Something fishy in skin protection

It can protect the heart, brain, and even your gums. And now, here's one more trick fish oil can pull off: It can help prevent skin cancer by giving your immune system the power to fight the damage caused by UV rays.

In a new study, 79 volunteers were given either 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids or a placebo and then exposed to the equivalent of midday summer sun via a light machine that resembled UV rays.

Fish oil actually doubled the level of immune system protection when compared to the placebo, according to the study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Of course, taking fish oil isn't license to spend a day roasting on the beach. In fact, that double protection was there after 8 minutes and 15 minutes of sun exposure -- but it was gone in 30 minutes.

Yes, there are some things even omega-3 fatty acids can't do.

That's why in addition to taking a quality omega-3 supplement each day, it's essential to take common-sense steps when it comes to sun safety.

The best UV ray protection is shade, followed by a hat and clothing, especially clothing with built-in UV ray protection. But of course, many people want to go outside in a T-shirt, tank top, or swimsuit -- and in those cases, you'll want to use sunscreen.

Don't get whatever's on sale, as many common sunscreens contain ingredients that are even more dangerous than too much sun exposure.

Retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A commonly found in sunscreen, may actually cause cancer when exposed to sunlight. It's crazy to think that something this dangerous is actually used in sunscreen... but it is.

In addition, avoid anything with oxybenzone, an endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to developmental and reproductive problems, organ toxicity, cellular damage, allergies, and more.

And steer clear of anything that contains nanoparticles.