While the Canadian Cancer Society agrees that short periods of sun exposure can be beneficial, it says too much can increase risk for skin cancer and cataracts. In order to avoid switching risk for one cancer for another, the society continues to advise following its Sunsense guidelines:
• Protect yourself and your family from the sun, particularly between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, or any time of the day when the UV Index is 3 or more.
• Use a sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher – and SPF 30 if you work outdoors or if you will be outside for most of the day. Look for “broad spectrum” sunscreen that offers protection against two types of ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB.
Too much of a good thing
In response to the growing evidence on the healthy benefits of vitamin D, Health Canada announced it will be participating in a conference to be held by the US National Institutes of Health in September 2007. The forum will seek to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Vitamin D across all age groups.
In the meantime, Health Canada warns about the risks of taking too much vitamin D. People are advised not exceed the tolerable upper intake level set for adults at 2000 IU/day from all sources of vitamin D, including milk and over the counter supplements.
Health risks of extremely high doses of vitamin D include development of kidney stones as well as nausea, vomiting and constipation.
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