Plan Your Tan for An Early Spring & Easter Weekend

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Spring is right around the corner and Easer is early this year. Did you know that Easter Sunday’s calendar date is determined by cosmic events? Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal or Spring Equinox. This year, the Spring Equinox is about a day early. You can thank the leap year for that. Spring arrives early morning (12:30am) on Sunday March 20th. The next full moon is on the following Wednesday, March 23rd. That makes March 27th Easter Sunday. How close to now is that?!?!

Our hours for the Easter long weekend are as follows:

Good Friday, March 25th: 11:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday , regular hours: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Easter Sunday, March 27th: CLOSED
Monday, regular hours: 9:30am to 9:00pm

Don’t delay. Start your spring tanning today!

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Vitamin D: Importance In The Prevention Of Cancers

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Lack of sufficient vitamin D can increase the risk of many common and serious conditions – some cancers, type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.

Sources of vitamin D

This vitamin is not widely available in foods. Easting oily fish three or four times a week will provide enough vitamin D for most people. Otherwise, the body must rely on exposure to sunlight. The skin can produce large amounts of vitamin D3, although this ability decreases with age. The vitamin D3 produced by casual exposure to sunlight during the spring, summer, and fall, is stored in the body fat, and becomes available in the winter, when required.

Who’s at risk of vitamin D deficiency?

Lack of vitamin D is seen commonly in the very young and the very old. Encouraging breast feeding of infants is partially responsible for a resurgence of this deficiency, as breast milk contains very little vitamin D. Infants usually require a vitamin D supplement.

The elderly are at risk, because of poor dietary intake, decreased exposure to sunlight, and reduced formation in the skin; by age 70, the amount of vitamin D3 formed in the skin decreases by as much as 75%.

Race also plays a role, especially in the elderly. Deficiency was reported in white, Hispanic, and black elderly Bostonians at the end of August in 30%, 42% and 84%, respectively; presumably the differences are largely related to skin pigmentation.

Obesity is another risk factor. It’s thought that the vitamin D deposited in large body fat stores is not readily accessible to the rest of the body.

Consequences of vitamin D deficiency

Without vitamin D, the small intestine only absorbs about 10% to 15% of dietary calcium, instead of the normal 30% in someone without a deficiency. (In fact, absorption of calcium usually increases to about 80% during growth, lactation, and pregnancy; these periods are obviously time of increased risk for deficiency, too.)

Lack of vitamin D in childhood causes rickets. In adults bone growth stops and deformities can occur, and there is an attempt by the parathyroid glands to counteract this, by producing more parathormone. This hormone tries to maintain the serum calcium, but it causes loss of phosphorus in the urine instead; this results in softening of the bone (osteomalacia), and the risk of fractures is increased.

Apart from effects on bone, lack of vitamin D has been associated with an increased risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer. This was discovered because of the increase in these tumors seen in people living at high latitudes, i.e. with fewer hours of sunshine. And it’s been shown that a breakdown product of vitamin D can slow the multiplication rate of very active cell growth. This action of vitamin D has led to its successful use in treating the skin disease psoriasis, in which the skin cells multiply too quickly.

Although the way it works is not always understood, there is some evidence that vitamin D is able to reduce the chances of development of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. An interesting finding is the reduction in blood pressure in hypertensive patients when they are exposed to ultraviolet B radiation that raises their circulating vitamin D.

Exposure to ultraviolet A radiation had no effect on these patients’ vitamin D levels, or their raised blood pressure. Finally, some people are mistakenly diagnosed with fibromyalgia, when they really have a deficiency of vitamin D deficiency. Muscle weakness and bone pain, often reported in fibromyalgia patients, may be presenting symptoms of this vitamin deficiency.

What should be done to avoid vitamin D deficiency?

The best way to get enough vitamin D is by moderate exposure to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight for a period of time equal to a quarter of that required to make the skin pink is quite sufficient. There’s no need to increase the risk of skin damage and skin cancer by ‘overdosing’. And it can’t hurt to consume oily fish a few times a week.

Winter Health Warning: There’s No D in Darkness

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We need more vitamin D – and only sun can provide it!

by Peta Bee

Dark mornings and short days are unlikely to have you leaping out of bed with enthusiasm. But lack of exposure to daylight during the winter months may affect more than your mood — it could put you at risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, an international conference on sunlight, vitamin D and health heard this month. It seems that thanks to sedentary lifestyles and sun damage warnings, most Britons receive too little vitamin D. Few foods contain it naturally and the main provider is the sun — the vitamin is synthesized when chemicals in the skin react to ultraviolet rays.

According to Professor Michael Holick, of Boston University Medical School, between 80 and 100 per cent of our vitamin D requirement is met by sunlight. Yet most of us receive too little from the sun and food combined.“Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common,” says Holick. A study he carried out in Boston found that 32 per cent of those aged 18 to 29 were deficient at the end of a typical winter. Dr Birgit Teucher, of the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, says that if the US “adequate intake” of 5 micrograms (mg) were applied here, “90 per cent of the population would fall short”.

A study at Harvard School of Public Health revealed that an adequate vitamin D intake can reduce the risk of all types of cancer by up to 30 per cent. The conference heard that insufficient levels have also been linked to other conditions, including MS and calcification of the arteries, while higher levels of vitamin D reduces inflammation in blood vessels.

Professor Richard Strange, from Keele University Medical School, reported an increased risk of prostate cancer in northern men who had less exposure to UV light. “I used to cover up and use sun cream when I went walking in the hills,” says Professor Strange, “now I don’t — I try to get as much sun as I can safely, in small amounts.” In winter almost no vitamin D is generated in the skin because the solar radiation contains too little ultraviolet light. Professor Graham Bentham, an environmental scientist at the University of East Anglia, says: “Ideally people should get ten-minute stints in the midday and afternoon sun when UVB radiation is strongest.”