Why Covering Your Child in Suntan Lotion Could Give Them Rickets

By: Bridget Harrison–

Poppy Brett thought she would just have to accept that her son Jago didn’t have the energy to keep up with his friends, didn’t like playing football and always seemed tired.

Their GP could find nothing wrong with him: he slept 12 hours a night and had a healthy diet. It never occurred to his mother that the factor 25 sun cream she slathered on him in the summer might be to blame for his exhaustion.

But a year ago a blood test revealed that Jago, 11, was severely deficient in vitamin D — vital for maintaining healthy bones and a well-functioning nervous system. Our bodies must have direct sunlight to produce it.

Twelve months on, after taking supplements and having more exposure to the sun, Jago is a different boy. The lethargy has gone — he loves playing in the park with his friends.

Gone, too, are the pains in his legs that would often cause him to wake in the night in agony. They had been dismissed as growing pains.

‘I never thought in a million years that his tiredness could be down to a lack of sun,’ says Poppy, 41, a charity fundraiser from Bristol. ‘When camping in Cornwall, I’d cover Jago in sunscreen the moment the sun came out.’

Poppy first went to the GP about Jago’s leg pains when he was seven, but the doctor simply showed him some stretching exercises. When this failed to have any effect, she went back to the GP twice, but the only suggestion was that he should get more sleep.

‘It was utterly frustrating trying to get anyone to take me seriously,’ says Poppy. ‘Jago looked tired all the time, but they just told me to put him to bed earlier, which was crazy as he was sleeping 12 hours a night.

‘I suggested it might be related to his dust-mite allergy, so they suggested I vacuum the house more!’

In February last year, Jago burst into tears at the side of a swimming pool because he felt so unwell. Poppy marched back to the GP and demanded a blood test.

‘I said: ‘‘Look, there must be something wrong with him. Please can you test his blood?’’ It seemed a good place to start.’ And she was right.

The results showed Jago’s vitamin D level was a quarter of what it should have been — this result was so worrying that the GP arranged for his legs to be X-rayed to check he didn’t have the bone-softening disease, rickets. Fortunately, he didn’t.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in promoting the absorption of calcium into the gut, which is key for maintaining healthy bones and normal muscle and nerve activity.

It is measured by its concentration in the blood. A count of 70 to 150 means there is a good store of it. At 50 to 70, levels are insufficient; at 50 they are deficient; and at less than 25 severely deficient. Jago’s count was just 24.

Severe deficiency can cause rickets, convulsions and heart failure in young children and adolescents, says Dr Jeremy Allgrove, consultant paediatric endocrinologist at Barts and the London Children’s Hospital. He is one of Britain’s leading experts on vitamin D deficiency.

Dr Allgrove says there is increasing evidence to show that vitamin D has an important effect on children’s immune systems, protecting against TB, asthma and other viral infections.

In adults, a deficiency may cause an increased incidence of diabetes, coronary heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Despite its importance for our health, up to half of those with white, northern European skin and up to 90 per cent of Britons with Asian or Afro-Caribbean backgrounds may be deficient, mainly because we can’t make it from sunshine in this country between October and March. The darker your skin, the harder it is to make.

But there are still no formal government guidelines on the amount children should have.

‘Unspecific’ symptoms of deficiency include lethargy, leg pain, eating issues and mood swings, but these are often missed by GPs.

Every parent has had it drummed into them to apply high-factor sun screen on their children’s delicate skin in the spring and summer, but Dr Allgrove says this is worsening the problem of vitamin D deficiency.

‘This is the one vitamin you can’t get in adequate quantities from your diet,’ he says.

‘The problem is that even low-factor sunscreens will absorb all the ultraviolet light you are exposed to that you need to make vitamin D.

‘I am not suggesting that sunscreen shouldn’t be used. But in my view its use has gone too far.’

He recommends allowing a small amount of sun exposure — apply sun cream after 15 minutes in the sunshine for pale-skinned children and up to an hour for darker-skinned children.

Lucia Decermic, 40, from West London, is another mother whose child’s vitamin D deficiency were not recognised by her GP.

She had to dose her five-year-old daughter Senka with Calpol three times a week to cope with her leg pain. Senka also had eating problems, often managing only a mouthful of cereal for breakfast.

Like Poppy, Lucia feels let down by her GP because she had to take matters into her own hands. When a locum suggested Senka had her legs X-rayed at Hammersmith Hospital, Lucia instead queued up for a blood test.

She had heard about another child with vitamin D deficiency and wondered if this might be the case with Senka.

