We Are Sunshine

HEADLINE STORY: $20 million U.S. government-sponsored study to examine natural vitamin D doses and cancer reduction

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

JUNE 24, 2009 — A massive U.S. government study of vitamin D and fish oil is setting out to be the largest-to-date examination of The Sunshine Vitamin’s apparent role in reducing the risk of most forms of cancer, heart disease and strokes.

2009-06-24-big-day-copy.jpg“The new study, which will start later this year, will enroll 20,000 people with no history of heart attacks, stroke or a major cancer – women 65 or older and men 60 or older. They will be randomly assigned to take vitamin D, fish oil, both nutrients or dummy pills for five years,” NBC News reported on its MSNBC web site. “The daily dose of vitamin D will be about 2,000 international units of D-3, also known as cholecalciferol, the most active form. For fish oil, the daily dose will be about one gram — five to 10 times what the average American gets.”

Of particular significance in the new study: the dosage of Sunshine Vitamin — 2,000 IU daily — is consistent only with what individuals who get regular sun exposure naturally would receive. There is no other natural source of vitamin D that comes close to what the skin makes when naturally exposed to UVB in sunshine.

“It will be interesting to see how this study is spun, because we’re already seeing how other industry groups are spinning vitamin D as a supplement rather than as a natural pre-hormone made primarily when skin is exposed to sunlight,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. They’ll be using supplements in this study but the supplement levels are really just a surrogate for levels that people get naturally when they are exposed to UVB in sunlight.”

Dr. JoAnn Manson and Dr. Julie Buring, of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, will co-lead the study. According to NBC News, participants’ health will be monitored through questionnaires, medical records and in some cases, periodic in-person exams. The research team has set up a web site about the study — — but exact details are still sketchy.

“It will be interesting to see how the most-active vitamin D researchers view this study’s protocol,” Levy said. “We will be following that with great interest.”

To read the NBC News story click here.