We Are Sunshine

Sunlight Deprivation = D Deficiency

Monday, August 9th, 2010

2010-07-27 Not enough sun copy“As a species, we do not get as much sun exposure as we used to, and dietary sources of vitamin D are minimal.” — Harvard School of Public Health nutritional researcher Dr. Edward Giovannucci, as quoted in The New York Times this week from his recent article in The Archives of Internal Medicine.

The New York Times article — “What Do You Lack? Probably Vitamin D” — was penned by health columnist Jane Brody. “While studies continue to refine optimal blood levels and recommended dietary amounts, the fact remains that a huge part of the population — from robust newborns to the frail elderly, and many others in between — are deficient in this essential nutrient,” Brody wrote.

Brody seems to understand that sun exposure is the only way to meet natural vitamin D levels, but has not quite figured out that those levels don’t mean getting “extra” supplement. Rather, indoor lifestyles deprive the body of what it always should have had. “Given appropriate sun exposure in summer, it is possible to meet the body’s yearlong need for vitamin D,” she writes — despite the fact that no research truly confirms that this is really true for everyone. “But so many factors influence the rate of vitamin D formation in skin that it is difficult to establish a universal public health recommendation.”

Brody reported that Vitamin D pioneer Dr. Michael Holick believes that “going outside in summer unprotected by sunscreen (except for the face, which should always be protected) wearing minimal clothing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. two or three times a week for 5 to 10 minutes.”

To read the rest of Brody’s column click here.