Just "D" Facts about Vitamin D

Benefits of Moderate UV Sunshine Exposure

Sunlight is the natural way to make Vitamin D

Posted by D3forU on January 1, 2016

10,000 IU Day


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Melanoma Mortality rates higher for men vs women

Posted by D3forU on March 9, 2015

Melanoma Mortality Rates

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Sunlight and Artificial Ultraviolet B Radiation

Posted by D3forU on February 10, 2015

Vitamin D Deficiency

Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D

Sunlight and Artificial Ultraviolet B Radiation

Sensible sun exposure can provide an adequate amount of vitamin D3, which is stored in body fat and released during the winter, when vitamin D3 cannot be produced.7,15,85,108-110

Exposure of arms and legs for 5 to 30 minutes (depending on time of day, season, latitude, and skin pigmentation) between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. twice a week is often adequate.2,7,108-110

Exposure to one minimal erythemal dose while wearing only a bathing suit is equivalent to ingestion of approximately 20,000 IU of vitamin D2.1,2,7,85

The skin has a great capacity to make vitamin D3, even in the elderly, to reduce the risk of fracture.109-111

Most tanning beds  emit 2 to 6% ultraviolet B radiation and are a recommended source of vitamin D3 when used in moderation.111-113,115

Tanners had robust levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (approximately 45 ng/ml [112 nmol/L) at the end of the winter and higher bone density as compared with nontanners (with levels of approximately 18 ng/ml [45 nmol/L).112

For patients with fat malabsorption, exposure to a tanning bed for 30 to 50% of the time recommended for tanning (with sunscreen on the face) is an excellent means of treating and preventing vitamin D deficiency (Table 3).113 This reduces the risk of skin cancers associated with ultraviolet B radiation.

Link to the full paper

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When is the best time to make Vitamin D with outdoor sun?

Posted by D3forU on February 9, 2015


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Vitamin D 100,000 IU daily was OK for a researcher for 6 months – Jan 2015

Posted by D3forU on February 9, 2015

Vitamin D 100,000 IU daily was OK for a researcher for 6 months – Jan 2015

Highlights of email of Jan 29, 2015 (which is below)

Cofactors: not stated – but probably was taking Magnesium and Vitamin K2
350 ng after 6 months, no Calcium problems (cofactors?)
Sunbathing reduced the level to 250ng/ml
Was anxious so stopped the dose
Back to 100 ng/ml in 6 months

In 2012 I decided to do a toxicity study on myself to help answer a few questions.

I started taking 100,000 IU/day in June of 2012.

I measured my 25(OH)D and Urine CA/Cr ratio every week.
The 25(OH)D was run by two different methods.
Towards the end I also had a 1,25 and 24,25 run.

My 25(OH)D slowly increased to 300 ng/ml by LCMS at about 4 months.
My serum and urine calcium and urine CA/CR ratio remained normal.

I wanted to see if sun exposure would affect 25(OH)D so I started sunbathing an hour every day for 2 weeks.
My 25(OH)D levels decreased to 250 ng/ml despite the fact I was still taking 100,000 IU/day.
It seemed to indicate that sun exposure will help reduce elevated 25(OH)D levels.

By six months my 25(OH)D level was 350 ng/ml but my serum CA, 24 hour urine calcium and CA/CR ratios remained normal.

However, I started having anorexia and nausea (some symptoms of D intoxication) when I got to 350 ng/ml so I stopped the vitamin D.

It took about 6 months for my 25(OH)D to get under 100 ng/ml.
The anorexia and nausea went away in about a month.

The different methods of measuring 25(OH)D showed about a 25% variance on some measurements.
My 1,25 never went above normal but my 24,25 level was elevated the last 3 months.

It is assumed that toxicity is a side effect of hypercalcemia.
I guess the anorexia and nausea may have been psychosomatic as I got very nervous when my 25(OH)D got above 200 ng/ml.

This is. John J Cannell, MD, Vitamin D Council Inc.

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Sunbeds: Closing Remarks – Mike Fischer

Posted by D3forU on February 9, 2015

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Outdoor Exposure and Sunbeds as a Means of Producing Vitamin D

Posted by D3forU on February 9, 2015

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Comparison of Sunbeds and Outdoor Exposure as a Means of Producing Vitamin D

Posted by D3forU on December 17, 2014

SunBed vs SunLight v2“Sunbeds of course can be used to make vitamin D. It has been one of the ways that we have measured the amount of vitamin D that the skin has the capacity to make,” stated Dr. Reinhold Vieth, a professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology.

“Tanners actually have robust levels of vitamin D,” stated Dr. Michael Holick, Professor, School of Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition, Boston University.

Here is a comparison of a typical sunbed as related to outdoor sunlight.  The outdoor snapshot was taken on June 24, 2014 which coincides with the Summer Solstice in Chicago. These levels are only available between the hours of 12-2 PM.

The Sunbed replicates this golden window of optimal UVB  for Vitamin D production on demand and is not dependent on a daily schedule, time of the day, time of the season, weather conditions such as clouds and haze any day of the year in a controlled environment which can then be additionally adjusted by skin type for personalized exposure schedules.

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How to Commit Mass Murder and Get Away With It (Part 3)

Posted by D3forU on April 3, 2014

How to Commit Mass Murder and Get Away With It

By David Rothscum

If you missed Part 1 click HERE

If you missed Part 2 click HERE

Step 5:


By now there are not many mass murderers left who can look down on us. Idi Amin envies our body count. Pol Pot sees our killing spree and is getting nervous. But we haven’t even started yet. People now avoid the sun, and thus stay inside more, where they are exposed to the fluorescent lighting we installed in their homes.


Many places leave fluorescent lighting on despite the fact that it’s the middle of the day. Thus, skin cancer deaths keep going up! Because people are now vitamin D deficient thanks to us, heart disease and diabetes and cancer in general are going up too! This is where most of our score comes from. But, people are catching on. They are telling us “I’ve avoided the sun for the past 20 years but now I’ve got melanoma, and my dumb sister who goes to the beach everyday is fine, what’s going on here?”


Now we tell them our next scam. We tell them that it’s already too late. They got a sunburn as a kid, and now they’re destined to die from skin cancer. You will simply have to accept your faith.


We will tell them to please, please think of their children. Don’t let them play outside, they might start to enjoy their existence on this planet, and we can’t risk that. Keep your children inside at all costs. Let them play FIFA 2010 instead of soccer. Let them watch discovery instead of discovering something for themselves. Keep them locked in their neighborhood. If they get depressed, feed them Prozac.


If they have too much energy, it’s not because they’re not free to roam, it’s because they are sick, and their sickness is called ADHD. You can cure it by growing your son a pair of breasts. We will tell them that peer-reviewed double-blind super scientific studies done by people with IQ’s a thousand times higher than theirs have shown that growing your son breasts cures his ADHD.


If they disagree, we will call them right-wing populist scientifically illiterate demagogic conspiracy theorists. While they’re busy trying to figure out what that means, we’re off to a banana republic that doesn’t have an extradition treaty.

We can do this, you and me. Give me a call.

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How to Commit Mass Murder and Get Away With It (Part 2)

Posted by D3forU on April 3, 2014

How to Commit Mass Murder and Get Away With It

By David Rothscum

If you missed out on Part 1, click HERE

Step 4:


Skin cancer is now going up. Deaths are increasing; people are beginning to get worried, and are looking for a scapegoat. Our plan is succeeding. You may be a little disappointed. Perhaps you say “I’ve been selling light bulbs for 10 years, spend millions to get the traditional light bulbs banned, and still my body count doesn’t reach in the 6 digits!”


Well, don’t worry, because now your body count will definitely go up. The reason is that we’re now going to blame something healthy for the deaths that we caused. Imagine if asbestos companies came out when it was discovered it causes mesothelioma and said “mesothelioma is caused by eating fruit!”. They would manage to kill far more people by just telling them a lie than by selling them something deadly.


Well, this is what we are going to do too! Your body makes a hormone in response to exposure to sunlight, and the hormone is called vitamin D. It has many beneficial effects, but one of the main effects is that it prevents cancer. You can also get vitamin D in pill form. In studies where women were given vitamin D, they had a 77% reduced risk of getting cancer.


In other words, if you can make people deficient in vitamin D, you can make them get cancer. And how do we make them deficient? Easy, we have to keep them out of the sun! Remember that skin cancer epidemic we created? That’s going to come in very handy for the next step in our plan!

What we are going to do now is tell people that the reason that they are now all getting skin cancer is not from our Fluorescent light bulbs, but because they sit around in the sun all day!


“But David, won’t this prevent skin cancer, if we keep people out of the sun? Won’t this mean we actually save lives?” Well, let’s look at the facts. Each year more than 2,500 people die from skin cancer in the UK. Sound like a lot right?


Well, it’s not when we look at the total amount of cancer deaths. In 2008, there were more than 156,000 cancer deaths in the UK. But now, let us take a closer look at the skin cancer deaths. Most of the skin cancer deaths, almost 2,000 each year, are from malignant melanoma.


These skin cancer deaths are probably not caused by the sun. How do I know this? Swedish scientists did a study comparing people who work in the office, indoors, but not in an office, and people who work outdoors. This is what they found. They found 1,364 cases of malignant melanoma in office workers, compared to an expected 1,043. In indoor, non-office workers, they found 2,426 cases versus an expected number of 2,583.


But here’s the best part: In outdoor workers they found only 916 cases versus an expected number of 1,065! The people exposed to sunlight the most had a lower risk than the people not exposed to sunlight. Another study found that melanoma is more common on covered parts of the body than on those exposed to the sun.


So let’s scrap the melanoma deaths. That leaves us with 500 skin cancer deaths per year in the UK, compared to a total number of cancer deaths of 156.000. That’s about a sixth of the number of people that die in the UK every year from road accidents.

But it gets even better. About 193,000 people die every year in the UK from cardiovascular disease. And vitamin D deficiency also raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also reduces your risk of Diabetes. I think you get the point. If we can convince people to stay out of the sun, we can cause mass slaughter!


Here’s what we do. We set up a campaign to “prevent” skin cancer, by telling people to stay out of the sun. It’s very easy. We just have to start it. We start raising the alarm about an increase in skin cancer. Society will do much of the work for us. They’ll rally behind our goal, because they’re scared. Doctors will tell their patients with a tan to stop going to the beach everyday. Moms will keep their children inside, to watch TV and eat fast food instead of going outside where the sun will kill them. They’re so stupid; I promise you they’ll swallow our story! Before you know, you’ll have campaigns like these everywhere!


But of course not everyone can be convinced to stay out of the sun. There’s a solution for that. We tell them that if they have to go outside, they should apply sunscreen. The type of radiation that creates vitamin D is within the UV-B wavelength. However, humans will still want to get their tan.


Thus, we can’t block all radiation. But by now we’ve scammed them so much, let’s scam them a little more! Let’s sell them sunblock that blocks UV-B, but does not block UV-A! We will tell them that UV-B causes skin cancer, when in fact it’s mostly UV-A that’s responsible!

Click HERE for Part 3

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How to Commit Mass Murder and Get Away With It (Part 1)

Posted by D3forU on April 3, 2014

How to Commit Mass Murder and Get Away With It

By David Rothscum

Killing stupid people is lots of fun, if you’re a sick psychopath that is. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as the justice system, and it tends to go after you if it notices you’re killing people. But don’t worry, there is a solution to this, and it’s very simple. Outsmart the justice system. I’ll show you how it can be done, and how you can get a high score in the dystopian cyberpunk nightmare that is modern Western civilization.

Step 1:


Sun & HandsStep 1 is to find something that is dangerous, but is not yet illegal. “How do I find something that is dangerous but not yet illegal?” You may wonder. Luckily for you, this is very simple. Independent scientists are constantly looking for things that are killing people, because they’re born with a conscience and would like to save some lives.


Look at their discoveries, and put your money (you do have money right?) into whatever it is that they’re worried about. Let’s say they discovered that microwave radiation is dangerous. Invest in microwave technology, and fund studies that pretend that everything is safe. This allows you to buy time before your technology is banned due to public outrage.


Step 2:


Step 2 is for the real geniuses amongst you. It’s one thing to just kill people. It’s another to get paid by the people you are killing. But if you’re really good, you can make your weapon mandatory, while getting paid to kill people.


Vaccines are one example. Another is fluorescent light bulbs. You come up with the idea to ban traditional light bulbs, thus forcing people to buy fluorescent light-bulbs. How do you get people to ban traditional light bulbs? That’s easy. Look for something that they all have an irrational fear of. A good example would be terrorism.


Tell them that traditional light bulbs can be used to build bombs. All right, nobody will buy that. Fine, tell them that you can stop global warming by banning traditional light bulbs.



Step 3:


I know what you’re thinking now. “David, how the hell do I kill people with fluorescent light bulbs? Do I force them to snort up the mercury?” Well, that would be one way. But my suggestion to you is to be patient.


A study from 1982 found that exposure to fluorescent lighting at work was associated with a 2.1 relative risk of malignant melanoma, aka deadly skin cancer. In those exposed more than 10 years, the risk becomes massive.


Note, this is 1982, when fluorescent lighting was still relatively rare. How many people have died from skin cancer since then whose deaths could have been prevented? Countless numbers without a doubt. What we do now is selling our light bulbs and waiting, while we get rich.

 Click HERE for Part 2

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reducing the burden of melanoma

Posted by D3forU on March 27, 2013

VitDandskin“One suggestion for reducing the burden of melanoma

is to encourage people not to burn while in the sun, but not to avoid the sun.”


“It is sporadic, not chronic, ultraviolet irradiance that is strongly correlated with the risk of melanoma.”


For example,


“A recent ecological study of cancer incidence based on occupation in Nordic countries found

reduced incidence rates for melanoma for those with outdoor occupations,

and reduced risk of many types of internal cancers due to production of vitamin D.”


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Derms Call Phototherapy ‘Safe’

Posted by D3forU on February 9, 2012

The dermatology industry continues to use UV sunbeds to treat cosmetic skin diseases in their offices — often for up to 20 times the price of equivalent indoor tanning sessions — calling their use of sunbeds “safe” while simultaneously referring to typically lower UV dosages delivered by sunbeds in tanning facilities as dangerous.

It’s a contradiction that is now coming to the forefront, as dermatology lobbying groups are stepping up efforts to drive people away from sunbeds while at the same time introducing legislation to protect their use of nearly identical UV phototherapy equipment for the treatment of psoriasis and other cosmetic diseases.

The California Dermatology Society – testifying to state lawmakers in 2011 that sunbeds should be banned for those under age 18 — told lawmakers that no research implicated their use of phototherapy sessions as risky, but that indoor tanning sunbed salon sessions were. In fact, the World Health Organization has issued a report labeling dermatology phototherapy sessions — routinely administered in combination with the photo-carcinogenic drug Methoxalen — to be a Class 1 Carcinogen. Click here for that report.

California lawmakers last summer passed an under-18 ban on sun tanning salon visits based in part on CDS’s testimony. Legislators even added an amendment to their bill explicitly exempting phototherapy in dermatology offices from the rules after CDS testified that phototherapy was not a risk factor for melanoma even though dermatology’s use of sunbeds was already exempted in the bill.

In addition to WHO calling phototherapy with Methoxalen a Class 1 carcinogen, a 1997 U.S. Study showed that dermatology phototherapy increased melanoma risk by more than 300 percent — 4 to 5 times the relative risk that derms alleged was due to commercial sunbeds. Click here to see that study.

In fact, research dating back to 1985 first implicated the use of psoralen-based medication as carcinogenic when combined with UV light. Click here for more information. That’s why indoor tanning salons do not allow tanners who are being treated with psoralen-based medications to tan – a point that has been paramount in Smart Tan operator education since 1991.

“This is clear: Data exists to question dermatology’s use of sunbeds at high dosages in combination with photo-carcinogenic drugs to treat cosmetic skin conditions,” Smart Tan’s Joseph Levy said. “It makes no sense for derm groups to attack commercial tanning salons while simultaneously defending their use of equipment as ‘safe’ when in fact their own data suggests it may be many times riskier.”

CDS’s immediate past president also called indoor tanning sunbeds “an inefficient” source of vitamin D production, saying that because sunbeds are mostly UVA they do not make vitamin D well. Other North American dermatology groups have made the same statement – which isn’t accurate. In fact, sunbeds are an incredibly efficient source of vitamin D production, just like natural sunlight, which is also mostly UVA, but which contains the right amount of UVB to trigger vitamin D production. Clinical research has established that regular sunbed users have 90 percent higher vitamin D levels as compared to non-tanners.



“Dermatology lobbying groups are not telling the whole truth about sunlight — they are not spreading a balanced message,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “A few consumer journalists have figured that out, but it is a story that is ready to be told en masse.”

In 2010, Huffington Post journalist Harmon Leon went undercover into dermatology offices and found that many clinical dermatologists embraced sunbed phototherapy while at the same time over-trumping anti-sun messages to sell expensive private-label sunscreen products. Click here for that story.

“There’s a strange health tug-of-war going on,” Leon wrote. “Doctors are now telling us to get back into the sun for better health since a large majority of Americans are being deprived of natural vitamin D and other benefits associated with sunshine. Meanwhile, the cosmetic dermatology industry seems to be turning up the heat on their ‘stay out of the sun, wear sunscreen 24/7’ message. Who’s a person to believe?’



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Vitamin D Deficiency Linked with Earlier Menstruation in Young Girls

Posted by D3forU on September 19, 2011

A new study has found an association between vitamin D deficiency and early menstruation in young girls. Early menstruation can be a risk factor for a number of health problems for teen girls as well as women later in life.

University of Michigan researchers found that girls low on vitamin D were twice as likely to start menstruation early compared to those with sufficient vitamin D.

Worldwide, researchers said they have observed a decline in age of first menstruation, a change likely brought on by environmental factors because the genetic factors have not changed.

Premature menarche is a risk factor for a number of behavioral and psychosocial problems in teens. It also may be associated with an increased of cardiometabolic diseases and cancer in adult women.

Previous research has indicated that menarche begins later in girls who live close to the equator compared to girls who live in northern countries, presumably because girls in northern countries may suffer higher rates of vitamin D deficiency.

In the study, girls who were low in vitamin D were 11 years old, on average, when they had their first period. Girls with sufficient vitamin D were, on average, 12 years old.

Though the age gap is only a year, the researchers said the difference is in fact substantial because at those ages a lot is happening rapidly in a young girls’ body.


Link to story

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Derm’s Own Son ‘D’ Deficient: NBC Report

Posted by D3forU on September 17, 2011

A Washington, D.C., dermatologist was unable to identify her 14-year-old son’s severe vitamin D deficiency even after he complained of constant pain, headaches, exhaustion, body aches and stomach pain — classic signs of severe vitamin D deficiency, NBC News-Washington reported in a televised story.


“Because Benjamin’s an active tennis player she (his mother) thought he’d just pulled a muscle or strained something,” NBC-Washington reported after talking with Dr. Marilyn Berzin, Benjamin’s mother. She is a Washington, D.C., dermatologist whose web site states she is considered “to be one of Washington, D.C.’s leading cosmetic dermatologists.” The web site encourages people to always apply sunscreen with at least an SPF15 rating.

Based on video images of Berzin and her son — who both appear pale in the story — it is likely they don’t get a lot of sun.

It was the stomach pain that got Dr. Berzin to take her son to a pediatrician, NBC reported. “Doctors tested him for everything from arthritis to muscular dystrophy to Lyme disease,” the story reported. The tests ultimately showed he was severely deficient in vitamin D and was put on 50,000-international-unit-weekly supplements for an eight-week period.

“Within about two to three weeks he started feeling a lot better — he grew immediately about two inches,” Dr. Berzin said in the NBC-Washington report.

The story did correctly report that 70 percent of children are believed to be vitamin D deficient, and that kids not getting outdoor sunlight like they used to is most likely the cause. But doctors in the report only recommended 400 IU of vitamin D daily.

While the story did not mention Benjamin’s vitamin D level, it is likely that it was below 10 ng/ml, based on the symptoms he reported and the level of vitamin D prescribed to him. The number of children below 10 ng/ml has increased significantly in the past generation, according to government data — levels so low that childhood rickets, virtually eradicated in the mid-20th century, is making a resurgence. Overzealous sun avoidance is believed to be the cause.

“While the dermatology lobby has been advising people they don’t need to get sun exposure to make vitamin D – even though sun is the natural and intended way to make vitamin D and getting full-body summer sun makes more than 100 times the vitamin D supplemented into a glass of milk — here’s an example of a dermatologist who clearly didn’t know anything about vitamin D deficiency and it was hurting her own family,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “We are glad that Dr. Berzin and her family are in better health; hopefully dermatology can learn something from this story.”

To watch the NBC-Washington report click here.

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Report Confuses ‘Attraction’ with ‘Addiction’

Posted by D3forU on August 15, 2011

Another research project is attempting to confuse humanity’s natural and intended attraction to UV in sunlight and sunlamps with unnatural chemical addictions. The New York Times on Friday ran a story headlined, “How Tanning Changes the Brain” covering the latest project.

2011-08-15 Addiction or Attraction copyThe latest report: from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, makes the same critical mistake that others before it have made: The story neglects to mention that humans are intended to be “attracted” to UV from sunlight.

“What the researchers found was that several parts of the brain that play a role in addiction were activated when the subjects were exposed to UV rays. The findings, which appear in the coming issue of the journal Addiction Biology, may help explain why some people continue to tan often despite awareness about risks such as skin cancer, premature aging and wrinkles,” The New York Times reported.

The Times story quoted Dr. Bryon Adinoff, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and an author of the study. “What this shows is that the brain is in fact responding to UV light, and it responds in areas that are associated with reward. These are areas, particularly the striatum, that we see activated when someone is administered a drug or a high-value food like sugar.”

Unlike stories in the past on this topic, many blogged responses to the Times coverage understood that the report neglected to mention that such an attraction is part of nature’s design for most living things.

“This is silly,” one blogger wrote. “The point of chemical addiction is that it hijacks the reward system, leaving you with a craving for more rather than a sense of satiation.

It sounds like these subjects were satiated by getting their normal UV dose, which suggests their reward systems were working normally. (Addiction would be if greater UV light exposure led to the desire for even more UV.) Not all activation of the reward system is indicative of ‘addiction.’”

Smart Tan’s Joseph Levy submitted the following reply:

This report missed the point about natural, intended human interaction with UV exposure and, perhaps most importantly, cheapens the legitimacy of concern over real issues involving addiction.

Humans are not addicted to UV exposure. We are ATTRACTED to UV exposure. It is entirely natural because most living things are supposed to get regular UV exposure to be healthy. That is nature’s design. To say anyone is addicted to UV is like saying they are addicted to air, food or water, which also trigger positive responses in the brain. We are naturally attracted to these things because we need them. We’d die without them.

We only recently learned that UV exposure to the skin triggers endorphin production, which makes us feel good. That’s nature’s design. Those who mass-market chemical sunscreen as a daily-use product want you to think otherwise.

Dermatology and pharmaceutical groups today are trying “spin” this story, doubling down on their anti-sun message because their message — daily chemical sunscreen usage in any climate — has led to a 20 percent decrease in vitamin D blood levels in the past generation, according to the government’s own data. (Ginde, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009). At the same time, these groups are going out of their way to make the case that these lower vitamin D levels that they caused are “normal” and that vitamin D research isn’t yet compelling.

Consider: Humans make 100 times more vitamin D from sun exposure to the skin than they get from an 8-ounce glass of vitamin D fortified milk. And ‘D’ made from UV exposure to the skin lasts longer in the system and binds nearly twice as well to vitamin D-binding protein in the body (Dr. Michael Holick, Boston University).

Confusing “addiction” and “attraction” in such a blanket, cavalier fashion is unhelpful.



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An estimate of cancer mortality rate reductions in Europe and the US with 1,000 IU of oral vitamin D per day.

Posted by D3forU on July 19, 2011


Solar ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiance and/or vitamin D have been found inversely correlated with incidence, mortality, and/or survival rates for breast, colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancer and Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Evidence is emerging that more than 17 different types of cancer are likely to be vitamin D-sensitive. A recent meta-analysis concluded that 1,000 IU of oral vitamin D per day is associated with a 50% reduction in colorectal cancer incidence. Using this value, as well as the findings in a multifactorial ecologic study of cancer mortality rates in the US, estimates for reductions in risk of vitamin D-sensitive cancer mortality rates were made for 1,000 IU/day.

These estimates, along with annual average serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, were used to estimate the reduction in cancer mortality rates in several Western European and North American countries that would result from intake of 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D. It was estimated that reductions could be 7% for males and 9% for females in the US and 14% for males and 20% for females in Western European countries below 59 degrees.

It is proposed that increased fortification of food and increased availability of supplements could help increase vitamin D intake and could augment small increases in production of vitamin D from solar UVB irradiance.

Providing 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day for all adult Americans would cost about $1 billion; the expected benefits for cancer would be in the range of $16-25 billion in addition to other health benefits of vitamin D.


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‘Sun Scare’ Lacks Proof of Lowered Rrisk of Melanoma Skin Cancer, NCI Admits

Posted by D3forU on June 15, 2011

NCI Admits ‘Sun Scare’ Lacks Proof

The U.S. National Cancer Institute — in bold type on an a section added to its web site in June 2010 — admits that there is no evidence that avoiding sunlight or sunbeds actually decreases the risk of skin cancer.

“It is not known if protecting skin from sunlight and other UV radiation decreases the risk of skin cancer,” the NCI writes in an advisory titled “Skin Cancer Prevention.” The article continues, “Sunscreen may help decrease the amount of UV radiation to the skin. One study found that wearing sunscreen can help prevent actinic keratoses, scaly patches of skin that may become squamous cell carcinoma. However, the use of sunscreen has not been proven to lower the risk of melanoma skin cancer.”


The NCI couches its recommendations about sun exposure and UV light with the words “may” and “suggest” — showing that the agency and others continue to blur the line in public health recommendations, encouraging people to avoid UV and mid-day sun even though they do not have cause-and-effect evidence to say that UV “will” cause skin cancer.

“Being exposed to ultraviolet radiation is a risk factor that may increase the risk of skin cancer,” the agency writes in the same advisory. “Studies suggest that being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the sensitivity of a person’s skin to UV radiation are risk factors for skin cancer.”

What’s it mean?

“The difference between advising people to avoid sunburn based on what studies suggest and blurring the line to still make it appear that any and all UV exposure is harmful — when evidence does not support that statement — is the wrong way to approach this” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy says. “You keep reading items like this from so many agencies and the inferences all seem to point in the same direction, benefiting the $6 billion chemical sunscreen pharmaceutical market. Still, this article is quite clear: Dermatology leaders need to stop saying point blank that avoiding sun will decrease the risk of cancer. The government does not support that claim.”

To read the NCI advisory click here.

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Ultraviolet and/or Sunlight Exposure During Teen / Adulthood and Breast Cancer Risk:

Posted by D3forU on June 14, 2011

Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Ultraviolet Sunlight Exposure During Adolescence and Adulthood and Breast Cancer Risk: A Population-based Case-Control Study Among Ontario Women.


Recent studies suggest that vitamin D may be associated with reduced breast cancer risk, but most studies have evaluated only dietary vitamin D intake. The associations among ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, factors related to cutaneous vitamin D production, and breast cancer risk were evaluated in a population-based case-control study conducted in Ontario, Canada, between 2003 and 2004 (n = 3,101 cases and n = 3,471 controls).

Time spent outdoors was associated with reduced breast cancer risk during 4 periods of life

>21 vs. ≤6 hours/week age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 0.71, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.60, 0.85 in the teenage years;

OR = 0.64, 95% CI: 0.53, 0.76 in the 20s-30s;

OR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.61, 0.88 in the 40s-50s; and

OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.37, 0.66 in the 60s-74 years.

Sun protection practices and ultraviolet radiation were not associated with breast cancer risk. A combined solar vitamin D score, including all the variables related to vitamin D production, was significantly associated with reduced breast cancer risk. These associations were not confounded or modified by menopausal status, dietary vitamin D intake, or physical activity.

This study suggests that factors suggestive of increased cutaneous production of vitamin D are associated with reduced breast cancer risk.

