Avoiding Summer Sun Linked to Depression

By: Amelia Naidoo–

Research by Zayed University and Shaikh Khalifa Medical City hospital shows emirati university students are vitamin D deficient and depressed due to avoiding the sun.

A vision of sun-deprived individuals isn’t something you’d associate with the UAE, which experiences year-round sunshine.

However, research by Zayed University (ZU) and Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) Hospital indicates that a large segment of the population is avoiding the sun — especially in the summer — to their detriment.

After conducting a study with almost 200 students at ZU, researchers found more than a quarter of the students were severely vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D levels, shown in the blood, for those students who participated in the summer were significantly lower than those in the winter.

Though the results were conducted with a sample group that was all female, student and Emirati, the findings are representative of the UAE population as about 50 per cent is under the age of 25, principal investigator and ZU Biochemist and Microbiologist Dr Fatme Al Anouti said.

The next step is a Dh200,000 larger scale study, funded by the Emirates Foundation, that looks at vitamin D deficiency among the general population of Abu Dhabi but with a focus on Emiratis, she said.

Also part of the study is Dr Justin Thomas at ZU’s Department of Natural Science and Public Health who explored the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and depression among the female university students at ZU.

He found that the summer students in the study also showed the most depression symptoms.

Over the years more attention has focused on vitamin D’s role in mental health problems, particularly schizophrenia and mood disorders such as major depressive and seasonal affective disorder. When it comes to vitamin D deficiency and mood disorders, studies have shown there is a higher incidence among women.

Dr Thomas said several studies have described the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the Gulf Arab populations and focused on the health consequences. However “no work to date has explored the psychological consequences of vitamin D deficiency or the issue of seasonal variations in deficiency and symptom severity”.

Dr Al Anouti was told of the problem when she spoke with doctors at SKMC Hospital who noticed that patients were severely deficient in vitamin D when lab tests were run. “It’s really prevalent but no one has documented this public health problem because people think this is the country of the sun. They think it’s normal for people who live in Canada to have vitamin D deficiency.”

Emiratis are particularly at risk because traditional dress does not allow the body to be exposed, Dr Al Anouti said. Complexion is also a problem as it takes longer for darker skinned people to absorb UVB rays when exposed to the sun. UVB rays from the sun convert cholesterol in skin to vitamin D.

Dr Thomas said there was a misconception that people could get their vitamin D dose while behind windows or in the car. “You need a fair amount of exposure… people can go weeks and even months in a sun rich country without substantial sun on the skin.”

He added that factors such as high levels of obesity, relatively dark skin pigmentation and the presence of dust in the atmosphere play a role in reducing the skin’s ability to synthesise vitamin D. Cultural issues such as the desire to be light skinned is also a factor in sun avoidance. Dr Thomas said some of the female students want to be light skinned while others go to tanning salons and have a modern approach.

Majority do not seek treatment

University students are not free from depression but the majority of them do not seek treatment for a number of reasons, University of Wollongong in Dubai students counsellor Talien Huisman said.

American University of Sharjah’s director of health services Dr Lubna A. Yousuf acknowledges the link between vitamin D deficiency and depression but says the most common reason for depression is homesickness, adjusting to university life and dealing with the pressures of examinations and studies.

Saleema Al Harbi, a student at Dubai Women’s College, says weather is the main reason that students avoid the sun. “I’ve heard about this from people and newspapers and I think it’s a problem if people are depressed like this.”

Although Saleema admits that she avoids the sun because she doesn’t want to be darker and it is traditional. However, not all her friends share this view and regularly visit tanning salons. Munira Mohammad, also a DWC student, says Emirati women are not avoiding the sun and it’s not because of traditional clothing either. “We do our best to take the sunlight, especially in the morning and we sit outside and open the windows.”

Facts:

Doctors recommend about 10-15 minutes of direct sun exposure between 10am and 3pm every day is needed to synthesise vitamin D.

In darker skinned individuals vitamin D is produced more slowly and longer sun exposure is needed.

Obese and older people also synthesise vitamin D more slowly and require more sunlight.

Apart from sun exposure, foods such as egg, certain fish and liver will provide your vitamin D requirements. Supplements help but sunlight is best.

Depression is associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and low bone mineral density, all illnesses thought to be linked to vitamin D deficiency.

Urbanisation, working indoors, living in tall buildings, driving tinted cars, clothing all body parts, applying sun blocking creams on face all contribute to vitamin D deficiency.

