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Wearable 'flexible UV exposure sensor' helps you reach daily dose of healthy Vitamin D from sunlight

Vitamin D

(NaturalNews) Tens of millions of people are deficient in vitamin D largely because they don't get enough natural sunlight every day. But a new wearable device can help with that.

Researchers at the University of Southern California, in noting that the sun is vital for the production of vitamin D, which in turn is necessary for skin and bone health and may even help prevent some cancers, have developed a device that notifies users of their total sun exposure.

Andrea M. Armani, the Fluor Early Career Chair and associate professor, along with Michele E. Lee, a doctoral candidate in the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at USC's Viterbi School of Engineering, have designed a wearable 0.5 by 0.5-inch millimeter-sized flexible patch that changes color based on the level of UV exposure. When the sensor turns orange, the wearer has reached the daily dose of vitamin D, as recommended by the World Health Organization.

The sensor patch is less than half-a-millimeter thick, and as such is very flexible, making it ideal for people who love to be outdoors, as well as for athletes. What's more, the patch does not use a power source, unlike apps for the iPhone or Samsung watches.

Studies show some cancer risks may be cut by as much as 50 percent

Also, the sensors created by the Armani Lab continue to function if they get wet, and work while adjusting responses when sunscreen is applied to the skin. The sensors, which are made of a material that Armani and Lee have patented, were constructed using FDA-approved non-toxic polymers for human use and food contact. They can be stored for as long as five weeks.

Armani and Lee published their findings in the journal ACS Sensors, USC said in a press release. They noted that the sensor addresses unique challenges posed by trying to properly gauge how much sun is enough and how much can be excessive, which could lead to other problems including some cancers.

Each patch is able to adjust for varying geographical and environmental influences, as well as for the biological makeup of the individual user. In the future, the researchers plan to adjust the performance of the sensors so that they can optimize them for various skin types via the use of additional coatings and tailoring the active layer that changes colors.

The overall importance of proper vitamin D intake has been known for decades, as we have reported in the past. Besides getting vitamin D from the sun, it is also present in many foods.

As a source of health, vitamin D is associated with improving a number of conditions and ailments, including asthma, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and periodontal disease.

Just a few minutes a day

As for getting enough sun, there are studies that show that proper exposure can cut your risk of getting some cancers in half.

Studies conducted recently by Prof. Rachel Neale, of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia, show that when people spend more time in the sun there are major health benefits. She found that people who live in regions where there are higher UV levels have a 30 to 40 percent lower chance of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In addition, some epidemiology studies found that excess exposure to the sun can cut the risk of some cancers by as much as 50 percent.

"We certainly are not hand on heart saying this is definitely true, in these types of epidemiological studies we are always very cautious about saying something is casual, but we do see an association between UV exposure and some cancers," she said, adding that exposing more skin over a shorter period of time – 3 minutes a day – is enough to soak in the required daily amount of vitamin D.






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