Mad dogs and Englishmen were right! We SHOULD go out in the midday sun, say experts
Going out in the midday sun without sunscreen is good for you, health experts have said.
The latest advice recommends ten to 15 minutes' exposure to help boost vitamin D levels.
It runs contrary to previous warnings over the dangers of spending time in the sun when it is at its strongest.
You CAN enjoy the sunshine at midday without suncream - but no more than 15 minutes a day, experts say
The change of opinion comes amid concern that people may not be getting optimal levels of vitamin D - around 90 per cent of the body's supply comes from the action of sunlight on the skin..
On the right lines: Noel Coward first aired 'Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun' in June 19031
Experts have long warned the risk of skin cancer from UV rays outweighs any potential good.
However, the latest advice from a range of health charities says exposure to the sun at midday during summer months can help build a store of the essential vitamin.
And it reverses warnings about using suntan cream with a high sun protection factor before going outside and avoiding exposure between 10am and 2pm.
The new message from Cancer Research UK is ‘Never be red at the end of the day'
Experts have reacted in response to the growing number of children developing rickets, which is caused by lack of vitamin D.
Deficiency has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and several cancers, as well as bone softening in adults.
According to a consensus statement from seven charities and professional bodies, in the summer people should expose their face, arms and legs for ten to 15 minutes, three times a week.
It is best done around noon, when the sun's UVB rays are most effective at synthesising vitamin D.
In the winter, eating foods such as oily fish, eggs, fortified cereals and bread can provide enough of the vitamin alongside the body's own stores, says the Department of Health.
The body needs vitamin D for the absorption of calcium and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It is also important for the function of the immune system.
The organisations signing up to the consensus statement are the British Association of Dermatologists, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Heart Forum, the National Osteoporosis Society and the Primary Care Dermatology Society.
Professor Rona Mackie pointed out that the intensity of the sun's rays in Australia, where the sun avoidance message originated, was not found in the UK.
Oliver Gillie, who runs Health Research Forum, said: ‘The public has been seriously misled by advice to avoid the sun.'
Dail Mail UK 16th December 2010