org/index.html


5 Responses to How much sun exposure? New study hopes to answer question

  1. Rita and Misty

    Points to consider:

    1. UVB rays are responsible for vitamin D; UVA for skin cancer, including Melanoma.

    2. Studies indicate that intermittent sun exposure and burning increase Melanoma risk; and consistent sun exposure actually decreases Melanoma risk.

    3. Consistent with point #2, cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D can inhibit melanoma cell growth and also promote apoptosis:

    “There is, indeed, evidence that vitamin D produced in the skin acts by way of local autocrine or paracrine effects to protect kerathinocytes from UV carcinogenesis.” Mandelcom-Monson, Rochelle, et al, “Sun Exposure, Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphisms Foki and Bsmi, and Risk of Multiple Primary Melanoma,” Cancer Epidemiology, 2011

    4. Sun exposure does more than simply produce cutaneous vitamin D. Other benefits include, but are not limited to, production of serotonin and melatonin.

    Given that there is sufficient evidence that an optimal vitamin D blood serum level plays important role in reducing risk of bone disease, autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancers and infectious diseases, I wonder how ethical it is to give study participants a placebo?

    I do think that burning and sun sensitive is a visible sign of vitamin D deficiency. I am a redhead, skin level 2, and when my 25(OH)D level was raised to optimal (for me 74 ng/ml), I ceased to burn. I can sit under full summer sun for hours at a time, sans sunscreen, and I do not burn.

    Be well,

  2. Debbie

    Rita, I enjoy your posts here so much. I wanted to comment on the fact that you don’t burn in the sun anymore. Neither do I. I can spend hours in the sun and occasionally my cheeks will turn a little pink but it’s gone the next morning. I haven’t had a sunburn since I began supplementing. I am natural blonde with fair to medium skin tone.

  3. Rita and Misty

    Hi Debbie!

    Nice to meet you.

    Thank you for the lovely compliment regarding my posts.

    I share openly so that others here may have courage to do so as well. If vitamin D has helped me in extraordinary ways, it must have also helped others. I am certainly not a unique human being. I think we are all more more similar than dissimilar regarding our health conditions, and no one should ever feel as if s/he is suffering all alone. WE are in this together.

    This is a great online community…a family–really. And I am grateful for the support and friendship of others here.

    BTW, I am not surprised to read that you haven’t had a sunburn since supplementing with D. As I stated above, I think sunburn and sun sensitivity are signs of vitamin D deficiency.

    Do you happen to know your 25(OH)D level?

    Be well; and if you’d like, please find me on the Vitamin D Council FB page and send me a FB friendship request. The dang FB Police once again have me on 30 day restriction for being way too friendly. Go figure!

    All my best,

  4. Debbie

    Rita, LOL…another interesting thing about the D is that my hair is now lighter than it’s been in years. It does get sun “bleached” of course, but the overall coloring seems to be going back to what it was when I was younger, a wheat colored blond….of course there’s plenty of gray too but the overall color has gotten lighter, even in winter. I would say I am about 15% gray, mostly at crown and on sideburns.

    I will look for you on FB.

    My friends all want to buy me a T-shirt that says “Do Not Ask Me About Vitamin D.”

  5. Rita and Misty


    My skin texture improved…I lost 30 lbs effortlessly, and my hormones balanced out nicely. I sleep soundly. My mood is cheery. I have tons of energy.

    But, my hair color has not returned. I must help it along (unfortunately) with products I would much rather not think about…. 🙁

    I’m easy to find on FB….Just visit the VDC FB page, and look for the redhead in the blue VDC tee shirt.

    Be well,
    Rita Celone Umile

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