sunshine

  1. Not all sunscreens are the same

    Dishing out bad advice on sunscreen

    It should be obvious that we need to avoid toxins -- the word alone is a warning.

    But instead of helping us to keep free of these dangerous chemicals, mainstream medical groups are actually encouraging us to rub them all over our bodies. Just take a look at the latest advice from the American Academy of Dermatology.

    The group, which claims to represent 17,000 dermatologists, didn't just endorse one or two ingredients with known risks. They actually went ahead and urged people to use no less than three hazardous chemicals -- ingredients so bad that even some sunscreen manufacturers are doing away with them voluntarily.

    For example, the group recommended a form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate, added to skincare products in recent years when vitamin A became a marketing buzzword associated with "skin protection."

    But recent tests have shown that this particular form of vitamin A does the exact opposite. Instead of protecting the skin, it can actually speed the growth of skin tumors -- especially when exposed to sunlight.

    And they want you to rub this on your skin and head outside? No way -- and manufacturers are getting the message even if the AAD isn't, because they're already voluntarily removing retinyl palmitate from many sunscreens.

    That's not the only way this group is dangerously behind the times -- because they're also recommending oxybenzone, a well-known endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to developmental, reproductive, and organ toxicity... as well as allergies, cellular damage, and more.

    And completing this hat trick of bad advice, the AAD is also urging people to use sunscreens with nanoparticles despite research showing these tiny new ingredients can penetrate the skin and damage or even kill cells inside the body.

    If you want to protect your skin from UV rays -- and if you're going to be spending any significant amount of time out under the sun, you're going to want some protection -- try a sunscreen where the main protective ingredient is either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

    Stick to the micronized particles -- not the nanoparticles recommended by the AAD.

    For more free advice on how to pick a safe sunscreen click here.

  2. Get some sun to slash your stroke risk

    I can think of about a million reasons to get outside and bask in the sunlight every day -- but if you're looking for one of your own, how about this: It can slash your risk of a stroke.

    The latest research shines some light on stroke risk, with one new study finding that people who live in the nation's sunniest climates have a 60 percent lower risk of stroke than those who live up north.

    The one exception to the rule: The so-called "stroke belt" of the south, where obesity and diabetes -- both big-time stroke risk factors of their own -- are higher than they are in the rest of the country.

    In other words, all the sun in Georgia won't undo the ravages of a double-extra-large waistline.

    But if you're slim, trim and living in Minnesota or Maine, you don't have to lower your latitude to lower your stroke risk -- because you can harness the real power of sunlight anywhere on earth.

    All you need is some vitamin D, as another new study shows again how the sunshine vitamin is the real reason for that lower stroke risk.

    In this one, researchers found that people who had the highest intake of D were 11 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those with the lowest.

    If that sounds a little... well... unimpressive, that's because the new study didn't offer a real look at D levels. Instead, the researchers used food frequency questionnaires.

    Most people don't get the bulk of their D from food anyway.

    Once you look at real levels of D, you see real benefits -- with other studies showing that low D can boost your stroke risk by up to 50 percent.

    If that's not enough of a benefit, other studies have shown that vitamin D can help protect your heart, bones and brain and slash your risk of colds, the flu, diabetes, allergies and even cancer.

    You can let your body make its own D by stepping out into the sunlight, but unless you live in a warmer climate don't count on that alone. Everything from your clothing to the seasonal angle of the earth can impede D production -- so take a supplement to make sure you get what you need.

  3. Slash your diabetes risk with this simple vitamin

    It's so easy it seems unreal: A key weapon in the fight against diabetes might be hovering right outside your window, right now. It's the sun -- the primary source of vitamin D, and a new study shows how this pancreas-boosting super nutrient can help stop the disease before it starts.
  4. Vitamin D can protect against cancer

    I just told you how the sunshine vitamin can help keep pre-diabetes from turning into the real thing -- and now, a new study finds it might stop melanomas cold.

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