All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for July 2004

Tanning for sun Claims

Experts brand advice on sunbathing dangerous

July 6, 2004
Judith Duffy
Daily Record

A MEDICAL expert last night slammed claims that sunbathing is good for you.

And she blasted the report which said the risks from sunbeds have been exaggerated.

The controversial study says people in the UK are failing to get enough vitamin D because of insufficient exposure to sunlight.

And this leaves them more at risk of diseases associated with a lack of the vitamin including heart disease, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis than skin cancer.

But Professor Rona MacKie, a skin cancer specialist from Glasgow University said: 'We do need sunlight to help us convert pre-vitamin D to active vitamin D.

'But we get that sunlight if we are out of doors fully clad for10minutes in Scotland, on the backs of our hands and face.

'Sitting on a bench for 10 minutes is what is required. There is no need to sunbathe.'

Oliver Gillie, author of the Sunlight Robbery report, published by the Health Research Forum, said government policy on avoiding the sun 'makes no concessions to the health benefits of sunlight'.

And he said avoiding direct sun can only increase vitamin D deficiency in the population and so lead to an increase in ill-health and premature death.

He even said vitamin D levels should be topped up by sunbeds in winter.

But Professor MacKie attacked the claim, saying sunbeds 'play no part in converting pre-vitamin D to vitamin D'.

She added 'Telling people to use sunbeds is actually dangerous.'

Both Macmillan Cancer Relief and Cancer Research slammed the report, saying its claims were 'unhelpful'.

Copyright © 2004, Daily Record