She was right. Senka was significantly deficient in vitamin D, with a level of 49. ‘It seems ludicrous that GPs are still not fully informed about something as simple as vitamin D deficiency,’ says Lucia, who runs her own events management business.

‘It’s unacceptable to be told your daughter has growing pains with no offer of a solution. I had to resort to medicating her with painkillers and then sit helplessly listening to her scream until the pain subsided.

‘How many parents are going through this?’

Senka has been taking a vitamin D supplement for just three weeks. Remarkably, her leg pain levels have subsided and she is eating well.

Dr Allgrove says eating problems are a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency, probably because children at such a low ebb can’t face food.

He says GPs are beginning to wake up to vitamin D deficiency. Guidelines about testing and medication have recently been issued to surgeries by Barts and the Royal London Hospital. Millie Barrett of Key Nutrition, a London-based clinical nutrition consultancy, says she is seeing an increased awareness of the issue.

‘Every patient whose vitamin D status I have tested has been insufficient or deficient. These are not isolated cases,’ she says.

She advises mothers to ask their GP for a blood test or see a registered nutritional therapist, who will arrange a test for £40.

‘If one member of your family has been diagnosed with low or insufficient levels of vitamin D, it is likely the rest of the family will also be deficient because they are subject to the same influences.’

Tested or not, in Dr Allgrove’s view everyone should take vitamin D supplements.

He ADVISES 400 ius (international units in which vitamin D is measured) a day for babies, 1,000 ius a day for children and adolescents, and 1,000 to 2000 ius a day for adults.

Vitamin D supplements are vital for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, and those who cover up for religious reasons.

Dr Allgrove says it is almost impossible to take too much. When deficiency is detected, the doses prescribed are far higher: 3,000 ius for infants; 6,000 ius for children aged six months to 12 years; and 6,000 to 10,000 ius for adolescents and adults.

Treating Jago’s vitamin D deficiency has had a transforming effect on him, says Poppy.

‘Before, when we went to the park I felt as if I was pulling a tired boy along behind me who didn’t want to be there.

‘For years I just thought my son was just not a child who was full of energy and life. How wrong I was. He’s got so much buzz about him now. He is a new boy.’

Link: http://bit.ly/gawc0V

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Can Sunlight and Vitamin D Reduce the Risk of Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease is a nasty autoimmune bowel disease that causes abdominal pain, inflammation and fibrous tissue buildup. It is increasing in incidence, particularly among people younger than 20,[1] a group that spends less time outdoors each passing year. Unfortunately and unnaturally, young people spend their time in indoor activities, and when venturing outdoors are advised by their parents and medical “experts” to dutifully apply sunscreen, which can reduce the production of vitamin D in the skin by up to 99%.[2]

Crohn’s is closely correlated to vitamin D deficiency, and moderate sunlight exposure coupled with winter supplementation has been recommended in the past to reduce its severity. Fifty percent of Crohn’s patients have levels of vitamin D below 20 ng/ml (very deficient) in winter and 19% in summer.[3]

Suffice it to say (without reviewing the copious research indicating that sunlight and vitamin D correlate to lower risk of many autoimmune diseases), it appears that sunlight exposure may help to reduce the risk of Crohn’s. The latest indication is a study from France, demonstrating that people living in geographic areas of lowest sunlight exposure have a substantially higher risk of Crohn’s disease.[4] This disease is just one of more than 100 that correlate closely to deficiency of sunlight and vitamin D, yet we continue to see warnings by dermatologists to avoid the sun. When will they ever learn?

Non-burning sunlight exposure is a boon to mankind, and it does not cause melanoma. Read my book for more information or see my earlier blogs on the subject of melanoma and sunlight.

 


[1] Chouraki V, et al “The changing pattern of Crohn’s disease incidence according to age in northern France: a constant increase in the 0-19 years age group (1988-2005)” DDW 2009; Abstract 114.

[2] Matsuoka, L. et al. sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1987; 64:1165-68

[3] Gilman, J. et al. Determinants of vitamin D status in adult Crohn’s disease patients, with particular emphasis on supplemental vitamin D use. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60(7):889-96

[4] Nerich, V. et al. Low exposure to sunlight is a risk factor for Crohn’s disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2011;33(8):940-945.

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It’s Always Sunny in Mumbai, but Citizens Lacking Vitamin D

By: Sumitra Deb Roy–

MUMBAI: The city’s upper middle class and wealthy may adhere to a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, but our attempt to seek cover from the harsh gaze of the tropical sun has put us at risk.