Symptoms and signs for vitamin D deficiency include muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities.

Link: http://bit.ly/hFkZaI

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MS Patients ‘Should Lie in Sun’

By: Geoff Maynard–

New research shows that patients with higher levels of vitamin D – mainly derived from exposure to sunlight – have fewer attacks and develop the disease at a slower rate.

More than 85,000 people in the UK are thought to have the auto-immune condition which is caused by the loss of nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord.

There is evidence that people from parts of Northern Europe which get little sunshine are at greater risk of developing MS.

Dr Colleen Hayes and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, believe vitamin D3 helps to control cells known as T lymphocytes which are responsible for MS.

Dr Hayes said: “MS is currently incurable but environmental factors, such as vitamin D3, may hold the key to preventing MS and reducing its impact.”

Link: http://bit.ly/iieUYP

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The Healing Power of the Sun

Before antibiotics, sunlight was used to speed up the healing of wounds because it is an efficient germ killer, writes Dr Marga Boyani

All nature including humanity is solar-powered. Deprived of sunlight, man loses physical vigour and strength. Take away sunlight and all life on earth would soon perish.

Since before the time of ancient Egypt, doctors and natural healers relied on sunlight to mend wounds, treat bone diseases like rickets or lung infections like tuberculosis.

Before antibiotics, sunlight was used to speed up the healing of wounds because sunlight is an efficient germ killer.

Sunlight is man’s primary source of vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’. You get only a quarter of the vitamin D you need from your diet with the rest coming from the sun.

The body is better able to use the vitamin D it makes itself than that which it gets from the diet. Your skin makes vitamin D from casual sun exposure from as little as five to 15 minutes of sunshine per day, two to three times per week on the face and hands.

Calcium

Being a fat-soluble vitamin, it is stored in your body fat. Vitamin D is perhaps the most underrated nutrient probably because it is free — no prescription required, yet it has numerous health benefits.

You need a good supply of vitamin D to help you absorb calcium from your intestines. Calcium is required in the body for strong bones and teeth.

In the West, there are more hip fractures in winter when there is no sunlight. Almost half the elderly population who have suffered a broken hip have been shown to be vitamin D deficient, yet safe sunbathing, which is simple and free, can reduce the risk.

Sunlight triggers release of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin, which other than controlling your sleep pattern, body temperature and sex drive, lifts your mood and helps ward off depression.

Vitamin D increases the amount of oxygen your blood can transport around the body, which in turn, will boost your energy levels, sharpen your mental faculties and give you an improved feeling of wellbeing.

Sunlight can help lower blood cholesterol levels and so is a powerful ally in the fight against heart disease. Both cholesterol and vitamin D, are derived from the same substance in the body, which is also found in the skin.

Blood pressure

In the presence of sunlight, this substance is converted to vitamin D but in the absence of sunlight, it is converted to cholesterol, raising its levels. Sunlight can also affect blood pressure because blood pressure levels are higher during winter and lowest in the summer.

It is thought that without enough vitamin D, the body increases levels of parathyroid hormones, which causes calcium to leach from the bones and also raise blood pressure.

Taking a daily ten to 15 minutes walk in the sun not only clears your head, relieves stress and increases circulation; but it could also cut your risk of cancers according to scientists.

How does this work? The vitamin D produced in the skin by the sun’s rays improves the function of your immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells, the body’s primary defence against disease. Vitamin D also controls cell growth, slows the growth of cancer cells and stops new blood vessels from being formed, curbing the spread of the cancer.

Food sources

You can reap the sun’s health benefits with as little as 20 minutes of sun exposure. Darker skinned people need longer exposure to benefit.

Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to get vitamin D in your own body because there are only a few naturally occurring food sources of vitamin D, most of which are high in fat.

These include fatty fish and eggs. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D like cow milk, soymilk, rice milk, breakfast cereals and breakfast bars. Vitamin D can also be obtained from multi-vitamins.

Your body is not able to overdose on vitamin D from the sun, because it will self-regulate and only generate what it needs, but your skin can suffer damaging effects from too much sun.

Link: http://bit.ly/ev48qL

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Is Sunlight Your Greatest Protection Against Breast Cancer?

By: Marc Sorenson–

 

A 2010 study from France has shown that women who were exposed to a combination of sunlight and dietary vitamin D had up to a 45 percent reduced risk of contracting breast cancer, according to Cancer Epidemiol, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The researchers noted that high dietary vitamin D by itself did not correlate to a reduced risk of breast cancer, whereas sunlight exposure alone did correlate to a lowered risk.