PubMed Link

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NCI Admits ‘Sun Scare’ Lacks Proof

Posted by D3forU on January 25, 2011

NCI Admits ‘Sun Scare’ Lacks Proof

The U.S. National Cancer Institute — in bold type on an a section added to its web site in June 2010 — admits that there is no evidence that avoiding sunlight or sunbeds actually decreases the risk of skin cancer.

“It is not known if protecting skin from sunlight and other UV radiation decreases the risk of skin cancer,” the NCI writes in an advisory titled “Skin Cancer Prevention.” The article continues, “Sunscreen may help decrease the amount of UV radiation to the skin. One study found that wearing sunscreen can help prevent actinic keratoses, scaly patches of skin that may become squamous cell carcinoma. However, the use of sunscreen has not been proven to lower the risk of melanoma skin cancer.”


The NCI couches its recommendations about sun exposure and UV light with the words “may” and “suggest” — showing that the agency and others continue to blur the line in public health recommendations, encouraging people to avoid UV and mid-day sun even though they do not have cause-and-effect evidence to say that UV “will” cause skin cancer.

“Being exposed to ultraviolet radiation is a risk factor that may increase the risk of skin cancer,” the agency writes in the same advisory. “Studies suggest that being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the sensitivity of a person’s skin to UV radiation are risk factors for skin cancer.”

What’s it mean?

“The difference between advising people to avoid sunburn based on what studies suggest and blurring the line to still make it appear that any and all UV exposure is harmful — when evidence does not support that statement — is the wrong way to approach this” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy says. “You keep reading items like this from so many agencies and the inferences all seem to point in the same direction, benefiting the $6 billion chemical sunscreen pharmaceutical market. Still, this article is quite clear: Dermatology leaders need to stop saying point blank that avoiding sun will decrease the risk of cancer. The government does not support that claim.”

To read the NCI advisory click here.

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Do You Know Your Vitamin ‘D’ Score? Here are levels from recent studies

Posted by D3forU on January 8, 2011

Indoor tanning clients have 90 percent higher vitamin D blood level scores as compared to non-tanners — levels that are close to what outdoor workers and non-human primates who live outdoors in the sun naturally have.

2010-12-16 Know D Score copy

“Sunbeds that emit UVB — and more than 90 percent of them do — make vitamin D much the same way as natural sunshine triggers vitamin D production in your skin,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy says. “While the academic world fights the political game of figuring out how much vitamin D they think people need, no one can argue that indoor tanners have levels consistent with what people and primates make naturally when they live intended outdoor lives. Nature never intended for humans to live and work indoors in cubicles.”

Do you know your vitamin D blood level? It’s measured in what is called a “calcidiol test” (a 25-hyrdoxy vitamin D test). Results are delivered in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or in nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) in Canada. (1 ng/ml = 2.5 mnol/L). Here are levels from recent studies:

Non-human primates(1): 50-80 ng/ml

Outdoor workers (1,2): 49-50 ng/ml

Indoor tanners(3): 43-49 ng/ml

Non-tanners(4): 23-25 ng/ml

Dermatologists(5): 13-14 ng/ml


1. Vieth R. Why the optimal requirement for Vitamin D3 is probably much higher than what is officially recommended for adults. J of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 89–90 (2004) 575–579

2. Barger-Lux MJ, Haney R. Effects of Above Average Summer Sun Exposure on Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Calcium Absorption. J of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2002; 87(11):4952–4956

3. Tangpricha et al. Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher bone mineral density. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:1645–9

4. Ginde A. Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):626-632

5. Czarnecki D et al. The vitamin D status of Australian dermatologists. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 34; 624-25.

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UV Exposure: The Natural ‘Vitamin D’

Posted by D3forU on January 8, 2011

2010-07-23 D Shadow copy

New research showing how the body actually metabolizes vitamin D supports the fact that sun exposure to the skin is the only natural and reliable way to process natural and intended levels of “the sunshine vitamin.”

The Vitamin D Council — an independent non-profit organization — cites new research on its web site showing the body’s natural and intended vitamin D level: 50 ng/ml. “Thanks to Bruce Hollis, Robert Heaney, Neil Binkley, and others, we now know the minimal acceptable level. It is 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L),” the Council, founded by Dr. John Cannell, writes on its web site. Cannell points out that vitamin D researchers Hollis, Heaney and Binkley have shown that the human body does not start storing vitamin D in fat and muscle tissue until vitamin D blood levels reach at least 40 ng/ml for most people. At 50 ng/ml, almost everyone starts storing the sunshine vitmamin.

What does that mean? “That is, at levels below 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L), the body uses up vitamin D as fast as you can make it, or take it, indicating chronic substrate starvation — not a good thing,” Cannell writes. “25(OH)D levels should be between 50–80 ng/ml (125–200 nmol/L), year-round.”

And who has the highest vitamin D levels: Those who work outdoors. Indoor tanners also have high vitamin D levels: 42-49 ng/ml on average. That’s 90 percent higher than the rest of the population, according to Boston University research.

To visit the Vitamin D Council’s web site click here.

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Skin cancer risk from tanning beds is miniscule. Why ‘75 percent’ Stat is Wrong

Posted by D3forU on January 8, 2011


Internet health education web site NaturalNews.com is calling for people to re-examine the relatively small risk of melanoma, often put out of perspective by groups linked to those who profit from anti-sun messaging.

In an article titled “Skin cancer risk from tanning beds is miniscule” NaturalNews takes aim at a statistic used by anti-sun lobbying groups to allege that “use of sunbeds before the age of 35 is associated with a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma.”

Aside from the fact that the stat has been debunked — it came from data inlcuding home tanning units and medical usage of UV-emitting devices — the number itself is grossly misleading statistic, as NaturalNews.com points out.

Simply put, it is a relative risk figure. But the absolute risk associated with that figure is still very small.

As NaturalNews wrote: “In an article for Wilmington’s News Journal, AHCJ member Hiran Ratnayake reviewed the research that led to the oft-quoted statistic of 75 percent increased risk. He found that a review of research from a number of different studies did indeed find an average 75 percent increase in those who used tanning beds. But the original risk was so low (roughly two-tenths of 1 percent) that even a 75 percent increase means a final risk still well under 1 percent.”

Again, that figure includes medical usage of UV equipment and usage of home tanning units. Commercial units worldwide made up only a 6 percent risk increase, including European usage of those with skin type I.

To read the NaturalNews article click here.

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Vitamin D Council: Use a Sunbed

Posted by D3forU on January 8, 2011


The independent Vitamin D Council suggests that people should use a sunbed in the winter — being careful to avoid a sunburn — as one of the primary ways to make sufficient vitamin D.

Dr. John Cannell, founder of The Vitamin D Council, lists three ways for adults to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D on the Council’s web site.

  1. Regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible for 20–30 minutes (being careful to never burn). The Council points out that those with dark skin will need longer exposure time — up to six times longer.
  2. Regularly use a sunbed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months.
  3. Take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.

The Vitamin D Council points out that vitamin D is not a vitamin — it’s a precursor to a hormone intended to be made naturally in the skin. That’s why it’s called “the sunshine vitamin.”

“Humans make thousands of units of vitamin D within minutes of whole body exposure to sunlight,” Cannell says. “From what we know of nature, it is unlikely such a system evolved by chance.”

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Dermatology Leader: Tans are Natural

Posted by D3forU on January 8, 2011

“Working on a tan is analogous to training muscles; both, if done in moderation and reasonably, serve a worthwhile purpose.” — Dr. Bernard Ackerman, founder of the New York City-based Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology and author of The Sun and the ‘Epidemic’ of Melanoma: Myth on Myth.

Ackerman, decorated by the American Academy of Dermatology with the group’s Master Dermatologist designation (its highest honor), is one of several dermatology leaders who take issue with dermatology organizations who attempt to characterize tans as damage.

Tans are different fundamentally from sunburns, Ackerman points out. “A sunburn is pathologic, it calling forth redness at the least, ulcerations and scarring at worst, and blisters in between. A suntan is physiologic, the result of normal melanocytes at the dermoedidermal junctions producing more melanin for the epidermis, that dark pigment serving to protect against ultraviolet radiation.”

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What’s Your “D” Score?

Posted by D3forU on December 20, 2010

Indoor tanning clients have 90 percent higher vitamin D blood level scores as compared to non-tanners — levels that are close to what outdoor workers and non-human primates who live outdoors in the sun naturally have.

2010-12-16 Know D Score copy“Sunbeds that emit UVB — and more than 90 percent of them do — make vitamin D much the same way as natural sunshine triggers vitamin D production in your skin,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy says. “While the academic world fights the political game of figuring out how much vitamin D they think people need, no one can argue that indoor tanners have levels consistent with what people and primates make naturally when they live intended outdoor lives. Nature never intended for humans to live and work indoors in cubicles.”

Do you know your vitamin D blood level? It’s measured in what is called a “calcidiol test” (a 25-hyrdoxy vitamin D test). Results are delivered in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or in nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) in Canada. (1 ng/ml = 2.5 mnol/L). Here are levels from recent studies:

Non-human primates(1): 50-80 ng/ml

Outdoor workers (1,2): 49-50 ng/ml

Indoor tanners(3): 43-49 ng/ml

Non-tanners(4): 23-25 ng/ml

Dermatologists(5): 13-14 ng/ml


1. Vieth R. Why the optimal requirement for Vitamin D3 is probably much higher than what is officially recommended for adults. J of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 89–90 (2004) 575–579

2. Barger-Lux MJ, Haney R. Effects of Above Average Summer Sun Exposure on Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Calcium Absorption. J of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2002; 87(11):4952–4956

3. Tangpricha et al. Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher bone mineral density. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:1645–9

4. Ginde A. Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):626-632

5. Czarnecki D et al. The vitamin D status of Australian dermatologists. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 34; 624-25.



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Sunscreen Chemicals Absorbed into Body. Found in 85% of Human Breast Milk Samples.

Posted by D3forU on December 14, 2010

(NaturalNews) Before you apply creams, lotions, cosmetics and sunscreens to your skin, it might be a good idea to find out what’s really in them.
What’s more, you need to know those ingredients aren’t necessarily just coating the outside layers of your skin. For example, as NaturalNews previously reported, UCLA scientists have recently discovered nanoparticles in cosmetics and sunscreens can enter and wander throughout the body, potentially disrupting body functions on a sub-cellular level (http://www.naturalnews.com/027603_n…).
And now, for the first time, a study just published in the international science journal Chemospherehas shown that a group of chemicals known as UV (for ultraviolet radiation) filters are turning up in humans internally — and the phenomenon is widespread.

In fact, the investigation, conducted by a Swiss National Research Program called Endocrine Disrupters: Relevance to Humans, Animals and Ecosystems, found UV filters, which are common in cosmetics and sunscreens, were present in 85 percent of human milk samples tested. What does this mean for adults, much less babies taking in this contaminated milk? The alarming truth is, no one knows.

For the study, during the fall and summer of 2004, 2005 and 2006, human milk was sampled from mothers who had given birth at the University Women’s Hospital in Basel, Switzerland. The research participants also answered detailed questionnaires in order to document their use of different types of cosmetic products and sunscreens.

When the women’s breast milk was analyzed, tests revealed the milk samples contained a huge list of chemicals including persistent organic pollutants (POPs), synthetic musk fragrances, pesticides, phthalates, parabens, flame retardants (polybrominated diphenylethers), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) — and cosmetic UV filters. What’s more, the UV filter chemicals were surprisingly widespread; they were comparable in concentrations to PCBs, which have long been known to contaminate the environment.

“Research on the effects of endocrine disrupters (chemicals interfering with hormone actions) has shown that it is of utmost importance to obtain information on simultaneous exposure of humans to different types of chemicals because endocrine active chemicals can act in concert. Information on exposure is particularly important for the developing organism at its most sensitive early life stages.

Human milk was chosen because it provides direct information on exposure of the suckling infant and indirect information on exposure of the mother during pregnancy,” research team leaders Margret Schlumpf and Walter Lichtensteiger said in a media statement.

The analyzed data of the milk samples obtained from individual mothers were then compared with the information collected through the questionnaire about cosmetic and sunscreen use. While exposure patterns differed between individuals, Dr. Schlumpf, who is a scientist at the University of Zurich, pointed out that the total reported use of products containing UV filters was significantly correlated with the presence of those chemicals in breast milk.

In all, a total daily intake of each individual chemical found in the breast milk tests was calculated for each baby who was fed with breast milk. The results showed some infants were taking in daily amounts of PCBs and several pesticides that were far above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reference for supposed “acceptable” levels. Little is known about the health significance of babies drinking in UV filters through their mothers’ milk.

In a statement to the media, the scientists noted that information on the relationship between the exposure of human populations to ingredients in cosmetics and sunscreens and the presence of these constituents in the human body has been sorely limited. And before the new Swiss research findings, the data on UV filters being present inside the human body was virtually non-existent.

“This study once again emphasizes the importance of global research on the impact of contaminants in the human environment and the need for continuous critical assessment of our priorities in environmental health and consumer habits. I am sure that this investigation will also spark debate at the upcoming first Environmental Health conference in Brazil, February 2011″, Gert-Jan Geraeds, Executive Publisher of Chemosphere said in a press statement.

For more information:

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030725_sunscreen_chemicals.html#ixzz186NPgfPf

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New Melanoma & Breast Cancer Studies in Iceland got me wondering

Posted by D3forU on September 8, 2010

So I’m stumbling through new research papers, and stumble onto this one.

Unfortunately, it’s only an abstract, and not the full paper with some more details and information.

The first study relates to incidence, while the second relates to mortality.

Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print]
A Melanoma Epidemic in Iceland: Possible Influence of Sunbed Use.

Héry C, Tryggvadóttir L, Sigurdsson T, Olafsdóttir E, Sigurgeirsson B, Jonasson JG, Olafsson JH, Boniol M, Byrnes GB, Doré JF, Autier P.

Since 1980, sunbed use and travel abroad have dramatically increased in Iceland (64 degrees -66 degrees N). The authors assessed temporal trends in melanoma incidence by body site in Iceland in relation to sunbed use and travel abroad. Using joinpoint analysis, they calculated estimated annual percent changes (EAPCs) and identified the years during which statistically significant changes in EAPC occurred.

Between 1954 and 2006, the largest increase in incidence in men was observed on the trunk (EAPC = 4.6%, 95% confidence interval: 3.2, 6.0).

In women, the slow increase in trunk melanoma incidence before 1995 was followed by a significantly sharper increase in incidence, mainly among women aged less than 50 years, resembling an epidemic incidence curve (1995-2002: EAPC = 20.4%, 95% confidence interval: 9.3, 32.8). In 2002, the melanoma incidence on the trunk was higher than the incidence on the lower limbs for women.

Sunbed use in Iceland expanded rapidly after 1985, mainly among young women, and in 2000, it was approximately 2 and 3 times the levels recorded in Sweden and in the United Kingdom, respectively. Remember this fact, as I’ll come back to it later

Travels abroad were more prevalent among older Icelanders. The high prevalence of sunbed use probably contributed to the sharp increase in the incidence of melanoma in Iceland.

so I continue through my stumbling and come across this recent study. This is a complete paper on PubMedCentral so there is more info to look into.

Disparities in breast cancer mortality trends between 30 European countries: retrospective trend analysis of WHO mortality database.

Autier P, Boniol M, LaVecchia C, Vatten L, Gavin A, Héry C, Heanue M.
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France. philippe.autier@i-pri.org
Comment in:


OBJECTIVE: To examine changes in temporal trends in breast cancer mortality in women living in 30 European countries.

DESIGN: Retrospective trend analysis. Data source WHO mortality database on causes of deaths Subjects reviewed Female deaths from breast cancer from 1989 to 2006

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in breast cancer mortality for all women and by age group (<50, 50-69, and >or=70 years) calculated from linear regressions of log transformed, age adjusted death rates. Joinpoint analysis was used to identify the year when trends in all age mortality began to change.

RESULTS: From 1989 to 2006, there was a median reduction in breast cancer mortality of 19%, ranging from a 45% reduction in Iceland to a 17% increase in Romania. Breast cancer mortality decreased by >or=20% in 15 countries, and the reduction tended to be greater in countries with higher mortality in 1987-9.

England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland had the second, third, and fourth largest decreases of 35%, 29%, and 30%, respectively. In France, Finland, and Sweden, mortality decreased by 11%, 12%, and 16%, respectively. In central European countries mortality did not decline or even increased during the period.

Downward mortality trends usually started between 1988 and 1996, and the persistent reduction from 1999 to 2006 indicates that these trends may continue. The median changes in the age groups were -37% (range -76% to -14%) in women aged <50, -21% (-40% to 14%) in 50-69 year olds, and -2% (-42% to 80%) in >or=70 year olds.

CONCLUSIONS: Changes in breast cancer mortality after 1988 varied widely between European countries, and the UK is among the countries with the largest reductions. Women aged <50 years showed the greatest reductions in mortality, also in countries where screening at that age is uncommon. The increasing mortality in some central European countries reflects avoidable mortality.

Looking into Table 1 of the last report, I find that Iceland is THE highest reduction in Breast Cancer Mortality overall, and also in the <50 crowd from 1989 – 2006, which is 10 years after sunbed usage increased in the similar age population, with a 76% reduction in that age group overall. The first year of decline in Breast cancer mortality <50 is 1995, 10 years after sunbed use , as noted in the first report, increased.

Am I just reading between the lines here, or is is possible that more UV exposure is inversely related to Breast Cancer mortality, and here is a place where sunbed use would be more directly responsible as solar UV is lacking in Iceland??

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Sunshine is good medicine. The health benefits of ultraviolet-B induced vitamin D production.

Posted by D3forU on September 1, 2010

Grant WB, Strange RC, Garland CF.

J Cosmet Dermatol. 003 Apr;2(2):86-98.

Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center, 2107 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 403B, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA. wbgrant@infionline.net


Most public health statements regarding exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) recommend avoiding it, especially at midday, and using sunscreen.

Excess UVR is a primary risk factor for skin cancers, premature photoageing and the development of cataracts. In addition, some people are especially sensitive to UVR, sometimes due to concomitant illness or drug therapy.

However, if applied uncritically, these guidelines may actually cause more harm than good. Humans derive most of their serum 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25(OH)D3) from solar UVB radiation (280-315 nm).

Serum 25(OH)D3 metabolite levels are often inadequate for optimal health in many populations, especially those with darker skin pigmentation, those living at high latitudes, those living largely indoors and in urban areas, and during winter in all but the sunniest climates.

In the absence of adequate solar UVB exposure or artificial UVB, vitamin D can be obtained from dietary sources or supplements.

There is compelling evidence that low vitamin D levels lead to increased risk of developing rickets, osteoporosis and osteomaloma, 16 cancers (including cancers of breast, ovary, prostate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), and other chronic diseases such as psoriasis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, myopathy, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, hyperparathyroidism and susceptibility to tuberculosis.

The health benefits of UVB seem to outweigh the adverse effects.

The risks can be minimized by avoiding sunburn, excess UVR exposure and by attention to dietary factors, such as antioxidants and limiting energy and fat consumption.

It is anticipated that increasing attention will be paid to the benefits of UVB radiation and vitamin D and that health guidelines will be revised in the near future.

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Revealed: how vitamin D can protect us from cancer

Posted by D3forU on August 23, 2010

“It is the first time that scientists have found direct evidence to suggest that the “sunshine vitamin”, which is made by the skin in the presence of sunlight, directly controls a network of genes linked with a wide variety of serious disorders”.

Vitamin D is produced naturally by the skin but only in the presence of sunlight

We screened the whole genome and found all the sites where vitamin D binds. The evidence is now quite solid that not only is there binding but we’ve been able to show that it actually affects the functioning of the gene. It’s not just sticking to that region, it’s actually altering gene expression,” Professor Ebers said.

Vitamin D is produced naturally by the skin but only in the presence of sunlight. Sunshine contains ultraviolet light B (UVB) which converts a ubiquitious precursor substance in the skin, called 7-dehydrocholesterol, into vitamin D3. This can then be converted by the liver and kidneys into the biologically active form of vitamin D.

By far the easiest and best way of delivering enough vitamin D to the body is to expose unprotected skin to direct sunlight for a few minutes each day. But light-skinned people are advised not to burn their skin.

Revealed: how vitamin D can protect us from cancer – Science, News – The Independent

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5-10 Minutes of Sun Exposure Equals What?

Posted by D3forU on August 16, 2010

“In general, 5 to 10 minutes a day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

with minimal clothing is considered good.”

This advise works with qualifications. You can make ~2300 IU of Vitamin D IF:

42° N Latitude USA

A) 10 minutes Full Exposure Face Up (or Down) in bikini or boxers 45% exp.
B) You are Skin Type (ST) 2 with no previous sun exposure
C) Location is 42° N Lat Clear Skies August 13th +/- 2 days @ 12 Noon
D) Almost forgot. You are 20 years old.

ST 3’s can make ~1400 IU is same time frame. 17 min to 2300 IU
ST 4’s can make ~1000 IU is same time frame. 22 min to 2300 IU
ST 5’s can make ~600 IU is same time frame. 37 min to 2300 IU
ST 6’s can make ~400 IU is same time frame. 55 min to 2300 IU

Every 25% “Base Tan” reduces Vitamin D production 25%
Every 10 Years reduces Vitamin D production by 10%

Every Hour Before or After Noon reduces another 20%

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How To Get Enough Vitamin D

Posted by D3forU on July 23, 2010

How To Get Enough Vitamin D

Dr John Cannell Vitamin D Council

There are 3 ways for adults to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D:

Regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall,

exposing as much of the skin as possible (being careful to never burn).

Regularly use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months.

Take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, then obtain a 25(OH)D test.

Adjust dosage so blood levels are 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.

Humans make thousands of units of Vitamin D within minutes of whole body exposure to sunlight. From what we know of Nature, it is unlikely such a system evolved by chance.

Vitamin D Council



Interestingly, most major medical groups do not recommend any of the above sources, and that the Daily Value for Vitamin D is only 400 IU, even though studies have shown the average American needs about 4-5,000 IU from all sources every day.

20 minutes of full body exposure, per side, (total of 40 min. exp.) dependent on a number of factors including time of day, season of the year, cloud cover, skin type, and facultative (existing) tan, can make 10- 20,000 IU of Vitamin D.

5-15 minutes of full body exposure, both side, dependent on a number of factors including  skin type, and facultative (existing) tan, type of lamps, can make the same amount of Vitamin D as 40 minutes (both sides) of full body outdoor exposure. Full session time is typically not required to produce maximum amounts of Vitamin D in a tanning bed.

The National Upper limit for Vitamin D supplements is presently only 2,000 IU for adults.

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Antioxidants Prevent Sunburn

Posted by D3forU on July 18, 2010

Oral antioxidants prevent sunburn and cure chronic disease while using natural sunlight to manufacturer Vitamin D.

I love learning a new piece of information. It gives hope to those of us past any chance of a mid-life crisis. I was watching Mike Adam’s (The Health Ranger) video on Vitamin D and Sunshine (below) and two pieces of information caught my attention.

Click HERE to watch the Video

The first was Mike’s statement antioxidants in the diet protect the body from sunburn. He went on to tell a story about the early American colonists in the Southern colonies and how they would get sunburned necks during the summer. Mike explained this was caused by a lack of Vitamin B and other anti-oxidants in the colonist’s diet. For trivia experts that is where the term “Red Neck” originated.

Having never heard antioxidants in the diet protected one from sunburn my interest was tweaked. Thinking about my own experiences I had to believe Mike was correct. I have been on high levels of oral antioxidants for many years. I sun midday an hour daily during the summer. And, I have not suffered sunburn since I can’t remember when.

Doing a Google search the scientific studies were soon at hand supporting the information.

Potentials and limitations of the natural antioxidants RRR-alpha-tocopherol, L-ascorbic acid and beta-carotene in cutaneous photoprotection. Fuchs J. – Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt, German

Effects of oral vitamin E and beta-carotene supplementation on ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative stress in human skin. Frank McArdle, Lesley E Rhodes, Richard AG Parslew, Graeme L Close, Catherine IA Jack, Peter S Friedmann and Malcolm J Jackson

Grinding Corn

So much information, in the form of scientific studies, is available that I am embarrassed to admit not recalling ever seeing the information that my diet could help prevent sunburn.

The second amazing fact was that Indians soaked their corn in lye or lime water prior to grinding to help in the extraction of the B-Vitamins. Again, Google made short work of finding scientific evidence supporting Mike’s remarks exactly.

RAW VERSUS PROCESSED CORN IN. NIACIN-DEFICIENT. DIETS. J. LAGUNA’ AND K. J. CARPENTER. Soweit Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

The PDF file linked directly above is really quite fascinating. For those on raw food, growing your own vegetables, grinding your own meal and flour I suspect you already knew all about lye, lime and processing corn for nutrients. For those of you raised on American TV, like myself, the revelations should be interesting.

Ok, enough of an introduction. Watch Mike’s video and add several more pieces to the natural health equation. We not only treat and prevent cancer using Vitamin D but you have additional information on doing it safely using natural sunlight. – Pdazzler

Click HERE to watch the Video

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70-99% of US Population Deficient in Vitamin D

Posted by D3forU on July 16, 2010

Arch Intern Med. 2009 Mar 23;169(6):626-32.

Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency

in the US Population, 1988-2004.

Ginde AA, Liu MC, Camargo CA Jr.

Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, 80045, USA. adit.ginde@ucdenver.edu



Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with suboptimal health. The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency may be rising, but population-based trends are uncertain.

We sought to evaluate US population trends in vitamin D insufficiency.


We compared serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), collected during 1988 through 1994, with NHANES data collected from 2001 through 2004 (NHANES 2001-2004).

Complete data were available for 18 883 participants in NHANES III and 13 369 participants in NHANES 2001-2004.


The mean serum 25(OH)D level was 30 (95% confidence interval [CI], 29-30) ng/mL during NHANES III and decreased to 24 (23-25) ng/mL during NHANES 2001-2004.

Accordingly, the prevalence of 25(OH)D levels of less than 10 ng/mL increased from 2% (95% CI, 2%-2%) to 6% (5%-8%), and 25(OH)D levels of 30 ng/mL or more decreased from 45% (43%-47%) to 23% (20%-26%).

The prevalence of 25(OH)D levels of less than 10 ng/mL in non-Hispanic blacks rose from 9% during NHANES III to 29% during NHANES 2001-2004,

with a corresponding decrease in the prevalence of levels of 30 ng/mL or more from 12% to 3%.

Differences by age strata (mean serum 25[OH]D levels ranging from 28-32 ng/mL) and sex (28 ng/mL for women and 32 ng/mL for men) during NHANES III equalized during NHANES 2001-2004 (24 vs 24 ng/mL for age and 24 vs 24 ng/mL for sex).


National data demonstrate a marked decrease in serum 25(OH)D levels from the 1988-1994 to the 2001-2004 NHANES data collections.

Racial/ethnic differences have persisted and may have important implications for known health disparities.

Current recommendations for vitamin D supplementation are inadequate to address the growing epidemic of vitamin D insufficiency.

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Health Care, Vitamin D, and Indoor Tanning

Posted by D3forU on July 16, 2010

It is a shame that this Congress is doing everything backwards. moderate and controlled non-burning exposure to Sunshine would reduce Health Care costs, not add to it.

Vitamin D is produced in Human skin when exposed to UV rays, whether they come from the sun or an indoor sunbed.

There are millions of Americans who get burned, literally, from casual outdoor exposure on a daily basis. a recent study shows that up to 36% of US burn every year. There are no “Sunburn Police” at the local pools or beaches all summer, but every day you can see numbers of “Lobster Red” people after a day outside.


The studies that make headlines recently do not bother to delve deeper into the numbers to see that those that work outdoors, or spend regular time outside actually reduce their risk for melanoma, a skin cancer mainly in Males and indoor workers.

People that use sunbeds are shown to have 90% higher levels of Vitamin D, 18% lowered PTH levels, and higher Bone density than those who do not.


The actual numbers in melanoma are infinitesimal in relation to the bigger picture from under exposure to Nature’s own “Sunshine Vitamin” The health consequences of NOT having high Vitamin D levels can be up to measured in BILLIONS of DALY’s vs Millions from even today’s exposure levels.

