We Are Sunshine

Nutritionist spreads misinformation about sunshine and vitamin D in promoting diet and supplements as vitamin D sources.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

JULY 20, 2009 — Sun Scare Lie of the Week: “While we wait for better agreement about whether modest sun exposure is healthy or hazardous, researchers agree than skin production of vitamin D is limited. At least for light and medium pigmented skin, continued sun exposure beyond a few minutes does not raise vitamin D levels but will increase skin damage. And with or without sun exposure, more and more seem to agree that vitamin D supplementation may be necessary to reach optimal levels, at least until food fortification becomes widespread.”

2009-07-20-lie-of-the-week-tanningnews-copy.jpgNutritionist Karen Collins, in a column she wrote for nutrition web site Collins, who has a private practice as a nutritionist in New York, is just plain wrong on several levels:

1) Skin production of vitamin D is NOT limited. Humans get 90 percent of their vitamin D naturally from sun exposure because sunlight is the body’s natural and intended way to make vitamin D. Food that gets its vitamin D from sun is a supplemental source, but is a pale surrogate for “the sunshine vitamin.” A full-body tan makes more vitamin D than you find in 100 glasses of whole milk.

2) Light and medium-pigmented skin IS lightly pigmented in order to manufacture vitamin D from the sun more efficiently in less sunny climates. Fair-skinned cultures evolved further from the equator. As for skin damage, there is no data in existence to suggest that regular, non-burning exposure to sunlight is a significant risk factor for skin damage. To suggest that UV is dangerous without that caveat is fraudulent and irresponsible.

3) Vitamin D supplementation should only be considered a surrogate for what is natural: UV exposure to make vitamin D.

“The dermatology lobby and some nutritionists are starting to spin the lie that humans can no longer get the D they need from sun exposure. That’s ludicrous at best and academic fraud at worst,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Vitamin D is called ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ for a reason. Sunshine is the only true natural source.”

To read Collins’ entire column — which will give you an idea how the for-profit nutrition industry is trying to steal ownership of “the sunshine hormone” from Mother Nature — click here.