This research should come as no surprise, as there is miniscule vitamin D in the typical diet. For example, the typical 3½-ounce piece of farmed salmon contains about 175 International Units of vitamin D; 8 ounces of fortified milk 100 IU; and 8 ounces fortified orange juice 100 IU. The amounts typically derived from eggs, oils and margarine is negligible.

It is now believed by many experts in the vitamin D field that 4,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D supplementation is necessary for optimal health, so it can be seen that trying to optimize breast health with the paltry 400-500 IU from diet is like trying to color the ocean with a cup of tomato paste.

Conversely, 20 minutes of full-body exposure to summer sunlight at noon can produce as much as 20,000 IU, according to a 2005 Journal of Nutrition article, showing that sunlight correlates far better to lowered breast cancer risk than does dietary vitamin D.

However, most people are not actively seeking the sunlight and are not even close to producing 20,000 IU. In the French breast cancer study, it was probably the combination of both sunlight-produced vitamin D and dietary vitamin D that sufficiently increased blood levels to a threshold that triggered vitamin D’s cancer protection mechanisms, which are numerous.

Other research including a 2007 study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has shown that when vitamin D supplementation is more than 1,100 IU daily, there is a profound correlation to a lowered risk — from 60-77 percent — of all cancers in women.

As to sunlight, Dr. Esther John and colleagues conducted research on the sun-exposure habits of women and correlated those habits to the risk of developing breast cancer. Those women who had the greatest exposure to sunlight were 65 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.

Should we then shun the sunlight? This newest study is another in a long series of vitamin D/cancer research that has shown a striking lowering of breast cancer incidence with higher sunlight exposure and greater vitamin D levels in the blood. The sunlight is one of St. George’s greatest assets and should be embraced, not shunned.

After the Institute of Medicine made their inanely low recommendations for vitamin D supplementation — 600 IU daily for all ages — it is good to see that research belying that foolishness continues to surface.

Sunlight exposure is the most natural way to produce vitamin D and if supplements are going to be used when sunlight is not available, a minimum of 2,000-4000 IU daily is necessary to optimize blood levels for best health. Check with your physician before making changes in sunlight exposure or vitamin D intake.

Marc Sorenson is a resident of St. George. He and his wife, Vicki, founded National Institute of Fitness, in Ivins. They helped thousands of people from all over the world with fitness, weight issues and degenerative diseases. Marc Sorenson received his doctorate from Brigham Young University. He is an author, speaker and founder of the Sunlight Institute, as well as executive director of the Vitamin D Health Initiative.

Log onto vitaminddoc.com or e-mail megamarc1@aol.com for more information.

Link: http://bit.ly/fMoQP8

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Low Exposure to Sunlight is a Risk Factor for Crohn’s Disease

By: Nerich V, Jantchou P, Boutron-Ruault MC, Monnet E, Weill A, Vanbockstael V, Auleley GR, Balaire C, Dubost P, Rican S, Allemand H, Carbonnel F

Low sunshine exposure might contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). To assess the geographic distribution of IBD incidence in relation to sunshine exposure in France to test the hypothesis that higher sun exposure is associated with lower IBD risk.

Using the national health insurance database, incidence rates of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) were estimated for each of the 94 French administrative areas (‘départements’), between 2000 and 2002. The surface UV radiation intensity was obtained by combining modelling and satellite data from Meteosat, the European meteorological satellite.

Relationships between incidence rates and sun exposure were tested for significance by using a Poisson regression. We mapped smoothed relative risks (sRR) for CD and UC, using a Bayesian approach and adjusting for sun exposure, to search for geographical variations.

Areas with a smoothed RR of CD incidence significantly above 1 corresponded to areas with low sunshine exposure, whereas those with high or medium sunlight exposure had smoothed RRs either lower than 1 or not significantly different from 1. There was no association between sun exposure and UC incidence.

This geographic study suggests that low sunlight exposure is associated with an increased incidence of Crohn’s disease. Further studies are needed to determine if this association is causal.

Link: http://bit.ly/i8Be1u

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UV Suppresses Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Independent of Vitamin D Production

By: Becklund BR, Severson KS, Vang SV, DeLuca HF–

Although the exact cause of multiple sclerosis (MS) is unknown, a number of genetic and environmental factors are thought to influence MS susceptibility. One potential environmental factor is sunlight and the subsequent production of vitamin D. A number of studies have correlated decreased exposure to UV radiation (UVR) and low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) [25(OH)D(3)] levels with an increased risk for developing MS.

