Its possible that the medical profession, in trying to be good, have led the us to overreact again when it comes to getting the right amount of sunlight.
We have been told that sunlight is bad… it will give us melanoma, squamous and basal cell skin cancers… we need to cover up at all times, we need to block out the nasty UV rays from the sun with a sun block cream.
Well guess what happened… we were wrong. So says a growing number of doctors and research scientists from around the world that now acknowledge the benefits of sunlight and its ability to reverse vitamin d deficiency. Who has vitamin d deficiency? Most of us have it to some degree claims Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD who is a professor of surgery, and teaches cardiac surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Seattle VA Medical Center.
I have a lot of respect for Dr Miller because he is a bit of a maverick of the medical profession in the way he questions current medical practices and advice. Everything I have read by him is full of common sense and he shares my enthusiasm for looking at nutritional and lifestyle causes and treatments of diseases rather than drug based treatment of symptoms.
So Do You Have Vitamin D Deficiency Or Not?
Dr Miller says you probably do.
His article Vitamin D in a New Light says that the majority of Americans have insufficient or deficient vitamin D blood levels. Rickets is the most notable related disease but is the tip of a vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency iceberg. A lack of Vitamin D can also trigger infections (influenza and tuberculosis), autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease), cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
He goes on to say: ‘The U.S. government and its citizens currently spend $2,000 billion dollars ($2 trillion) on “health care,” i.e., sickness care, each year. The cost of taking a 5,000 IU supplement of vitamin D every day for a year is $22.00. The cost for 300 million Americans taking this supplement would be $6.6 billion dollars. The number and variety of diseases that vitamin D at this dose could prevent, starting with a 50 percent reduction in cancer, is mind-boggling. If everyone took 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D, the U.S. “health care” industry would shrink.’
‘Sensible sun exposure should be encouraged, not maligned. If one avoids sunburn, the sun’s health-giving benefits far outweigh its detrimental effects. A large body of evidence indicates that sunlight does not cause the most lethal form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma.’
So What Can You Do?
You can find vitamin D in foods such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, cod liver oil and sun-dried mushrooms but you probably won’t get enough to reach levels recommended by Dr Miller for optimal health. His recommendation is for daily doses of 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 which you can take as inexpensive pills.
So What Am I Going To Do?
Well I go to the beach a lot in the warmer months so I think I am OK because he says that ‘a light-skinned person will synthesize 20,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D in 20 minutes sunbathing on a Caribbean beach’. And for the winter months… I will add 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. Done!