Posts tagged ‘oxidative stress’

May 23, 2012

Is That Summer Glow Putting You at Risk?

It seems that we all got a great start to a healthy, summer glow with all of the beautiful weather we had in March. It also means that a lot of us didn’t really think about using any sunblock (all-natural, of course) being that is was so early in the season. While giving your body a heaping dose of vitamin D3 from the sun, which is encouraged, moderation is the key. Anywhere from 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight to exposed skin is recommended a few times a week. Cloudy days and pollution can block the UVB rays that produce Vitamin D, so use your best judgment.

There are two major forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is among the most common forms of cancer, with more than a half million new cases reported each year. Fortunately, it is a relatively benign disease with a very high cure rate. It develops on skin that is exposed to the ultraviolet (UV) light of the sun over a period of years. It can also develop after exposure to arsenic. Basal cell carcinoma is most common on the scalp, face, neck, hands, and forearms. It is most prevalent in fair-skinned people.

Besides basal cell carcinoma, the other most common type of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Both are highly curable if treated early. However, recurrences are common, and if they are not treated properly, they can spread and damage the deeper layers of the skin and even the bone.

Melanoma occurs less frequently than basal cell carcinoma but is much more aggressive. Therefore, all suspicious growths should be brought to a doctor’s attention.Melanoma is increasing at an alarming rate. Ten years ago chances of developing malignant melanoma were 1 in 250; today estimates that an individual will have malignant melanoma are 1 in 70. In raw numbers, nearly 50,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States this year. And while melanoma accounts for just four percent of skin cancer cases, it causes 79 percent of skin cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

When sunlight hits exposed skin, it causes free-radical damage to skin tissues, reduces elasticity and contributes to the formation of “age spots,” wrinkles, and increases the risk of developing skin cancer. In clinical trials, a number of antioxidants have been found to be capable of  neutralizing the oxidative stress caused by overexposure to sunlight. These antioxidants include:

Selenium– (as selenomethionine) Laboratory studies show that selenium reduces the spread of melanoma cells.

Polyphenols–  Polyphenols can block the action of enzymes that cancers need for growth and they can deactivate substances that promote the growth of cancers.

The polyphenol most strongly associated with cancer prevention is EGCG which is found most commonly in tea. Tea and coffee are very rich sources certain types of polyphenols. Choose caffeinated tea and coffee, as the decaffeination process may remove polyphenols along with the caffeine.
Drink red wine and beer instead of other alcoholic beverages. Hard liquor is distilled so essentially does not contain polyphenols.

Resveratrol is a compound found in red wine grape skins that is extremely high in polyphenols. Try taking the supplement in it’s in concentrated form so you won’t be seen constantly walking around town with a wine glass in your hand! (One to try: Resveratrol Forte’ from Enzymatic Therapy) . Foods such as blueberries, pomegranates, red grapes & cranberries are high in polyphenols. So are onions, turmeric, dark chocolate, and unfiltered olive oils.

Vitamins– Vitamin A (vegetable source cartotenoids) ,C,D & E all help prevent skin cancer, especially when take together.
Vitamin B-3, also known as niacin, is also essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy skin.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids-DHA, a main component of fish oil, is highly effective in inhibiting the growth of human melanoma cells.

From the list above, you can draw the conclusion that if you ate a super-clean, healthy diet loaded with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, you could drastically cut your risk of developing skin cancer. Most people don’t eat that well so supplements are needed to fill in the gaps.  Do yourself a favor and get started on the ones you need to stay protected right through the summer months.

What About Sunscreen?

If you look at the labels on most sunscreens, they contain some pretty nasty chemicals, such as dioxybenzone and oxybenzone. These are some of the most powerful free radical generators known to man!  If your sunscreen contains them, please switch to a natural formula that is safe and healthy for your skin. Jason, Alba, Dr. Mercola and Kiss My Face are all great companies that offer sunscreens in many different SPF’s and children’s formulas that work just as well as chemical-laden sunscreens.  If there is one thing none of us needs, it’s more toxic chemicals!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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