Furthermore, both UVR and the active form of vitamin D, 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3), suppress disease in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) animal model of MS. These observations led to the hypothesis that UVR likely suppresses disease through the increased production of vitamin D. However, UVR can suppress the immune system independent of vitamin D.

Therefore, it is unclear whether UVR, vitamin D, or both are necessary for the putative decrease in MS susceptibility. We have probed the ability of UVR to suppress disease in the EAE model of MS and assessed the effect of UVR on serum 25(OH)D(3) and calcium levels.

Our results indicate that continuous treatment with UVR dramatically suppresses clinical signs of EAE. Interestingly, disease suppression occurs with only a modest, transient increase in serum 25(OH)D(3) levels. Further analysis demonstrated that the levels of 25(OH)D(3) obtained upon UVR treatment were insufficient to suppress EAE independent of UVR treatment.

These results suggest that UVR is likely suppressing disease independent of vitamin D production, and that vitamin D supplementation alone may not replace the ability of sunlight to reduce MS susceptibility.

Link: http://bit.ly/bE414S

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Life in the Sun Lowers Multiple Sclerosis Risk

By: Amanda Chan–

People who have had lifelong exposure to high levels of sunlight are less likely than people with less exposure to develop multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

The risk of having a preliminary symptom of multiple sclerosis decreased by 30 percent for every 1,000 kilojoules of exposure to ultraviolet light, the study said.

These levels of sun exposure were accumulated over a lifetime (you might be exposed to 6 kilojoules of UV light on a summer day), so people shouldn’t sit in the sun for extended periods of time without sunscreen and expect to lower their multiple sclerosis risk, said study researcher Dr. Robyn Lucas, a fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at Australian National University.

“There is strong evidence that the risks of high doses of UV radiation in a single exposure greatly outweigh any possible benefits,” Lucas told MyHealthNewsDaily.

The benefits coming from higher vitamin D levels were already known, but because it was sun exposure that this study linked to decreased multiple sclerosis risk, it’s possible that only sun-generated vitamin D — and not that provided by food sources or vitamin D supplements — provides those benefits, Lucas said.

The findings of the study appear tomorrow (Feb. 8) in the journal Neurology.

The importance of sun exposure

Researchers looked at the sun exposure histories of 216 Australians, ages 18 to 59, who had an early sign of multiple sclerosis but were not diagnosed with the disease, as well as 395 people who did not have any MS symptoms. The participants reported how much sunlight they were typically exposed to, and the researchers also measured their skin damage from sun exposure and their melanin levels. The participants’ vitamin D levels were measured by blood tests.

Over their lifetimes, people in the study had been exposed to 500 to 6,000 kilojoules of UV light. Researchers found that those with the most skin damage from sun exposure were 60 percent less likely to have had a first sign of multiple sclerosis than people who had the least damage.

And people with the highest vitamin D levels were less likely to have a first sign of multiple sclerosis than people with the lowest vitamin D levels, the study said.

The researchers also found that multiple sclerosis was 32 percent more common in the Australian regions farthest from the equator than the regions closest to the equator — a difference they attributed to differences in sun exposure, vitamin D levels and skin type.

The secret to vitamin D’s effects

This study’s findings revealed the relationship between the first sign of multiple sclerosis, called the first demyelinating event, and sunlight, said study researcher Anne-Louise Ponsonby, an epidemiologist at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia.

The first demyelinating event can appear as a loss of sensation in a limb, blindness in one eye, or weakness in one limb that lasts more than 24 hours, Ponsonby said. Most people who have such an event will go on to develop multiple sclerosis in 10 years. The disease is diagnosed after a second event.

Vitamin D is known to affect immune cells, and the immune system plays a significant role in spurring multiple sclerosis, said Dr. Tom D. Thacher, an associate professor of family medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, N.Y., who was not involved with the study.

While the study showed that increased sun exposure is linked with a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis, it does not prove that vitamin D prevents the disease, said Thacher, who wrote an article on vitamin D insufficiency published last month in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“Other factors besides vitamin D that are related to sun exposure could be responsible for protection from multiple sclerosis,” such as melanin production from getting a suntan, Thacher told MyHealthNewsDaily.

