Friday, February 5, 2010

What the world needs now is Vitamin D

No, not "love, sweet love". Though that wouldn't hurt either I'm sure.

I'm serious. Vitamin D.

*also, a disclaimer-some of you will seriously disagree with me and think I'm nuts. Well, even more so that you already do. That's ok. It's my blog, my opinions. Feel free to fertilize the lawn with them if you'd like.*

We've all gotten so uber paranoid about sun exposure that I think it's safe to say that most people are deficient in it. Not to mention that we're under the constant cloud cover of winter in many places so there isn't even much chance for soaking up the sun.
It could be worse I guess. I could live in DC right now. (did you hear they are supposed to get 2 feet+ of snow tonight and tomorrow?!)

Think about it; people are happier in the summer usually, aren't they? It's pretty hard to be all angry and irritable on a bright sunny day.

Sure you can take Vit D supplements, but as with most things, supplements aren't as effective as the natural production of D by your body. Here, let's take a direct quote from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic. The major cause of vitamin D deficiency is the lack of appreciation that sun exposure in moderation is the major source of vitamin D for most humans. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D are often inadequate to satisfy either a child's or an adult's vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and will precipitate and exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious diseases"

Holy smokes! Did you see that? "a pandemic"?! Let's hit on that increase your risk of a number of serious health issues. Hold on to your hats-this is a big scare. Ready?

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a higher incidence and higher rate of dying from many common cancers (including colon, prostate, breast, and many others), higher risk of type 1 diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, schizophrenia, and pre-eclampsia. And that's just touching the surface of non-skeletal issues!

Interestingly, there are many fibromyalgia sufferers who report markedly decreased pain when their vit D levels are monitored and kept in a good range. So D just might make a difference.....

But how do you fix that under the dreary blanket of winter weather?

Dare I say it out loud?


Oh dear. Hear the wilds unleashed.

Really and truly, if you can't get real sun, get a little fake sun!

(no, I don't work for, promote, get freebies, blah, blah, blah from any tanning places. Though I wouldn't complain if they offered freebies. anyone?)

Those of you who have known me for more than oh, 20 minutes, or are familiar with my skin issues know that I have actually been prescribed phototherapy, aka: tanning. A little odd to sit in a dermatologist's office surround by posters proclaiming my untimely and grotesque death should I not slather on sunscreen from morning till night (and even on cloudy days) and be told "you need to be in a light bed". Yes, there is a caution, don't overdo it, don't go every day, start at just 3-5 min, don't stay in more than 10 even after your skin has become acclimated.
But you know what's interesting? It's the most effective treatment I've ever had. Ever! Really. All the meds, the injections, the prescription courses...none of it is as potent as a trip to a light bed twice a week.
Most people don't know though that my skin issues are not just skin issues, they stem from a chronic immune suppression....and wouldn't you know it....the light exposure helps on all sides. I get less infections when I've had more light exposure! Not to mention that I feel better. And that's a big deal for someone who has always fought the Jan-Feb winter blues (S.A.D. anyone? I used to think it was bunk), especially with a rampant family history of depression.

Aaron and I did a little experiment last year. The poor guy is constantly dragging because he runs himself ragged doing everything necessary in his life. I told him that in the spring and summer I sit outside in the afternoon and either just soak up the sun or read a book for about 20 minutes and that afterward, I feel so recharged and ready to face the day. We started looking into recent research on Vit D/lack of D-specifically natural production of it. We thought we'd see if it worked for him. Interestingly, as he began sitting out in the sun for 15min on his lunch break, or after he came home from work, he began to feel more energized. Hmmmm....placebo effect? Maybe. maybe not. Maybe that good old D really does help after all.

A couple of interesting reads if you feel like it: HERE, and HERE.
(The second is a study and is much more technical, the first a quick read of just a few paragraphs.)

My point? Maybe there is none. Or maybe the reason the whole world has gotten so cynical, sarcastic and intolerant is because we're all so scared of the sun that we're all D deficient and it's making us ornery. Hmm...I like that second one. Everyone just needs more sunshine!

(More blah, blah, blah stuff: I'm not a dr, I'm not telling you to go tanning, or that there are no risks (esp skin cancer), etc, etc, etc. Be smart. Don't overexpose (in any form! ha!), and don't blame me if you get sunburned. Hey-I do still use sunscreen if I'm going to be out in the sun for a fair amount of time. And just because 5 min of sun makes me a new person doesn't mean it will do the same for you.)



Kelsey said...

being tan makes me a better person. To bad I can't go. I would give my left......thigh to be on a beach for even a hour. I would be a better person for it.

Sara said...

A moderate amount of sun while preggo will help keep your child from jaundice, too, they say. Seemed to work for me and my first!

Rheanna said...

Funny you should post about this. I took Naomi in for her 2 week and they said that they've started giving babies at 2 months vit. D supplements because they are finding they aren't getting what they need from the sun (since we're told to keep them out of the sun)...apparently he's been reading the same stuff you have :O)

Lisa said...

You might have a point there ... interesting!

~LL~ said...

I've heard this for awhile. I totally agree. I think that is why suicide rate is higher in Alaska during their LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG nights. :)

Aaron said...

Am I the only one that notices that when man messes with nature, nature always finds a way to smack us somewhere else.

Does anyone remember the "Don't eat eggs, they are high in cholesterol and will kill you"? and now it's, "eat eggs, they are great for you......"


Vitamins vitamins vitamins....they will help you and now they are finding studies that vitamin suppliments are only 20% effective? (That's right folks, those suppliments you pay dearly for, end up in the toilet.)


Stay out of the sun, it will give you cancer....and yet for thousands of years, people lived with a very very low risk and rate of skin cancer


buckle your seat belt......ok that one I agree with.

....Stupid people try to mess with stuff.......but remember to buckle up, cause that one is smart.

Melissa said...

Hey Catey - DITTO, DITTO, DITTO! Love this post. Love the sun. The sun makes me happy. I miss it. I want it to come back.