Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dark Deception; the Negative Health Implications of Institutionalized Heliophobia

In the old days, you protected your skin from over exposure to the sun with shade and/or clothing. In the process, your skin would at least get some exposure to the sun's rays. Today, perhaps in epidemic proportions, people are getting much less exposure to healthy, unadulterated UV rays of the sun due to the demonization of sun exposure and the near hysterical use of sunblock. Less exposure = less vitamin D....and what myriad problems arise due to a vitamin D deficiency?

While the Wikipedia entry on vitamin D seems to do justice to a summary description of the health problems caused by vitamin D deficiency and the importance of adequate sun exposure, check out how the health authorities try to balance that with the parroting of the old line regarding the avoidance of sun exposure below. Upon reflection, how pathetic a state of affairs do we have when "private" health researchers and medical practitioners rely so much upon the most contradictory recommendations from government ministries?

Wikipedia: Vitamin D
"The use of sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 inhibits more than 95% of vitamin D production in the skin.[15][36] Recent studies showed that, following the successful "Slip-Slop-Slap" health campaign encouraging Australians to cover up when exposed to sunlight to prevent skin cancer, an increased number of Australians and New Zealanders became vitamin D deficient."[18]

...and now for the kicker.

"Ironically, there are indications that vitamin D deficiency may lead to skin cancer." [37]

(Am I the only one laughing here?)

"To avoid vitamin D deficiency dermatologists recommend supplementation along with sunscreen use."
[37] Grant WB (2002). "An estimate of premature cancer mortality in the U.S. due to inadequate doses of solar ultraviolet-B radiation". Cancer 94 (6): 1867–75. doi:10.1002/cncr.10427. PMID 11920550.

Here's the problem with the recommended supplementation of vitamin D, whether it be from cod liver oil or a vitamin bottle:
"The currently recommended daily dosage of 400 IU of vitamin D daily appears to be unreasonably low when we know that a light skinned individual makes 20,000 units [5] of vitamin D within 15 to 20 minutes of whole body exposure to the summer sun (before redness appears). This 20,000 IU of vitamin D is five times the amount of vitamin D considered capable of initiating toxic reactions by the Institute of Medicine, demonstrating that these guidelines are set far too low. Dark skinned individuals need 5 to 10 times longer in the sun to produce an equivalent amount of vitamin D as Caucasians, depending on the extent of their pigmentation." Source

Notwithstanding a discussion regarding the chemicals used in sunblock or the benefits of less toxic sunscreens, perhaps it might make more sense to get necessary exposure to the sun for the day on unprotected skin, and only after that, use sunblock to perhaps avoid ruining the holiday with a bad burn. PhD or M.D credentials shouldn't be required to apply a little everyday common sense (unfortunately, such credentials often come with the prohibition of independent thought processes outside of the sanctioned "knowledge"). Either way, you can choose to do some research down the less beaten path or continue to rely upon the spoon feeding for health recommendations from the government ministries with the greatest conflicts of interest, the FDA and CDC.

'Sunshine vitamin' may ward off breast cancer
Higher levels of vitamin D offer range of health benefits, studies suggest news services
updated 6:48 p.m. ET, Thurs., May. 11, 2006

"Women who get lots of vitamin D are less likely to develop breast cancer, suggests a pair of studies that add to the already strong evidence that the “sunshine vitamin” helps prevent many types of cancer."

"High levels of vitamin D translated to a 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer, one study found. Even modestly higher levels resulted in 10 percent less risk, which would translate to 20,000 fewer cases a year if it were true of all American women."

"A second study, by Canadian researchers, found that women who spent time outdoors or got a lot of vitamin D from their diets or supplements — especially as teens — were 25 percent to 45 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than women with less of the nutrient."

Heliotherary (sun-therapy) for tuberculosis patients:

By Dr. James Howenstine, MD

"Research from UCLA [8] and the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that vitamin D plays a key role in the production of a molecule called cathelicidin, which kills the mycobacterium tuberculosis organism."

"Researchers have known for a long time that vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps to strengthen the immune system and seems to protect against some types of cancers and as well as other diseases. Scientists and researchers worldwide are working to understand and capitalize on the process to prevent and/or treat as many as 17 types of cancer. Evidence of vitamin D's protective effect against cancer is compelling. Regular sun exposure is associated with lower mortality rates from certain kinds of cancers. Some studies indicate that vitamin D may help prevent cancer of the breast, colon, ovaries and prostate. A recent report indicated those individuals with higher levels of vitamin D in the blood had as much as a 50% lower cancer risk of many types for cancer. "