Most Mumbaikars working in air-conditioned offices are lacking in vital Vitamin D, the benefits of which range from strengthening bones and teeth to preventing diabetes, cancer and cardiac problems. The sun’s rays are a major source of Vitamin D.

A study conducted by doctors at P D Hinduja Hospital at Mahim found that 77.5% of 561 males and 72.68 % of 443 females, who had come to the hospital for routine health checkups, were deficient in Vitamin D. Men and women in the 40-60 age group appeared to be the most vulnerable, said doctors.

Of the 1,004 healthy men and women tested, 75% had a deficiency with less than 20 nanograms (ng) of Vitamin D per milli litre of blood. Another 20% had “insufficient” levels of Vitamin D. Only 2.4% men and 5.4 % women tested had adequate levels of vitamin D in their blood, which is more than 40ng/ml.

Doctors say this is a worrisome trend and call it an “underlying epidemic” .

NOT ENOUGH OF THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN

Though the major source of Vitamin D is sunlight, it’s also found in food items like raw milk and cod liver oil It maintains normal calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood, which are needed for strong bones & teeth Apart from brittle bones and teeth, recent studies have also found a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and Type-I diabetes, and cancer A study conducted by Hinduja Hospital doctors found that Mumbaikars suffer from a massive Vitamin D deficiency. Only 2.4% of 561 males tested and 5.4% of 443 females had healthy levels of Vitamin D Of the 561 men tested, 435 showed deficiency (less than 20 nanogram per millilitre), while 112 had insufficent amounts of Vit D (between 21-40 ng/ml). Of the 443 women tested, only 24 showed sufficiency (above 40ng/ml)

Lifestyles hit Vitamin D levels

Mumbai: On one hand scientists warn us of the sun’s harmful UV rays. On the other hand, these rays are a vital source of essential Vitamin D, which is often called the sunshine vitamin. When doctors at Hinduja Hospital in Mahim tested people who had come for routine medical checkups, they found that an overwhelming majority—75 % of 1,004 people—were seriously deficient in Vitamin D. All the people hailed from upper middleclass and wealthy families.

The sunshine vitamin is not only required for healthy bones and a strong skeletal structure, emerging studies have linked deficiencies to diseases like diabetes and cancer, cardiacrelated ailments, neuromuscular disorders and even abnormal brain functions.

Yet the deficiency of vitamin D remains unexplained in a city like Mumbai where sunlight is found in abundance. Doctors blame it on urbanization and lifestyle. Dr Vipla Puri, consultant, laboratory medicine , P D Hinduja Hospital said: “Almost all people who hail from higher-income groups work indoors and step out only after the sun sets. It is taking a huge toll, silently.” Her department had collected the data for the study over the last three months.

According to Dr Sudhindra Kulkarni endocrinologist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, the deficiency is “rampant and alarming” . He said: “It is not only about less or more exposure to sunlight but about appropriate absorption of the light and its conversion to Vitamin D. That process is suffering leading to an array of problems, and recently even metabolic disorders.” People step out of their air-conditioned houses and step into their air-conditioned cars and once again enter their air-conditioned offices, he added.

Experts say that many patients suffering from diabetes and thyroid are also found to have Vitamin D deficiency. This could explain why more youngsters are falling prey to health problems like osteoporosis.

Besides sunlight, an appropriate diet is also required. Head of the endocrinology department at KEM Hospital Dr Nalini Shah said Indian food, unlike in the West is not fortified with Vitamin D. Even after adequate exposure to sunlight , some may suffer from the deficiency, she said. “The UV rays may get filtered due to environmental conditions.”

A workable solution is to expose oneself to adequate sunlight every day for anywhere between 15-30 minutes, added Puri: “The good news is that public awareness is improving . “We do at least 150 Vitamin D tests a day, which was not the case few years ago,” she said.

THE ABCs OF D

It is a fat soluble vitamin, something that gets easily dissolved in body fat SUN’S RAYS | A major source of Vitamin D is exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. It is absorbed by the body when UV rays touch the skin. The chemical conversion of Vitamin D into its hormone form is performed by the liver and kidney

OTHER SOURCES |
Though its major source is sunlight, Vitamin D can also be found in certain food items such as raw milk and cod liver oil

WHY DO WE NEED IT?

