I was listening to the radio when the announcer came on to declare that November was Vitamin D awareness month, and I thought how nice it was for the radio station to prioritize this cause with a commercial.
I was then outraged to find that it was a tanning salon advocating tanning beds as a means to achieve “that youthful glow while supplementing your Vitamin D”.
Initially, thoughts started swirling through my mind about how I should report them or write a heated letter, because I find this type of health washing, or the brainwashing of people about their health, utterly irresponsible.
Young, impressionable people listen to the radio, and they are still of the age where they believe everything they read in the online or hear on the radio. For a company to promote something as damaging as tanning is infuriating.
The dangers of tanning
Tanning is responsible for many instances of skin cancer. Many doctors are now claiming that when you tan, it’s not a matter of IF you will get cancer, but WHEN. And tanning salons have recently come under fire for poor cleaning standards, as tanning beds are a hot bed of bacterial activity. Just think about it – over twenty people will use the same tanning bed in one day, and who really knows how proactive a tanning salon is about cleaning. Their standards aren’t regulated, so it’s really up to them.
By prescribing tanning as a method to get more vitamin D, the company is promoting something that is known to cause cancer. Now, for those who suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder, a seasonal depression due to lack of sun exposure, otherwise known as S.A.D, tanning isn’t the only means to acquire precious Vitamin D. A light box, for example, which gives off a light that simulates sunshine, is a healthier alternative and doesn’t contribute to instances of cancer.
Other real sources of Vitamin D
Healthier means of Vitamin D are found in the food we eat, and although there aren’t many fruits or vegetables that have high levels of Vitamin D, there are many that are high in calcium such as chia seeds, dark leafy vegetables, flax seeds and of course, oranges.
Calcium is essential for the body to effectively metabolize Vitamin D, with some of the richest sources of of Vitamin D being soymilk and fortified dairy products. When combined in a juice or smoothie, these ingredients completely trump the power of tanning.
Yes, it’s true that tanning is an effective method to acquire Vitamin D, which is even more essential during the winter months, but it would be farfetched to call it a “safe” method.
So don’t believe the hype – tanning is bad for you. And although it gives you a dose of Vitamin D during the winter months, don’t be fooled – using the power of healthy, vitamin-rich food is a healthier means to achieve the amount of Vitamin D that our bodies need to thrive.