A study published last month in the journal Multiple Sclerosis found that people who had sufficient levels of vitamin D had higher levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus, which is linked to increased risk of multiple sclerosis.

“Low vitamin D may predispose people to certain viral infections,” said Dr. Ellen M. Mowry, author of that study and an assistant neurology professor at University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved with the new study. “Since some viral infections have been associated with MS risk, low vitamin D could also influence MS by this mechanism.”

Link: http://bit.ly/gRbqOr

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Low Sun Exposure, Vitamin D Levels May Be Tied to MS Risk

Increased sun exposure and higher vitamin D levels may help to protect against the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, a new Australian study suggests.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease whose symptoms include loss of balance, slurred speech, muscle spasms, and difficulty walking or moving the legs or arms. Focused on residents living in Australia, the study also echoed prior findings that this disease of the brain and spinal cord strikes with greater frequency among people who live in less sunny regions farther from the equator.

Study co-author Anne-Louise Ponsonby, a professor, epidemiologist and public health physician with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, stressed that the exact mechanism by which sun exposure and vitamin D may help protect against a “multi-factorial disease” is not yet clear.

But vitamin D is an important agent that helps modify immune system functioning, she noted, “and laboratory studies have shown higher vitamin D levels can dampen down some of the adverse immune overactivity that occurs in autoimmune diseases such as MS.”

Ponsonby and her colleagues conducted their research with the support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of the United States of America, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the ANZ William Buckland Foundation, and Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia. Their observations are published in the Feb. 8 issue of the journal Neurology.

Exposure to the sun results in increased vitamin D levels, since the body makes vitamin D when it is exposed to the ultraviolet B rays in sunlight.

Although past research (some conducted by the same research team) has uncovered a similar association between sun exposure and MS risk protection, the authors noted that the current finding is the first to examine the impact of sun exposure among individuals who are just experiencing precursor signs of MS, but have not yet actually been diagnosed as having the disease.

This approach, the investigators noted, ensured that the new analysis is focused solely on pre-disease sun exposure patterns, rather than sun exposure routines that might be altered after a diagnosis. (Sunlight exposure has not been shown to benefit MS patients after diagnosis.)

Between 2003 and 2006, the research team looked at 216 patients between the ages of 18 and 59 who had early pre-diagnosis signs of MS. The patients were located in one of four different locations in Australia, with latitudes ranging from 27 degrees South to 43 degrees South.

Almost 400 other study participants without any disease indications were also included in the study for comparative purposes.

All were asked to report how much time they had spent in the sun over weekends and holidays during both summer and wintertime over the course of four different time-frames: between the ages of 6 and 10; 11 and 15; 16 and 20; and during the three years leading up to the study. In addition, skin exams were conducted, and blood samples taken to measure vitamin D levels.

The result: the higher the amount of both past and recent sun exposure (as well as specifically leisure-time exposure), the lower the risk for developing early signs of MS.

Specifically noting that sun exposure ranged from 500 to 6000 kiloujules per meter squared, the authors found that for every additional 1000 kilojoules of exposure, the risk of developing the first signs of MS dropped by 30 percent.

In addition, having a higher vitamin D level was also independently linked to a lower risk for developing MS.

What’s more, those living in the study regions furthest away from the equator faced a 32 percent greater risk for signs of MS than study participants who lived closest to the equator.

And lastly, those with the most signs of skin damage faced a 60 percent lower risk for developing initial indications of MS compared with those with the least amount of skin damage caused by the sun.

While advising that sun exposure “should not be discouraged,” Ponsonby strongly cautioned against the sort of “excessive exposure” that can give rise to a number of adverse health consequences, including possible skin cancer.

Dr. Moses Rodriguez, a professor of neurology and immunology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., agrees that “it’s all about not overdoing it”.

“Dermatologists can get up in arms with these sorts of studies because they’re saying that the amount of sun exposure that you would need to get protection against something like MS would be the amount that would increase your risk for melanoma and skin cancer dramatically,” Rodriguez said.

“But in truth, it appears that your mother’s idea to go out and play in the sun was not necessarily a bad idea,” Rodriguez added. “It’s just that everything has to be tempered. You don’t, for example, want someone to go take 10,000 units of vitamin D. Yes, you need some sun exposure, and you need some vitamin D. Both appear to have some protective effect in terms of MS. But neither is the whole answer, and neither is going to cure MS.”

Nicholas G. LaRocca, vice president of health care delivery and policy research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in New York City, praised the study for advancing scientific knowledge about MS.