It maintains normal calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood, which are needed for strong bones and healthy teeth. Phosphorous is required to keep the body’s muscles and nerves in working order
It aids in the absorption of calcium , and helps form and maintain strong bones

DEFICIENCY DANGERS

In adults, Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia, where the bones become thin and brittle It can cause muscular weakness It can lead to osteoporosis , which is the thinning of bone tissues and their degeneration over time In kids, it can cause rickets (weakening of bones) Studies have linked deficiency to diabetes, cancer, cardiac ailments, neuromuscular disorders and abnormal brain functions.

Link: http://bit.ly/eoahV8

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Family’s Tributes to Cancer Victim Cerys

By: Sam Malone–

A young woman who avoided the sun has died after contracting a rare form of skin cancer.

Cerys Harding, 21, knew nothing about her devastating illness until it had spread across her body into her brain, chest and spine and it was too late for doctors to act.

Her family have struggled to come to terms with the tragedy as Cerys did not like sunbeds or even sunbathing.

Mum Beverley, 50, said: “She was a girl who never ever sat in the sun, she hated the sun.

“She had dark hair and dark eyes and it didn’t make sense, none of it did.

“She didn’t use sunbeds or anything like that.

“She was the only person on the beach that had a towel on her as well as under her.”

University student Cerys had only recently celebrated her birthday in November when doctors discovered the cancer.

Beverley said her daughter was at the family home in Severn Grove, Canton, Cardiff, when the initial signs of what was to come appeared.

“We came home from town because she rang us saying she’d had this funny turn and she didn’t know what had happened.

“She remembered getting off the floor and then waking up again 45 minutes later in bed and she’d been sick,” Beverley said.

“I just rang NHS Direct because she didn’t seem really ill and we made an appointment for later that day.

“At the doctor’s we were told she needed a brain scan but we still weren’t really worried. We then went up to Llandough Hospital to have the scan and it all snowballed from there.”

The family described Cerys as an “angel” and “a parent’s dream” and said her first response was concern for them.

Dad David, 52, said: “She was worried about leaving us. That’s the first thing she said. We were all blown to bits but that was just how she was, always thinking of other people.

“All she said was that it wasn’t meant to be.”

Beverley added: “The only person she ever fell out with in her life was a boyfriend at uni. And after the diagnosis she said the one thing she had to do was to go and make her peace with him, which she did.

“That was the kind of girl she was, she didn’t like upsetting anyone.

“When she was younger if I ever shouted at Lloyd it would be Cerys who would be the one crying, she cared so much about other people.”

Both David and Beverley took time off work to care for Cerys and took her on one last holiday to Paris following the news – while extended family also flew over from Australia for one final Christmas together.

And while the occasion was extremely difficult for the family, Cerys made sure they all enjoyed it.

“It was as normal as it could be,” her brother Lloyd, 24, said.

“She told us ‘I don’t want everyone crying all over me, I just want to carry on as normal’, so that’s what we did.”

The family said Cerys, a former pupil of Severn Road Primary School and Cantonian High School, had aspirations to be a primary school teacher.

They added she had always been academic and said even though she did not finish the full three years of her history degree, Swansea University awarded it to her on the merit of the work she had already done.

“At that age you’re supposed to be indestructible,” Beverly added.

“Parents worry about their children when they’re babies but when they get to a certain age, never in a million years did we think anything like this would ever happen to Cerys as she still had so much to give.

“She was as honest as the day was long, she never did anything wrong. She said remember the good times, but the thing is we never had any bad times.”

Link: http://bit.ly/exeAdc

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Sunshine Weekends and Vitamin D May Save You from Melanoma

Sunlight, and plenty of it, may be the best method for reducing the risk of melanoma. An impressive piece of research on melanoma and sunlight appeared recently in the European Journal of Cancer.[1] Dr. Julia Newton Bishop and colleagues (thirteen scientists in all) researched sunlight exposure habits and compared those habits to the risk of melanoma in an English population. Among other notable findings was a considerable reduction in melanoma risk among those who received the highest summer sunlight exposure on weekends. Compared to those with the least exposure to sunlight on weekends, those who received 4-5 hours of sunlight during the weekends had a reduced risk of melanoma of 28%, and those who received more than 5 hours had a reduced risk of melanoma of 33%.

