We Are Sunshine

HEADLINE STORY: Dermatology lobbyists still refuse to acknowledge UV as the ultimate source of vitamin D

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

JULY 16, 2009 — The American Academy of Dermatology changed its position statement on vitamin D this week, acknowledging that sun avoidance will put people at risk for vitamin D deficiency, but also saying that people should continue to use sunscreen daily.

2009-07-16-stubborn-denial-copy.jpg“The Academy continues to recommend that the public obtain vitamin D from nutritional sources and dietary supplements, and not from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or indoor tanning devices,” AAD said in a press release this week. “The Academy’s position statement on vitamin D now also states that individuals who regularly and properly practice sun protection, such as the daily use of sunscreen on exposed skin or the wearing of sun protective clothing, may be at risk for vitamin D insufficiency. A higher dose of vitamin D may be necessary for these individuals and others with known risk factors for vitamin D insufficiency, such as those with dark skin, the elderly, photosensitive individuals, people with limited sun exposure, obese individuals or those with fat malabsorption. Therefore, the Academy encourages those with concerns about their levels of vitamin D to discuss options for obtaining sufficient dietary or supplementary sources of vitamin D with their physician.”

Their position continues to be that there is no safe threshold for any UV exposure and that the hundreds of studies on the benefits of vitamin D — including clinical random trials — are not convincing enough yet.

In fact, there are no studies showing that tanning in a non-burning fashion results in a significant risk for melanoma skin cancer — a distinction left out of AAD’s condemnation of UV light, nor have researchers identified clinically how UV and melanoma are definitively linked, if at all. Some researchers — including some dermatology researchers — say they may not be at all.

AAD continues to downplay the credibility of vitamin D researcher — despite the fact that it far outweighs skin cancer research.

“Contrary to some reported information about vitamin D and the prevention of certain cancers and diseases — other than for bone health, we simply need more clinical data to determine what role, if any, vitamin D plays in these conditions,” AAD President David M. Pariser said in the release, repeating that he believes it is possible to get all the D you need through diet and supplements.

What else is new in AAD’s position is a legal disclaimer which some could interpret as a cover, as the allegation has been made that AAD’s position has actually contributed to vitamin D deficiency. “This statement reflects the best available data at the time the report was prepared,” AAD states at the end of the paper. “However, caution should be exercised in interpreting the data. The results of future studies may require alteration of the conclusions or recommendations in this report.”

To view AAD’s position click here.