Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vitamin D, Sunlight, and Health

Today, being the Summer Solstice and beginning of the season, is an appropriate time to mention vitamin D and sunshine.

First I will remind everyone that I am not a doctor, and anything I say or write does not constitute medical advice. OK? Onward then.

Over the last few years there has been more and more research showing health advantages of maintaining an adequate vitamin D level. Numerous diseases as well as cancer show a correlation to vitamin level. Here is the best overall place to get more information:
There are many outside articles in addition to the ones by that organization.

Health issues linked to vitamin D deficiency:
The Nutrient You Need Now:
"What's most remarkable about vitamin D is the sheer number of health issues it's been linked to. In the past few years, studies have shown that a lack of the vitamin may be the primary culprit in depression, heart disease, pregnancy problems, birth defects, skin and other cancers, and multiple sclerosis."

Here is a good article discussing sunscreen use:
The Sunscreen Dilemma:
"Wearing sunscreen prevents sunburns, but research suggests it might not reduce your risk of developing cancer; in fact, it might actually increase your risk.
That's the sunscreen dilemma. "

A caution regarding vitamin D supplements vs. sunshine:
Vitamin D Deficiency Study Raises New Questions About Disease And Supplements
"...ingested vitamin D can actually block VDR activation, the opposite effect to that of Sunshine."
Other vitamin D research news releases are listed here as well.

A somewhat sensational article, which includes the best form of supplement(D3):
Vitamin D in a New Light
Very informative and not sugar-coated.

Being a massage therapist, I get an additional perspective on the effect of excessive sun- Aged skin. It isn't so obvious when people are walking around and wearing normal clothes, but on the massage table the difference between the appearance of areas with heavy exposure and light exposure can be extreme. For some people, the difference in apparent ages is literally decades apart.

Given the strong evidence of vitamin D benefits, and a strong preference for natural health care over taking chemical supplements, here is my personal approach. I spend a lot of time outdoors. The areas of my skin that get most exposed, and have been burned the most already, get sunscreen. This includes my forearms, shoulders, and face. The rest of me gets no sunscreen, and I try to give lots of sun exposure, but without burning.

Now, consult with a real medical authority, make up your own mind, and enjoy the summer.

1 comment:

  1. A majority of Americans are vitamin D deficient. While I definitely advocate wearing sunscreen, a little bit of exposure may actually be beneficial. Another thing, too many people trap themselves inside all day. Get outside to get a little vitamin D is really helpful in decreasing such a prevalent vitamin deficiency.