Sunshine Superman

December 22, 2009 at 6:25 AM | Posted in diet, Mental health | 3 Comments
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One all too common consequence of the sedentary, sheltered lives we typically lead these days is Vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin at all, but a hormone produced by the body when its exposed to sunlight.  Unfortunately, many of us don’t spend much time outdoors these days.  Not only are we usually sequestered away in our homes, schools or offices most of the time, some of us, for fear of being struck by a very deadly form of skin cancer known as melanoma, are limiting our exposure to an even greater extent now by liberally applying sunblock before venturing into the great outdoors for any great length of time.  Although this hasn’t resulted in a new pandemic of Ricketts, it’s become apparent that low levels of Vitamin D can make us vulnerable to a wide variety of other types of health problems, including osteoporosis, muscle weakness, prostate and breast cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, schizophrenia, depression, and cardiovascular disease.  In fact, nearly everyday a new clinical study is published showing that Vitamin D ameliorative effects on one disease or another, or showing that low levels of Vitamin D correlate with this or that unhealthy condition. That’s why a recent perspective in JAMA suggests that the minimum recommended daily intake of Vitamin D be revised upwards.  Of course, people might also consider spending a little more time outdoors. A little sun can be good for you.  And a bit of fresh air wouldn’t hurt either.

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  1. I’m curious if there are any studies that show the effects on vitamin D levels when using sunblock. Being fair skinned, I have used sunblock almost everyday since I was in my teens. I’ll have to find vitamin D elsewhere because I don’t want to chance melanoma. An added concern is that I don’t drink or eat a lot of dairy products. I understand vitamin supplements may not be the best source due to low absorption. Do you know, aside from sunlight and dairy products, good sources of vitamin D?

    • Apparently, sunblock does effectively inhibit the production of the active form of vitamin D.

  2. Eggs, liver, sardines, tuna, mackerel, cod liver oil, and salmon are high in vitamin D. In addition to dairy products, orange juice and some cereals are also often fortified with vitamin D.


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