“I do think this is a very important study,” he said. “It really moves this field forward in terms of refining our understanding of what puts people at risk for developing MS, and what might reduce this risk.”

But like Rodriguez, he also cautioned against “over-interpreting the implications of the current findings.”

“Reading this [study], one might be tempted to say ‘well, I should move to a sunnier climate’ or ‘I should dose myself with tons and tons of vitamin D,'” LaRocca said. “But I don’t think we know enough to really understand what the full and most appropriate implications are. There are many contributions to MS risk, so we will need a lot more research before it becomes clear what’s really going on.”

Link: http://bit.ly/f4bScq

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Don’t Screen Your Little One from the Sun

No-sunshine lifestyles are putting an increasing number of Indian infants at the risk of bone deformities, seizures and poor growth, a significant new study of Vitamin-D prevalence among newborns and their mothers has shown.

Conducted by paediatricians from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the research, for the first time, provides evidence to the government on the urgency of Vitamin-D supplements for pregnant women being covered under the national health programmes across the country. The study reveals acute Vitamin D deficiencies in exclusively breastfed babies and even greater shortages of the vitamin in their mothers.

Of the 98 healthy infants (aged 2.5 to 3.5 months) and their mothers studied for the purpose (47 enrolled in winter and 51 in summer to determine seasonal variations in Vitamin D prevalence, if any), the researchers found shockingly high combined prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in 86.5 per cent infants and 92.6 per cent mothers. Among those with severely deficient levels, the paediatricians found hyperparathyroidism (a condition wherein the thyroid glands secrete large quantities of parathormone to maintain low calcium levels in the body) in 90.3 per cent infants and 73.1 per cent mothers. They further found evidence of radiological rickets (babies wrists were X-rayed to find if they had rickets due to low Vitamin D and calcium levels) in 30.3 per cent infants.

“The presence of hyperparathyroidism among infants and mothers with low Vitamin D levels proves low calcium levels in their bodies and is clear evidence of Vitamin D shortage. It is to make up for calcium loss that thyroid glands secrete parathormone in greater quantities resulting in a condition called hyperparathyroidism. The parathormone maintains calcium levels in the body by mobilising calcium from bones to the blood. Long-term effects of such a mobilisation include bowing of legs among children, seizures marked by cramps of hands and feet and their abnormal posturing, or even abnormally square-shaped heads,” Dr Vandana Jain, assistant professor, paediatrics, AIIMS and lead author of the study told The Tribune. She said the newly found high prevalence of Vitamin D among Indian infants and their mothers was higher than that in the US but consistent with that in Greece, the UAE and Pakistan. The deficiency of Vitamin D in India is even lower for girls, starting from adolescence, with a recent study finding 90.3 per cent schoolgirls reporting such deficiency.

“Vitamin D deficiency among infants and mothers in both summers and winters can be attributed to decreased cutaneous synthesis of Vitamin D due to higher skin pigmentation in India. But the primary reason appears to be less exposure to the sun, lack of participation in outdoor activities and excessive use of sunscreens by women, who block UV rays essential for the skin to synthesise Vitamin D,” Jain added, recommending 15 minute exposure of arms and legs to the sun from 10 am to 3 pm daily.

The most important takeaway from the report is Vitamin D supplement for pregnant and lactating women in India, as is recommended by the American and European Academies of Paediatrics. The AIIMS study argues for the Indian Association of Paediatrics to make a similar recommendation to the government, which could consider providing supplements in the national programme.

Read the article here: http://bit.ly/gGTXC6

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Sun Cream Caused Vitamin D Deficiency

A 12-year-old girl with vitamin D deficiency has been told that her condition could have been caused by using strong sun cream.

Tyler Attrill used factor 50 cream which, according to her consultant, could have deprived her of the essential vitamin and caused the bone disease rickets.

BBC Breakfast’s resident GP Rosemary Leonard gave her advice for sun exposure.

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Alzheimer’sBDNFblood pressurebreast cancercancercircadian rhythmdeathdepressiondiabetesendorphinhealthheart diseaseHypertensioninflammationkidsmelanomamelatoninmetabolic syndromeMSmultiple sclerosismyopianitric oxidenutritionobesityosteoporosispregnancyprostate cancerpsoriasisserotoninskin cancerStrokesummersunsunburnsun exposuresunlightSunlight exposuresunscreensunshinetanning bedsUVUVAUVBvitamin dvitamin D deficiency