Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Vitamin D: Sunlight-Only $69.99
So, people are running for shade. And it's understandable why.
Skin cancer is a serious disease. In 2005, 50,589 Caucasions were affected with it. (1,112 Hispanics, and 261 African Americans/Center for Disease Control)
We just don't want to go there.
But some doctors are saying that the message is being taken too far. Dr. James Dowd, a rheumatologist and author of The Vitamin D Cure says, "Many dermatologists have thrown the baby out with the bath water."
When Dr. Holick began publicizing the benefits of sunlight/ vitamin D, he was lambasted by dermatologists and even asked to RESIGN from his position at the dermatology dept. at the university!
He says that the American Academy of Dermatology is well-funded by the sunscreen industry...
But these "rebel" doctors aren't even telling folks to go spend hours in the sun! Dr. Holick recommends a light-skinned person to spend 5-10 minutes in the sun, and then cover up. (this is in the summer months) Those with darker skin need more time and should spend 15-30 minutes longer. Other vitamin D experts say 10-20 mins for a light skinned and ATLEAST twice as much for a darker skinned.
I found that the exacts amounts of vitamin D required varied depending on the source. Typically, it was around 1,000 units for adults. (Hmmm, how am I supposed to count that?) Others say more is needed. (The battle goes on...)
And what about foods?
This is what the American Academy of Dermatology says: "Under no circumstances should anyone be misled into thinking that natural sunlight or tanning beds are better sources of vitamin D than foods or nutritional supplements. The only thing they are proven to be better at is increasing your risk of developing skin cancer."
(Well, I agree about the tanning beds! The World Health Organization stated in 2005 that the use of tanning beds increased the risk of skin cancer...)
Indeed, oily fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, also egg yolks and beef liver are high in vitamin D. (woohoo!) Cod liver oil has got it. Milk, orange juice, and some cereals are also fortified with the vitamin. (Note: It's Vitamin D2)
Definitely good meal choices during the winter months when there is less sun. Dr. Cannell, Vitamin D Council, writes that diets rich in vegetables, fruits, and omega-3fats, and avoiding too much omega-6 and trans-fats—also protects your skin from burning.
Some say it would take 10 cups of fortified milk and 25 cups of fortified cornflakes each day to get 1,000 units of vitamin D. And you'd have to have fish 3-5 times a week. (Don't mind the fish...)
The good news is that once a person has racked up vitamin D in their body during the summer months, it is stored in the body as fat and can be used during the winter months when it's really needed.
(G-d is clever!)
There continues to be skeptics about the effectiveness of vitamin D re: cancer. And, maybe that's healthy. To rely on one vitamin to solve this disease sounds too good to be true, but rather an interaction of necessary vitamins and minerals does make sense. Everything has to work together...
Ok, I am understanding more about sunlight and the clear benefits of vitamin D. And, honestly, completely hiding away from the sun doesn't even sound sane! However, it does have to be done smart.
But why would anyone want to promote sunshine? It can't be packaged and sold... And why promote it if African Americans are the ones who stand to benefit more?
And, back to my original question: Do African Americans wear sunscreen??