Skip navigation
The Health Benefits of Sunshine in Moderation

Narrator: This is Science Today. Ninety-five percent of the vitamin D in our circulation comes from being in the sun, yet many people avoid the sun's ultraviolet rays to reduce the risk of skin cancer or premature aging. But Cedric Garland, a cancer prevention specialist at the University of California, San Diego's Moores Cancer Center says 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancer could be prevented each year worldwide by increasing our intake of vitamin D. Garland says the fastest way is to get ten to fifteen minutes of sun per day without sunscreen.

Garland: Sunscreens completely eliminate the synthesis of vitamin D more effectively than they reduce the risk of cancer or any other outcome. So, the wisest thing to do would be to just keep it in the pocket, allow the sun to create vitamin D in the skin, then put on a hat and wear a sunscreen.

Narrator: For those with a history of skin cancer, however, Garland says take a supplement.

Garland: Because in that situation, you really do want to protect the skin from any further UV radiation.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.