UVR exposure is a minor contributor to the world’s disease burden, causing an estimated annual loss of 1.6 million DALYs; i.e. 0.1% of the total global disease burden. A markedly larger annual disease burden, 3.3 billion DALYs, might result from reduction in global UVR exposure to very low levels.


Melanoma Mortality Rates have remained steady for Women for the past 30 years at a rate of 2/100,000 while Men have risen two-threefold in the same time frame. Women frequent tanning salons at a ratio of 4:1, shouldn’t the rate be reversed?


In the most recent headline, the media neglected to see past the flash and see the study showed Lifetime routine exposure, outdoor activities, and outdoor jobs actually lowered the risk of melanoma, while use of chemical sunscreens raised the risks.

What stood out in this report was the fact that those with many moles the risk was raised 1,281%, having very fair skin raised the risk 450%, and Red hair raised the risks 253%. These are all characteristics of a Skin Type 1 which would not and should not look for additional sun exposure, indoors or outside.


Humans evolved under the sun. Mother Nature played a cruel joke in that the same UVB that produces vast amounts of Vitamin D in the skin can also burn and/or damage it with overexposure. Sunscreens have been in use for the past 40 years, and not surprisingly, by blocking Natures’ own protection, we may have caused many of the melanomas being seen.


Interestingly, the same sun that may cause melanoma may actually protect against the most serious cases.

A little bit of anything is usually good for us, but an overabundance may cause harm. Moderation is the key. Get regular sun exposure on as much body surface for a short period of time outdoors when you can, between the hours of 10A and 2P, when the sun is above 45°, typically between April and November at a line from Boston to Sacramento (40°N Lat).

If that’s not practical, Indoor tanning salons offer time controlled UV exposure that doesn’t vary with the time of day, season, cloud cover, ozone layer, or many other factors.

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The great health debate: Is Sunshine a Miracle Cure?

Posted by D3forU on July 16, 2010

Our bodies make Vitamin D when the sun shines, and new research suggests the positive effects on health are greater than we ever guessed. But too much sun causes skin cancer. It’s a dilemma provoking fierce discussion among scientists.

Sunlight in tree

For any expectant mother, a brief stroll in the summer sunshine would seem a pleasant diversion from the rigours of pregnancy, a chance to relax in the warmth and to take in a little fresh air. It is a harmless – but unimportant – activity, it would seem.

But there is more to such walks than was previously realised, it emerged last week. In a new study, Bristol University researchers revealed they had found out that sunny strolls have striking, long-lasting effects. They discovered that children born to women in late summer or in early autumn are, on average, about 5mm taller, and have thicker bones, than those born in late winter and early spring.

Nor was it hard to see the causal link, said team leader Professor Jon Tobias. The growth of our bones, even in the womb, depends on vitamin D which, in turn, is manufactured in the skin when sunlight falls on it.

Thus children born after their mothers have enjoyed a summer of sunny walks will have been exposed to more vitamin D and will have stronger bones than those born in winter or early spring. “Wider bones are thought to be stronger and less prone to breaking as a result of osteoporosis in later life, so anything that affects early bone development is significant,” said Tobias.

The study is important, for it indicates that women should consider taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy to ensure their children reach full stature. However, the Bristol team’s findings go beyond this straightforward conclusion, it should be noted. Their work adds critical support to a controversial health campaign that suggests most British people are being starved of sunshine, and vitamin D – a process that is putting their lives at risk.

These campaigners point to a series of studies, based mainly on epidemiological evidence, that have recently linked vitamin D deficiency to illnesses such as diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and tuberculosis. Last week also saw George Ebers, professor of clinical neurology at Oxford University, unveil evidence to suggest such a deficiency during pregnancy and childhood could increase the risk that a child would develop multiple sclerosis.

The studies require rigorous follow-up research, scientists admit – but they have nevertheless provoked considerable new interest in vitamin D. Indeed, for some health experts, the substance has virtually become a panacea for all human ills. Dietary supplements should be encouraged for the elderly, the young and the sick, while skin cancer awareness programmes that urge caution over sunbathing should be scrapped, they insist. We need to bring a lot more sunshine into our lives, it is claimed.

But this unbridled enthusiasm has gone down badly with health officials concerned about soaring rates of melanomas in Britain, the result of over-enthusiastic suntanning by holidaymakers decades ago. Existing, restrictive recommendations for limits on sunbathing must be rigorously maintained, they argue, or melanoma death rates will rise even further.

So just how much sunlight is safe for us? And which is the greater risk: skin cancer or diseases triggered by vitamin D deficiency? Answers for these questions now cause major divisions among health experts.

In fact, vitamin D is not strictly a vitamin. Vitamins are defined as nutrients which can only be obtained from the food we eat and which are vital to our health. For example, vitamin C, which wards off scurvy and helps the growth of cartilage, is found in citrus fruits, while broccoli and spinach are rich in vitamin K, which plays an important role in preventing our blood from clotting. And while it is true that vitamin D is found in oily fish, cod liver oil, eggs and butter, our principal source is sunlight.

“Vitamin D should really be thought of as a hormone,” said Dr Peter Berry-Ottaway, of the Institute of Food Science and Technology, and an adviser to the EU on food safety. “It forms under the skin in reaction to sunlight. We do get some from our food but our principal source is the sun.’

The key component in sunlight that stimulates vitamin D production in our bodies is ultra-violet light of wavelengths between 290 and 315 nanometres. Crucially, this component of sunlight only reaches Britain during the months between April and October. “The rest of the year, between November and March, the sun is low in the horizon. Its light has to pass through much more of the atmosphere than in summer and doesn’t reach the ground,” said Cambridge nutrition expert Dr Inez Schoenmakers. “For half the year we cannot make vitamin D from sunlight, so what we make in summer has to do us for the whole year.”

In relatively sunny southern England, this is not a problem but in the north and in the cloudier west, noticeable health problems build up – particularly among ethnic minorities. People with dark skin are less able to manufacture vitamin D than those with pale skin and in places with relatively gloomy skies – cities such as Bradford or Glasgow, for example – the impact can be severe.

In 2007, the Department of Health revealed that up to one in 100 children born to families from ethnic minorities now suffer from rickets, a condition triggered by lack of vitamin D in which children develop a pronounced bow-legged gait. The disease once blighted lives in Victorian Britain but was eradicated by improved diets. Now it is making a major resurgence, a problem that has been further exacerbated in ethnic communities by women wearing hijabs that cover all of their bodies and block out virtually every beam of vitamin-stimulating sunshine.

A major health campaign, offering dietary advice and vitamin D supplements has since been launched. But for many doctors, it is not enough. The nation’s health service needs to re-evaluate completely its approach to vitamin D as a matter of urgency; establish new guidelines for taking supplements; and scrap most of the limits on sunbathing currently proposed by health bodies.

These calls have been made not because of concerns about rickets, however. They follow the appearance of studies from across the globe that suggest vitamin D plays a key role in the fight against heart disease, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D is not so much an important component of our diets as a miracle substance, they believe. It costs nothing to make, just some time in the sun, and lasts in the body for months.

A classic example of the potential of vitamin D was provided by a study published in a US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, last year. This revealed that people with higher levels of vitamin D were more likely to survive colon, breast and lung cancer. In the study, Richard Setlow, a biophysicist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US and an expert on the link between solar radiation and skin cancer, calculated how much sunshine a person would get depending on the latitude on which they lived.

Setlow – who worked with colleagues at the Institute for Cancer Research in Oslo – also calculated the incidence and survival rates for various forms of internal cancers in people living at these different latitudes. Their results showed that in the northern hemisphere the incidence of colon, lung and breast cancer increased from south to north while people in southern latitudes were significantly less likely to die from these cancers than people in the north.

“Since vitamin D has been shown to play a protective role in a number of internal cancers and possibly a range of other diseases, it is important to study the relative risks to determine whether advice to avoid sun exposure may be causing more harm than good in some populations,” Setlow warned.

And then there is the impact of vitamin D levels on the heart. In a study published last year in the journal Circulation, scientists at the Harvard Medical School in Boston found that a deficiency of vitamin D increased people’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In addition, other studies have connected vitamin D deficiency to risks of succumbing to diabetes and TB.

And there was last week’s publication of the study by Professor Ebers which provided compelling evidence that lack of vitamin D triggers a rogue gene to turn against the body and attack nerve endings, a process that induces the disease multiple sclerosis. In each case, researchers urged that people ensure they take vitamin D supplements to help ward off such conditions.

But others believe such calls underestimate the problem. They point to a study, published in 2007, which indicates that more than 60 per cent of middle-aged British adults have less than optimal levels of vitamin D in their bodies in summer, while this figure rises to 90 per cent in winter. Given the links between deficiency and all those ailments, only a full-scale reappraisal of the vitamin’s role in British health will work, says Oliver Gillie, of the Health Research Forum.

In a report, Sunlight Robbery, he calls for the scrapping of Britain’s current SunSmart programme; the setting up of an international conference of doctors and specialists to establish vitamin D’s importance to health; promotion of the fortification of food with vitamin D: and the creation of a new committee whose membership would include representatives of groups of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, cancer and other conditions linked to vitamin D.

But most controversial of all is his call for people to sunbathe far more frequently than currently advised. “It is time for the UK government to encourage people to sunbathe safely to reduce cancer risk,” he said.

Not surprisingly, the notion horrifies many health advisers. “There are now 9,000 new cases of melanoma in Britain every year and 2,000 deaths because people have sunbathed without proper care,” said Sara Hiom, director of health information for Cancer Research UK. “Figures have increased dramatically over the past 20 years and will continue to do so unless we are very careful.”

However, Hiom acknowledged that new studies did indicate that vitamin D deficiency was now linked to an increasing number of cancers and other diseases. “That is no excuse for behaving irresponsibly, however. People must avoided getting sunburned; stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm even in this country in summer; and use factor 15 or stronger sunblock creams.”

In addition, other scientists cautioned that links between vitamin D deficiency with diseases like multiple sclerosis had yet to be proved. “People with low vitamin D may be more likely to have MS but that might simply happen because their condition makes it difficult to get out in the sunshine and make vitamin D in their bodies. We have yet to distinguish cause and effect in many of these cases,” said Dr Schoenmakers.

These points are crucial and suggest we need to be cautious about claims that vitamin D is capable of triggering miraculous cures. On the other hand, enough evidence is now emerging from laboratories round the world to indicate that a nutrient once thought to be a bit-player in the battle against disease, clearly has a key role to play in helping to maintain the general health of large numbers of the population of Britain.


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Lack of Sunshine Found to Trigger MS

Posted by D3forU on July 16, 2010

Research Finds People with Gene Variant who Lack Vitamin D, Produced From Sun Exposure, Can Develop Condition

Balmedie country park Scotland

Balmedie country park, Aberdeenshire. Scotland’s high incidence of MS cases could be linked to the cloudy climate. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty

Women who are not exposed to sufficient sunshine in pregnancy may be at risk of giving birth to a child who will get multiple sclerosis in adulthood, research reveals today.

Oxford University researchers have identified a link between a shortage of the “sunshine vitamin” – vitamin D – and a specific gene which appears to be involved in the onset of the devastating and incurable disease.

Women are already urged to take folic acid in pregnancy to reduce the chances of a child being born with spina bifida. The research findings suggest that vitamin D could before long be advised for pregnant women as well – especially those who do not get much exposure to sunlight. The researchers think it is possible that vitamin D could play a part in other diseases whcih affect the immune system too.

“Our study implies that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and the early years may reduce the risk of a child developing MS later in life,” said lead author Dr Sreeram Ramagopalan. “Vitamin D is a safe and relatively cheap supplement with substantial potential health benefits. There is accumulating evidence that it can reduce the risk of developing cancer and offer protection from other autoimmune diseases.”

Their work, published today in the journal PLoS Genetics, breaks new ground by revealing the interaction between a gene and an environmental factor – in this case, exposure to sunlight.

It has long been suspected that sunshine played a part in the condition’s development. MS, the most common disabling neurological condition, affects 85,000 mainly young adults in the UK and 2.5 million worldwide and is markedly more common in cloudy northern climates. Scotland has a significantly higher concentration of MS cases than England.

A gene variant known as DRB1*1501 has been implicated in MS. While one in 1000 people in the general population develop the disease, it is one in 300 among those who have one copy of this gene variant and one in 100 of those who have two copies.

The Oxford study has found a direct relationship between vitamin D, produced in the body as a result of sun exposure, and this gene variant. In effect, proteins activated by vitamin D in the body switch the gene on. It appears, they say, that if people get too little sunshine, the gene may not function properly.

This interaction between gene and environment – so-called “epigenetics” – is being seen as increasingly important by scientists: that genetic make-up is not set in stone from conception, but is influenced for better or worse by the world around us.

“Epigenetics will have important implications, not only for MS, but for other common diseases,” said Professor George Ebers, from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford, where the work was done. “For mothers, taking care of their health during their reproductive years may have beneficial effects on the health of their future children or even grandchildren.”


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Lack of Vitamin D Rampant in Infants and Teens

Posted by D3forU on July 16, 2010

Giving your children all they need to grow big and strong may not be as simple as a gummy vitamin and three square meals. They still may be susceptible to an epidemic that’s starting to gain the notice of pediatricians and bone doctors across the country: vitamin D deficiency.

Mike Stone joined a growing legion of children diagnosed with the condition when an X-ray of his 14-year-old bones revealed a skeleton so thin it appeared clear on film.

“My doctor thought the machine was broken and that they should take an X-ray on another one,” says Stone, 22, a recent graduate of Tufts University in Boston.

The machine wasn’t broken. Stone was seriously vitamin D deficient, and though he had felt a “snap” in his back — the impetus for the doctor’s visit — he had no fractures. But his bones had become perilously thin, 50% less dense than they should have been. His doctor immediately put him on vitamin D supplements to correct the problem, Stone says.

For years, doctors have been aware that older people tend to be low in vitamin D and need extra supplements to help keep bones strong, says Lisa Callahan, co-director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Pediatricians had thought the problem had been solved among children with the vitamin D fortification of milk, cereal and other foods. But an ever-lengthening roster of studies is revealing vitamin D deficiency is more common than previously believed in youngsters, including breast-fed babies and teens.

“Vitamin D deficiency is much more of a health problem than anyone realized,” says Catherine Gordon, director of the bone health program at Children’s Hospital Boston. In the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Gordon and her colleagues found that 40% of infants and toddlers tested below average for vitamin D. In a previous study, Gordon and fellow researchers discovered that 42% of adolescents were vitamin D deficient.

“Vitamin D deficiency was twice as common in teens as we assumed it would be,” she says.

A review of vitamin D medical literature published last July in The New England Journal of Medicine by Michael Holick, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University Medical School and director of the Bone Health Care Clinic there, indicated that numerous studies are showing vitamin D does much more than boost bone health in children and adults. In children, it can inhibit future hip fractures, and it may help reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes.

Sunlight, diet — particularly oily fish and enriched milk — and supplements are good sources of vitamin D, Holick says.

Vitamin D is different from other vitamins because though the body stores it, it needs ultraviolet B rays from the sun to activate it, says James Dowd, professor of medicine at Michigan State University and author of The Vitamin D Cure.

Fifteen minutes a day will do the trick, he says. When vitamin D is dispatched to the liver and kidneys, it is changed into forms that body tissues can use. It helps the body absorb and regulate calcium and promotes mineralization of teeth and bones. Current recommendations by the Institute of Medicine suggest 200 IUs of vitamin D a day for children and 400 IUs for adults, but Callahan, who serves on an institute committee that aims to update those guidelines, says she suggests higher levels to many of her patients, at least 800 to 1,000 IUs a day.

Overdosing on vitamin D is unlikely if you are obtaining it only from diet, Gordon says. But parents should consult their pediatrician before raiding pharmacy shelves for supplements because of different dosages and types. She also says the doctor might want to run a blood test because vitamin D deficiency is hard to detect.

“There aren’t any obvious early symptoms. It may be silent until it manifests in more serious ways, like rickets — weak bones and teeth — in children,” Gordon says.

Parents surprised by their children’s vitamin D deficiency diagnosis may ask why it occurs in a culture in which good nutrition seems a no-brainer. Experts say there may be a genetic link, but other factors also are at play.

“Breast milk is not D-rich, so rickets is seen more often in infants now that breast-feeding is popular again. It’s also not abundant in many foods,” says Tanya Edwards, head of the integrative medicine department at the Cleveland Clinic. Also, she says, children don’t play outside as much as they used to.

Society’s sunblock passion, though smart for skin health, also may be affecting vitamin D deficiency. Experts suggest at least 15 minutes of direct sun a day before slathering on sunscreen. But those at risk or with a history of skin cancer or with sun-sensitive skin conditions should check with their dermatologist first.

Dark-skinned people also are more at risk because they absorb UVBs less quickly than fair-skinned people, Edwards says.

Stone, who with brother Doug has produced an educational video about vitamin D for schools, says taking supplements religiously and ramping up his diet with lots of fish, milk and yogurt over the years has helped him grow normally and avoid bone and other problems as an adult.

But he also is careful not to overdose on calcium in the process, which can lead to kidney stones.

“I feel great,” says Stone, who is 5-foot-9 and weighs in at a slim but healthy 155 pounds. “I play tennis, squash, and I’m training for my first Boston Marathon next year.”


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Exercise, Tea and Vitamin D to Ward Off Dementia

Posted by D3forU on July 16, 2010

Improved living and diet habits — including lots of physical activity, regular tea-drinking and sufficient vitamin D levels — could reduce the risk of brain decline, according to three studies presented Sunday.

“These are encouraging,” says William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association. “These types of studies make people think, ‘Well gosh, maybe I can do something about this disease.’ ”

The studies were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Honolulu.

One of the studies is from the Framingham, Mass., cardiovascular risk study, in which researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, among others, tracked more than 1,200 elderly people over 20 years, 242 of whom developed dementia.

The researchers found that participants who had moderate to heavy levels of physical activity had about a 40% lower risk of developing any type of dementia. Those who reported the least amount of activity were 45% more likely to develop dementia compared with those who logged higher levels of activity.

In a second study, including data on more than 4,800 men and women ages 65 and older, participants were followed for up to 14 years. Tea drinkers had less mental decline than non-tea drinkers. Those who drank tea one to four times a week had average annual rates of decline 37% lower than people who didn’t drink tea.

Coffee didn’t show any influence except at the highest levels of consumption, researchers say. Author Lenore Arab of UCLA says, “Interestingly, the observed associations are unlikely to be related to caffeine, which is present in coffee at levels two to three times higher than in tea.”

In a third study, British researchers looked at vitamin D’s effect on brain health. They examined data from 3,325 U.S. adults ages 65 and older from the NHANES III study. Vitamin D levels were measured by blood test, and cognitive tests were administered. Odds of cognitive impairment were about 42% higher in those deficient in vitamin D, and 394% higher in people severely deficient.

“Vitamin D is neuro-protective in a number of ways, including the protection of the brain’s blood supply and the clearance of toxins,” says author David Llewellyn of the University of Exeter Peninsula Medical School.

“More and more studies are suggesting that lifestyle changes may be able to silence the expression of risk genes, a phenomenon called epigenetics,” says Duke University‘s Murali Doraiswamy, an expert on aging. He says learning how to tap into that is going to be a high priority.


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Put Down That Sunscreen

Posted by D3forU on July 16, 2010

Scientists have long known that the incidence of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, is higher in northern portions of the United States than in the South. Now clues are emerging as to why this regional variation exists.

A key risk factor may be low levels of vitamin D, which is produced naturally when skin is exposed to sunlight. One of the properties of vitamin D is to suppress immune response, so it makes sense that people deficient in this substance may be more prone to suffer from an autoimmune disease.

Investigators confirmed this association using Army and Navy records of physical disability to identify patients with multiple sclerosis and then examined blood samples taken earlier and stored in the Department of Defense Serum Repository.

Munger, K. L., et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and risk of multiple sclerosis. Journal of the American Medical Association 296:2832-2838 (December 20, 2006)

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It may be vitamin D’s day in the sun

Posted by D3forU on July 16, 2010

It may have untapped potential in fighting or preventing disease. But are we getting enough of it in our systems?

Two advocacy groups have sprung up in the United States to promote the substance. Food industry executives are exploring ways to fortify more products. And PubMed, an international database of medical literature, shows that 2,274 studies referencing the vitamin have been published — just this year.

“Vitamin D is one hot topic,” says Connie Weaver, a professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University in Indiana.

More recent research shows that receptors for it are found in almost every organ and tissue system in the body, suggesting that deficiencies may affect many types of cell functions.

When exposed to sunlight, the skin makes the vitamin, but not everyone spends the five minutes a day or so outside that is necessary for synthesis — and many more people today wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer.

“A large portion of people fall into the at-risk category, and they would benefit from being brought out of that category,” Fleet says. “The question is: Is the current requirement enough to keep most people out of the at-risk category?”

A study of 13,000 Americans, published in March in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that 50% to 75% have suboptimal levels by current standards. A level of 20 nanograms per milliliter of 25-hydroxyvitamin D — the form most commonly measured in blood — has traditionally been considered sufficient.

Most people 50 and older aren’t meeting the current recommendations, Weaver says.

“The largest source is sunshine, but not everyone can depend on that,” Weaver says. “The elderly, dark-skinned people, higher-latitude dwellers all have trouble getting enough from sun.” In darker-skinned people, melatonin in the skin blocks absorption of the ultraviolet rays needed to make the vitamin; older people don’t appear to synthesize it from the sun as well as younger people.

Some scientists argue that levels of 40 to 60 ng/mL would be far better for disease prevention. That would require daily intake much higher than the current 200 to 600 IU.

The July issue of the Annals of Epidemiology(09)X0007-4, devoted to vitamin D research, links the vitamin to lower risks of cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries and prostate. Animal and lab studies also demonstrate its importance in many of the cellular mechanisms that control cancer, such as cell growth, cell death, inflammation and DNA repair.

Five studies on colorectal cancer and breast cancer, taken together, showed that people with levels higher than 34 to 52 ng/mL had a 50% reduced cancer risk, says Cindy D. Davis, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute’s Nutritional Science Research Group.

Such studies are not proof that the vitamin influences disease development, points out Dr. Karen E. Hansen, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin who studies bone health. “People with higher vitamin D may just be healthier for other reasons,” she says.

But evidence linking higher blood levels to diabetes and cardiovascular disease is also mounting. A study in December in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that deficiency may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Other studies have tied lower levels to an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, stroke and congestive heart failure.

Even for bone health, some studies suggest that about 700 to 800 IU a day are needed to prevent fractures in people over 50, Hansen says. She recommends 800 IU a day, with calcium, to her patients.

Already, however, the American Society of Clinical Oncology has recommended a higher intake for breast cancer patients who are deficient.

In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics said children should get 400 IU a day, double the current recommendation.

In November, 18 University of California researchers issued a statement saying 2,000 IU is appropriate for most people.

“I think some of the more vocal advocates are pushing the medical community to move forward” before adequate research is completed, Fleet says.

Dozens of more scientifically rigorous studies are in progress that could help resolve the questions about how much people should consume.


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Vitamin D Status in Psoriasis Patients During Different Treatments with Phototherapy.

Posted by D3forU on July 14, 2010

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2010 May 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Osmancevic A, Landin-Wilhelmsen K, Larkö O, Krogstad AL.

Dept of Dermatology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.


BACKGROUND: Phototherapy (broadband UVB (BUVB), narrowband UVB (NBUVB) and heliotherapy) is commonly used treatment modalities for widespread psoriasis. Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, is produced in the epidermis by ultraviolet radiation (290-315nm) of 7-dehydrocholesterol. 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)(2)D] are the major circulating metabolites.

Sun exposure is the strongest factor influencing 25(OH)D.

The similar wavelength spectrum of UVB responsible for D vitamin synthesis (BUVB, 280-315nm) has been successfully used for years to treat psoriasis.

PURPOSE: The aim was:

  1. (1) To increase the knowledge about the effects of phototherapy on vitamin D production during treatment of psoriasis.
  1. (2) To examine if there were differences between the effect of BUVB, NBUVB and heliotherapy on vitamin D synthesis in psoriasis patients.

METHODS: Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D, 1,25(OH)(2)D, PTH, calcium and creatinine, measured before and after phototherapy in white

Caucasian patients with moderate to severe active plaque psoriasis, were aggregated from three studies.

RESULTS: Psoriasis improved in all patients, with a reduction in PASI ((Psoriasis Area and Severity Index) score of about 75% on all regimes.

Serum 25(OH)D increased and PTH decreased after the phototherapy.

The increase in 25(OH)D was higher in the BUVB treated patients compared with NBUVB. There was no correlation between the dose of UVB and the increase of 25(OH)D.

CONCLUSION: UVB and heliotherapy improved the psoriasis score, increased the serum 25(OH)D levels and reduced the serum PTH concentrations.

Vitamin D production in psoriasis patients increased less with NBUVB than with BUVB phototherapy.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Vitamin D InfoGraphic

Posted by D3forU on July 14, 2010

Link to Full Size

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Reptiles are Smarter than Humans.

Posted by D3forU on July 9, 2010

Physiol Biochem Zool. 2009 May-Jun;82(3):218-25.

Panther chameleons, Furcifer pardalis, behaviorally regulate optimal exposure to UV depending on dietary vitamin D3 status.

Karsten KB, Ferguson GW, Chen TC, Holick MF.

Department of Biology, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas 76129, USA. k.karsten@tcu.edu


Reptiles may bask for reasons other than thermoregulation. One alternative is to regulate homeostasis of vitamin D(3), a hormone essential to the health of many reptiles.

Maintenance of vitamin D(3) homeostasis requires either regulation of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) or ingested vitamin D(3). However, the prey items of most vertebrates tend to be low in vitamin D(3). Thus, basking may be the primary opportunity for vitamin D(3) regulation.

We tested the hypothesis that panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) behaviorally regulate exposure to UV in natural sunlight with high precision, accuracy, and effectiveness.

Panther chameleons with low dietary vitamin D(3) intake significantly increased exposure to UV in natural sunlight compared to those with high dietary vitamin D(3) intake.

All lizards fed low dietary vitamin D(3) regulated within optimal UV levels with extreme effectiveness (ability to regulate within optimal UV levels relative to available UV).

Chameleons of both dietary treatments regulated UV exposure with great precision, exhibiting little variation among individuals within treatments.

Our results add to a growing body of literature that empirically demonstrates the importance of basking for nonthermoregulatory purposes and, more specifically, as an integral mechanism for the regulation of a vital hormone, vitamin D(3).

PMID: 19335229 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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Follow the Money. Tan Tax vs. “BoTax” Racist? Discrimination?

Posted by D3forU on July 9, 2010

Below are many reasons given for removing the “BoTax” from the Health Care Bill late last year. You should note the common theme that it was successfully lobbied that this would discriminate against women. I can tell you that over 70% of indoor tanning clients are Female, 2/3’s of all salons are independently owned by women, and 98%+ all make less than $250,000 per year.

So how does this not discriminate against a small segment of the population, destroy small businesses, and go against the President’s explicit statement that there would be no new taxes on anyone making less then $250K?

Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the ASPS, Allergan, and plastic surgery portals such as RealSelf.com, women can continue to  improve their cosmetic appearance without taxation! For the past few weeks, the proposed 5% tax on cosmetic surgery became known as the Botax. The cosmetic surgery tax would have discriminated against women, since more than 90% of all cosmetic surgery is performed on women.

A last minute amendment to the new Obamacare Health Care bill, HR 3590, dropped the 5% cosmetic surgery tax , but included a 10% tax on tanning services. This tan tax was put in as a substitute for the initially proposed 5% tax on cosmetic surgery.

The exclusion of tax on cosmetic surgery is a win for women and we salute our lobbyist for a job well done!  While we are happy about our own outcome, we can’t help but wonder if this new tax will stifle the tanning industry.