In general, the English have very light complexions—complexions that are known to be more susceptible to melanoma, a fact that makes the research even more interesting. One can only conclude from this information that regular sunlight exposure protects against melanoma. In reality, this result should come as no surprise; at least 16 studies have shown indoor workers are much more likely to contract melanoma than outdoor workers.[2] Other research points out that melanomas occur much more frequently on areas of the body that receive little or no exposure to sunlight.[3]

Finally, it is quite obvious that outdoor living has decreased dramatically since 1935. Based on materials furnished by the Department of Labor Statistics, I calculated that sunlight exposure has decreased by at least 83%..[4] Yet, the Melanoma International Foundation has stated, “Melanoma is epidemic: rising faster than any other cancer and projected to affect one person in 50 by 2010, currently it affects 1 in 75 . In 1935, only one in 1500 was struck by the disease.” In other words, as sunlight exposure has dropped profoundly, melanoma risk has increased by 3,000%! Based on those facts, the idea—that sunlight exposure is the cause of melanoma—is counterintuitive at best, and ludicrous at worst.

It is likely that vitamin D production in the skin, in response to sunlight, is a major player in reducing the risk of melanoma. Enzymes in melanoma cells form active vitamin D[5], which in turn can lead to melanoma cell death,[6] and in lab experiments, active vitamin D can destroy melanoma cells.[7] In fact, vitamin D works in many ways to reduce cancer. Here are just a few:

1. Vitamin D promotes apoptosis (normal cell death) so that cancer cells die normally.[8]

2. Vitamin D inhibits proliferation (out-of-control growth) of cancer cells.[9]

3. Vitamin D inhibits angiogenesis in cancerous tissue. Angiogenesis is the formation of blood vessels. It is a process that provides blood and nutrients to newly formed tissue. If angiogenesis in cancer cells can be stopped, the cells die. Vitamin D acts a selective angiogenesis inhibitor—it retards the growth of new, undesirable “feeder” blood vessels into cancer cells.[10]

4. Vitamin D inhibits metastasis (the spreading of cancer cells from the initial location of the disease to another location).[11]

The key to safe sunlight exposure is to avoid burning and to gradually develop a tan. Caution is always in order. To prevent melanoma, we need not to avoid the sunlight but safely embrace it!

 


[1] Newton-Bishop, J et. al. Relationship between sun exposure and melanoma risk for tumours in different body sites in a large case-control study in a temperate climate. European Journal of Cancer 2011; 4 7; 7 3 2 –7 4 1.

[2] Lee J. Melanoma and exposure to sunlight. Epidemiol Rev 1982;4:110–36.

Vågero D, Ringbäck G, Kiviranta H. Melanoma and other tumors of the skin among office, other indoor and outdoor workers in Sweden 1961–1979 Brit J Cancer 1986;53:507–12.

Kennedy C, Bajdik CD, Willemze R, De Gruijl FR, Bouwes Bavinck JN; Leiden Skin Cancer Study. The influence of painful sunburns and lifetime sun exposure on the risk of actinic keratoses, seborrheic warts, melanocytic nevi, atypical nevi, and skin cancer. Invest Dermatol 2003;120:1087–93.

Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.

Kaskel P, Sander S, Kron M, Kind P, Peter RU, Krähn G. Outdoor activities in childhood: a protective factor for cutaneous melanoma? Results of a case-control study in 271 matched pairs. Br J Dermatol 2001;145:602-09.

Garsaud P, Boisseau-Garsaud AM, Ossondo M, Azaloux H, Escanmant P, Le Mab G. Epidemiology of cutaneous melanoma in the French West Indies (Martinique). Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:66-8.

Le Marchand l, Saltzman S, Hankin JH, Wilkens LR, Franke SJM, Kolonel N. Sun exposure, diet and melanoma in Hawaii Caucasians. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:232-45.

Armstong K, Kricker A. The epidemiology of UV induced skin cancer. J Photochem Biol 2001;63:8-18

Crombie IK. Distribution of malignant melanoma on the body surface. Br J Cancer 1981;43:842-9.

Crombie IK. Variation of melanoma incidence with latitude in North America and Europe. Br J Cancer 1979;40:774-81.

Weinstock MA, Colditz,BA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. Bronstein, BR, Speizer FE. Nonfamilial cutaneous melanoma incidence in women associated with sun exposure before 20 years of age. Pediatrics 1989;84:199-204.

Tucker MA, Goldstein AM. Melanoma etiology: where are we? Oncogene 20f03;22:3042-52.

Berwick M, Armstrong BK, Ben-Porat L, Fine J, Kricker A, Eberle C. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Nat Cancer Inst 2005;97:95-199.

Veierød MB, Weiderpass E, Thörn M, Hansson J, Lund E, Armstrong B. A prospective study of pigmentation, sun exposure, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1530-8.

Oliveria SA, Saraiya M, Geller AC, Heneghan MK, Jorgensen C. Sun exposure and risk of melanoma. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:131-8.

