The evidence keeps stacking up in favor of Vitamin D – and since most of us during the winter months aren’t getting enough vitamin D – we could all benefit from a review of our daily supplements and increase our doses to up to 1000 IU per day. I mentioned the value of vitamin D supplements to my dad this week (I gave my dad and mom an early stocking stuffer, a bottle of 1000 IU vitamin D tablets) and he reminded me that he should be getting plenty from the sun. I quickly chimed in that during the winter the sun’s rays are not strong enough in Northern States such as Pennsylvania to produce enough vitamin D via the skin and furthermore as we age our skin produces less and less anyway (not to mention the fact that we should all be vigilant about sunscreens too – which protect from damaging rays while also blocking the UV production of vitamin D…so never an easy choice).
The following research and conclusions should convince you to pop your vitamin D each day (or swallow a tablespoon of cod liver oil packed with over 1000 IU of active vitamin D).
v LACK OF SUNLIGHT MAY INCREASE LUNG CANCER RISK
A study looking at lung cancer rates in 111 countries concludes that a lack of sunlight may be linked to lung cancer risk based on the fact that countries close to the equator have a lower rate of lung cancer & higher sun exposure (perhaps they have lower smoking rate, exposure to asbestos and radon too which would be important to consider).
v EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF ADVANCED BREAST CANCER in women with light skin pigmentation, according to a research study appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology. These protective effects were observed only among light-skinned women perhaps because sun exposure produces less vitamin D among women with naturally darker pigmentation. The authors suggest that sunlight helps reduce women’s risk of breast cancer because the body manufactures the active form of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight – and vitamin D is linked to reduce cancer risk and in overall reduced mortality. You can learn more by reading my recent Healthy Dose, “PREDICT AND PREVENT YOUR RISK OF OSTEOPOROSIS AND HIP FRACTURE.”
o The evidence is increasing that vitamin D may decrease the risk of a number of cancers, such as breast, prostate, colon and maybe lung cancers.
o A safe way to get vitamin D is from supplements and the active D3 (cholecalceferol) is the most potent form of supplement.
v SIGNS OF TB IN ANCIENT SCULL SUPPORT THEORY ON VITAMIN D
According to a recent report, scientists have found evidence of tuberculosis in the remains of an ancient skull found in Turkey. Although researchers knew that TB has been around for thousands of years, the discovery is important because it gives support to the theory that dark-skinned people who migrate out of tropical climates (and therefore no longer have the intense sun-exposure and vitamin D production) tend to have lower levels of vitamin D, a condition that can adversely affect the immune system as well as the skeleton. While dark skin (the pigment melanin protects the skin from damaging UV rays) probably protected them from the intense rays of the sun near the Equator, when they moved to cooler climates their vitamin D production likely declined as well. Rickets was the best described result of low vitamin D, however more and more research is mounting for vitamin D’s role in boosting our immune system and reducing our risk of cancers as well.
So if you are looking for a stocking stuffer for your parents or friends, think about a bottle of vitamin D to go along with a bottle of sunscreen.