Erasing the ‘Botax’ – On Nov. 21, shortly after the conclusion of the annual meeting, a 5 percent cosmetic surgery tax (the so-called “Botax”) was written into the Senate health care reform bill. Seen as a way to help pay for the enormous costs of the proposal, the tax was viewed initially as a “done deal” – after all, who would oppose a tax on “vanity surgery for the idle rich”? We immediately launched a grass-roots effort to educate senators and the public about the true scope of aesthetic surgery, the middle-class female population that would actually be impacted the most, and the very unfavorable experience with a similar tax in New Jersey.


This inappropriate and unfair “sin” tax has reared its ugly head again, only now in the U.S. Senate. It is amazing how our government looks for any way it can to creatively take money from the citizens in order to fund its excessive spending.
In my practice, 98% of my patients are women so this is clearly discrimination against them. Secondly, not all cosmetic patients are as wealthy as congress would like you to believe. The average income of cosmetic surgery patients is under $60,000 so this is not a tax on the super-rich but rather on normal every day citizens. By Richard P. Rand, MD – Seattle Plastic Surgeon

There are many problems in this type of taxation proposed by the U.S. Senate to the tax code. This is an unfair discriminatory tax against women since women represent 80% of plastic surgery practices. By William Portuese, MD – Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
Patients who have had plastic surgery know that the improvement in their self esteem and in many cases their social or professional positions as a result of plastic surgery should not be penalized by by what is essentially a “morality tax” on women. By Brent Moelleken, MD – Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Hopefully plastic surgery spokeswoman Ms. Joan Rivers will be able to convince the lawmakers to defeat the bill based on the same arguments and cries that our country’s founding father’s used in Boston, “Taxation without representation!”. By Michael A. Persky, MD – Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

This tax additionally discriminates against women and the middle class, who are the two groups most likely to undergo aesthetic surgery By Adam David Lowenstein, MD – Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon

The third is that any activity that is taxed will decrease in frequency. Fourth, females affected by a wide margin By John P. Stratis, MD – Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon

There has been lots of valid arguments presented before I had an opportunity to make mine. I raise questions whether a selected group can be subjected to increased taxation. Taxation by our constitution should not be discriminatory yet this one appers to be discriminatory for geneder, for specialty and selectivley affects one group more than others. By Julian Henley, MD – New Haven Facial Plastic Surgeon

No surprise that lawyers fees were not taxed, ironic given the number of lawyers making the laws. By Brent Moelleken, MD – Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

The Senate has clearly chosen expediency over fairness with this tax. The health care bill fails to address the real financial and decision making problems in health care: the massive administrative cost of health insurance companies, the bloated profit margins of health insurance companies, the medical decision making practiced by insurance companies, the cost of defensive medicine (vis a vis the lack of meaningful tort reform), and the cost of pharmaceuticals.

Instead, the Senate has decided to appease a major financial lobby, pushing through a bill that will only benefit insurance companies. In so doing, our elected representatives have decided to choose arbitrary and capricious means to pay for it. Given the bungled mess that this health care bill is, I wouldn’t be surprised if the cosmetic tax was filled with loopholes.  By Stephen Prendiville, MD – Ft. Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon

You have hit the nail on the head. This is a tax on vulnerable women who have just been laid off. Trying to bolster their applications for new jobs, some have elected to try Botox (or whatever) to compete with younger competition. Why be punitive? These women should be encouraged. Michael C. Pickart, M.D., F.A.C.S.

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Take a Pill, A Little Sun’s OK, but Tanning Beds Will Kill You?

Posted by D3forU on July 8, 2010

“DO NOT try to get a tan by visiting a tanning studio. The rays from their UV lamps are extremely harmful and the tan produced does not have the protective effect of a sunlight-induced tan.” This is a false and deceptive statement.

Tanning beds typically have an output range of 3-5% UVB vs UVA, the same ratio as outdoor sunlight. They provide the same photo-protective tan as outdoor exposure can. This can be measured by the amount of 25(OH)3 (Vitamin D3) circulating in the body, just as you would expect from moderate outdoor exposure.

A recent study showed that indoor tanners had vitamin D levels 90% higher than non-tanners, their PTH levels were 17% lower, and bone density was significantly higher.

Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher bone mineral density. Tangpricha V, Turner A, Spina C, Decastro S, Chen TC, Holick MF. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6):1645-9.PMID: 15585781

Here are 9 other recent peer-reviewed papers on the topic of artificial ultraviolet sources (tanning beds) and their benefits.

In defense of the sun: An estimate of changes in mortality rates in the United States if mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were raised to 45 ng/mL by solar ultraviolet-B irradiance. Grant WB. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Jul;1(4):207-14.PMID: 20592792

Sunbeds as vitamin D sources. Moan J, Lagunova Z, Cicarma E, Aksnes L, Dahlback A, Grant WB, Porojnicu AC. Photochem Photobiol. 2009 Nov-Dec;85(6):1474-9.PMID: 19788534

Variability of pre-vitamin D(3) effectiveness of UV appliances for skin tanning. Sayre RM, Dowdy JC, Shepherd JG. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Apr 14. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, cholesterol, and ultraviolet irradiation. Carbone LD, Rosenberg EW, Tolley EA, Holick MF, Hughes TA, Watsky MA, Barrow KD, Chen TC, Wilkin NK, Bhattacharya SK, Dowdy JC, Sayre RM, Weber KT. Metabolism. 2008 Jun;57(6):741-8.PMID: 18502255

25-Hydroxyvitamin D, cholesterol, and ultraviolet irradiation. Carbone LD, Rosenberg EW, Tolley EA, Holick MF, Hughes TA, Watsky MA, Barrow KD, Chen TC, Wilkin NK, Bhattacharya SK, Dowdy JC, Sayre RM, Weber KT. Metabolism. 2008 Jun;57(6):741-8.PMID: 18502255

Ultraviolet irradiation corrects vitamin D deficiency and suppresses secondary hyperparathyroidism in the elderly. Chel VG, Ooms ME, Popp-Snijders C, Pavel S, Schothorst AA, Meulemans CC, Lips P. J Bone Miner Res. 1998 Aug;13(8):1238-42.PMID: 9718191

Tanning can be an alternative source of vitamin d in high risk populations. Chandra P, Agarwal M, Sharma SG, Basra S. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2008 Feb;54(1):105. No abstract available. PMID: 18388416

Addressing the health benefits and risks, involving vitamin D or skin cancer, of increased sun exposure. Moan J, Porojnicu AC, Dahlback A, Setlow RB. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jan 15;105(2):668-73. Epub 2008 Jan 7.PMID: 18180454

Treatment of vitamin D deficiency with UV light in patients with malabsorption syndromes: a case series. Chandra P, Wolfenden LL, Ziegler TR, Tian J, Luo M, Stecenko AA, Chen TC, Holick MF, Tangpricha V. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2007 Oct;23(5):179-85.PMID: 17803596

Reintroduction of a classic vitamin D ultraviolet source. Sayre RM, Dowdy JC, Shepherd JG. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3-5):686-8. Epub 2007 Feb 12.PMID: 17293107

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Tanning beds: What do the numbers really mean?

Posted by D3forU on July 1, 2010

Tanning beds: What do the numbers really mean?

May. 7th, 2010 by Pia Christensen

This is a guest post from Ivan Oransky, M.D., editor of Reuters Health and AHCJ’s treasurer, has written at my invitation.

May has been declared “Melanoma Awareness Month” or “Skin Cancer Awareness Month“ – depending on which group is pitching you – and reporters are doubtlessly receiving press releases and announcements from a number of groups, including the Melanoma Research Foundation, the Skin Cancer Foundation, hospitals, doctors and other organizations.

Those press releases often point to the World Health Organization, which reports that “use of sunbeds before the age of 35 is associated with a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma” – a statistic often repeated in news stories about tanning beds.

But what does that really mean? Is it 75 percent greater than an already-high risk, or a tiny one? If you read the FDA’s “Indoor Tanning: The Risks of Ultraviolet Rays,” or a number of other documents from the WHO and skin cancer foundations, you won’t find your actual risk.

That led AHCJ member Hiran Ratnayake to look into the issue in March for The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal, after Delaware passed laws limiting teens’ access to tanning salons. The 75 percent figure is based on a review of a number of studies, Ratnayake learned. The strongest such study was one that followed more than 100,000 women over eight years.

But as Ratnayake noted, that study “found that less than three-tenths of 1 percent who tanned frequently developed melanoma while less than two-tenths of 1 percent who didn’t tan developed melanoma.” That’s actually about a 55 percent increase, but when the study was pooled with others, the average was a 75 percent increase. In other words, even if the risk of melanoma was 75 percent greater than two-tenths of one percent, rather than 55 percent greater, it would still be far below one percent.

For some perspective on those numbers, Ratnayake interviewed Lisa Schwartz, M.D.,M.S., whose work on statistical problems in studies and media reports is probably familiar to many AHCJ members.

“Melanoma is pretty rare and almost all the time, the way to make it look scarier is to present the relative change, the 75 percent increase, rather than to point out that it is still really rare,” Schwartz, a general internist at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt., told him.

In a nutshell, the difference between skin doctors’ point of view and Schwartz’s is the difference between relative risk and absolute risk.

Absolute risk just tells you the chance of something happening, while relative risk tells you how that risk compares to another risk, as a ratio. If a risk doubles, for example, that’s a relative risk of 2, or 200 percent. If it halves, it’s .5, or 50 percent.

Generally, when you’re dealing with small absolute risks, as we are with melanoma, the relative risk differences will seem much greater than the absolute risk differences. You can see how if someone is lobbying to ban something – or, in the case of a new drug, trying to show a dramatic effect – they would probably want to use the relative risk.

This is not an argument for or against tanning beds. It’s an argument for clear explanations of the data behind policy decisions. For some people, the cosmetic benefits of tanning beds – and the benefit of vitamin D, for which there are, of course, other sources – might be worth a tiny increase in the risk of melanoma.

For others, any increased risk of skin cancer is unacceptable. (And of course, for the tanning industry, the benefits can be measured in other ways – dollars.) But if reporters leave things at “a 75 percent increase,” you’re not giving your readers the most important information they need to judge for themselves.

So when you read a study that says something doubles the risk of some terrible disease, ask: Doubles from what to what?

“You can see how if someone is lobbying to ban something – or, in the case of a new drug, trying to show a dramatic effect – they would probably want to use the relative risk.”

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Sunlight and melanoma: doctors offer differing views on controversial topic

Posted by D3forU on June 26, 2010

Sunlight and melanoma: doctors offer differing views on controversial topic.

(Special Report) Dermatology Times May , 2008 National report —

Dermatology Times asks two leading dermatologists whether sun exposure triggers melanoma.

Bernard Ackerman. M.D., director emeritus of the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology in New York, and a professor of dermatology and pathology at Downstate University Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., has challenged prevailing views about the relationship between sunlight and the development of melanoma.

James Spencer, M.D., a faculty member at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York who currently practices dermatology in Florida, has been actively involved in sun awareness campaigns and campaigns against indoor tanning, with the support of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Q: What is the cause of melanoma?

A: Dr. Ackerman: “I think that melanoma is genetically determined, and that the sun is not responsible for it. Sunscreens don’t prevent melanoma, and the sun itself does not cause melanoma.”

A: Dr. Spencer: “The best evidence is that melanoma is a result of sunlight exposure. The epidemiologic evidence is strong, including the observation of a dramatic increase in incidence as fair-skinned, sun-sensitive peoples move closer to the equator.

Certainly, the occurrence of melanoma in patients with xeroderma pigmentosum is compelling. These patients cannot repair ultraviolet-induced DNA damage and have a remarkable increase in skin cancer incidence, including melanoma.”

Q: Does early or intense I sun exposure play a role in the progression of this disease?

A: Dr. Ackerman: “The sun plays no role at all in initiating the disease. When melanoma occurs in Asians and Africans, it occurs on the soles, the palms, the nail unit and the mucous membranes. It is obvious that melanoma in Asians and African s is not induced by the sun. When the sun truly is responsible for lesions in skin of any color, there are two principles involved that are inviolate: The lesions only occur on sun-exposed sites and are multiple. There are several examples such as freckles, solar lentigines and solar keratoses. But when you look at melanoma, even in Caucasians. it occurs mostly on covered sites, not sun-exposed sites. In 90-plus percent of cases, melanoma is solitary.”

A: Dr. Spencer: “We are dependent on epidemiological studies for the data, and the epidemiological studies do suggest that early and intense exposure plays the great role. But the studies also suggest that adult exposure plays a role.”

Q: Can tanning booth exposure promote the development of melanoma?

A Dr. Ackerman: “There is no compelling evidence that sun tan parlors have induced a single melanoma. The industry should be controlled if, in fact. the industry induces cancers, but that should be predicated on evidence and not on accusation.”

Dr. Spencer: “We don’t have direct experimental evidence. The biggest and most recent studies that compare subjects to age-matched controls suggest that indoor tanning is an independent risk factor for the development of melanoma. No study has ever shown indoor tanners get less melanoma, as the vitamin D advocates would suggest.”

Q: Why is the incidence of melanoma wildly different in various parts of the world, with the highest incidence in sunny climates?

A: Dr. Ackerman: “This comes from epidemiological data. Some studies have shown that the closer to the equator, the higher the incidence of melanoma. That doesn’t mean the sun is responsible for the higher incidence. The Irish in Australia have a high incidence of melanoma, but so do the Irish in Ireland.”

A: Dr. Spencer: “If you compare people of English heritage in Australia to people of English heritage in England, the two groups are relatively genetically homogeneous. But Australia has the highest melanoma rate in the world. That is on e of the most compelling arguments that sun exposure causes melanoma.”

Q: Why does the location of the average melanoma differ from that of two sun-induced tumors, BCC and SCC, namely on the head and neck region?

A: Dr. Ackerman: “Solar keratoses occur only on sunexposed sites. It is established that the sun is the cause of solar keratoses. The opposite is true for melanoma. As for basal cell carcinoma, the evidence is far from compelling that the sun is the major cause of it.”

A: Dr. Spencer: “One explanation is that it’s a result of intermittent highest-intensity exposure. You are more likely to get sunburned on your back. You don’t expose your back much, and then men take their shirts off at the beach, and that is where the burn occurs. The back has the highest incidence of melanoma in men; the legs. in women. Another possibility is that the effects of the sun are systemic and not limited to areas of direct exposure. For example. ultraviolet light-inducing immunosuppression is systemic. Lastly, I think it will turn out that melanoma, like most things, is multifactorial, but ultraviolet radiation seems to be the major factor.”

Q: Why has the incidence of melanoma increased so dramatically in the past two decades?

A: Dr. Ackerman: “There has been no increase in the incidence of melanoma. An indication of that are the most recent figures from the American Cancer Society. We have far better surveillance and far better criteria clinically and histopathologically for diagnosis of melanoma. There has never been a true epidemic of a malignant neoplasm, and melanoma is no exception.”

A: Dr. Spencer: “There are two explanations. One explanation is that it’s overdiagnosed. The literature does not support that view. The other explanation is that susceptible populations are more exposed to ultraviolet light. In decades past, exposure to ultraviolet light was limited. Now people go to Jamaica or Hawaii for a vacation during winter break. They often burn their skin while on vacation.”

Q: Do severely dysplastic nevi progress to melanoma?

A: Dr. Ackerman: “The mantra at the Clark school is that the dysplastic nevus is the greatest risk factor for melanoma. How can that be if the sun is the cause of it? Most melanomas in Caucasians (85 percent) do not begin in association with a nevus of any kind. Moreover, the so-called dysplastic nevus actually is several different kinds of nevi.”

A: Dr. Spencer: “Dysplastic nevi are a marker of the high-risk individual. but I don’t think the evidence is there that they are literal precursors of melanoma. The kind of person who makes dysplastic nevi is the kind of person who makes melanoma, but dysplastic nevi are not pre-melanomas.”

Q: Do you believe sunlight exposure is necessary for vitamin D production, or can it be obtained more safely from multivitamin tablets?

A: Dr. Ackerman: “I think the best way to get vitamin D is through sun exposure. Vitamin D plays a role in immune responses and in prevention of cancer. It may prove to be that vitamin D that one gets through the sun is really crucial for a healthy life. I can’t believe that the artificial (multi-vitamin) is better than natural. If you burn, stay out of the sun. If you tan, a certain amount of daily sun is advantageous to your health.”

A: Dr. Spencer: “You can easily get the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D with a normal diet. Some people feel mega doses of vitamin D improve health. It would be hard to get that from your diet. The answer is to take a vitamin pill. You don’t need to jeopardize your health with intentional tanning to get vitamin D.”


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Sunlight and Artificial Ultraviolet B Radiation

Posted by D3forU on June 16, 2010

by Dr Michael Holick

Sensible sun exposure can provide an adequate amount of vitamin D3, which is stored in body fat and released during the winter, when vitamin D3 cannot be produced.7, 15, 85, 108, 109, 110

Exposure of arms and legs for 5 to 30 minutes (depending on time of day, season, latitude, and skin pigmentation) between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. twice a week is often adequate. 2, 7, 108, 109, 110

Exposure to one minimal erythemal dose while wearing only a bathing suit is equivalent to ingestion of approximately 20,000 IU of vitamin D2. 1, 2, 7, 85

The skin has a great capacity to make vitamin D3, even in the elderly, to reduce the risk of fracture.109, 110, 111

Most tanning beds emit 2 to 6% ultraviolet B radiation and are a recommended source of vitamin D3 when used in moderation.111, 112, 113, 115

Tanners had robust levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (approximately 45 ng per milliliter [112 nmol per liter]) at the end of the winter and higher bone density as compared with nontanners (with levels of approximately 18 ng per milliliter [45 nmol per liter]). 112

For patients with fat malabsorption, exposure to a tanning bed for 30 to 50% of the time recommended for tanning (with sunscreen on the face) is an excellent means of treating and preventing vitamin D deficiency (Table 3). 113

This reduces the risk of skin cancers associated with ultraviolet B radiation.


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Brighten Up Your Day with Mother Nature’s Sunshine

Posted by D3forU on June 14, 2010

Lack of sunshine can create up to 20 Times (2000%) the risk of many internal cancers, and actually increase the risk of melanoma. Many more lives are lost because of insufficient solar UVB and Vitamin D than from skin cancer and melanoma.51,115-117


CDC Melanoma Mortality 30 years 1975-2005

CDC 30 Year Melanoma Mortality 1975-2005

Melanoma Mortality Rates have remained steady for Women for the past 30 years at a rate of 2/100,000 while Men have risen two-threefold in the same time frame. Women frequent tanning salons at a ratio of 4:1. shouldn’t the rate be reversed?

Indoor tanners have Vitamin D levels 90% higher than those who do not. They also have ~20% lowered Parathyroid (PTH) levels, and higher Bome Mass Density (BMD).


SunScreen SALES vs Melanoma

Humans evolved under the sun. Mother Nature played a cruel joke in that the same UVB that produces vast amounts of Vitamin D in the skin can also burn and/or damage it with overexposure. Sunscreens have been in use for the past 40 years, and not surprisingly, by blocking Natures’ own protection, we may have caused many of the melanomas being seen.

Interestingly, the same sun that may cause melanoma may actually protect against the most serious cases.

A little bit of anything is usually good for us, but an overabundance may cause harm. Moderation is the key. Get regular sun exposure on as much body surface for a short period of time outdoors when you can, between the hours of 10A and 2P, when the sun is above 45°, typically between April and November at a line from Boston to Sacramento (40°N Lat).

If that’s not practical, Indoor tanning salons offer time controlled UV exposure that doesn’t vary with the time of day, season, cloud cover, ozone layer, or many other factors.

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Is the Sun Good for You?

Posted by D3forU on June 13, 2010

How do you feel about sunlight?

Does it cheer you up. Do you like to be tan? Does sun tan look good?

Of course we have to be aware of the possible risks and damages from sun, but we can’t be let to believe that sun doesn’t do anything good.

Sun is the reason we live! Because of sun this planet is alive! This is the reason you feel good about the Sun. Sun made all of us. For years we have been told to cover up in the sun to cut the risk of getting skin cancer.

But now it has come to light that sun is actually good for the body. Recent studies have shown that a sensible amount of UV light reduces your risk of several cancers and health conditions.

It’s all thanks to Vitamin D, which is made through our bodies through the action of UVB rays on our skin. Professor Michael Holick of Boston University School of Medicine is the author of “The UV Advantage” book. “We get about 90 to 95% of our vitamin D from the sun,” says Holick.

He advises people should get 5 to 15 minutes of sun exposure three times a week to boost vitamin D levels. Tanning controversy More recently, some researchers have advised that tanning in moderation may be healthier than is commonly believed.

Edward Giovannucci, professor of medicine and nutrition at Harvard states that according to his research, people who have sufficient vitamin D due to UV exposure, and other intake, may prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin cancer.

His research also suggests that diet accounts very little for vitamin D3 necessary for curbing cancer. Michael Holick, Boston professor of dermatology, claimed that moderate exposure to sunlight probably reduces risk to many forms of cancer, diabetes, seasonal affective disorder, and other diseases.

These researchers are vigorously opposed by most dermatologists, for example, Dr. Elewski, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, argued that minutes of exposure to sunlight can be dangerous, and that people can get all the vitamin D they need through supplements.

Large clinical studies have found vitamin D produced both through exposure to sunlight and through dietary supplements dramatically decreases cancer risk, and helps cancer recovery.

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Gene implicated in human pigment variation

Posted by D3forU on June 10, 2010

Ishani Ganguli

A pigmentation gene first identified in zebrafish helps explain skin color differences between human European and African populations, a new Science study shows. A derived variant of the slc24a5 gene, which is correlated with light skin color and differs from the ancestral allele by only one nucleotide, seems to have undergone strong natural selection in European populations.

While scientists had previously found pigmentation genes that contribute to variations within populations, said senior author Keith Cheng, “it’s been a complete mystery” as to what drives major variations in human skin color. “It’s remarkable that this difference in skin color that has historically been partly responsible for a great deal of problems in our civilization is due to this one nucleotide out of 3 billion,” Cheng told The Scientist.

“What these findings speak to is the molecular differences that explain differences in skin color. That is very different than what people refer to as race,” said Greg Barsh at Stanford University, who did not participate in this study. Cheng’s team at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey was studying the golden mutation in zebrafish—characterized by lighter-colored stripes than the wild type—when the researchers noticed that the phenotypes were distinguished by differences in the number, size, and density of melanosomes (melanin-producing granules) in the stripes.

“That was to our amazement,” Cheng told The Scientist, “because those types of changes are the same types of changes that we see between darker and lighter human beings.” Using positional cloning, the researchers isolated slc24a5 as the gene responsible for the golden phenotype in zebrafish and pinpointed its mutation as a stop codon that truncates the translated protein by 40%.

BLAST searches confirmed their suspicion that this zebrafish gene has a closely related counterpart not only in many other vertebrates but in humans, with 69% sequence homology. When the researchers injected human slc24a5 mRNA into golden zebrafish embryos, the wild type stripes were restored.

The results showed that the gene’s function has been conserved over vertebrate evolution, what Barsh called a perfect demonstration “that nature doesn’t reinvent the wheel.”

The scientists found slc24a5 to be highly expressed in the melanin-producing cells of both zebrafish and mammals. In an effort to determine what role the previously uncharacterized protein might play in pigmentation, the team localized it to intracellular, membrane-bound structures—likely melanosomes.

Further observations based on structure and related proteins led them to conclude that SLC24A5 may be involved in organellar calcium uptake, though Cheng said that much remains to be determined about the protein’s mechanism.

The team then turned to genomics to see how the protein might be important in humans. When they consulted the recently published HapMap, they discovered that there were two primary alleles, varying at only one locus. And while nearly all East Asian and African genomes had a site containing alanine, the ancestral allele shared by other vertebrates, 99% of the Europeans had threonine, representing a derived allele.

This striking bifurcation, coupled with a marked decrease in heterozygosity in nearby genes within the European genomes, led the group to conclude that the threonine variant has been the target of strong natural or sexual selection in European populations.

As a functional test of their findings, Cheng’s group was able to correlate slc24a5 genotype to skin color—measured by reflectance—in 308 individuals with mixed African and European ancestry. Homozygotes for each allele tended to be either light-skinned or dark-skinned, respectively, with heterozygotes falling in the middle.

The researchers determined that the threonine (skin-lightening) allele is partially dominant to the alanine allele, and that the gene accounts for between 25% and 38% of European-African differences in melanin levels. While Cheng said they have “identified the probable largest impact gene explaining the difference between Europeans and Africans,” they are curious about other genes in play that would explain pigmentation differences between East Asian and African populations.

On a biochemical level, Barsh said, other proteins that have been implicated in pigmentation seem to have similar biochemical mechanisms to SLC24A5, highlighting the need to determine how SLC24A5 interacts with these proteins and with ones that have yet to be identified.

Cheng’s findings are consistent with what he said is the prevailing evolutionary wisdom: melanin blocks UV light, and while darker skin is advantageous under strong sunlight because it reduces the destructive effects of UV rays, lighter skin is adaptive in less sunny climates since it allows more sunlight absorption for the production of vitamin D.


1.  http://www.sciencemag.org

2.  http://www.the-scientist.com/2005/10/24/16/1

3.  http://www.hmc.psu.edu/pathology/residency/experimental/cheng.htm

4.  http://med.stanford.edu/profiles/Gregory_Barsh/

5.  http://www.the-scientist.com/news/20051026/01

link to Genome Biology

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Did tanning beds take away a profit center for dermatology?

Posted by D3forU on May 28, 2010


Article Reference:

A 2004 article in the American Journal of Dermatology (Housman TS, Rohrback JM, Fleischer, AB Jr, Feldman SR. Phototherapy utilization for psoriasis is declining in the United States. J. Am Acad Dermatol. 2002: 46:557-559) substantiated the declining use of phototherapy and psoralen ultraviolet A-range (PUVA) light therapy for psoriasis in nonfederal and non–university-based settings and explored factors that may have contributed to “decreased utilization of a safe and effective treatment for psoriasis.”

Despite the many advantages of phototherapy treatment for psoriasis, which authors called “a mainstay of nontopical therapy for patients with psoriasis,” they cite many of the factors mentioned in the Kaiser Permanente discussion — primarily the associated time and cost requirements for both physicians and patients — for its declining use. Other possible factors mentioned included advances in the use of alternate forms of psoriasis therapy, in particular cyclosporine and acitretin, and the increased use of home light therapy or tanning beds.


Records of 598 psoriasis visits from 1993 to 1998 were used to estimate the experience of approximately 15 million office-based visits during which psoriasis was a diagnosis. The resulting estimates — a statistically significant decreasing trend over the 6-year period examined — showed decreases similar to that seen in the authors’ university-based practice.

There were 873,000 visits for UV light therapy in 1993-1994, 189,000 in 1995-1996, and 53,000 in 1997-1998 (P < .0001).

There were 175,000 psoralen visits in 1993-1994, 61,000 in 1995-1996, and 25,000 in 1997-1998 (P = .0053).


Physicians’ burden — Authors note that visits may be “too cumbersome and costly” for physicians, many of whom have less manpower available for medical dermatology services than more profitable cosmetic procedures. This burden includes equipment maintenance, staff time, facility space needs, and other fixed and marginal costs that may not be fully reimbursed, plus the need to accommodate changing documentation and regulatory requirements for the degree of physician supervision required.

New drugs, home light therapy — Advances in the use of alternate forms of psoriasis therapy, in particular cyclosporine and acitretin, and the advent of home light therapy or tanning beds may have enabled physicians and patients to side-step issues involved in the cost and time involved in phototherapy office visits.

Cost to patients: impact of co-pays — Changes in third-party reimbursement policies requiring a co-pay for each phototherapy session were also seen as discouraging patients from undergoing this safe and effective treatment in favor of more toxic but better reimbursed systemic options.

Yet despite these costs and inconveniences, the authors urge practitioners and their patients not to abandon this “safe and effective treatment for psoriasis,” saying, “Until safer, efficacious therapies become available, we believe it is essential that phototherapy remain accessible to patients with psoriasis.” They support efforts to raise awareness of its efficacy and safety, and encourage increased reimbursement rates, discontinuation of co-pays for each treatment session, and less restrictive regulatory requirements for treatment documentation and supervision.


link to PubMed article

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Facts get lost in the headlines of tanning again

Posted by D3forU on May 27, 2010

True journalism looks behind the headline and gets both sides of a story; allowing the reader to make informed decisions, not just get eyeballs.

