Summer is here and we all want to get outside and enjoy it. Perhaps you have been told to be careful, to cover up and/or wear sunscreen to protect yourself. But what about the toxic chemicals in sunscreen that get absorbed through our skin into our bodies? What about our need for sunlight to make vitamin D and the fact that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased cancer risk? How can we deal with all of this confusion?
Our past articles have stressed the importance of being sufficient in Omega-3 fish oil for brain and nervous system health. Now research from the University of Manchester in England is suggesting that fish oil may also protect us against the dangers of excessive sun exposure. The Omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish such as anchovies, mackerel and sardines can protect the skin against the DNA damage that causes cancer. The participants in the studies supplemented with either fish oil or with oleic acid from olive oil for three months. The group taking fish oil showed reductions in several early markers of cancer risk in skin - including sunburn! The group taking fish oil had a 33% less chance of sunburn after just three months of supplementation and up to 50% less after six months (Storey, J Invest Dermatol, 2005 and Rhodes, Carcinogenesis, 2003). Just remember that the study had people INGESTING the fish oil, not applying it to their skin!
With sunshine and warm weather come two favorite pastimes - barbeques and picnics. These activities often involve food choices, preparation and storage that is not as stringent as it should be. Foods often get left unrefrigerated or uncovered. While the popular media eagerly reports each E. coli scare or food poisoning episode it is important to note that your best defense comes not from the local pharmacy but from healthy intestinal flora (probiotic bacteria). Research shows that probiotics are useful in helping to prevent food poisoning bacteria such as E. coli or campylobacter from surviving in your intestine (Gibson, Microbiology Ecology, 2005). Probiotics have also been shown to be protective against traveler’s diarrhea. Supplementation with probiotics is recommended because levels of beneficial bacteria decline due to the Western Diet, medications, and age (Hamilton-Miller, Postgrad Med J, 2004).
The take-home message of this month’s article is that the best prevention strategy is a wellness strategy. Ensure that you and your family are sufficient in omega-3 fish oil and probiotics by taking the world’s premier fish oil and probiotic supplements - Omega Sufficiency™ and Probiotic Sufficiency™. Getting and staying well is about making good choices - it’s that simple! Have a happy and healthy summer!