Elwood JM, Gallagher RP, Hill GB, Pearson JCG. Cutaneous melanoma in relation to intermittent and constant sun exposure—the western Canada melanoma study. Int J Cancer 2006;35:427-33

[3] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.

Rivers, J. Is there more than one road to melanoma? Lancet 2004;363:728-30.

Crombie, I. Racial differences in melanoma incidence. Br J Cancer 1979;40:185-93.

[4] Ian D. Wyatt and Daniel E. Hecker. Occupational changes in the 20th century. Monthly Labor Review, March 2006 pp 35-57: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[5] Chida K, Hashiba H, Fukushima M, Suda T, Kuroki T. Inhibition of tumor promotion in mouse skin by 1 alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. J Cancer Res 1985;45:5426–30.

[6] Evans SR, Houghton AM, Schumaker L, Brenner RV, Buras RR, Davoodi F, et al. Vitamin D receptor and growth inhibition by 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in human malignant melanoma cell lines. J Surg Res 1996;61:127–33.

[7] Seifert M, Diesel B, Meese E, Tilgen W, Reichrath J. Expression of 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1alpha-hydroxylase in malignant melanoma: implications for growth control via local synthesis of 1,25(OH)D and detection of multiple splice variants. Exp Dermatol 2005;14:153–4.

[8] Diaz, G. et al. Apoptosis is induced by the active metabolite of vitamin D3 and its analogue EB1089 in colorectal adenoma and carcinoma cells: possible implications for prevention and therapy. Cancer Res 2000;60:2304-12.

Swamy, N. et al. Inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis by 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-3beta-(2)-Bromoacetate, a nontoxic and vitamin D receptor-alkylating analog of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in prostate cancer cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2004;10:8018-27.

Miller, E. et l. Calcium, vitamin D, and apoptosis in the rectal epithelium. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2005;14: 525-28.

[9] Swamy, N. et al. Inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis by 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-3beta-(2)-Bromoacetate, a nontoxic and vitamin D receptor-alkylating analog of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in prostate cancer cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2004;10:8018-27.

[10] Mantell, D. et al. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibits angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Circulation Research. 2000;87:214.

[11] Nakagawa K. et al. 1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) is a preventive factor in the metastasis of lung cancer. Carcinogenesis 2005;26:429-40.

El Abdaimi, K. et al. The vitamin D analogue EB 1089 prevents skeletal metastasis and prolongs survival time in nude mice transplanted with human breast cancer cells. Cancer Research 2000;60:4412-4418.

Lokeshwar B. et al. Inhibition of prostate cancer metastasis in vivo: a comparison of 1,23-dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol) and EB1089. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Rev. 1999;8:241-48. –

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Skin Cancer Group Ridiculously Says Don’t Show Your Skin to Natural Sunlight

By: Jonathan Benson–
Exposing skin to natural sunlight every day is the best way for the body to receive adequate levels of health-promoting and disease-preventing vitamin D. But in what can only be described as carrying on a legacy of pseudo-scientific stupidity, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP) — whose members include the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) — has recently come out urging people to avoid sunlight exposure at all costs, and instead take vitamin D supplements.

While vitamin D supplements can be helpful in treating cases of vitamin D deficiency, or during the winter months when sunlight exposure is limited, it is sheer lunacy to suggest that the sun is dangerous and must be avoided, as did NCSCP. Henry W. Lim, MD, co-chair of NCSCP and chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital, actually stated that he believes it is “not appropriate” to expose skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight.

UV radiation, however, is precisely what skin needs to be exposed to in order to produce vitamin D. And numerous recent studies have confirmed that not only is natural sunlight beneficial for skin, but avoiding it is responsible for all kinds of diseases, including the reemergence of rickets.

In other words, the NCSCP recommendations are a public health hazard, as not getting enough UV radiation from natural sunlight will destroy health. Even the supplementation recommendations from NCSCP are dismally low, constituting a mere 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Anticancer Research explains that the average adult needs around 8,000 IU of vitamin D a day to protect against serious diseases like diabetes and cancer.

To put it bluntly, avoiding the sun out of fear is pure stupidity. With proper antioxidant intake and a gradual conditioning of your skin to accept sunlight without burning, virtually everyone can benefit from regular sunlight exposure without having to accept the fear mongering and lies that have for too long kept people lathering themselves in toxic sunscreens and avoiding the sun at all costs.

To learn more about the many benefits of vitamin D, visit:
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

Link: http://bit.ly/fae4zn

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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