Did Melanoma Researchers ‘Reverse Engineer’ Their Findings? Anti-Tanning Lobbying Group Downplayed Key Conflicting Information Questions about this study that should have been answered  http://xr.com/RevEng

  • Failure to disclose conflict of interest and deceptive research practices
  • Failure to disclose conflicting findings and confounding factors
  • Failure to highlight study and control group bias by choosing study participants who are naturally predisposed to melanoma
  • Failure to cite absolute risk factors, as opposed to relative risk
  • Failure to cite other sources, such as sunscreen use, for risks associated with melanoma
  • Failure to explain a 5-fold higher usage of indoor tanning in the study’s control group when compared to the national average

Tanning beds: What do the numbers really mean? http://xr.com/ARtanRR

Journalists who report only on relative differences in making claims about a new idea should tell the rest of the story. It is absolute differences that probably matter most to most people trying to make sense out of such claims. http://xr.com/ARvRR

UVA Light Does Not Cause Melanoma Univ Texas Report http://xr.com/UVAnoMel

EWG reports many sunscreens may cause cancers http://xr.com/SSaol


False and deceptive headlines don’t tell all the story http://xr.com/resp75

These are just a few of the recent articles and research papers that show the other side of the picture. Look behind the headline and give readers a complete picture.

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“Risk of skin cancers increase by 75% when people start using tanning beds before age 30.”

Posted by D3forU on May 24, 2010

“Risk of skin cancers increase by 75 % when people start using tanning beds before age 30.”

This quote has been used frequently in the news as the basis for banning tanning either completely or for all under 18 years of age. The implication here is that 75%, or 3 out of every 4 people, who enter a tanning bed will at some time in their lives, contract Melanoma as a direct result of their actions.

What the original report in 2006 actually stated was: “Based on 19 informative studies, ever-use of sunbeds was positively associated with melanoma (summary relative risk, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.00–1.31), although there was no consistent evidence of a dose–response relationship. First exposure to sunbeds before 35 years of age significantly increased the risk of melanoma, based on 7 informative studies (summary relative risk, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.35–2.26).”

The studies claiming to show that sunlight, UVR or a tanning device causes CMM all have very small RR (Relative Risk) values, less than 2.0, when the authors know, or reasonably should know, that a RR of at least 3.0 is required to prove that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between two events. In case they forgot, here are a few quotes to remind them:

· “As a general rule of thumb, we are looking for a relative risk of 3.0 or more before accepting a paper for publication.” Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal Of Medicine

· “My basic rule is, if the relative risk isn’t at least 3 or 4, forget It.”Robert Temple, Director of Drug Evaluation for the U.S. Food And Drug Administration

· “Relative risks of less than 3.0 are considered small and are difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, coincidence, statistical bias or the effect of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident.” Excerpt from a National Cancer Institute publication.

Even Vincent Cogliano, head of the IARC Monographs program at the International Agency for Research on Cancer– where the World Health Organization-sanction group’s debate originated — admits the results on which many of the conclusions are based are “limited,” and “most (of the 2009 position) is based on the 2006 working group report and we do not have the gold standard, double-blind type of research to work with,” he said.

When asked why tanning beds were made such a focus of this WHO/IARC position, Cogliano said: “It was our 100th year and we wanted to pick something that looked at the past and into the future. UV radiation and the sun is (from the) past, tanning beds (are linked to) the future.”

A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal “Dermato-Endocrinology” (Dermato-Endocrinology 1:6, 1-7; Nov/Dec 2009; © 2009 Landes Bioscience) shows that there is no statistically significant connection between sunbeds and melanoma in those who can develop suntans (skin type II-VI), with increased risk centered only on those whose skin is so fair it cannot tan (skin type I).

William B. Grant, PhD, a former NASA atmospheric research scientist and founder of SUNARC, Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC), re-examined the same epidemiological data used by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) group from their findings in 2007 titled, “The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: a systematic review”. Grant’s study strongly challenges this review and argues it is both flawed and cannot be used as the basis for U.S. health policy.


  • The reported 75% increased risk of melanoma for those ever having used a sunbed prior to age 35 drops to a 25% Reduced Risk of Melanoma in the United States based on a scientifically-centered re-analysis of the data in the IARC report.
  • When skin type I is omitted from the IARC analysis, the reported 15% increased risk in melanoma fails to remain statistically significant. This is based on a meta-analysis of the 14 studies not from the UK, where skin type I is most prevalent.
  • The IARC study inappropriately combined four studies from northern Europe, one from the UK, one from Canada, and one from the U.S. in the analysis of first use of sunbeds before the age of 35 years. There are vast differences between American and European sunbed regulations and use. US regulations do not allow Skin Type I patrons to tan, European tanning beds are often used at home or are unsupervised and do not follow the regulations in the U.S. The study fails to state that its findings are not, and should not be considered “universal findings.”

“The reason this “Skin Type I” distinction is so important is that we now know that UV avoidance among people who can develop a tan has contributed to epidemic-level vitamin D deficiency in North America, with 3 out of 4 Americans being vitamin D deficient today,” said Grant. “Our public health messages about the benefits of UV radiation from any source need to recognize this.”

The IARC report was a meta-analysis of epidemiologic surveys – questionnaire surveys designed to retrospectively identify correlations, but which do not by nature identify causation. As stated in the IARC report, “Epidemiologic studies to date give no consistent evidence that use of indoor tanning facilities in general is associated with the development of melanoma or skin cancer.”

Melanoma’s connection with UV exposure is controversial, as research clearly shows it is more common in indoor workers than in outdoor workers and is more common on parts of the body that aren’t regularly exposed to sunlight, implicating sun burning rather than regular tanning.

Another recent study from Grant, “In Defense of the Sun,” published in Dermato-Endrocrinology, suggests that raising vitamin D blood levels to 45 ng/ml could reduce mortality rates in the United States by 15% and prevent up to 400,000 premature deaths from vitamin D deficiency-related diseases annually. Such diseases include many types of cancers, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, respiratory infections, diabetes, and falls and fractures.

Vitamin D researchers today recommend vitamin D blood levels should be maintained above 40-60 ng/ml. At least 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily in addition to dietary sources and casual solar UV irradiance are required to maintain those levels. According to peer-reviewed, published research, indoor tanners have those levels, but non-tanners do not. Indoor tanners: 42-49 ng/ml. American average: 23-25 ng/ml

“There is conclusive evidence that indoor tanning in a non-burning fashion offers a tremendous source of vitamin D,” Grant says. “The benefit of regular UV exposure as the body’s only true natural source of sufficient vitamin D production easily outweighs the manageable risks associated with overexposure to sunlight,” Grant says. “We know now through more than 2,000 papers published in 2009 that smart UV exposure and increased vitamin D levels will not only save lives, but also extend and increase our quality of life.”

For more info, visit www.vitamindhealth.org , www.vitamindcouncil.com , www.sunlighttruth.com , www.grassrootshealth.net , www.sunarc.org

PDF of this summary

Link to Dr Grant’s complete report

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Vitamin D May Allow American Olympians To Dominate In 2012

Posted by D3forU on May 23, 2010

Evidence that Vitamin D improves athletic choice reaction time, muscle strength, speed, and endurance may provide an American Olympic advantage in 2012 much like the Russian and German athletes domination in the Olympics for 30 years from the 1950s to the mid 1980s. Those elite athletes performances were linked to a training technique in which the athletes may have been irradiated with Vitamin D-producing UVB radiation. The American College of Sports Medicine published a paper Athletic Performance and Vitamin D that outlines such evidence.

Controversy surrounding upping the Vitamin D intake is paralleled to “doping.” However, most athletes, professional or domestic, of the day are deficient in Vitamin D and upping the intake of the vitamin would not be considered an athletic unfairness, but rather maintaining a healthy vitality potentially preventing “stress factors, and other athletic injuries.” Those doctors and trainers that do not treat such may be faltered with medical malpractice and hindering the athlete to reach his/her optimal potential as outlined below.

Co-authors of this article include Professor Timothy Taft, the team physician for the NCAA basketball champions, the UNC Tar Heels, and Professor John Anderson of the UNC School of Nutrition.

Several quotations from the paper:

Indeed, in reading the early German literature, it seems the athletic benefits of UV radiation were widely known by the 1930s, at least in Germany: ”It is a well-known fact that physical performance can be increased through ultra-violet irradiation. In 1927, a heated argument arose after the decision by the German Swimmers’ Association to use the sunlamp, as an artificial aid, as it may constitute an athletic unfairness, doping, so to speak.

In 1952, Spellerberg reported on the effects of an extensive program of irradiation of athletes training at the Sports College of Cologne-including many elite athletes-with a ”central sunlamp.” They reported a ”convincing effect” on athletic performance and a significant reduction in chronic pain due to sports injuries. Improved athletic performance with irradiation was so convincing that Spellerberg notified the ”National German and International OlympicCommittee.”

Few athletes live and train in a sun-rich environment, thus few have ”natural” 25(OH)D levels, with the exception of equatorial athletes, such as the runners of Kenya. Another possible exception was the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where athletes had to arrive early to acclimatize to the 7400-ft altitude. Because UVB penetration of the atmosphere is higher at high altitudes, because Mexico City is relatively close to the equator, and because of thsummer season, ambient UVB irradiation from sunlight would have been intense during the 1968 summer games and should have rapidly increased               25(OH)D levels of any athlete acclimatizing outdoors. Many new world records were set that summer, and the Americans, perhaps unexpectedly, won more gold and total medals than either the Russians or East Germans. Although most experts attribute the impressive number of world records to decreased ambient air pressure, vitamin D may also have contributed. For example, the Americans dominated in outdoor sports, winning 42 of their 45 gold medals in     outdoor sports, whereas the Russians won most their gold medals (18 of 29) in indoor sports. Both the number of new world records, almost entirely in outdoor sports, and the percentage improvement in outdoor world records, for example, Bob Beamon added 21 inches to the long jump (Fig. 6), are consistent with the theory that vitamin D improves athletic performance.

Further controversy may arise as activated Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, in exactly the same manner that testosterone is.  The paper concludes that:

Because activated vitamin D is a steroid hormone, questions may arise if use of its precursor, vitamin D, constitutes an unfair advantage, ”doping, so to speak,” as the Germans noted in 1940. However, unlike testosterone or growth hormone, vitamin D deficiency is probably common among athletes.

Furthermore, untreated vitamin D deficiency is associated, not only with stress fractures and other athletic injuries, it is also associated with numerous serious illnesses and is a risk factor for early death. Withholding vitamin D in vitamin D-deficient athletes seems to violate most rules of modern medical ethics and may expose the sports medicine physician to needless future liability. Although science may or may not find performance enhancing effects of vitamin D in the future, good medical practice in the present always supersedes performance enhancing theories awaiting future research. Vitamin D deficiency may be quite common in athletes. Stress fractures, chronic musculoskeletal pain, viral respiratory tract infections, and several chronic diseases are associated with vitamin D deficiency. Those caring for athletes have a responsibility to promptly diagnose and adequately treat vitamin D deficiency.

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Chicago Blackhawks are the first Vitamin D team in modern professional sports history

Posted by D3forU on May 23, 2010

May 23, 2010

The Chicago Blackhawks are the first vitamin D team in modern professional sports history.

According to my sources, the Chicago Blackhawk team physicians began diagnosing and treating vitamin D deficiency in all Blackhawk players about 18 months ago. Apparently, most players are on 5,000 IU per day.

After many losing seasons, last year the Blackhawks came out of nowhere to get to the Western conference finals. This year they are playing even better.

According to my sources, improved athletic performance is only one of the benefits for the Blackhawk players. The other is a reduction in the number and severity of colds and flu and a reduction in the number and severity of repetitive use injuries.

Six months ago, Runner’s World published a story on vitamin D and physical performance.

Asp K. Running on D: The “sun vitamin” may boost performance, but you probably aren’t getting enough. Runners World, December 2009.

A year ago, the flagship journal of the American College of Sports Medicine was the first journal to publish the theory that vitamin D would improve athletic performance.

Cannell JJ, Hollis BW, Sorenson MB, Taft TN, Anderson JJ.  Athletic performance and vitamin D. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 May;41(5):1102-10.

However, readers of this newsletter first learned about it in 2007:

Cannell, JJ. Peak Athletic Performance and Vitamin D. Vitamin D Council Newsletter, March 2007.

I can only hope that, if the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup this year, other teams, from high school to professional, may start paying attention to the vitamin D status of their players. That would be a big boost to the Council’s goal of educating the world about the importance of vitamin D.

The Vitamin D Council

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Let’s put cancerous myths to bed

Posted by D3forU on May 21, 2010

There’s no causal link between sunbed-use and cancer, so why are politicians clamping down on teens tannning?
Basham and Luik

Ever since the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded, last summer, that ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure from sunbeds is ‘carcinogenic to humans’, the British medical and health promotion establishment, along with the government, has been ramping up efforts to ban the use of sunbeds. Now, Gillian Merron, Britain’s public health minister, has said that the government intends to ban under-18s from using tanning salons after a study in the British Medical Journal reported that at least 250,000 children aged 11 to 17 use sunbeds.

The basis for the IARC decision and the government’s intervention is twofold: first, that there is a melanoma epidemic in the UK, and, second, that there is a causal connection between sunbed-use and melanoma. Both of these claims are scientifically suspect.

In a recent study about the reported incidence of melanoma in the UK, a group of scientists at the dermatology department of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital found that the increase in melanoma in East Anglia between 1991 and 2004 was ‘almost entirely due to minimal, stage 1 disease. There was no change in the combined incidence of the other stages of the disease, and the overall mortality only increased from 2.16 to 2.54 cases per 100,000 per year.’ According to the report authors, the claims of a melanoma epidemic are based not on a real increase in cases but rather on a ‘diagnostic drift which classifies benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma’. In the past these cases would have been diagnosed as benign melanocytic nevi, not melanoma.

Further weakening the claim that these early stage melanomas were the result of excessive sun exposure is the fact that most of the cases were in areas of the body not exposed to the sun. One of the report authors, Dr Nick J Levell, told Reuters, ‘The main message is to be cautious about overstating messages about a melanoma epidemic to the public and media. Such behaviour will tend to induce unnecessary anxiety and behaviour that may cause distress and harm.’

Yet the IARC claim about sunbeds and cancer risk does precisely what Levell warns against. In its press release announcing that it had concluded that radiation from sunbeds is carcinogenic, IARC implied that this finding was based on new scientific evidence. This was not the case. The basis for IARC’s conclusion is the agency’s 2006 report Exposure to Artificial UV Radiation and Skin Cancer. But this report provides no compelling evidence that sunbed-use is associated with an increased risk for skin cancer.

The report references 24 cohort and case-control studies on the association between use of indoor tanning facilities and melanoma risk. Of these only four show a small statistically significant relationship. None of the four have a relative risk greater than 1.50, indicating an extremely weak and unlikely relationship. Indeed, even the report authors admit that the evidence for a positive association between indoor tanning and melanoma is ‘weak’. It might be suggested that this statement is in itself misleading since the relationship is, in fact, practically nonexistent.

Despite the fact that there is virtually no scientific support in IARC’s report for the conclusion that ultraviolet radiation exposure from sunbeds is ‘carcinogenic to humans’, it is this very study that provides the sole basis for Gillian Merron’s move to ban adolescent use of tanning beds.

Finally, the largest prospective study of the risk of sunbeds for melanoma was by a team of researchers headed by Marit Veierød at the University of Oslo. They followed more than 100,000 Norwegian women over an average eight-year period and found no statistically significant association between sunbed-use and melanoma in those aged 10 to 19 who used a tanning facility more than once a month. Yet this is the target group for the UK government’s anti-sunbed campaign. Moreover, these findings correspond to a British study from 2004 which did not find a statistically significant association between use of sunbeds and melanoma.

So, not only is the public health minister failing, in the words of Levell, to be ‘cautious about overstating messages about a melanoma epidemic’ and tanning parlours – she has also proposed action that is clearly unsupported by the scientific evidence.

Patrick Basham directs the Democracy Institute and is a Cato Institute adjunct scholar. John Luik is a Democracy Institute senior fellow. They will be discussing the faux melanoma epidemic and other attacks on working-class culture on 29 April at the Institute of Economic Affairs. For more information about the event, click here.


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Sun, wind and dioxines

Posted by D3forU on May 21, 2010

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Melanoma epidemic: a midsummer night’s dream?

Posted by D3forU on May 1, 2010

A 15 year study of Melanoma patients from 1991 through 2004 concluded that  any changes in incidence were likely due to ‘diagnostic drift’, or categorizing benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma. There was no change in the combined incidence of all other stages of the disease, and mortality overall was increased less than 1/2 case per every 100,000 per year.

These findings should lead to a reconsideration of the treatment of ‘early’ lesions, a search for better diagnostic methods to distinguish them from truly malignant melanomas, re-evaluation of the role of ultraviolet radiation and recommendations for protection from it, as well as the need for a new direction in the search for the cause of melanoma.

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The Skin Cancer Cover-Up. Dermotologist in Favor of SunTanning

Posted by D3forU on April 27, 2010

Every summer we’re warned that the sun can kill.

In fact, most sun-provoked lesions are benign, and not really cancers at all.

by Professor Sam Shuster

Mankind and the sun have successfully maintained their unequal partnership for some considerable time.

We owe our existence to it, and Darwinian genetic and social evolution long ago taught us how to cope with the quiddities of that existence and turn them to our advantage.

For example, our bodies have developed the ability to use the sun for the production of vitamin D essential for our bones, and certain immune functions.

That ability is passed on by the safe hand of genetic evolution, which is not subject to the vagaries of its social counterpart.

Excessive avoidance and UV screening is a danger because it does not allow a tan, nature’s own sun block, to develop and as a result exposure is likely to cause sun-burn.

The dogma, now fossilized in print, is that any tan is a sign of skin damage.

Tell that to Darwin.

Pigmented melanocytes in the skin are a system that protects it from excessive UV, which evolved long before the advent of sunscreens.

Read the Rest of the story HERE

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Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004

Posted by D3forU on April 25, 2010

Adit A. Ginde, MD, MPH; Mark C. Liu, MD; Carlos A. Camargo Jr, MD, DrPH

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):626-632.

Background Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with suboptimal health. The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency may be rising, but population-based trends are uncertain. We sought to evaluate US population trends in vitamin D insufficiency.

Methods We compared serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), collected during 1988 through 1994, with NHANES data collected from 2001 through 2004 (NHANES 2001-2004).

Complete data were available for 18 883 participants in NHANES III and 13 369 participants in NHANES 2001-2004.

Results The mean serum 25(OH)D level was 30 (95% confidence interval [CI], 29-30) ng/mL during NHANES III and decreased to 24 (23-25) ng/mL during NHANES 2001-2004.

Accordingly, the prevalence of 25(OH)D levels of less than 10 ng/mL increased from 2% (95% CI, 2%-2%) to 6% (5%-8%), and 25(OH)D levels of 30 ng/mL or more decreased from 45% (43%-47%) to 23% (20%-26%).

The prevalence of 25(OH)D levels of less than 10 ng/mL in non-Hispanic blacks rose from 9% during NHANES III to 29% during NHANES 2001-2004, with a corresponding decrease in the prevalence of levels of 30 ng/mL or more from 12% to 3%.

Differences by age strata (mean serum 25[OH]D levels ranging from 28-32 ng/mL) and sex (28 ng/mL for women and 32 ng/mL for men) during NHANES III equalized during NHANES 2001-2004 (24 vs 24 ng/mL for age and 24 vs 24 ng/mL for sex).

Conclusions National data demonstrate a marked decrease in serum 25(OH)D levels from the 1988-1994 to the 2001-2004 NHANES data collections.

Racial/ethnic differences have persisted and may have important implications for known health disparities.

Current recommendations for vitamin D supplementation are inadequate to address the growing epidemic of vitamin D insufficiency.

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):626-632.

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Vitamin D from Tanning Beds

Posted by D3forU on October 22, 2009

Just a few minutes in a tanning bed stimulates up to 5,000 IU of Vitamin D

Just a few minutes in a tanning bed stimulates up to 5,000 IU of Vitamin D

The sun is a good thing. Dr. Michael Holick says that ultraviolet radiation helps the body produce Vitamin D.

The reason is that vitamin D increasingly seems important for preventing and even treating many types of cancer.

In the last three months alone, four separate studies found it helped protect against lymphoma and cancers of the prostate, lung and, ironically, the skin. The strongest evidence is for colon cancer.

No one is suggesting that people fry on a beach. But many scientists believe that “safe sun” — 15 minutes or so a few times a week without sunscreen — is not only possible but helpful to health.

One is Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a Harvard University professor of medicine and nutrition who laid out his case in a keynote lecture at a recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

His research suggests that vitamin D might help prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin cancer.

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Sun’s rays make summer babies taller and stronger, study claims

Posted by D3forU on August 9, 2009

Mothers who are pregnant in the summer have taller and stronger-boned babies because they benefit from sun’s vitamin-boosting rays, a new study has found.

 Expectant mothers lucky enough to be blooming in the hot months should get enough sun to boost their vitamin D levels just by walking around outside or even sunbathing  Photo: GETTY

Expectant mothers lucky enough to be blooming in the hot months should get enough sun to boost their vitamin D levels just by walking around outside or even sunbathing Photo: GETTY

Those born in the late summer and early autumn are around half a centimetre taller and have wider bones than their peers born in winter and spring, an 18 year project found.

Expectant mothers lucky enough to be blooming in the hot months should get enough sun to boost their vitamin D levels just by walking around outside or even sunbathing.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Sun exposure cancer warnings ‘lead to Vitamin D deficiencies’

Posted by D3forU on August 9, 2009

Public health warnings about skin cancer have led to a rise in Vitamin D deficiency through lack of sunlight, according to a controversial study into the effects of ultraviolet exposure.

Vitamin D, produced by the body in response to sunlight, helps protect against cancer Photo: GETTYBut now, a controversial new study has blamed the same public health messages for causing growing numbers of people to suffer from vitamin D deficiency, because they are failing to get enough sunlight on their skin.

Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to exposure from ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight. It helps protect against cancer and is also thought to be important in helping to prevent bone disease such as osteoporosis, as well as autoimmune diseases, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

The researchers are now calling for guidelines on sunlight exposure to be reviewed to ensure people receive enough vitamin D.

Dr Veronique Bataille, who led the study, said: “There has been so much effort put into telling people about the damaging effects of ultraviolet light from sunshine, many now take extreme measures to ensure they don’t get exposure by wearing moisturisers with factor 15 all year round.

“We don’t want to say that sunbathing is healthy as there is clearly a risk, but people do need a bit of sunshine to stay healthy.”

Dr Bataille and her colleagues measured vitamin D levels in the blood of 1,414 white women in the UK and compared this to their skin type and details about the number of foreign holidays, sunbed use and the number of times they had been sunburnt.

They found that those with the fairest skin, who usually have red or blonde hair, had the lowest levels of vitamin D.

Conventional scientific thinking suggests this should not be the case.

People with greater levels of melanin – which is the pigment which causes darker colour in skin – make less vitamin D and there is evidence to show that those with Asian and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds have trouble producing the vitamin.

Dr Bataille, a consultant dermatologist at Hemel Hempstead General Hospital and a researcher at Kings College London, also found that those with fair skin also had the lowest levels of sun exposure through the number of holidays they had abroad and sunbed use.

The researchers concluded that people with fair skin actively avoided sun exposure more, due to their increased sensitivity and so produced less vitamin D. They added, however, there may also be a genetic element that means people with fair skin metabolise vitamin D differently.

The findings come after another study by Dr Bataille’s group that showed sunlight may not be the main cause of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Instead they concluded that the number of moles on the skin was a better indicator of risk.

“The advice on sun exposure needs to be reviewed,” said Dr Bataille. “It is potentially harmful if people are getting the message that they should completely avoid the sun. The advice needs to be better tailored to the differences in skin type and sun levels around the country.”

Experts claim that excessive avoidance of the sun has stemmed from confusing official guidance on sun exposure which has unduly raised fears about the risk of being outside in the sunshine.

Advice on the Health Protection Agency’s website states that people should limit unprotected personal exposure to solar radiation, particularly during the four hours around midday, even in the UK. It even warns that sunburn can occur when in the shade or when cloudy.

Cancer Research UK used to advice that people stayed in the shade between 11am and 3pm, the time when the sun is at its hottest and the best time for making vitamin D according to experts. They recently changed their advice to “spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm” and “aim to cover up”.

Vitamin D can be obtained from food, including oily fish and eggs, but it is harder for the body to obtain enough from these sources and consumption of these products in the UK has dramatically declined.

Dr Bataille believes people can make enough vitamin D from just 15 minutes exposure to sunlight while wearing a T-shirt, but added that this would need to be increased for those with dark skin or during the winter months when sunlight is lower.

According to a separate recent study at University College London, 20 per cent of women and 12 per cent of men are now classed as being clinically vitamin D deficient, while levels of the vitamin in nearly two thirds of women and 57 per cent of men are “insufficient”.

Dr Vasant Hirani, who led the study, added: “The advice on sun exposure does need to be clarified.”

The British Association of Dermatologists has recently issued guidance with the National Osteoporosis Society that recommends people get 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure a day.

Nina Goad, from the Association, said she doubted public health messages were responsible for causing vitamin D deficiency.

“Vitamin D deficiency is likely to be due to our lifestyles meaning we spend a lot of time indoors, to a lack of vitamin D in our diets, and to our climate meaning we have limited sun exposure for much of the year,” she added.

A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said: “We are not saying that people should avoid all sunlight. Indeed a small amount can help to maintain vitamin D levels.

“Sunbathing incurs the potential hazard without adding to vitamin D levels.”

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Let the Sun Shine In (Especially When Pregnant)

Posted by D3forU on August 6, 2009

Are you shorter than you had hoped or expected to be? Well, although genes play a large role in a person’s final adult height, new research suggests that the amount of sunlight that a woman is exposed to during her pregnancy may have a lot to do with it as well.

Researchers note that: Several recent studies have reported a causal association between stature and month of birth. Perinatal exposure to sunlight has been suggested as the principal factor underlying this relationship, although the mechanisms involved remain a matter of debate.

They analyzed the association of perinatal sunlight exposure to birth size and height at regular intervals all the way up to age 26.

“The findings confirmed that pre-natal sunlight is one of the most significant determinants of height,” conclude the researchers, although they are unsure of the trimester of greatest influence.

Early Human Development November 1, 2000; 60: 35-42

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Pre-Birth Vitamin D Levels Determine Your Health for Life

Posted by D3forU on August 5, 2009

by Kerri Knox, RN, citizen journalist

In the nature versus nurture debate, scientists often talk about genetics versus environmental factors in health. One environmental factor that has been getting a lot of attention lately is Vitamin D- and with good reason. Vitamin D is turning out to be a major influence in heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other health problems.

But Vitamin D is even MORE vital than was previously thought. New research is showing that even our Pre-Birth vitamin d levels are an important determinant of our future health. When we speak of disease and health, we often think that people who are healthy are ‘lucky’ and people who are unhealthy as ‘unlucky’. But the debate is beginning to tip towards the fact that environmental factors influence genetics more than we can ever imagine, and luck of the genes has less to do with health than environmental factors.

Vitamin D as an environmental factor in our health is not debated, only HOW MUCH of a factor in our health is what is debated.

“Careful attention to maternal vitamin D status could translate into diverse improvements in health outcomes for the following generation”

Professor John McGrath Queensland Centre for Schizophrenia Research, Wolston Park Hospital, Wacol, Queensland, Australia

Vitamin D deficiency has long been associated with osteoporosis, but most of us think of osteoporosis as starting in older age. Since women are particularly affected, it’s often that vitamin d and calcium supplementation is begun after menopause to help prevent the associated fractures of osteoporosis.

But women in their pre-reproductive and reproductive years need to be supplemented too, less for themselves, but more for the health of their offspring.

Several studies have shown that pre-birth vitamin d levels can determine bone mass and risk of fracture as an adult! Disturbingly, vitamin d deficiency is rampant among pregnant women and it could be having devastating consequences on the youngest generations.

