We Are Sunshine

Massachusetts report gets the point about the “Sunshine Vitamin”

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

A Western Massachusetts business journal this week hit the nail on the head when it comes to sunshine as the only true natural source of vitamin D, publishing a story that painted the picture that total sun avoidance is a sure ticket to vitamin D deficiency.

2009-01-07-out-of-the-dark-tanningnews-copy.jpg“Dr. Ken Aquilino says ingesting foods rich in vitamin D won’t do much good unless the vitamin is triggered by exposure to the sun — which many kids aren’t getting enough of,” the journal Business West Online reported in its story, “Shady Dealings: Lack of Sunshine Has Many People at Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency.”

The story reported that “There are many reasons not to like the shorter days that come this time of year, ranging from the psychological to the practical. Here’s one people might not be thinking much about. Less sunlight (not to mention less time in the sun when it is out) means less vitamin D, which is transferred to people’s bodies directly from the sun’s rays. And that can carry some health risks.”

Aquilino, quoted through the story, is an internist at Holyoke Medical Center. “There’s less sunlight during the day, and it’s cold outside, especially in the New England area. So a lot of people are at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency,” he told the journal.

The story continued, “For many children, however, lack of adequate sunshine has become a year-round problem because they don’t spend as much time outdoors as young people from previous generations did. Several factors — including parents’ safety concerns about playing outside, the growing popularity of video games and the Internet, and increasing rates of childhood obesity due to sedentary lifestyles — have converged to keep children out of the sun, meaning they’re not getting that natural dose of vitamin D.”

Aquilino reported that he is testing all of his patients for vitamin D deficiency now — and it’s the indoor dwellers who are turning up deficient. Business West calls sunlight “the best option” to get vitamin D.

Click here to read the full story.