We Are Sunshine

Scientific American Looks at Michael Holick Firing 5 Years Later

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Scientific American this month took a look at the curious case of Vitamin D pioneer Dr. Michael Holick who was fired from the Boston University Dermatology Department five years ago this month for daring to suggest that regular UV light could be beneficial.

2009-02-02-youre-fired-tanningnews-copy.jpgHolick, who still holds professorships in medicine, physiology and biophysics, and is still director of the BU General Clinical Research Center, has since been proven correct on all of his assumptions — that most Americans are vitamin D deficient and that regular UV exposure is the most natural and abundant source of ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ leaving the BU dermatology department with more egg on their face.

“If the name Michael Holick means anything to you, you will recall that he was asked to resign from a post in Boston University’s dermatology department in February 2004 for promoting “sensible sun exposure” in his book The UV Advantage,” Scientifc American wrote. “Holick’s thesis — which was apparently anathema to Boston University derm department chair Barbara Gilchrest — is that most people who live in the US north of Atlanta are vitamin D deficient because one of the key sources of that vitamin is the sun. (Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and thus strong, healthy bones.) And even when the sun shines brightest, and for the longest, during the summer, we’re told to shun the sun and slather our bodies in high SPF sunscreens to defend against skin cancer.”

The article continued, “But in doing so we might be hiking our risk for a variety of health problems including heart disease, breast cancer, and colon cancer, says Holick. ‘You have about a 30 to 50 percent decreased risk of developing colon, prostate, and breast cancer if you maintain adequate vitamin D levels throughout your life,’ Holick said in a 2007 interview with a Canadian television station.”

Holick said of the dermatology community, “They continue to have blinders on.” Despite massive evidence to the contrary, dermatology insists that people should get vitamin D from food or supplements instead of the body’s most natural source, sunshine exposure.

To read the Scientific American story click here.