“Vitamin D supplementation of pregnant women, especially during winter months, could lead to long-lasting reductions in the risk of osteoporotic fracture in their offspring.”

‘Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy and childhood bone mass at age 9 years: a longitudinal study’

Bone strength isn’t the only health issue that seems to be already determined by a mother’s intake of vitamin D, our mental health is also affected. Schizophrenia has long been associated with vitamin d levels due to its odd characteristic of occurring more frequently in those born in winter or early spring.

This association is not just coincidental; vitamin D levels in the womb affect the health of the baby, even much later in life. Even a child’s lungs are affected by a mother’s vitamin D levels. Asthma, a common childhood problem, has been linked to vitamin D deficiency in mothers. The Journal ‘Clinical and Experimental Allergy’ published an article entitled, ‘Childhood asthma is a fat-soluble vitamin deficiency disease.’ which outlines this strong link between vitamin D and childhood asthma.

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Low Levels of Vitamin D Tied to Numerous Health Ailments, Studies Find

Posted by D3forU on August 4, 2009

Men with low vitamin D levels are more likely to suffer heart attacks than men with healthy levels of the vitamin, according to a study released this week.

The finding, interesting on its own, is also the latest drop in what’s become a steady stream of news about the health effects of vitamin D — the sunlight-produced vitamin once known mainly for helping to prevent the bone disease rickets in children.

A study released in May, for example, found that women with breast cancer who had low vitamin D levels at the time of their diagnosis were 73 percent more likely to die from the disease, and nearly twice as likely to have it recur.

And over the past few years, researchers have linked low vitamin D levels to prostate cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, influenza and chronic muscle pain, among other maladies. How can one vitamin be linked to so many disparate diseases?

“Activated vitamin D is probably the oldest hormone on earth, phytoplankton that have existed for 750 million years [contain] it,” said vitamin D research Michael Holick, of Boston University. “Every cell and tissue in our body has a vitamin D receptor, and all use it for different purposes.”

Vitamin D is found in small amounts in a few foods, including fatty fish like salmon, as well as in milk and eggs. But mainly the human body produces its own vitamin D, triggered when the UVB rays in sunlight hit the skin.

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New study finds vitamin D can be lifesaver for cancer patients

Posted by D3forU on July 30, 2009

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Acedemic Fraud

Posted by D3forU on July 30, 2009

IARC Report Declaring UV “Carcinogenic to Humans” ignored conflicting information JACKSON, Mich. (July 29) –

QUICK ANSWERS:tan_couple

1. This list means nothing more than SUNBURN is harmful. There’s no research suggesting that non-burning exposure is harmful.

2. Many of the parties promoting this list have ties to the $35 billion sunscreen industry, which wants you to over-use their product.

3. Saying that ultraviolet light causes skin cancer and therefore should be avoided is just like saying water causes drowning and therefore should be avoided.

You need water in order to live and survive – just as you need ultraviolet light in order to live and survive.

4. By including UV light on a list of carcinogens without making the statement clear that overexposure, and not mere exposure, is the danger, the makers of this list have made a glaring and fraudulent omission.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer ignored conflicting information in its classification of ultraviolet light as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ – a one-dimensional conclusion that benefits the $35 billion sunscreen industry, which has strong financial ties to most of the dermatology community today, and forgets the fact that humans need UV light to live.

“If a pharmaceutical company sold you sunshine, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now,” International Smart Tan Network Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Instead, we are dealing with a report that now has the press comparing Mother Nature’s most important creation – sunlight – to arsenic and mustard gas. It’s ludicrous.” “Saying that UV exposure is harmful and should be avoided is as wrong as saying that water causes drowning, and therefore we should avoid water.”

No data has ever been presented suggesting that UV exposure in a non-burning fashion is a significant risk factor for any skin damage, nor has a mechanism been established whereby UV causes melanoma, which is more common in indoor workers than in outdoor workers and which occurs most commonly on parts of the body that don’t get regular UV exposure. IARC cited its own report alleging “risk of skin melanoma is increased by 75 per cent when people started using tanning beds before age 30.” Ignored in this statement is confounding information pointing out that: * IARC’s analysis was flawed. When the palest individuals who cannot tan (called Skin Type I – people who are not allowed to tan in North American tanning facilities) were removed from the IARC data set, there was no increase in risk for the group being studied. *

In fact, 18 of 22 studies on this topic show no statistically signficant relationship between indoor tanning and melanoma – including the largest and most recent study. “Ignoring conflicting information in the publication of a report and elevating your conclusion without bringing confounding information to light constitutes academic fraud,” Levy said. “This report presents no new data, ignores confounding information and attempts to reach a new conclusion with no new information. While it remains prudent for individuals to avoid sunburn, it should be noted that there is NO RESEARCH suggesting that non-burning UV exposure is a significant risk factor for humans. None.” Levy continued, “Further, it is clearer now more than ever that humans NEED regular UV exposure as the only true natural way to make vitamin D. It is called ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ for a reason: You produce more vitamin D by getting a tan in a non-burning fashion than you would from drinking 100 glasses of whole milk.

We are very concerned that the politics of profit-motivated anti-UV groups are misrepresenting the balanced message about sunlight that a true, independent evaluation of the science supports. The U.S. government in 2000 placed ultraviolet light on the federal government’s list of known human carcinogens. But the criteria to be labeled a carcinogen does not take into account the dosage of a substance required to increase risk – which means that the listing only indicts sunburn, not non-burning exposure.

According to that report, “The Report does not present quantitative assessments of carcinogenic risk. Listing of substances in the Report, therefore, does not establish that such substances present carcinogenic risks to individuals in their daily lives.”

This exclusion makes this listing meaningless. In doing so, ultraviolet light became the first item on that list that humans need to live and would die if they didn’t receive.

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Posted by D3forU on July 24, 2009

The Great Debate

Written by Dr.Gerald Lemole


When Earl came to see us at the Center for Integrative Health, he was ashen, gray and wheezing. After an extensive interview, we put him on a regimen for his symptoms. A week into his treatment he felt better but when his studies came back he was seen to have a severe Vitamin D deficiency and was immediately put on 5,000 IU daily of Vitamin D3. After one week, Earl’s wife called to report that not only had his wheezing stopped, the same receptionist didn’t recognize him and had to ask him his name because she no longer heard “Darth Vadar!” entering the suite.

Vitamin D or calciferol, actually a prohormone made from cholesterol, was until recently thought only to be involved in healthy bone production and maintenance. However, newer research has shown it to be necessary for balance, muscle and tendon health, immunity and prevention of infection, heart disease and cancer.

Most foods with the exception of fatty fish are poor sources of Vitamin D. Fortified food such as milk, soy products and cereal grains are enriched with synthetic Vitamin D2, which has to be metabolized to the active form of the vitamin. However, each quart of milk is fortified with only 100 IU of Vitamin D2 making the possibility of meeting the daily requirements from food intake highly unlikely. Most Vitamin D comes from the action of sunlight on the cholesterol in the skin. The sunlight’s ultraviolet B rays’ penetrating the skin, convert the cholesterol to the prohormone which is then transformed into the active form. The amount of Vitamin D formed in the skin depends on the latitude, pigmentation, age and health of the individual.

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Mother’s sun exposure may affect kids’ bone growth

Posted by D3forU on May 27, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Women who get some sun during the last trimester of pregnancy may have children with stronger bones, a new study suggests.

UK researchers found that among nearly 7,000 10-year-olds they assessed, those whose mothers were in their last trimester during sunny months tended to have larger bones.

The connection, the researchers say, is presumably explained by vitamin D, which is synthesized in the skin after sun exposure and plays a key role in bone health.

It’s possible that mothers’ vitamin D levels late in pregnancy have lasting effects on their children’s later bone development, the researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

No one is recommending that pregnant women bask in the sun. Too much UV exposure is a known risk factor for skin cancer.

However, the findings do offer “further justification for strategies intended to improve maternal vitamin D status to optimize skeletal health the child,” write researchers Adrian Sayers and Jonathan H. Tobias of the University of Bristol.

Milk and breakfast cereals fortified with vitamin D are among the main food sources of the vitamin. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, though some fish, like salmon, mackerel and tuna, contain substantial amounts.

Currently, the official recommendation for vitamin D during pregnancy is 200 IU per day, though researchers are still trying to determine what the optimal intake is. A number of studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency is common in pregnant women.

These latest findings are based on 6,995 British children who underwent bone scans as part of a long-term health study. The researchers used local meteorological data to estimate the mothers’ UV exposure during their last trimester.

In general, the study found, children whose mothers had greater sun exposure tended to have larger bones than those whose mothers had less sun exposure.

Bone mass acquired earlier in life is important to fracture risk in later years. If the benefits seen in this study persist into adulthood, Sayers and Tobias note, mothers’ vitamin D levels during pregnancy might affect their children’s bone health into old age.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, March 2009.

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Make every day a D-day by stocking up on all the sunshine vitamin your body needs

Posted by D3forU on May 24, 2008

In this changeable weather it’s good to get outside and catch a few rays when the sun does shine.

It’s the best way for our bodies to produce the Vitamin D we need.

Here we explain how to make sure you are getting enough.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means you do not need it every day as it can be stored by the body. It is present in certain foods and added to others, but is most commonly made by the body when ultraviolet rays from the sun hit your skin. Without sufficient Vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium.

It plays a vital role in keeping bones and teeth healthy. It assists with the transmission of nerves, and with blood clotting, and helps regulate the heart beat. Studies have also suggested it may play a role in reducing the risk of certain cancers, including breast, colon and prostate.

Soaking up the rays: Sunlight is the best way to get your Vitamin D

Where does it come from?

There are two ways the body gets Vitamin D. The best is from sunlight as the body automatically regulates how much it makes when the sun’s ultraviolet rays trigger Vitamin D synthesis.

The amount produced by the skin in a set time depends on age and skin type – pale, younger skin produces Vitamin D fastest. Dietary Vitamin D – sources include cod liver oil, oily fish, liver, eggs and fortified foods such as cereals, margarine and powdered milk – or supplements are also an option.
But Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George’s Hospital, London, warns: ‘It’s almost impossible to get sufficient Vitamin D from the diet. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of Vitamin D-fortified milk each day just to get the minimum levels. Sunlight exposure really is the best way.’

For those aged under 70 with fair skins, five to ten minutes of casual exposure – just face and arms –between 11am and 3pm when the sun is strongest produces about 250mcg of Vitamin D. The same amount is produced by darker skins in about 20 minutes.

What is Vitamin D?

‘Just sitting by a window isn’t enough,’ says Collins.

‘You have to be exposed to the kind of strong sunlight we get between May and September that would make your skin tingle if you stayed in it for more that 15 minutes.

‘We tell parents they need to get their kids out into the sun at least twice a week.’

How much do I need?

10mcg is the minimum recommended daily amount. Most of us will get enough from normal exposure to the sun and diet.

If I soak up the sun and get my Vitamin D quota, how long will my body store it?

Any excess is stored indefinitely in the fatty tissue and used by the body as needed.

Some studies have found it will take about two months for the body to become deficient.

Will sunscreen block out Vitamin D?

Sunscreens with a protection factor of eight or more block the UV rays that create Vitamin D and reduce production by up to 95 per cent.

‘Of course, you should always use a sunblock if you’re going to be out in the sun for more than 15 minutes,’ says Collins.

What happens if I don’t get enough?

Deficiency usually arises when inadequate sunlight exposure is coupled with liver or kidney disorders that limit metabolism of the vitamin.

It leads to the bone softening diseases – rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults – and possibly contributes to osteoporosis.

Muscle and bone weakness, and pain, can occur. In rare cases, supplements can be taken, but only under medical supervision as too much can lead to kidney failure.

‘No one should be deficient, unless they have specific medical problems,’ says Collins.

‘There’s nothing easier, and more pleasant, than getting out into the sun during the summer months to get your daily dose.’

Cod liver oil, oily fish such as mackerel and salmon, liver, eggs and fortified foods such as cereals, margarine and powdered milk.


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Sunny D needed for healthy babies

Posted by D3forU on May 19, 2008

The vast majority of pregnant women in Ireland have low vitamin D levels, according to new research.

Scientists at University College Cork said this deficiency has implications for healthy growth and development in the child’s early life.

Many of us in this country are low in vitamin D because of the climate and long winter.

Severe vitamin D deficiency causes poor development of the bones in children and softening of the bones in adults.

Without vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed in the body, slowing bone growth and development.

Pregnant women need more calcium because the baby relies on its mother for its vitamin D stores. Good sources include fatty fish, fortified milks, cereals, baked beans, eggs, low-fat yogurt and supplements.

But the scientists stress that sunlight remains a critical source.

Vitamin D is made by the action of the sun on our skin therefore sunlight, seasons and skin colour are key factors that determine our vitamin D levels.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding make use of the sunnier weather and try to get out for at least 20 minutes a day — but be mindful of skin cancer and ensure you use a sunscreen if exposed for long periods.

UCC scientists Mairead Kiely and her team are now looking at the potential of vitamin D as an ingredient in functional beverages for breast-feeding mothers.

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Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status

Posted by D3forU on May 3, 2008

Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher bone mineral density1,2,3

Vin Tangpricha, Adrian Turner, Catherine Spina, Sheila Decastro, Tai C Chen and Michael F Holick

1 From the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory (AT, CS, SD, TCC, and MFH) and the Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition (AT, KS, SD, TCC, and MFH), Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, and the Section of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipids and the Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta (VT)

Background: Vitamin D is made in the skin on exposure to solar radiation, and it is necessary to optimal skeletal health. Subjects who use a tanning bed that emits ultraviolet B radiation (290–315 nm) are likely to have higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations than do subjects who do not regularly use a tanning bed.

Objective: The first objective of this study was to ascertain whether subjects who regularly use a tanning bed have higher 25(OH)D concentrations than do subjects who do not use a tanning bed. The second objective was to ascertain whether higher 25(OH)D concentrations correlated positively with bone mineral density.

Design: This cross-sectional analysis examined 50 subjects who used a tanning bed at least once a week and 106 control subjects. Each subject gave a blood specimen for measurement of serum 25(OH)D and parathyroid hormone concentrations. Each subject underwent bone mineral density testing of the hip and spine.

Results: Subjects who used a tanning bed had serum 25(OH)D concentrations 90% higher than those of control subjects (115.5 ± 8.0 and 60.3 ± 3.0 nmol/L, respectively; P < 0.001). Subjects who used a tanning bed had parathyroid hormone concentrations 18% lower than those of control subjects (21.4 ± 1.0 and 25.3 ± 0.8 pg/mL, respectively; P = 0.01). Tanners had significantly higher BMD and z scores at the total hip than did nontanners.

Conclusion: The regular use of a tanning bed that emits vitamin D–producing ultraviolet radiation is associated with higher 25(OH)D concentrations and thus may have a benefit for the skeleton.

Key Words: Vitamin D deficiency • secondary hyperparathyroidism • vitamin D • bone mineral density • bone mineral content • tanning

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Article HERE

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Sun lamps help unborn babies beat osteoporosis

Posted by D3forU on April 28, 2008

A major British newspaper this week published a story under the headline, “Sun lamps help unborn babies beat osteoporosis” — further evidence that the value of regular UV exposure is getting through to the press as part of the unfolding vitamin D story.

“Women due to give birth in winter should use a sun lamp during the final three months of pregnancy to protect their child from osteoporosis in later life, doctors have suggested,” Britain’s Sunday Times reported April 27. “They made their recommendation as research found that children born to mothers whose final three months of pregnancy included a summer month were 40% less likely to suffer the bone-wasting condition in adult-hood. A mother’s exposure to sunlight in that final period ensures the developing baby receives enough vitamin D to form strong bones.”

The Times quoted Dr. Marwan Bukhari, a rheumatologist in Lancaster who authored the study, as saying, “You only get good sunlight [when you make vitamin D] between May and September in this country. Pregnant women should have vitamin D supplements or should have lots of good sunshine in somewhere like north Africa or the southern Mediterranean [in winter].”

According to The Times, “Bukhari and colleagues studied 17,000 patients, mostly women and 95% of whom were white. They had all had scans carried out at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary between 1992 and 2004. … They found that patients under 50 were 40% less likely to have developed osteoporosis if their mother’s last trimester of pregnancy included a summer month.”

The study comes on the heels of heightened recommendations for vitamin D in North America for expectant mothers. The Canadian Pediatric Society this year recommended that expectant mothers get 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to be able to pass any vitamin D onto children prenatally or while nursing. That’s 10 times the current government vitamin D recommendations, and some vitamin D experts have suggested the number should be as high as 6,400 IU daily.

Older patients were 20%-40% less likely to have osteoporosis if their mothers’ late stages of pregnancy were in the summer.

Doctors suggest that women whose last trimester of pregnancy does not fall between May and September should consider taking a holiday in the Mediterranean.

As flying is not advised in the late stages of pregnancy, however, they suggest that women may need to settle for a sun lamp or vitamin D supplements.

Bukhari added: “Sun lamps are an option. It needs to be the right kind of sun lamp to convert fat under the skin to vitamin D.”

Michael Holick, professor of medicine at Boston University in America, said a lack of vitamin D, caused by overzealous avoidance of the sun, was leading to thousands of unnecessary cancer deaths each year and increasing vulnerability to rickets.

“The vitamin D levels now being suggested are consistent only with levels one could get naturally through UVB exposure,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “There is no way to get there naturally through diet, and the safe upper limit for vitamin D supplements — which, unlike sun exposure, are linked to the possibility of toxic overdose reactions – is still only 2,000 units a day. It is becoming more and more obvious that regular UV exposure isthe only real natural and intended pathway for natural vitamin D production and that high-dose supplements are, at best, a good second option.”

The North American tanning community generally suggests that pregnant women consult a physician before tanning during a pregnancy. UV exposure does not pose any threat to the fetus — it does not penetrate beyond the mother’s skin, contrary to urban legend, but any excessive heat and discomfort can be an issue for the mother.

Exposure position in the third trimester of a pregnancy can also be an issue. A pregnant woman laying on her back can put extra pressure on her spine.

“The study will revive the debate over whether excessive caution about exposure to sunshine is creating other health problems,” The Times reported.

To read The Times’ story click here.

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CDC Finds 97% of Americans Contaminated by Sunscreens

Posted by D3forU on April 22, 2008

by Ellen Holder (NaturalNews)

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a new study showing that nearly all Americans are contaminated with oxybenzone, a widely-used sunscreen ingredient.

This chemical so far has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage, as well as low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy.

Oxybenzone is also a penetration enhancer, a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin. So where has the FDA been on this?

Apparently in the back pocket of the sunscreen industry, The Food and Drug Administration, again, has failed in its duty to protect the public from toxic chemicals like oxybenzone.

Caving to the industry lobbyists, the agency has delayed final sunscreen safety standards for nearly 30 years. FDA issued a new draft of the standards last October under pressure from Environmental Working Group (EWG), but continues to delay finalizing them because of pressure from the industry.

In their online cosmetic safety database, EWG identifies nearly 600 sunscreens sold in the U.S. that contain oxybenzone, including leading brand names like Hawaiian Tropic, Coppertone, and Banana Boat, and many facial moisturizers as well.

On top of that, they also show many of these so-called sunscreens offer inadequate protection from the sun. In fact, they found that sunlight also causes oxybenzone to form free radical chemicals that may be linked to cell damage, which is the exact opposite reason many women mistakenly use the sunscreen – to protect them from damaging free radicals which lead to premature aging!

And interestingly, as sunscreen sales have risen, so has the rate of skin cancers. Go figure.

We’ve been pressured to believe that the sun is our enemy and we need to slather on loads of sunscreen to protect ourselves, when in actuality we need sunlight for our bodies to manufacture vitamin D.

For those of us who are either fair skinned or just plain vain and worry about age spots and wrinkles, limiting our unprotected sun exposure to 20 minutes a day is adequate for our daily dose of vitamin D.

For more fun in the sun, overexposure can be avoided by using a natural or organic sunscreen with a reflective barrier like zinc, instead of chemical sunscreens. Even a small amount of shea butter rubbed into the skin daily offers a bit of natural UV protection.

Whatever you do, don’t wait for the FDA to help you in your choice. Based on their history in this category, it could be another 30 years before safety standards are improved.

1. Environmental Health Perspectives: Concentrations of the Sunscreen Agent, Benzophenone-3, in Residents of the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004

2. Environmental Working Group: Comments from EWG on the U.S. FDA’s Proposed Amendment of Final Monograph for Sunscreens

3. Environmental Working Group: Americans Carry ‘Body Burden’ of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical

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Summer Fitness!

Posted by D3forU on April 5, 2008

by Scott Eric Barrett

When summer arrives we naturally gravitate toward the beaches, lakes and parks for outdoor activities. For most, this rite of passage usually involves packing away sweaters, parkas and boots and donning shorts, swimwear and sandals.

Wearing less clothing allows our bodies to soak up more healthy rays of sunlight; however, many people who don’t exercise or live healthy lifestyles are reluctant to shed their clothes and fully enjoy summer. Unfortunately, many out-of-shape people won’t even leave the house during summer.

Well, those days are over. Get with the program and set a course for a healthy, fitness- and sun-filled summer.

An Age-Old Friendship

Copernicus declared the sun the center of our universe more than 400 years ago. Throughout history, the human race has enjoyed a special relationship with the sun. Primitive societies in every continent worshiped it as a god for providing warmth and helping crops grow. Hippocrates and Pythagoras wrote extensively on the use of sunlight in the processes of healing. The Romans made use of the sun in training their gladiators, believing the rays strengthened and enlarged their muscles.

Greek physician Antyllus wrote the first positive review for sunbathing more than 2,000 years ago: “Persons expose themselves to the sun, some cover themselves with oil and others do not; some lie down and some are seated, while others stand or play. Those who lie down, rest on sand or a cushion. This sunlight exposure prevents an increase in body weight and strengthens the muscles. It makes fat disappear. It reduces, as well, hydropic swelling.”

Writing in modern times, Dr. Phil Maffetone, chairman and CEO of the Maffetone Report, an alternative health newsletter, says there’s nothing like a clear sunny day, whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter.

“A bright sunny day makes people feel more healthy,” he says. “Too often we hear about how the sun is bad. The only time the sun is bad for us is when our bodies aren’t healthy enough to benefit from it or when we abuse it. Our skin actually was made for the sun.”

The catchword for taking advantage of the sun’s health benefits is moderation. When ultraviolet rays from the sun come in contact with ergosterol, a fluid found just under the skin, they convert it to vitamin D, which is absorbed into the bloodstream. Studies suggest sunshine may help with depression and ease anxiety.

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Get your Kit Off, Get in the Sun and Live Longer.

Posted by D3forU on April 5, 2008

Well, well, well! Yet another spectacular u-turn by the medical/scientific community. Yes folks, hang on to your hats, it now seems that they’ve finally come to realise that . . . drumroll . . . SUNSHINE IS GOOD FOR YOU! gratuitous butt shot

Why the sudden change of heart?

What’s made them go from ‘cover up and stay out of the sun between the hours of 4am and 11pm’ to ‘get your kit off and enjoy a bit of sunbathing whenever you can’?

Ok, that’s not what they’re really saying but it does seem that the sun has been given a new lease of life. It has been turned miraculously from big bad cancer-causing bringer-of-death to all-encompassing ailment-curing giver-of-life.

Two very extreme extremes. Now, no-one can deny that over-exposure to the midday sun can damage your skin and also may cause skin cancers or melanomas. But it seems the medical profession now believes that under-exposure to sunlight can have just as disastrous consequences.

So which point of view is correct?

I have never subscribed to the ’stay out of the sun or die’ kind of scaremongering. The one basic fact that nobody can argue with is that ALL life on this planet depends on it. If the sun went out EVERYTHING on earth would die. Period.

So don’t you think that in the few thousand years of human habitation of this planet we might just have come to harness, rely on and adapt to it’s life-giving properties?

And that to try to hide from it or ignore its existence is kind of stupid? I’ve lived in southern Spain for the last four years so I know a thing or two about sunshine. Let me give you a little example of my personal experience of it.

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Cell Defenses and the Sunshine Vitamin

Posted by D3forU on April 5, 2008


Scientific American Magazine – January 7, 2008

Scientists now recognize that vitamin D does much more than build strong bones and that many people are not getting enough of it. Is widespread D deficiency contributing to major illnesses?

By Luz E. Tavera-Mendoza and John H. White

It was called the sunshine cure, and in the early 20th century, before the era of antibiotics, it was the only effective therapy for tuberculosis known. No one knew why it worked, just that TB patients sent to rest in sunny locales were often restored to health. The same “treatment” had been discovered in 1822 for another historic scourge, rickets—a deforming childhood condition caused by an inability to make hardened bone. Rickets had been on the rise in 18th- and 19th-century Europe, coinciding with industrialization and the movement of people from the countryside to the polluted cities, when a Warsaw doctor observed that the problem was relatively rare in rural Polish children. He began experimenting with city children and found that he could cure their rickets with exposure to sunshine alone.

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Preventing Cancer through Sun Exposure

Posted by D3forU on April 5, 2008

In Sub Tropical Environments You Can Be Vitamin D DeficientIf you live in one of these perpetually sunny environments but work the entire week indoors and don’t make a conscious effort to go outside during the weekends you will become vitamin D deficient.” Don’t fear the sunshine. Jergens® Skincare in support of The Skin Cancer Foundation announces “Glow in the Dark,” a campaign to give up bad tanning habits in favor of alternatives. What is an alternative according to the maker of Jergens? No sun at all, or maybe the new topical drug version sure to be called “Nosunitol.” Goodbye Vitamin D, hello breast cancer. Hello skin cancer. They reference this sobering statistic:

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 1 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually.

What they do not tell you is that more skin cancers are caused by a lack of sun exposure rather than too much. Without adequate Vitamin D and Selenium, you can practically guarantee a dangerous chronic disease of degradation. Unfortunately, most money directed at skin cancer research places undue focus on chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, as if skin cancer is a deficiency of anyone of those things. Our bodies are designed to deal with normal free radical damage caused by occasional overexposure to sunlight, but an apparent inability to look at nutritional deficiencies has condemned one million unsuspecting Americans to skin cancer every year. Healthy sun exposure and food grown selenium could prevent hundreds of thousands of them without wasting a dollar more on dermatological drug research. The truth only hurts drug companies and the politicians that they have lobbied.

You needn’t fear the sun. Learn about the UV Advantage by going here: http://www.uvadvantage.org/.

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SunScreen INC.

Posted by D3forU on April 5, 2008

Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

The idea that sunscreen prevents cancer is a myth. It’s a myth promoted by a profit-seeking tag-team effort between the cancer industry and the sunscreen industry. The sunscreen industry makes money by selling lotion products that actually contain cancer-causing chemicals. It then donates a portion of that money to the cancer industry through non-profit groups like the American Cancer Society which, in turn, run heart-breaking public service ads urging people to use sunscreen to “prevent cancer.”

The scientific evidence, however, shows quite clearly that sunscreen actually promotes cancer by blocking the body’s absorption of ultraviolet radiation, which produces vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D, as recent studies have shown, prevents up to 77 of ALL cancers in women (breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, brain tumors, multiple myeloma… you name it). Meanwhile, the toxic chemical ingredients used in most sunscreen products are actually carcinogenic and have never been safety tested or safety approved by the FDA. They get absorbed right through the skin (a porous organ that absorbs most substances it comes into contact with) and enter the bloodstream.

The benefits of sunscreen are a myth. Proponents say sunscreen prevents sunburn, but in fact, the real cause of sunburn is not merely UV exposure: It is a lack of antioxidant nutrition. Start eating lots of berries and microalgae (spirulina, astaxanthin, blue-green algae, etc.), and you’ll build up an internal sunscreen that will protect your skin from sunburn from the inside out. Sunburn is actually caused by nutritional deficiencies that leave the skin vulnerable to DNA mutations from radiation, but if you boost your nutrition and protect your nervous system with plant-based nutrients, you’ll be naturally resistant to sunburn. The same nutrients, by the way, also protect the optic nerve and eyes from radiation damage. That’s why the consumption of berries and carrots, for example, has historically been associated with healthy eye function. (The same nutrients that protect the eyes also protect the skin.)

