We Are Sunshine

TODAY’S HEADLINE STORY: American Academy of Dermatology Issues Misleading Statement on Vitamin D

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Although sun exposure to the skin is the most abundant and only true natural source of vitamin D, the American Academy of Dermatology Thursday issued a statement recommending that the public rely completely on unnatural sources of vitamin D to satisfy new higher vitamin D recommendations.

2008-12-04-d-denial-copy.jpgThe Academy’s press release states explicitly 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.”

The problem with AAD’s recommendation: There is no data suggesting that anyone can maintain higher vitamin D recommendations with diet, and higher dosage supplements are not widely accessible to most people nor are they the natural, intended source of vitamin D. Currently, 40-60 percent of Americans are considered vitamin D deficient, and 97 percent of Canadians are vitamin D deficient at some point in the year.

AAD is putting itself on an island in clinging to its archaic “sun scare” policies. Even the American Cancer Society has acknowledged that total sun avoidance no longer makes sense.

“AAD is burying their heads in the sand,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Their position appears to be more about rationalizing their antiquated policy than about making any sense for real people. There is absolutely no data to support their assertion that vitamin D levels can be maintained without sun exposure. If that were the case, how could so much of society be vitamin D deficient today?”

AAD’s position also misses the point completely that dietary vitamin D recommendations are only a intermediary to what we need to teach people: That vitamin D blood levels need to be maintained between 40-60 ng/ml to take advantage of all of vitamin D’s functions.

“Daily allowances are not an end-point, and AAD doesn’t seem to get that,” Levy said. “The entire vitamin D community has already been joined by many public health groups in recognizing the need to increase vitamin D blood levels. But AAD is content to cling to old science and archaic ‘fear the sun’ recommendations that no longer make sense.”

No research has ever implicated moderate sun exposure in a non-burning fashion as a mechanism for permanent skin damage — a caveat that sun scare purveyors conveniently push aside in making sweeping ‘stay out of the sun’ recommendations.