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Renowned Doctor Says Best Way to Obtain Crucial Vitamin D Is From Sun; but Still, Don't Forget Sunscreen

With More Than 50 percent of Americans Vitamin D Deficient, Dr. Karl Gruber Says the Sun is the Best Solution - but for Only 10 Minutes Weekly; Wear Sunscreen With UVA and UVB Protection to Avoid Melanoma and Premature Aging

CHARLESTON, S.C., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- As many as half of all U.S. children and adults are vitamin D deficient and new evidence shows a link between low vitamin D levels and cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases, according to experts. Researchers and doctors say the vitamin D problem can be solved if people spend more time outside on a sunny day.

Karl Gruber, M.D., a South Carolina-based surgical pathologist and CEO of LUCA Sunscreen, providing the highest UVA rating available, agrees that the sun can help people reap the benefits of vitamin D, but not without precaution.

"There's no doubt the sun is the quickest way to obtain important vitamin D," says Dr. Gruber. "However, to simply prescribe sunshine without prescribing sunscreen is irresponsible. It's imperative that people understand that ample vitamin D is produced with finite limited amounts of UVB rays, but there are no beneficial effects from the more dangerous UVA rays. People need to block the UVA rays with sunscreen everyday -- even when trying to obtain vitamin D from the sun."

Vitamin D is produced by exposure to the sun's UVB rays. According to Dr. Gruber, the SPF system rates a sunscreen's protection from these rays. For example, an SPF 15 blocks 94 percent of the sun's UVB rays so a person wearing an SPF 15 sunscreen will need to stay in the sun for two hours to obtain the vitamin D benefits they would receive in eight minutes without sunscreen protection. Although a person obtains UVB exposure while wearing sunscreen, they increase their risk of exposure to dangerous UVA rays that are closely linked to melanoma and premature aging.

Dr. Gruber suggests that people concerned about getting enough vitamin D should plan 10 minutes of sun exposure once a week on parts of the body that are not chronically sun exposed, such as the back and stomach. During this time, Dr. Gruber says to use sunscreen -- with a high UVA rating such as 370nm or higher -- on the face, neck and arms or body parts chronically in sunshine.

"People should wear sunscreen daily on these highly exposed body parts as a vital defense against the damaging effects of chronic sun exposure, including solar aging and cancer," says Dr. Gruber. "I'm seeing skin cancer in younger and younger patients and everyone needs to wear sunscreen daily and take doing so seriously."

Dr. Gruber created LUCA Sunscreen as a daily wear moisturizing solar protection that is water resistant, hypoallergenic, fragrance free and specially formulated for children and adults with sensitive skin. Featuring breakthrough Polycrylene(R) technology, LUCA(TM) Sunscreen is better at blocking UVA radiation than other sunscreens sold in the U.S. and it is the first sunscreen on the U.S. market to back up its UVA protection claims with a critical wavelength value printed on the bottle. With this unique formulation, LUCA is effective for up to six hours in intense sunlight.

Critical wavelength is an international rating system for UVA protection and LUCA's critical wavelength of 383nm is the highest available in the U.S. The FDA has not yet adopted a standard by which to measure protection against UVA radiation, however, it considers any product with a critical wavelength over 370nm to provide excellent UVA coverage.

Because there are no tangible symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, people are encouraged to ask their physicians to check their vitamin D levels during annual check-ups. Ensuring the proper vitamin D levels will help the body fight cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases, according to experts.

Dr. Gruber says the farther you live from the equator and the less opportunity you have for regular sun exposure, the more likely you are to be deficient. Older adults and people who are obese or who have liver or kidney disease also are at risk. In addition, African Americans and people with darker skin are more at risk, because their skin is less able to synthesize Vitamin D from the sun.

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