Sunshine, tans and skin cancer


Sunshine is only dangerous to people deficient in “Vitamin F”

       Skin cancer appears to be on the increase among sun-bathers and tanning bed users, the latter being singled out as the prime culprit for the increase due to year-round use by a vast number of young “looks-conscious” adults.  It seems that tanning beds are the latest addiction, fed by soaking up skin-burning (and that’s what it smells like inside these tanning chambers) UV rays that produces feel-good endorphins.  So, I thought an article on the subject would be helpful as people head to the beaches for summer fun and natural skin tanning.

      Sunshine is only dangerous to people deficient in “Vitamin F.”   Yes, I said “Vitamin F”, which is what Dr. Royal Lee, founder of Standard Process Labs, first named Essential Fatty Acids (EFA).  EFA’s are  linolenic, linoleic and arachidonic acids.  Flaxseed oil is a very excellent source of EFA’s.  Flaxseed oil is a very unstable and fragile oil that goes rancid when exposed to light or air, so it is best to take it encapsulated in a pearl. Standard Process’ Linum B6 is probably the safest Flaxseed oil product available (go to and search for Linum B6). 

Flaxseed oil should be packaged in dark bottles and kept refrigerated.  Don’t buy flaxseed oil in a clear bottle as it’s likely already rancid. Foods that are rich in EFA’s are cold water fish and shellfish, soya oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, hemp oil, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, leafy vegetables, and walnuts.  All of these are best eaten fresh and oils should be cold-processed and non-hydrogenated.  Our bodies need at least 3 tablespoons of EFA oils daily just for maintenance.   If you know you’ve not been consuming that much oil and butter, then supplementation with Linum B6 (3-6 daily) for 90 days is recommended in order to fill the deficiency.  

 How it works

      Vitamin F (EFA) is what transports calcium from the blood into the tissues, such as the skin.  Sunshine converts EFA in the skin (basically cholesterol, or fat)  into Vitamin D.  It is very likely that those who get skin cancer from too much exposure to UV rays (from the sun or from tanning beds) are also avoiding fats, such as butter, in their diet just for shapely looks, although cardiovascular patients may be avoiding fats to keep cholesterol numbers down.  Not wise.  You need fat, only the right kind of fat. Polyunsaturated fat is what the body needs.

       Actually, the body can only use fat in the form of Arachidonic Acid, which is made from Linoleic Acid in the liver.  Arachidonic acid is not found in vegetable oil, but only in fat meat and butter.  (Margarine is a “phony” product produced by hooking two hydrogen atoms to the double-bond of linoleic acid, making it a saturated fat (stearic acid) that cannot latch onto fat in order to metabolize and burn it for energy).

       Vitamin D takes calcium from the gut and puts it into the blood stream.  Vitamin F takes calcium from the blood stream and puts it into the tissues.   Calcium obviously plays an important role throughout the body, and especially in the health and integrity of the skin.

Thick, itchy skin and Vitamins D & F deficiencies

      People who are deficient in Vitamin F (EFA) will get thick skin from too much exposure to UV rays.  In a deficiency of Vitamin F, Vitamin D will not only pick up calcium from the gut and put it in the blood, but will also bring calcium out of the skin and put it into the blood.  Your blood calcium will increase at the expense of your tissue calcium.

       Tissue calcium deficiency results in itching skin and hives with too much sun – the big whelps that form around tender parts of the body.  These are symptoms of tissue calcium deficiency.  If you have these symptoms, you can be sure you are not getting enough EFA’s and/or calcium in your diet. You need calcium lactate, a readily available form of calcium, and flaxseed oil.

      Drop me an email at for more information about supplementation.  In the meantime, enjoy the sun in the late afternoon, and only for 15 minutes, or until the skin begins to be pink.  And eat your fresh seeds and nuts, which are rich in essential fatty acids. And remember, margarine’s a phony.  “Butter’s better!”

Reference: John Courtney of Standard Process Labs, Palmyra, Wisconsin, Clinical Reference Guide.


I receive emails with some very good questions.  Some of them, along with my answers, are worth sharing with all.  So here are some:

Q: Thank you for your info on the article that you wrote on EFA ..on the importance of butter ..
What about olive oil, oil palm etc.. are they suitable oil for Liver..
Where can I get the necessary info on all that you have written about..
Many people seem to blame the sun ..maybe it is our EFA that we should be concerned about.
Please provide more info if you have any.
DrP: Thanks for your email.  Olive oil is an excellent oil, particularly Extra Virgin or Virgin. Don’t bother with the “Pure” or “Refined” oils.  Palm oil is not recommended, nor cottonseed oil, as too many chemicals are used both in growing cotton and in extracting the oils from the seeds and palm kernels.  Best to use oils that are food-sourced, organically grown and cold processed.  Here’s a good website for organic palm oil:
I obtained all of my nutritional information for this post on my blog from professional manuals that are not readily available to the layman.  You can obtain information about products online at  then type in the name of their product you want info on.  You might call SPand ask for information/books/papers they may have to send you. There’s a very excellent book, “Know Your Fats” by Mary Enig if you want accurate info about EFA’s.  You can order it online through Amazon.
Understand, sunshine is good for us, essential to make Vitamin D, but too much of anything good always seems to do us harm.  For that reason, late afternoon sunbathing (4:30) is advised, especially at high altitudes, like here in mile-high Denver.  We should be concerned about our EFA levels. You’re so right.  Sounds like you’re doing your own thinking for yourself.  
Q.  When I get out of the shower I cut a piece of alovera off and apply it to my face for all the reasons aloe is good for us (healing, cooling, moisturizing, etc). Later, when the aloe has had a good chance to absorb I add moisturizer to my face too (aloe feels tight and it’s shiny and I just like to use moisturizer). IF flax seed is good on the inside do you think it would be good on the outside too? I could pinch a flax seed capsule open and add it to the aloe so it would rub in smoothly and maybe, just maybe that would be a good idea to prevent sun damage on my face directly. I was thinking of adding flax seed to the aloe because maybe the flax seed is too thick like vitamin E. What do you think??? You have me thinking in this flax seed direction now.

DrP:  Ha ha!  So it seems I do!  Yes, in fact Standard Process Labs makes a tube of flaxseed ointment, USF Ointment, for application to skin, especially dry skin.  Any oil applied to the skin will sort of make your skin cook, so I would only use it after being in the sun.  I’ll be happy to send some to you ($17 + postage). Good question.  Thanks for asking.


Q:   If I take more, more more flax seed will I reduce, reduce, reduce my chances of skin cancer?? What are you a doctor of?
DrP:  All things in moderation is my motto when it comes to foods and sunbathing.  Of course we need sunshine, and our bodies need about 3 tablespons of oils daily just for maintenance.  If you are consuming oils, such as olive oil in salads, eating butter and cold water fish, walnuts and seeds, then you could take 1 – 2 tblspns of Flaxseed oil, or three Linum B6 pearls from Standard Process daily and feel safe out in the sun.  If you are EFA deficient because you have not been consuming enough oils daily, then you would need to take at least 3 tblspns of Flaxseed oil for 90 days, or 6 Linum B6 pearls, daily on top of increasing your consumption of EFA’s in your diet. It takes about that long to fill a deficiency of nutrients.  Yes, you would decrease your chances of getting skin cancer from sunshine by increasing your consumption of EFA’s.  Of course there are other causes of skin cancer, from genetic factors to free radial DNA damage due to environmental pollutants. 
My profession is chiropractic and clinical nuitrition. I have 45 years of experience.  I am currently retired doing one-on-one health coaching.
Q:  I read through your comment concerning the LiveScience publication on ‘You and the Sun:10 Burning Questions’.  I would need to know more on possibly fruits/food contents of these vitamins that helps protect the skin or that refreshes the skin generally.
DrP:  Foods rich in essential fatty acids, or Vitamin F, are seeds and walnuts and any foods that have oils in them, such as olives, avocadoes, fish.  Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, are rich in calcium, as are carrots.  Wheat germ (Vitamion E) helps protect the skin from oxydation because it is such a great anti-oxydant. The skin, as an organ of elimination, tends to reflect the other organs of elimination, such as the liver, kidneys and colon.  So it is good to support these systems as well.  Eating plenty of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables guarantees an healthful intake of nutrients.  If you want to supplement your diet with whole-food nutritional proucts, I will be happy to assist you in acquiring them.  Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
Q: The letter asked about eczema and Vitamins F & D.
DrP:  What you describe does indeed sound like eczema, in which case it certainly would help to support your skin nutritionally.  Eczema is a condition that reflects a deeper issue relating to liver toxicity or congestion.  I do have a protocol (nutritional program) for eczema that addresses the underlying cause.  If you wish to engage my services, I would be happy to guide you through a purification and healing process. 
Q:  Just seen your article on vitiman f and skin cancer, would like more info on the supplements.
DrP:  The supplements I mention in my recent post on my blog are manufactured by Standard Process Labs . You can go to this website and type in the product you wish information about in the small window up top that says SEARCH.  Linum B6, Cataplex F, Calcium Lactate are the names of products you can type in there.  If you want to purchase any of these products, you will have to do so  through a licensed practitioner such as myself.  I will be happy to help you obtain them.  I also do health coaching for a fee.  Let me know how I might be able to help you further.