Don't Hate the Sun. Take Your Vitamin D.
The vitamin D issue just won’t go away. Here’s a bit of a nice long article by Patrick Cox:
Quoting Patrick Cox:
The "scientific consensus" that has held sway for four decades regarding both exposure to the sun and vitamin D has collapsed. What has emerged in place of the old "settled science" is the knowledge that most people in America are seriously vitamin D deficient or insufficient. [...]
Simply put, unless you are one of the few people with optimal serum D levels, such as lifeguards and roofers in South Florida, you can cut your risks from most major diseases by 50 to 80 percent. All you have to do is get enough D. It also means we can significantly reduce both health care costs and the staggering national deficit by taking a few simple steps. [...]
If you do take my advice and perform further research on this subject, you will still encounter holdouts who assert that unprotected exposure to sunshine is always dangerous and that a normal diet supplemented by a daily multiple vitamin provides sufficient vitamin D. Behind the scenes, however, even the NIH is now looking for a face-saving way to change positions on vitamin D without taking too much blame for having resisted those who have urged reassessment for decades.
The stakes are huge, as are the benefits of attaining optimal vitamin D levels. The embarrassment for those who must admit past error, however, may be even greater. The reason is that untold millions have suffered and died prematurely because those who challenged the "settled science" regarding sunshine and vitamin D decades ago were treated like crackpots and demonized. [...]
[Dr. Michael Holick] questioned the conventional zero-tolerance approach to sun exposure that has held sway with dermatologists since the 1970s. Holick, a professor of dermatology himself, lost his teaching position when he published his findings. When he wrote a book on the subject, he was targeted by a well-funded PR campaign, aimed at debunking him, by the leading dermatological organization. Supposedly objective journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, refused to publish his exhaustively documented research -- research now accepted as both accurate and pioneering. [...]
Optimal vitamin D serum blood levels, attained through sunlight or supplementation, dramatically reduce the risk of many diseases other than bone maladies. Many of the most serious are ameliorated by an astonishing 50 to 85 percent. These diseases include cancers, from breast and colon to deadly melanoma skin cancers. [...]
This is not the end of the list, though. The big killers and most expensive diseases respond similarly to adequate D. I’m talking about hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. So do type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes (to a lesser extent), rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral vascular disease, multiple sclerosis, dementia, autoimmune diseases, and apparently even viral diseases such as H1N1 and AIDS. ... Even conditions such as autism and schizophrenia may be directly related to prenatal or infantile vitamin D deficiency.
Nevertheless, the NIH’s current recommended dosage for vitamin D supplementation remains basically unchanged since it was established to prevent rickets. ... This is extremely unfortunate because it takes about a hundred IU to raise serum blood levels by 1 ng/ml in a healthy adult. To get into the optimal range, 40 to 60 ng/ml, one would therefore have to take 4000 IU daily. ... The evidence, incidentally, is that 10,000IU is entirely safe.
Also mentioned is that every single cell in our bodies has a vitamin D receptor, and around 10% of our genes are influenced by vitamin D. Even psychological issues like depression and dementia are linked to it.
It looks like 2010 is shaping up to be the year of vitamin D. It also looks like our generations may come to be known as the ones who hated the sun, and paid for it via all manner of diseases.
As I’ve mentioned before though, at this distance from the equator, you simply can’t get enough vitamin D from the sun except during the summer. I’ve been taking 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily for the past few months; for me it’s preventive since I’m pretty healthy to begin with. I also received my vitamin D test kit last week and I just did the blood spot test today, so I’ll be sending that back to the lab and should get the results -- my vitamin D level -- soon after.
The bottom line here is pretty simple:
1) vitamin D deficiency causes lots of nasty diseases;
2) you’re probably vitamin D deficient;
3) you can fix it with extremely inexpensive supplements.