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The public should continue to get its daily dose of vitamin D from dietary sources and nutritional supplements, rather than unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Dermatology. Individuals who are concerned about their nutritional levels may benefit from vitamin D testing.
The statement reaffirms the academy's position that sun exposure should not be the main avenue through which individuals obtain vitamin D. While their officials recognized that it is a vital nutrient that may benefit a range of health areas, they said the risk from unprotected sun exposure is too great.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is produced naturally in the body in the body following exposure to the sun's UV rays. It is also present in a handful of foods. In recent years, it has been connected to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and support for brain health. However, UV radiation has also been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.
"Unprotected exposure to UV radiation from the sun or indoor tanning is not safe," said William James, president of the academy. "Individuals who intentionally expose themselves to UV radiation for vitamin D are putting their health at risk for developing skin cancer."
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