(NaturalNews) Though the mainstream sunscreen and skin care industries have a rather long way to go in correcting certain misinformation propaganda of decades gone by, the market may soon experience at least a slight shift in direction. Initial reports out of Australia indicate that researchers there say a new vitamin D-like compound might prove beneficial as a means of reducing DNA damage that leads to skin cancer, including a reduction in wrinkles and dark spots which can appear as a result of excessive sun exposure.
According to Professor Rebecca Mason at Sydney University's Bosch Institute for Medical Research, the compound has the ability to "reduce DNA skin damage by 50 percent and probably by more than 60 to 80 percent." The Australian Research Council, backed by its commercial partner Ultraceuticals, is funding her research team in hopes of putting the product into sunscreen and after-sun lotions. During her career, Mason has also reportedly accepted remuneration from Key Pharmaceuticals and funding from Nestle. (www.mja.com.au)
While early reports seem optimistic, little information regarding this new compound is available currently. Questions remain as to its origins, its behaviors, and its usefulness, when compared with actual vitamin D acquired through sunlight or via quality nutritional supplementation. In fact, the only information currently being reported on the new compound appears to be that the product's distribution on the market place is still two years away.
Vitamin D - What it is and why we need it
By now, the health risks associated with not getting enough vitamin D are widely documented. Though quite necessary to our health as humans -- especially for our bones which rely on it for the proper metabolism of calcium and phosphorous -- vitamin D cannot be obtained in foods alone and must be produced by the body through exposure to UVB sun rays or taken in the form of more advanced nutritional supplementation.
Technically speaking, because it is something we require to live but must be produced in our bodies, vitamin D is not a true vitamin at all. In fact, it was misidentified as such by a researcher who, back in 1920, misjudged the reasons behind fish liver oil's success in preventing rickets in dogs; but by the time his error was discovered four years later, the misnomer had become tradition, resulting in its official identification as a "vitamin" by experts in public health and nutrition. (http://www.drsoram.com/what-is-vitamin-d/)
It turns out; however, that this substance known as vitamin D is important for much more than just preventing rickets. It is also critical for healthy bones. One of the main troubles with low vitamin D levels, according to Australian Medical Association president Dr. Steve Hambleton, is that the person cannot absorb calcium from the gut, and their body must then seek calcium from an alternative source -- the person's own bones. Maintaining appropriate levels of vitamin D can also assist in the prevention of any number of conditions, such as cancer, autism, asthma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, influenza, depression and even pregnancy complications; whereas deficiency carries risks of developing such conditions.
When sun-soaking seems less practical, you can seek out your vitamin D in certain foods like certain fish, eggs, and mushrooms; however, many argue that a person cannot eat enough of these foods to attain optimal levels of vitamin D. For this reason (and that some of these sources like fish often also contain toxic levels of mercury), it may be wise to consider taking a quality supplement instead. If you do, be sure to look for vitamin D3, which is the pre-vitamin version that the body eventually converts into the substance so necessary for the repair and maintenance of most tissues and cells in the body.