Medical nonsense

If sunscreen is so bad for humans, you might ask, then why do so many doctors recommend using it? This might be hard for you to believe, but it wasn’t too long ago that doctors routinely recommended smoking cigarettes, too. The Journal of the American Medical Association, in fact, ran numerous ads promoting Camels as “recommended by more doctors than any other cigarette!” Doctors talked up the “benefits” of smoking cigarettes, urging people to start smoking in order to improve brain function or even — get this — make their teeth stronger!

The truth is doctors are easily influenced by commercial interests and can be readily convinced to recommend practically any product, no matter how toxic, unhealthy or deadly to consumers. Just look at how many doctors wrote prescriptions for Vioxx, for example, after being visited by a Vioxx drug rep pushing it as a “miracle drug” for joint pain.

Also keep in mind that doctor-prescribed medications are the fourth leading cause of death in America today. About 100,000 Americans die each year from following the advice of their doctor. Does it really make any sense to get your health advice from a group of professionals who kill more Americans each year than all the terrorists have ever killed in the history of this country? Besides, doctors know that if they start recommending sunlight and vitamin D, they’ll lose patients and profits because people will start getting well and have no need to keep visiting the doctor. Vitamin D, as you will learn in our free report, The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D, prevents not only cancer, but also diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and obesity. It’s the miracle nutrient of the millennium, and yet the entire medical profession tries desperately to pretend that vitamin D has no biological function whatsoever. Hence the support of sunscreen (the anti-vitamin D product).

Sunscreen directly promotes vitamin D deficiency. You show me a person who regularly uses sunscreen, and I’ll show you a person who’s on the road towards cancer and other degenerative diseases. People who use sunscreen are killing themselves and they don’t even know it!

The sunscreen marketing con

The marketing of sunscreen is another great example of consumer product companies fabricating a need in order to sell a high-profit product made mostly with toxic chemicals. There is no need for sunscreen, but the cancer industry and sunscreen manufacturers have created a fictitious need through a campaign of fear and disinformation, hypnotizing practically the entire population into believing one of the most ridiculous ideas in the universe: that sunlight is bad for human health.

Think about it. Our ancestors did not have indoor lighting; they exposed their skin to the sun regularly. They didn’t run and hide from the sun, they used it as nourishment to generate a crucial vitamin that supports human health in a multitude of ways. The idea that “the sun is bad for you” makes about as much sense as “water is bad for you” or “the Earth is flat.” This persistent myth was invented, marketed and publicized by an industry that profits from a gullible public believing demonstrable falsehoods.

But why would the cancer industry go along with the deception, you might ask? Because the continued commercial success of the cancer industry depends on more people getting cancer. In previous articles, I’ve clearly shown that the cancer industry has no interest whatsoever in preventing cancer. The industry, in fact, takes steps to interfere with prevention efforts and thereby ensure the growth in the number of future cancer patients.

The American Cancer Society, for example, still will not recommend that anyone take vitamin D supplements, even though the vitamin can prevent nearly 4 out of 5 cancers. The cancer industry simply has no interest in preventing cancer. It is only interested in treating cancer and profiting from those treatments. (That’s why genuine cancer cures have been routinely suppressed, censored or discredited in the United States.) Read my book, Natural Health Solutions and the Conspiracy to Keep You From Knowing About Them, to learn the shocking truth about how the cancer industry really operates in America today.

The promotion of sunscreen products is a way for the cancer industry to ensure future profits from the treatment of cancer. The more people use sunscreen products, the more they’ll get cancer. And that’s due to two primary reasons: 1) Sunscreen blocks vitamin D production, a nutrient that strongly prevents cancer, and 2) Sunscreen products almost always contain cancer-causing chemicals that are absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream where they cause severe DNA damage, leading to cancer.

Seven important questions about sunscreen

The next time you see some public service advertisement urging you to smother yourself and your children with sunscreen chemicals, think hard before taking action. Ask yourself these seven commonsense questions:

1) Is the sun really dangerous to humans? If so, how did humans survive for the last 350,000 years on planet Earth?

2) Have the chemicals used in sunscreen products ever been safety tested or approved by the FDA? (The answer is no.)

3) Who financially benefits when you keep buying and using sunscreen products?

4) What is the environmental impact of sunscreen chemicals washing off into the ocean, a lake, a swimming pool or being washed down the drain in your shower?

5) Sunscreen manufacturers say the skin doesn’t absorb their chemicals. If that’s true, then how do nicotine patches work? How do transdermal drugs get absorbed through the skin if sunscreen chemicals don’t? (Answer: ALL these chemicals get absorbed through the skin. The skin is not selective about what it chooses to absorb.)

6) If the sun is so dangerous, then why is the vitamin generated by sunlight (vitamin D) so healthy for humans? Why would humans evolve a mechanism for generating a vitamin from sunlight if we weren’t supposed to be exposed to sunlight in the first place?

7) If sunlight is so dangerous, then why is virtually every living creature on planet Earth dependent on sunlight for survival? Plants use sunlight to generate their nutrition, too, and most animals eat either plants or other animals that originally ate plants. Nearly all life on planet Earth is powered by sunlight. Why does the cancer industry believe sunlight causes death when, in reality, sunlight delivers life?

Once you answer these questions, the reality of the situation becomes obvious: Sunlight is good for you, and sunscreen is a hoax.

Action items

Be sure to read our free report on this: The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D. This provides tips on how to safely gauge your level of exposure to sunlight. Don’t just rush out and get burned; boost your nutrition and work up a natural tan as nature intended.

See the article: Vitamin D slashes cancer risk by 77 percent.

Visit our topic page on Vitamin D.

If you choose to buy sunscreen, only buy natural sunscreen products containing no petrochemicals! One brand I recommend is Caribbean Blue Natural Basics “Sun Shield.” You can find more at www.gocaribbeanblue.com

Smearing berries on your skin also works as a natural sunscreen, as does smearing aloe vera gel on your skin. Amazon Herb Co. distributors use a product called Camu C Serum as a natural suncreen. It works great! http://www.amazondreams.amazonherb.net

The best sunscreen, however, is an internal sunscreen built with nutrition. Eat chlorella, spirulina, goji berries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, astaxanthin, carrots and nutrient-rich superfoods to boost your skin’s natural UV protection (takes about 30 days of nutrition to boost skin levels).

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Lack Of Sunlight May Increase Lung Cancer Risk

Posted by D3forU on March 31, 2008

ScienceDaily (Dec. 23, 2007) — Lack of sunlight may increase the risk of lung cancer, suggests a study of rates of the disease in over 100 countries. Lung cancer kills over a million people every year around the globe.

The researchers looked at the association between latitude, exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) light, and rates of lung cancer according to age in 111 countries across several continents.

They took account of the amount of cloud cover and aerosol use, both of which absorb UVB light, and cigarette smoking, the primary cause of lung cancer

International databases, including those of the World Health Organization, and national health statistics were used.

Smoking was most strongly associated with lung cancer rates, accounting for between 75% and 85% of the cases.

But exposure to sunlight, especially UVB light, the principal source of vitamin D for the body, also seemed to have an impact, the findings showed.

The amount of UVB light increases with proximity to the equator. And the analyses showed that lung cancer rates were highest in those countries furthest away from the equator and lowest in those nearest.

Higher cloud cover and airborne aerosol levels were also associated with higher rates of the disease.

In men, the prevalence of smoking was associated with higher lung cancer rates, while greater exposure to UVB light was associated with lower rates.

Among women, cigarette smoking, total cloud cover, and airborne aerosols were associated with higher rates of lung cancer, while greater exposure to UVB light was associated with lower rates.

The associations for a protective role for UVB light persisted after adjusting for smoking.

The link between cancer and sunlight is chemically plausible, say the authors, because laboratory research has shown that vitamin D can halt tumour growth by promoting the factors responsible for cell death in the body.

“Although cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, greater UVB exposure may reduce the incidence of the disease,” they conclude.

Journal reference: Could ultraviolet B irradiance and vitamin D be associated with lower incidence rates of lung cancer? J Epidemiol Community Health 2007; 62: 69-74.

Adapted from materials provided by British Medical Journal, via Newswise.

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A few more Vitamin D Studies

Posted by D3forU on March 31, 2008

Related Stories

Deficiency In Exposure To Sunlight Linked To Ovarian Cancer (Nov. 2, 2006) — Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at UCSD have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically …  > read more
Lack Of Sunlight May Increase Lung Cancer Risk (Dec. 23, 2007) — Lack of sunlight may increase the risk of lung cancer, suggests a study of rates of the disease in over 100 countries. Lung cancer kills over a million people every year around the globe. The …  > read more
Deficiency In Exposure To Sunlight Linked To Endometrial Cancer (Nov. 16, 2007) — Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence, researchers have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B, and endometrial …  > read more
More Sun Exposure May Be Good For Some People (Jan. 8, 2008) — A new study suggests that the benefits of moderately increased exposure to sunlight — namely the production of vitamin D, which protects against the lethal effects of many forms of cancer and other …  > read more
Vitamin D Backed For Cancer Prevention In Two New Studies (Feb. 8, 2007) — Two new vitamin D studies using a sophisticated form of analysis called meta-analysis, in which data from multiple reports is combined, have revealed new prescriptions for possibly preventing up to …  > read more

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Global View Shows Strong Link Between Kidney Cancer, Sunlight Exposure

Posted by D3forU on March 31, 2008

ScienceDaily (Sep. 19, 2006) — Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence to map cancer rates in relation to proximity to the equator, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and kidney cancer.

Map of renal cancer incidence rates in males, 175 countries. (Courtesy of Sharif B. Mohr, University of California, San Diego)

UVB exposure triggers photosynthesis of vitamin D3 in the body. This form of vitamin D also is available through diet and supplements. Previous studies from this core research team have shown an association between higher levels of vitamin D3 and a lower risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary.

“Kidney cancer is a mysterious cancer for which no widely accepted cause or means of prevention exists, so we wanted to build on research by one of the co-authors, William Grant, and see if it might be related to deficiency of vitamin D,” said study co-author Cedric Garland, Dr. P.H., professor of Family and Preventive Medicine in the UCSD School of Medicine, and member of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

There will be approximately 208,500 cases and 101,900 deaths from kidney cancer worldwide in 2006, including 39,000 new cases and 12,700 deaths in the United States, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the American Cancer Society.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer’s online edition dated September 15, is the research team’s newest finding relating exposure to the sun as a source of vitamin D, and estimated vitamin D deficiency to higher rates of several major types of cancer.

This paper used worldwide data only recently available through a new tool called GLOBOCAN, developed by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN is a database of cancer incidence, mortality and prevalence for 175 countries.

The researchers created a graph with a vertical axis for renal cancer incidence rates, and a horizontal axis for latitude. The latitudes range from -90 for the southern hemisphere, to zero for the equator, to +90 for the northern hemisphere. They then plotted incidence rates for 175 countries according to latitude. The resulting chart was a parabolic curve that looks like a smile (see accompanying images).

“The plot points created a curve roughly resembling a smile, with countries with high incidence rates at the left and right, and those with low incidence rates in the center, just a few degrees from the equator,” said Garland. “Countries with the highest cancer rates were places like New Zealand and Uruguay in the southern hemisphere and Iceland and the Czech Republic in the northern hemisphere. Clustered at the bottom of the curve with lowest incidence rates were Guam, Indonesia and other equatorial countries on most continents, including many varied equatorial cultures.”

In addition to UVB, the researchers analyzed cloud cover and intake of calories from animal sources for their association to kidney cancer. The scientists were able to determine the contributions of each independently. After accounting for cloud cover and intake of animal protein, UVB exposure still showed a significant independent association with incidence rates.

“Because the distinctive “smiley” parabolic curve is present for both sexes, it is unlikely that the international differences are due to occupational exposures, which usually vary according to gender, ” said co-author Sharif B. Mohr, M.P.H.

In the paper, the authors discuss and account for other possible variables such as ozone, aerosols and obesity.

“This was a study of aggregates, or countries, rather than individuals. Findings that apply to aggregates may not apply to individuals,” said co-author Edward D. Gorham, M.P.H., Ph.D.

“Since ecological studies may not be able to control for all relevant confounding factors, observational studies of the effect of vitamin D from sunlight, diet and supplements on the risk of kidney cancer in individuals would be desirable,” Gorham added.

The study was co-authored by Mohr, Gorham, Cedric F. Garland, and Frank C. Garland, Ph.D., of the UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and Moores UCSD Cancer Center; and William B. Grant, Ph.D., of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center, San Francisco.

Adapted from materials provided by University of California – San Diego.

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Vitamin D, Calcium May Cut Cancer Risk

Posted by D3forU on March 31, 2008

ABC News

Nutrients Lower Cancer Risk by 77 Percent, Researchers Say


June 8, 2007 —

Vitamin D

Researchers say the benefits of vitamin D and calcium may be more far reaching than once thought.

(Photo Disc)

I’ll never forget my mother’s health advice to us as children: Drink your milk, eat your greens and get plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

When it comes to cancer prevention, it turns out mom was right.

Two new studies have uncovered exciting evidence of exceptionally strong cancer-protective effects of calcium and vitamin D from food or supplement sources.

The first study was published last week in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine by Dr. Jennifer Lin and colleagues from Harvard. They report that premenopausal women with high levels of vitamin D and calcium in their diets have a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women with lower intakes of these nutrients.

The second study, published in today’s issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Dr. Joan M Lappe and colleagues at Creighton University, goes even further: Dietary supplementation of these nutrients reduces the risk of multiple types of cancer.

Together, these studies provide robust evidence of the beneficial effects that calcium and vitamin D can have on cancer prevention.

Exploring Cancer’s Nutrient Links

Research over the past half-century has pointed to a relationship between calcium, vitamin D and reduction of cancer risk, although the results have not been definitive.

In the 1950s, for example, scientists examined weather data and health statistics to show that areas of the country with the highest amount of sunshine, which stimulates the body to make vitamin D, had the lowest rates of colon cancer death.

Since that time, studies in both humans and animals have pointed toward cancer-preventive effects of both vitamin D and calcium, mainly for breast and colon cancers, but for other cancers as well, ranging from prostate cancer to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Lin and her Harvard colleagues focused on these nutrients’ effects on breast cancer by analyzing data from the Women’s Health Study, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

This study followed 10,578 premenopausal and 20,909 post-menopausal women 45 years or older who were initially free of cancer over 10 years, collecting data on diet, over-the-counter supplement use and subsequent development of breast cancer.

Amazingly, what they found was that calcium and vitamin D intake reduced the risk of developing breast cancer, but only among premenopausal women.

For these women, those with the highest intake of calcium were 39 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those with the lowest intake. Those in the group with the highest intake of vitamin D were also 35 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.

What’s more, high intakes of calcium and vitamin D among premenopausal women seemed to reduce the most aggressive breast tumors, including larger tumors, those which spread to the lymph nodes and those with the most dangerous types of cancer cells.

Unfortunately, among post-menopausal women, there was no relationship between calcium and vitamin D intake and prevention of breast cancer. Nonetheless, when the two nutrients were taken together in high amounts, there was a suggestion of benefit.

Beyond Breast Cancer

In a second study, Lappe and colleagues followed nearly 1,200 women from a nine-county area in eastern Nebraska to see whether vitamin D and calcium supplements might reduce not just breast cancer, but all cancers.

Compared to those women taking a placebo, cancer risk of any kind over 10 years decreased by 60 percent in those taking both calcium and vitamin D, and by 47 percent in those taking calcium alone.

Moreover, when they excluded those cancers that occurred in the first year of the study  based on the assumption that these cancers were likely present at the start of the study  the benefit of calcium plus vitamin D appeared even more dramatic: a 77 percent decrease in cancer risk.

These are stunning results. Even if the authors could not definitively say calcium reduced cancer risk, a number of other studies bore out calcium’s protective effect. The authors can say with a strong degree of confidence that combining calcium with vitamin D is highly beneficial.

How It Works

Experimentally, calcium and vitamin D have been shown to exert their anti-cancer effect by interfering with the action of a hormone called insulinlike growth factor, or IGF.

The IGF hormone stimulates breast cancer cells  as well as cells of other types of cancer  to divide. Calcium and vitamin D interact with IGF to disrupt such cell growth; in fact, vitamin D can effectively block IGF’s effect.

Other factors might also come into play. In laboratory animals, for example, diets low in vitamin D and calcium increased the number of breast tumors. Amazingly, diets rich in these nutrients caused the disappearance of many worrisome breast cells, the types of cells that can eventually become cancerous.

While the Harvard study evaluated self-reports of usual food intake from dietary questionnaires, the Nebraska study actively gave patients calcium and vitamin D pills. This has important implications: Cancer risk can be reduced both by calcium and vitamin D in the diet, as well as by using over-the-counter supplements of these nutrients.

One should note, however, that both studies were carried out exclusively among women, and thus might not fully apply to men. However, given previous studies suggesting a reduction in male cancers (e.g., prostate cancer) by calcium and vitamin D, it is likely that this effect is not bound by gender.

Moreover, some of the cancers prevented among the women in the Nebraska study included cancers that also affect men, such as colon and lung cancers and leukemia.

Protect Yourself With Diet

Calcium is largely derived from the diet and is found in dairy products, leafy green vegetables, fortified juices and nuts. Many people, particularly women, also take calcium supplements to strengthen their bones.

Vitamin D is found in oily fish (salmon, sardines), as well as fortified foods such as milk and some cereals. Another major source of vitamin D for most people is exposure to sunshine.

Although the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 IU, some authorities suggest that up to 1000 I,U might be necessary to achieve optimal blood levels, especially when sun exposure is rare (e.g., during the winter or among home-bound individuals).

Of course there are other important benefits of adequate vitamin D and calcium intake: the prevention of osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones that increases bone fragility making bones more likely to break.

So follow mom’s advice: Drink your milk, finish your spinach and get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. And dietary supplements of calcium and vitamin D are also important. If you are a woman who has not gone through menopause, you likely will decrease your risk of breast cancer.

And no matter what your age, you will improve the health of your bones, and probably your overall cancer risk as well.

Dr. John Spangler is a professor of family medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.


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Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light

Posted by D3forU on March 31, 2008

The main way humans achieve healthy levels of vitamin D is not through diet but through sun exposure.

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail

For decades, researchers have puzzled over why rich northern countries have cancer rates many times higher than those in developing countries — and many have laid the blame on dangerous pollutants spewed out by industry.

But research into vitamin D is suggesting both a plausible answer to this medical puzzle and a heretical notion: that cancers and other disorders in rich countries aren’t caused mainly by pollutants but by a vitamin deficiency known to be less acute or even non-existent in poor nations.

Those trying to brand contaminants as the key factor behind cancer in the West are “looking for a bogeyman that doesn’t exist,” argues Reinhold Vieth, professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and one of the world’s top vitamin D experts. Instead, he says, the critical factor “is more likely a lack of vitamin D.”

What’s more, researchers are linking low vitamin D status to a host of other serious ailments, including multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, influenza, osteoporosis and bone fractures among the elderly.

Not everyone is willing to jump on the vitamin D bandwagon just yet. Smoking and some pollutants, such as benzene and asbestos, irrefutably cause many cancers.

But perhaps the biggest bombshell about vitamin D’s effects is about to go off. In June, U.S. researchers will announce the first direct link between cancer prevention and the sunshine vitamin. Their results are nothing short of astounding.

A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn’t take it, a drop so large — twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking — it almost looks like a typographical error.

And in an era of pricey medical advances, the reduction seems even more remarkable because it was achieved with an over-the-counter supplement costing pennies a day.

One of the researchers who made the discovery, professor of medicine Robert Heaney of Creighton University in Nebraska, says vitamin D deficiency is showing up in so many illnesses besides cancer that nearly all disease figures in Canada and the U.S. will need to be re-evaluated. “We don’t really know what the status of chronic disease is in the North American population,” he said, “until we normalize vitamin D status.”

Sunshine vitamin

For decades, vitamin D has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the supplement world. It’s the vitamin most Canadians never give a second thought to because it was assumed the only thing it did was prevent childhood rickets, a debilitating bone disease. But the days of no respect could be numbered. If vitamin D deficiency becomes accepted as the major cause of cancer and other serious illnesses, it will ignite the medical equivalent of a five-alarm blaze on the Canadian health front.

For many reasons, Canadians are among the people most at risk of not having enough vitamin D. This is due to a quirk of geography, to modern lifestyles and to the country’s health authorities, who have unwittingly, if with the best of intentions, played a role in creating the vitamin deficiency.

Authorities are implicated because the main way humans achieve healthy levels of vitamin D isn’t through diet but through sun exposure. People make vitamin D whenever naked skin is exposed to bright sunshine. By an unfortunate coincidence, the strong sunshine able to produce vitamin D is the same ultraviolet B light that can also causes sunburns and, eventually, skin cancer.

Only brief full-body exposures to bright summer sunshine — of 10 or 15 minutes a day — are needed to make high amounts of the vitamin. But most authorities, including Health Canada, have urged a total avoidance of strong sunlight or, alternatively, heavy use of sunscreen. Both recommendations will block almost all vitamin D synthesis.

Those studying the vitamin say the hide-from-sunlight advice has amounted to the health equivalent of a foolish poker trade. Anyone practising sun avoidance has traded the benefit of a reduced risk of skin cancer — which is easy to detect and treat and seldom fatal — for an increased risk of the scary, high-body-count cancers, such as breast, prostate and colon, that appear linked to vitamin D shortages.

The sun advice has been misguided information “of just breathtaking proportions,” said John Cannell, head of the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit, California-based organization.

“Fifteen hundred Americans die every year from [skin cancers]. Fifteen hundred Americans die every day from the serious cancers.”

Health Canada denies its advice might be dangerous. In an e-mailed statement, it said that most people don’t apply sunscreen thoroughly, leaving some skin exposed, and that people spend enough time outside without skin protection to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.

However, the Canadian Cancer Society last year quietly tweaked its recommendation to recognize that limited amounts of sun exposure are essential for vitamin D levels.

Avoiding most bright sunlight wouldn’t be so serious if it weren’t for a second factor: The main determinant of whether sunshine is strong enough to make vitamin D is latitude. Living in the north is bad, the south is better, and near the equator is best of all.

Canadians have drawn the short straw on the world’s latitude lottery: From October to March, sunlight is too feeble for vitamin D production. During this time, our bodies draw down stores built by summer sunshine, and whatever is acquired from supplements or diet.

Government regulations require foods such as milk and margarine to have small amounts of added vitamin D to prevent rickets.

Other foods, such as salmon, naturally contain some, as does the cod liver oil once commonly given to children in the days before milk fortification. But the amounts from food are minuscule compared to what is needed for cancer prevention and what humans naturally can make in their skin.

Vitamin D levels in Canada are also being compromised by a lifestyle change. Unlike previous generations that farmed or otherwise worked outside, most people now spend little time outdoors.

One survey published in 2001 estimated office- and homebound Canadians and Americans spend 93 per cent of waking time in buildings or cars, both of which block ultraviolet light.

Consequently, by mid-winter most Canadians have depleted vitamin D status. “We’re all a bit abnormal in terms of our vitamin D,” said Dr. Vieth, who has tested scores of Canadians, something done with a simple blood test.

How much is enough?

Just how much vitamin D is required for optimum health is the subject of intense scientific inquiry.

Dr. Vieth has approached the matter by asking: What vitamin D level would humans have if they were still living outside, in the wild, near the equator, with its attendant year-round bright sunshine? “Picture the natural human as a nudist in environments south of Florida,” he says.

He estimates humans in a state of nature probably had about 125 to 150 nanomoles/litre of vitamin D in their blood all year long — levels now achieved for only a few months a year by the minority of adult Canadians who spend a lot of time in the sun, such as lifeguards or farmers.

For the rest of the population, vitamin D levels tend to be lower, and crash in winter. In testing office workers in Toronto in winter, Dr. Vieth found the average was only about 40 nanomoles/L, or about one-quarter to one-third of what humans would have in the wild.

The avalanche of surprising research on the beneficial effects of vitamin D could affect dietary recommendations as well. Health Canada says that, in light of the findings, it intends to study whether recommended dietary levels need to be revised, although the review is likely to be years away.

A joint Canadian-U.S. health panel last studied vitamin D levels in 1997, concluding the relatively low amounts in people’s blood were normal. At the time, there was speculation vitamin D had an anti-cancer effect, but more conclusive evidence has only emerged since.

“There needs to be a comprehensive review undertaken and that is planned,” says Mary Bush, director general of Health Canada’s office of nutrition policy and promotion.

But Ms. Bush said the government doesn’t want to move hastily, out of concern that there may be unknown risks associated with taking more of the vitamin.

Those who worry about low vitamin D, however, say this stand is too conservative — that the government’s caution may itself be a health hazard.

To achieve the vitamin D doses used for cancer prevention through foods, people would need to drink about three litres of milk a day, which is unrealistic.

If health authorities accept the new research, they would have to order a substantial increase in food fortification or supplement-taking to affect disease trends. As it is, the 400 IU dosage included in most multivitamins is too low to be an effective cancer fighter.

Dr. Vieth said any new recommendations will also have to reflect the racial and cultural factors connected to vitamin D. Blacks, South Asians and women who wear veils are at far higher risks of vitamin D deficiencies than are whites.

Although humans carry a lot of cultural baggage on the subject of skin hue, colour is the way nature dealt with the vagaries of high or low vitamin D production by latitude.

Those with very dark skins, whose ancestors originated in tropical, light-rich environments, have pigmentation that filters out more of the sunshine responsible for vitamin D; in northern latitudes, they need more sun exposure — often 10 times as much — to produce the same amount of the vitamin as whites.

Dr. Vieth says it is urgent to provide information about the need for extra vitamin D in Canada’s growing non-white population to avoid a future of high illness rates in this group.

Researchers suspect vitamin D plays such a crucial role in diseases as unrelated as cancer and osteoporosis because the chemical originated in the early days of animal evolution as a way for cells to signal that they were being exposed to daylight.

Even though living things have evolved since then, almost all cells, even those deep in our bodies, have kept this primitive light-signalling system.

In the body, vitamin D is converted into a steroid hormone, and genes responding to it play a crucial role in fixing damaged cells and maintaining good cell health. “There is no better anti-cancer agent than activated vitamin D. I mean, it does everything you’d want,” said Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council.

Some may view the sunshine-vitamin story as too good to be true, particularly given that the number of previous claims of vitamin cure-alls that subsequently flopped. “The floor of modern medicine is littered with the claims of vitamins that didn’t turn out,” Dr. Cannell allowed.

But the big difference is that vitamin D, unlike other vitamins, is turned into a hormone, making it far more biologically active. As well, it is “operating independently in hundreds of tissues in your body,” Dr. Cannell said.

Referring to Linus Pauling, the famous U.S. advocate of vitamin C use as a cure for many illnesses, he said: “Basically, Linus Pauling was right, but he was off by one letter.”


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Vitamin D Deficiency: An Epidemic?

Posted by D3forU on March 31, 2008

by Neil Gonter, MD
Thursday, October 19, 2006 There has been a lot of blame thrown around for this recent, troublesome discovery. Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is the new hot topic in osteoporosis. Some have even gone as far as blamed the dermatologists for making us avoid the sun and making us apply sunscreen with extremely high SPF’s.

Let us see if we can clarify what vitamin D is, does, and figure out how we can help ourselves in getting the appropriate amounts.

What is it?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble substance (it dissolves in and can be stored by fat deposits in the body). It is present in salmon, mackerel, sardines, and cod liver oil; fortified foods including milk, breakfast cereals, and some juices; and vitamin supplements. It can also be produced in the skin during sun exposure. Vitamin D (in its active form, which is created after several modifications by the body) functions as a hormone which means it binds to receptors in various tissues to influence the expression of genes, thereby affecting a range of processes, especially the regulation of calcium.

It has long been known that vitamin D is crucial for healthy bones. The presence of vitamin D in the small intestine aids in the absorption of dietary calcium—people with vitamin D deficiency are able to absorb only a third to half as much calcium as those with sufficient levels—and calcium is vital to the hardness of bone. The two diseases traditionally associated with severe vitamin D deficiency—rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults—are characterized by deformation or softening of bone. Chronic vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to osteoporosis.

