We Are Sunshine

TODAY’S HEADLINE STORY: Canadian Cancer Society supports vitamin D, but misinforms about sunlight’s role as the primary source.

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

The Canadian Cancer Society Tuesday supported higher vitamin D supplementation for Canadians in the winter, but in doing so conspicuously misrepresented the fact that sunlight exposure to the skin is the body’s principle means of making vitamin D.

2008-10-29-one-size-copy.jpgOne need only examine the wording in CCS’s press release, which makes it appear that sun exposure is merely a secondary means of making vitamin D as compared to diet and supplements. The press release stated: “In addition to taking supplements, people can get Vitamin D by exposure to sunlight and in their diets.”

The words ‘in addition’ are incredibly misleading: A full body tan is documented to be more than 100 times as effective a source of vitamin D as compared to a glass of whole milk. And while sun exposure in the winter in Canada is not sufficient to manufacture any vitamin D, the CCS confounded the report by adding “The Society cautions Canadians who travel south during the winter months about overexposing themselves to sunlight.”

The CCS release quoted CCS official Cathy Adair as saying, “A few minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure is usually all that is needed for some people to get enough Vitamin D.”

There is no research to support that position whatsoever. “While we are encouraged that CCS is recommending vitamin D, what we know about sunshine and vitamin D is that there is absolutely no justification for a one-size-fits-all approach, and that at the newer higher vitamin D recommended levels there is no data to support the statement that a few minutes a day is all you need,” Smart Tan Chairman Matt D. Russell said. “What CCS needs to tell Canadians is that they need to get their vitamin D blood levels tested. That’s the only real way you can tell if you are getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. We hope CCS will investigate this further.”

To read CCS’ press release click here.