The common assumption has been that with the fortification of milk, instituted in the United States in the 1930s, and casual exposure to sunshine, most people get all the vitamin D they need. However, a recent resurgence of rickets has brought new studies. It has become clear that vitamin D deficiency (usually defined as blood levels of less than 15 ng/mL [or nanograms/milliliter]) and insufficiency (less than 20 or according to most experts probably less than 30 ng/mL) are far more widespread than researchers had expected. The elderly, who often receive little sun, are at particular risk, as are African Americans and other dark-skinned people, since skin pigmentation, which protects against damage by UV rays, also interferes with vitamin D production.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, has been the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among women of childbearing age and among healthy children and adolescents. It is possible that chronic insufficiency early in life may prevent proper bone development and increase the risk of disorders, such as osteoporosis, later in life.

Benefits of Vitamin D
Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against some cancers. These include colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Deficiency has also possibly been found to be a source of chronic, non-specific musculoskeletal pain (2003 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings). It is also been studied in autoimmune diseases to possibly prevent the occurrence of various diseases.

How much do we need?
Current guidelines established by the National Academy of Sciences currently recommend daily values of 200 IU (International Units) for children and adults up to age 50, 400 IU for adults ages 51-70, and 600 IU for adults over 70. However, many experts believe that a daily value closer to 800-1000 IU may be more beneficial.

Where can we get it?
Sunlight is an important way for our skin to convert vitamin D to its active form. Only a small amount of sun exposure, perhaps ten minutes a few times a week, is all that is needed to produce adequate amounts. However, this varies based on skin type, season, time of day, and location. It is important to note that UV light is a known carcinogen and it is difficult to make regulations for limited usage. This is because people will often abuse this thinking, ‘if a little is good, more is better.”

Diet is another important way. However, as with calcium intake, it is difficult to get enough from dietary amounts, especially with lactose intolerant individuals, calorie counting, and extensive drinking of soft drinks.

While the vitamin D story is not yet over, it is important, especially if one has osteoporosis or decreased mineralization, to get their level checked and discuss with their physician the proper way to maintain adequate levels.


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Baby’s Soft Spot Linked to Vitamin Deficiency

Posted by D3forU on March 31, 2008

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A soft spot on the top of the head is common in newborns, but it might not be as normal as some people think. A new study out of Japan suggests the condition is linked to a deficiency of the “sunshine vitamin” — vitamin D.

Researchers arrived at those conclusions after assessing 1,120 newborns for a softening of the skull bones, known medically as craniotabes. Twenty-two percent of the babies were found to have the condition, and further analysis linked the occurrence of craniotabes with the season of birth. That could mean babies born in lower sunshine months are more at risk for the condition because they and their mothers received less sunlight.

The research also raises questions about the link between breastfeeding and craniotabes, finding breastfed babies, who were not receiving a formula fortified with vitamin D, were more likely to have lower blood levels of the vitamin.

Since vitamin D deficiency has been associated with lower bone density and other health problems, the researchers suggest supplements may be in order for mother and child.

“Until more research is done on the effects of perinatal vitamin D deficiency, we suggest treating breastfed infants with craniotabes with vitamin D, or preferably, treating all pregnant women with vitamin D,” study author Tohru Yorifuji, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyoto University Hospital, was quoted as saying.

To be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

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Sunshine and the Elderly

Posted by D3forU on March 31, 2008

Peak performance isn’t just for elite athletes. While Vitamin D may make a difference in performance for those competing at the highest levels, it can also make a difference for the rest of us seeking to improve or maintain physical performance in our daily lives.

According to a recent New York Times article:

Last year, a 15-member team of nutrition experts noted in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that “randomized trials using the currently recommended intakes of 400 I.U. vitamin D a day have shown no appreciable reduction in fracture risk.”

“In contrast,” the experts continued, “trials using 700 to 800 I.U. found less fracture incidence, with and without supplemental calcium. This change may result from both improved bone health and reduction in falls due to greater muscle strength.”

A Swiss study of women in their 80s found greater leg strength and half as many falls among those who took 800 I.U. of vitamin D a day for three months along with 1,200 milligrams of calcium, compared with women who took just calcium. Greater strength and better balance have been found in older people with high blood levels of vitamin D.

Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council notes in his newsletter, Why Athletic Performance Matters, that:

Many people don’t realize how fatal falls can be in the elderly. In 2003, the CDC reported that 13,700 persons over 65 died from falls in the USA, with 1.8 million ending up in emergency rooms for treatment of nonfatal injuries from falls. Falls cause the majority of hip fractures which, if they don’t result in death, often result in admission to a nursing home. That’s 13,700 deaths, hundreds of thousands of surgeries, countless nursing home admissions, and tens of billions in health care costs every year—all from impaired athletic performance. That’s why it matters.

A Reuters report on how Vitamin D affects physical function in elderly, finds that “Older men and women who fail to get enough vitamin D — either from their diets or exposure to the sun — are at heightened risk for muscle weakness and poor physical performance, a study shows. This is troubling, researchers say, given the high numbers of older folks who are deficient in vitamin D.” According to research done by Dr. Denise K. Houston at the Wake Forest University of Medicine: “…physical performance and grip strength were 5 to 10 percent lower in people with low blood levels of vitamin D levels, compared with those with normal levels.”

However simply getting more exposure to the sun may not be enough without other lifestyle changes. Being overweight can reduce Vitamin D levels in the blood according to this Science Daily report:

It’s not yet clear why overweight elderly adults have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. However, researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (USDA HNRCA) have found that lack of sun exposure may not account for low levels of vitamin D in elders who are overweight. … “The most likely explanation seems to be that vitamin D is sequestered in fat tissue, reducing its entry into the blood.”

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Effects Of Vitamin D And Skin’s Physiology Examined

Posted by D3forU on March 30, 2008

The benefits of moderately increased exposure to sunlight – namely the production of vitamin D, which protects against the lethal effects of many forms of cancer and other diseases – may outweigh the risk of developing skin cancer in populations deficient in vitamin D. (Credit: iStockphoto/Wolfgang Amri)

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2008) — Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that previtamin D3 production varies depending on several factors including skin type and weather conditions. Excessive exposure to sunlight does not result in Vitamin D intoxification because previtamin D3 and vitamin D3 are photolyzed to several photoproducts. During the winter at latitudes above ~35 degrees, there is minimal if any previtamin D3 production in the skin.

Increased skin pigmentation, application of a sunscreen, aging and clothing have a dramatic effect on previtamin D3 production in the skin. It has been speculated that people living at higher latitudes may be able to more efficiently produce vitamin D3 in their skin because there is less ozone to absorb the UVB photons. Forty-five nursing home residents who were taking a multivitamin that contained 400 IU of vitamin D2 showed a dramatic decline in their 25(OH)D levels from the end of summer to the beginning of the following summer. Forty-nine percent, 67 percent, 74 percent, and 78 percent of the nursing home residents were vitamin D deficient in August, November, February, and May respectively

Fifteen healthy adults aged 20-53 received exposure three times per week from a commercial tanning bed that emitted five percent of its UV energy in the UVB range 290-320 nm to most of their body while in a bathing suit. 25(OH)D levels were determined weekly for a total of seven weeks.

Exposure of 7-dehydrocholesterol to tanning bed irradiation revealed -1 percent production of previtamin D after one minute and a linear increase to -10 percent at 10 minutes. After one week, there was a 50 percent increase in 25 (OH)D levels that continued to increase over a period of five weeks to -150 percent above baseline levels. The blood levels of 25 (OH)D plateaued after five weeks and were sustained out to seven weeks.

“Vitamin D deficiency is common in both children and adults worldwide,” said Michael Holick, PhD, MD, director of the General Clinical Research Center and professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at BUSM and senior author of this study. “Exposure to lamps that emit UVB radiation is an excellent source for producing vitamin D3 in the skin and is especially efficacious in patients with fat malabsortion syndromes.”

It has been observed that living at higher latitudes and being more prone to vitamin D deficiency markedly increases risk of many deadly cancers including cancer of the colon, prostate, breast, and esophagus, according to Holick, who is also director of the Bone Healthcare Clinic and the vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center. Living at higher latitudes also increase the risk of having hypertension, type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases, and infectious diseases including tuberculosis and influenza.

According to researchers, most experts now agree that a minimum of 1000 IU of vitamin D3 per day is necessary to maintain circulating concentrations of 25(OH)D.

The study will appear in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

This study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Ultraviolet Light Foundation.

Adapted from materials provided by Boston University.


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Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status

Posted by D3forU on March 30, 2008

 Conclusion: The regular use of a tanning bed that emits vitamin D–producing ultraviolet radiation is associated with higher 25(OH)D concentrations and thus may have a benefit for the skeleton. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:1645–9.

The use of tanning beds has been promoted to the public for the cosmetic purpose of tanning, but this study shows that a moderate use of tanning beds may also provide some medical benefit.

Higher concentrations of 25(OH)D throughout the year may have a significant effect in enhancing intestinal calcium absorption and improving bone health (7, 8, 42). Blood concentrations of 25(OH)D in tanners are  75 nmol/L, which is considered to be necessary for maximum intestinal calcium transport (23, 42).

This may explain why higher serum 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with higher bone density. There is mounting evidence that a healthy concentration of 25(OH)D (ie, 75 nmol/L) may reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, hypertension,
and autoimmune diseases (2, 3, 39–42).

In conclusion, the regular use of a tanning bed results in higher 25(OH)D concentrations and prevents increased seasonal prevalence of vitamin D deficiency during the winter.

The subjects who had used tanning beds for a mean of5 y had higher BMD
at the hip than did the nontanners (control subjects). Larger studies should be conducted to investigate the potential positive effect of chronic use of tanning beds on vitamin D status and bone health.


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Shedding light on skin color

Posted by D3forU on March 30, 2008

Nina Jablonski, speaking in Philadelphia, says the key to skin color lies in the need for two kinds of vitamins - and in the sun.
APRIL SAUL / Inquirer Staff Photographer
Nina Jablonski, speaking in Philadelphia, says the key to skin color lies in the need for two kinds of vitamins – and in the sun.

Shedding light on skin color

At the beginning of anthropologist Nina Jablonski’s lecture yesterday at the Wagner Free Institute of Science, it appeared her audience of about 100 was composed of several different races. By the end of the free lecture, titled “The Evolution of Human Skin Color,” the Pennsylvania State University professor had made a case that we are all just people with varying levels of melanin.

As author of the book Skin: A Natural History, Jablonski has studied all aspects of skin, perhaps none more important than why it appears in such a puzzling array of hues. It all comes down to the planet’s uneven distribution of sunlight and the universal human need for two vitamins, she explained.

This knowledge was very recently acquired. “Only in the last decade or so has our data allowed us to crack open the mystery,” Jablonski said as she began her lecture at the 152-year-old science museum near Temple University.

Nature has painted human skin using one major brown pigment, melanin, which evolved in many species. “It’s a natural sunscreen,” she said, which is important because humans have a troubled relationship with the sun.

Since we are relatively hairless creatures, our skin gets bombarded by ultraviolet light, which can burn us, destroy the DNA in skin cells, and lead to cancer. Hence an advantage of dark skin.

But there is more to melanin than protection from skin cancer and sunburn. Scientists recently realized that ultraviolet rays penetrating skin destroy the B-vitamin folate. With too little folate, or folic acid, men cannot make adequate sperm and women cannot start healthy pregnancies. So in very sunny places, any genetic mutations that created light skin would likely die out with their owners.

But with melanin offering so many advantages, the question was why anyone would evolve light skin.

Lighter shades came about because humans need some sunlight to penetrate skin and trigger a chemical reaction that produces vitamin D.

To illustrate the devastating effects of vitamin D deficiency, Jablonski showed slides of children with badly bowed legs and softened bones. In women, a lesser deficiency can lead to a narrowed pelvis, making childbirth impossible.

The original skin color was almost certainly very dark, since scientific evidence points to sunny Africa as the cradle of humanity. But once some branches of the human family starting moving north to Asia and Europe, the need for vitamin D gave those with lighter skin an advantage in absorbing the meager sunlight in winter.

Because vitamins lie at the heart of our color differences, locally consumed foods also play a role. Whales and fatty fish can give people some vitamin D, Jablonski said, so diet may explain why the Inuit, who live in Alaska and Greenland, are much darker than people from Northern Europe.

Recent findings from genetics labs show that there are many roads to what we think of as white and black skin – both of which, or course, are really shades of brown. In 2005, for example, scientists found that Europeans became light-skinned through a different combination of mutations than did Northern Asians.

Last year, scientists scraped enough DNA from the bones of a Neanderthal man to show that this extinct branch of humanity carried genes associated with fair skin and red hair.

Currently, Jablonski said, researchers are seeking genetic variants that led to dark skin in far-flung peoples – those from Australia, New Guinea and southern India as well as Africa.

While Jablonski hopes that examining skin through science can help defuse racism and racial tension, she said, she is also concerned with what she calls colorism. Colorism has more to do with perception of beauty, she said. Its primary victims are women.

With a slide of people frying on the beach and an advertisement for bronzer, she explained that colorism has white women thinking they look sickly without a tan. More dangerous still, dark-complexioned women in some countries are driven to use dangerous skin-lightening products, many containing arsenic, mercury and other poisons.

“Why are we always trying to change the way we appear?” Jablonski asked. “Skin color is a beautiful product of evolution. . . . We should revel in it.”

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Even If You Live in Sub Tropical Environments You Can Be Vitamin D Deficient

Posted by D3forU on March 27, 2008

arizona, navajo monument, sunlight, sun, sunburn, vitamin D, D3, tanning, safe tanning, longitude, latitude, vitamin D deficiency, sunshineVitamin D deficiency has been observed among many populations in the northern United States. But few studies have examined the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in areas of high sun exposure, such as Arizona.

A new study has shown adults in southern Arizona are commonly deficient in vitamin D, particularly those with darker skin who produce less vitamin D in response to sunlight.

More than a quarter of Arizona adults tested had dangerously low blood levels of the vitamin.

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Why Vitamin D Supplements Are NOT the Same as Sunlight

Posted by D3forU on March 27, 2008

sunlight, sun exposure, vitamin DThe assumption that vitamin D supplements will protect you against diseases associated with low vitamin D levels is incorrect, according to Australian researchers. The report found that vitamin D supplements are immunosuppressive and may actually make diseases worse.

Vitamin D Nuclear Receptor (VDR) influences the expression of over 1,000 genes, including those associated with diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. According to the new study, supplemental vitamin D actually blocks VDR activation, which is the opposite effect to that of sunshine.

Instead of positively impacting gene expression, vitamin D supplements appear to suppress your immune system.

Vitamin D deficiency, the researchers pointed out, is likely not a cause of disease but rather is a result of the disease process. And increasing vitamin D intake may make the diseases worse.

The body regulates production of all the vitamin D it needs, the researchers said, and dysregulation of vitamin D by supplementation has been associated with many chronic diseases.

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Tanning and Vitamin D: Is Shunning the Sun a Medical Mistake?

Posted by D3forU on March 24, 2008

Debate is raging over how much sun you should get. For years, we’ve been warned that sunscreen is a must, but now some health professionals are saying some exposure to the sun’s rays is necessary. An American Academy of Dermatology survey finds that ten percent of Americans in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s hit the tanning bed.

Sunlight, even artificial is a prime source of Vitamin D, a nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and one a growing body of research suggests may also help prevent diseases from cancer to diabetes. Unfortunately, up to half of the population is not getting enough, according to the Duke Diet Center’s Elisabetta Polilti.

“Vitamin D sources are not very common,” she explained.

Oily fish like salmon and fortified milk are among the few dietary sources of Vitamin D. That leaves supplements and sunshine, unless you wear sunscreen.

“The skin lotion is preventing vitamin D from being absorbed,” Politi said.

While it’s doubtful we’ll ever say ‘so long’ to sunscreen, the Vitamin D dilemma does have the scientific and medical communities taking a closer look at the safe sun message.

Boston University’s Dr. Michael Holick calls it “sensible sun exposure.”

“Typically maybe five to ten minutes of arms and legs, two to three times a week, followed by good sun protection is a good recommendation,” he said.

It’s a recommendation that has gotten heat from major skin and cancer organizations who’ve noted the rise in skin cancer. All parties do agree people aren’t getting enough of the sunshine vitamin.


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Sun and Skin

Posted by D3forU on March 23, 2008



There’s more fuel for the debate over the risk of skin cancer versus the benefits of vitamin D produced in our skin by sunlight. As this ScienCentral News video explains, it turns out that vitamin D might actually help the skin protect itself. Vitamin D and SunlightVitamin D has long been known to be important for helping our bodies absorb calcium and maintain strong bones, and a host of other benefits of vitamin D have been revealed in recent years.

Our bodies’ main source of the vitamin is our own skin, which produces it in response to UV rays in sunlight. But, why? Stanford University pathology researchers have made two important discoveries about how vitamin D produced in the skin by sunlight can trigger a protective immune response in the skin itself.

Hekla Sigmundsdottir and colleagues in Eugene Butcher’s Stanford University lab studied immune system cells called T lymphocytes, or T-cells, which circulate in our bodies and attack foreign or abnormal cells.


Sigmundsdottir Researcher
Hekla Sigmundsdottir, Stanford University

“In order for them to do their job, they have to know that there’s a danger, and that’s the job of another type of cells called dendritic cells,” Sigmundsdottir explains. “These dendritic cells scan the body and when they find something, they eat it up and then go to the T-cells and the T-cells then judge if this is harmless or something harmful that needs to be responded to. But the body is a big place and scientists have wondered, do they get some extra help to find the site more quickly. And that’s where the vitamin D would come in,” she says.The researchers isolated T-cells with dendritic cells and exposed them to different forms of vitamin D, including vitamin D3 from sunlight and vitamin D2, which is the type often added to milk and other foods. They found that, contrary to scientists’ beliefs, dendritic cells in the skin can convert vitamin D produced by sunlight into its active form. And they found that the active form triggers the protective T-cells to travel to the skin.

  Sigmundsdottir says the process was most efficient with vitamin D produced from sunlight. “Vitamin D that we obtain through the diet seems to be less effective than the vitamin that is generated in the sun,” she says.As they wrote in the journal Nature Immunology, the research could help explain why vitamin D is important to our skin’s immune system functions.“I think just the fact that the vitamin D can attract or draw T-cells towards the skin is a function that’s needed, I think that’s why we make vitamin in the skin,” says Sigmundsdottir.

The researchers isolated T-cells, shown here in blue, with dendritic cells and exposed them to different forms of vitamin D.
image: Hekla Sigmundsdottir

It’s also a surprise that vitamin D can be activated in the skin. Scientists have long known that vitamin D produced in sunlight has to be converted by the body into its active form in order to be useful, but it was thought that that only happens in our liver and kidneys.

  “What we find in our study is that if you isolate these helper cells or these dendritic cells from the skin, they can do it themselves, indicating that it does not have to go through the liver or the kidneys to be converted to the active form,” explains Sigmundsdottir.Put together, the discoveries suggest our skin has evolved a clever trick to protect itself. While she cautions that her research is preliminary and the team is at work on further studies, “I think a little sunshine is good for you,” she says. “I think the reason we make vitamin D in the skin indicates that it’s there for a reason.”Sigmundsdottir also points out that it’s too soon to know if this process may protect skin from the harmful effects of sunlight itself. “We are now in the process of examining this further,” she says, “but there are many other reasons why we would need enhanced immunity in the skin. There’s infections, there is all kind of exposure to harmful substances in the environment …”

And sun worshippers beware: Sigmundsdottir means it when she says “a little” sun exposure is good, because too much sun is still bad for you.

How much?


Sunscreen blocks out the UVB light that triggers vitamin D production in skin. But it only takes 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure a couple of times a week to make enough vitamin D for your body’s needs.More sunlight than that doesn’t make more vitamin D, but it can increase your risk of skin cancer and other skin damage. Dermatologists also warn that a tan is evidence of skin damage– good reasons to use sunscreen if you are going to spend more time than that in the sun.

This research was published in Nature Immunology, March 2007, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Veterans Affairs, FACS Core Facility of Stanford Digestive Disease Center, the Arthritis Foundation and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

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Scientists Admit — Sun Exposure Benefits Outweigh Risks

Posted by D3forU on March 18, 2008

sun, sunlight, exposure, sunshineModerate sun exposure offers more health benefits than risks, particularly for people who are deficient in vitamin D or who live in colder, northern latitudes, according to U.S. and Norwegian researchers.

The study found that vitamin D levels, which were calculated based on sun exposure, were linked to survival rates for cancer patients. Those who lived in sunnier, southern latitudes, and had higher vitamin D levels, were less likely to die from cancer than people in northern latitudes.

The researchers analyzed the amount of vitamin D generated by sun exposure at different latitudes, and cross-referenced it with data of cancer incidence and survival rates for people living in varying locations.

They found that people in northern latitudes produce significantly less vitamin D than people nearer to the equator. Specifically, they found Australians produce 3.4 times more vitamin D than people in the United States, and almost five times more vitamin D than Scandinavians.

Meanwhile, rates of major cancers such as colon, lung, breast and prostate increased from north to south, while survival rates decreased from north to south.

The researchers said the findings provide further support for sun-induced vitamin D on cancer prognosis.

Previous studies suggest that vitamin D may protect against cancer by discouraging out-of-control cell reproduction and hindering the formation of new blood vessels for tumors.

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Can Sunshine Fight Cancer?

Posted by D3forU on March 18, 2008

Fighting cancer with vitamin D

Healthy levels of serum vitamin D provide significant protection against many types of cancers, according to University of Maine researchers, who did a literature survey of vitamin D studies conducted in the past 37 years.

“These studies find that the higher the UV exposure, dietary intake and serum level of 25(OH)D, the lower the incidence and mortality from cancers of the breast, colon, lung, pancreas, prostate, melanoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” write UMaine researchers Betty Ingraham, Beth Bragdon and Anja Nohe in the journal “Current Medical Research and Opinion.

Vitamin D, obtained from diet, supplements and sunlight, is essential in cell growth and function. In particular, calcitriol, an active form of vitamin D, has a critical role in regulating cellular mechanisms involved in cancer development.

But while epidemiological, preclinical and clinical trials provide overwhelming evidence that calcitriol can prevent cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, ovary and pancreas, as well as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, nearly all studies indicate that most people have below-normal levels of serum vitamin D.

The clinical research community is now revising upward recommendations for optimal serum levels and sensible levels of sun exposure.

The last time that the recommendations were set in 1997, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommended daily adult dietary intake of vitamin D at 400 IU. Since then, most researchers in the field believe that, for optimal health, intakes between 1,000-4,000 IU would lead to a more healthy serum level of approximately 75 nmol/L.


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Catch some rays to get vitamin D

Posted by D3forU on March 18, 2008

Nina Rao
For the News-Leader

This week’s expert: Dr. Lance Luria is an internal medicine physician and the associate medical director of St. John’s Health Plans.

Q. Over the past few years, vitamin D has been making headlines. Why is that?

A. Vitamin D was discovered in the early part of the 20th century when it was found that adding a fat-soluble factor “D” to the diet prevented rickets, a disease that results in defective bone growth and bowed legs.More recently, numerous large studies have raised questions as to whether the standard recommendations assure optimal vitamin D levels.

These questions come on the heels of mounting evidence pointing to the important role vitamin D plays in promoting bone health, in addition to preventing osteoarthritis, diabetes, cancer and mental, cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases.

Q. Where does vitamin D come from?

A. Since our bodies have the ability to make vitamin D, it is not technically a vitamin, but falls more in the category of a steroid-like hormone that just needs a jump-start from sunshine. The problem is that most of us aren’t getting enough ultra-violet (UVB) rays to generate sufficient vitamin D.

Here are some interesting points:- During the summer, 10 minutes of exposure of your hands and face (without sunscreen) provides about 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D3. A young person whose entire body is exposed to simulated sunlight produces the equivalent of 10,000-25,000 IU of vitamin D taken orally.

– Don’t worry about getting too much vitamin D from sunlight. The same UVB rays that help make vitamin D will also destroy what is not absorbed quickly enough.

– Wearing sunscreen blocks your body’s ability to make vitamin D.

– People living north of the 37th degree-latitude line, which includes Springfield, don’t get enough UVB rays in winter. A good rule of thumb is that you don’t get enough during the seasons when your shadow at noon is taller than you are.

– Your ability to make vitamin D decreases as you reach old age.

– Darker-pigmented people have more melanin in their skin, and since melanin acts like sunblock, less vitamin D is made. In fact, a black person with very dark skin pigmentation will require about a tenfold longer exposure to make the same amount of vitamin D as a light-skinned white person.

– Vitamin D is stored in fat cells, which can act as a reservoir for the winter months. Paradoxically, obese people have about one-half the levels of circulating vitamin D levels as people of normal weight. It is thought that large fat depots act as a sort of sinkhole for vitamin D.

Q. How much vitamin D is needed?

A. Current recommendations call for 200 international units (IU) for children and adults up to age 50, 400 IU from age 51 to 70 and 600 IU for adults 71 and older. However, based on more recent studies, most authorities are now recommending at least 800 IU of vitamin D3 daily for children and adults if you’re not getting enough UVB exposure and at least 1,000 IU daily for those that do not get any UVB exposure.

A safe upper limit is 2,000 IU daily. Although a number of studies have shown that higher daily intakes do not result in toxic effects, these higher doses are not routinely recommended.

If you’re not sure that your intake is adequate, taking a daily supplement of 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 is currently recommended by a number of authorities.

Tests to show vitamin D blood levels are available but costly, but they can resolve those situations where there remains a question as to whether you are getting enough.

Q. Why is vitamin D needed?

A. Maintaining adequate blood levels of vitamin D is important not only for bone health but also in the prevention of a number of chronic diseases, including osteoporosis, hypertension and prostate, breast and colon cancers.

Q. Are there food sources of vitamin D?

A. Naturally occurring vitamin D is relatively rare in foods. Oily fish and egg yolks contain significant amounts, as do mushrooms.

Q. What’s the difference between vitamin D2 and D3?

A. Supplemental vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) or D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 comes from UVB-irradiated yeast and plants; vitamin D3 comes from UVB-irradiated lanolin from animal sources.

It was originally thought that vitamins D2 and D3 were pretty much the same, but now we know that the D2 form is only about 20 percent to 40 percent as effective as D3. Vitamin D2 also doesn’t last as long in our circulation and may even cause premature breakdown of circulating D3.

Fortified foods can contain either vitamin D2 or D3, but recent studies in the United States and western Canada noted that up to 80 percent of milk did not contain the advertised amount of vitamin D and half the milk tested contained less than 50 percent of the advertised amount. Remarkably, 15 percent of the skim milk samples contained no detectable vitamin D at all.

Q. How common is vitamin D deficiency?

A. It is estimated that 1 billion people worldwide don’t get enough vitamin D. That includes vitamin D deficiency among 40 percent to 100 percent of independently living elderly Americans and Europeans. Further, in the United States, half of women receiving treatment for osteoporosis, 73 percent of pregnant women (and 80 percent of their infants at birth) and between 48 and 52 percent of adolescent girls in the Northeast show vitamin D deficiency.

This is a problem because without vitamin D, only 10 percent to 15 percent of dietary calcium is absorbed, and bone mineral density is directly correlated with vitamin D levels.

Q. How can you get enough vitamin D?

A. If you believe you need to increase your vitamin D levels, here are some tips:

– During the spring, summer and fall, 5 to 15 minutes of sunshine between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., two or three times weekly, should do the trick. (But, if your skin becomes slightly pink, you’ve gotten too much sun. )

– Tanning beds, when used in moderation, provide ample vitamin D and may be particularly helpful in the winter months.

– Milk, cereals and bread products that contain vitamin D may be highly variable in their vitamin D content and should not be depended upon as a reliable source.

– Don’t forget that vitamin D2 (from yeast and plants) is probably only one-third as effective as vitamin D3 (from animals). So when you go shopping for supplements, remember that 1,000 IU of D3 is comparable to 3,000 IU of D2.


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