Vitamin D Information

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Tanning, Vitamin D and You

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin produced naturally in our bodies when exposed to sunlight. It helps the body absorb important vitamins like Calcium. However, during the winter months, when our sunlight exposure is significantly reduced, our Vitamin D levels tend to plummet.

The UV rays your body is exposed to during indoor tanning provide the same Vitamin D boost as the actual sun, but in a more controlled environment.

(NaturalNews) Treatment with Vitamin D supplements may slow the progress of prostate cancer, according to a study published in the journal BJU International.

In the United States, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men, after lung cancer. Approximately 240,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, leading to 30,000 deaths.

Researchers have suspected for nearly two decades that the so-called "sunshine vitamin" may play a role in the risk and progression of prostate cancer, but no studies have previously been conducted on its usefulness as a treatment.

"It's very interesting - there has been no significant trial of Vitamin D," said lead researcher Jonathan Waxman of Imperial College London. "This is a treatment which is unlikely to have significant toxicity and is a welcome addition to the therapeutic options for patients with prostate cancer."

Waxman decided to do the study when he learned of a prostate cancer patient who recovered after his wife bought Vitamin D pills for him. Waxman and colleagues recruited 26 men with prostate cancer and assigned them each to take a daily Vitamin D supplement. In five of the men, reductions in levels of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) were reduced.

In men with prostate cancer, PSA levels are an indicator of disease severity. One participant experienced a decrease in PSA levels less than 25 percent, two experienced decreases of between 25 and 50 percent, and two experienced decreases of more than 50 percent. In one of the participants, PSA levels remained reduced for a full 36 months.

Vitamin D is synthesized by the body upon exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. It plays a critical role in calcium absorption and bone health, and deficiency in the vitamin can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. Recent research has also suggested that Vitamin D can help prevent autoimmune disorders and a variety of chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Some scientists have stated that if everyone increased the amount of time they spent in the sun, far more lives would be saved from cancers prevented than would be lost from increased skin cancer cases.

A light-skinned person can get enough Vitamin D from getting 15 minutes of sun on the face and hands each day, while a darker skinned person might need up to 45 minutes. More sun exposure is needed at more extreme latitudes.

A connection between Vitamin D and prostate cancer was first suggested in 1990, when researchers suggested that the vitamin might tie together a variety of observed risk factors for the disease. A wide body of research has demonstrated that prostate cancer risk is higher at northern latitudes (where people get less Vitamin D), among older people (with reduced Vitamin D synthesis) and black people (who absorb less UV rays). Researchers have also found that men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the summer or autumn, when Vitamin D levels tend to be highest, have a better prognosis than men diagnosed in winter or spring.

In 1992, researchers also suggested that higher Vitamin D consumption in Japan might account for lower rates of prostate cancer there, relative to the United States. Japanese men consume more fatty fish, which is high in both Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that increase the vitamin's stability in the body, and soy, which slows the rate at which bodily Vitamin D breaks down.

Since then, studies have found that many prostate cancer cells contain Vitamin D receptors, and that Vitamin D can inhibit the growth of some of these cells.

Researchers also hypothesize that Vitamin D might inhibit the action of the androgen receptor, which produces male sex hormones that have been linked to the disease.

Moderate exposure to UVB light can solve Vitamin D deficiency: MD

Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Lifestyle Editor, Science Editor

TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - May 13, 2010) - It's time to take a common sense approach to UVB light exposure primarily because moderate UVB light exposure year round will help solve Canada's Vitamin D deficiency epidemic, says Dr. Zoltan Rona, a Toronto doctor specializing in complementary and alternative medicine.

"All cells, tissues and organs in the body have Vitamin D receptors, meaning they await the arrival of the vitamin to perform various vital functions," said Dr. Rona. A recent Statistics Canada survey found 65 per cent of Canadians are Vitamin D deficient. "I believe the actual number is much higher. In my own practice, over 90 per cent of my new patients are Vitamin D deficient."

A study published last month in the peer reviewed Molecular Nutrition & Food research journal, An Estimate of the Economic Burden and Premature Deaths Due to Vitamin D Deficiency in Canada showed Vitamin D deficiency is contributing to 37,000 deaths per year in Canada.

In his new book, Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin, Dr. Rona recommends Canadians consider using a sunbed that emits UVB light during the winter months to maintain healthy Vitamin D blood levels.

He says Canada must overcome its case of sunphobia - a condition imposed on the population by sun paranoid dermatologists who are paid to promote sunscreens and telling Canadians to spend too much time indoors due to the fear of aging from sun damage, as contributing factors to Vitamin D deficiency. "The truth is that the benefits of ultraviolet light have been underestimated while its dangers have been grossly exaggerated", said Dr. Rona "It's not too late to return to some balance as it relates to our relationship with the sun."

Because of the country's northern latitudes, Canadians can't produce Vitamin D naturally from the sun for four to six months of the year.

"We need to re-examine our current condemnation of all UV exposure. The health implications of Vitamin D deficiency caused by anti sun messaging have put our health at risk. This needs to change. Due to its relationship with UVB light and its ability to produce Vitamin D the skin could turn out to be the body's most important organ as it relates to disease prevention," Dr. Rona said.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

"Human beings evolved under ultraviolet light. This is the way our bodies were biologically designed to produce Vitamin D and it is a mistake to ignore this. In Canada we are unable to produce adequate Vitamin D from sunlight six months of the year," Dr. Rona said. "For this reason, all sources of Vitamin D need to be utilized. If you can't bask in the summer sun, then jump into a tanning bed or take a supplement to get your Vitamin D levels up," he added.


5 Ways Vitamin D Could Save Your Life

'GMA' Medical Contributor Marie Savard Explains the Best Ways to Get Vitamin D
Aug. 3, 2009

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, and it has a lot of sunny benefits, but most Americans aren't getting them because they aren't getting enough of it.
Between 50 percent and 75 percent of Americans get suboptimal levels of Vitamin D, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Now a committee at the Institute of Medicine is meeting to determine whether the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D should be increased. ABC medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard came on "Good Morning America" today to offer five ways Vitamin D can aid your health and tell you how to get more of it.

Why People Are Vitamin D Deficient

Nature gave us only one good source of Vitamin D, and that is the sun. We are meant to absorb Vitamin D from the sun through our skin.
When we lived closer to the equator and worked outdoors, we were OK. But that is not the case today. And food is not a good source of Vitamin D, not even fortified food.

Five Ways Vitamin D Can Save Your Life

  • Promotes Weight Loss - You need Vitamin D to effectively lose weight. Your insulin works better, and Vitamin D helps you lose belly fat. Diabetes is also related to low Vitamin D levels.
  • Reduces Risk of Death - Your overall mortality is reduced.
  • Fewer Bone Fractures - Without Vitamin D, calcium can't be absorbed. But if you get enough Vitamin D, it can help you avoid osteoporosis, bone fractures and falling, which is a cause of morbidity among the elderly.
  • Reduces Risk of Heart Disease - Vitamin D improves blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.
  • Helps Fight Cancer - Vitamin D improves the functioning of your immune system, and that helps fight cancer.

Five Ways to Get Vitamin D

  • 15 Minutes of Sun 3 Times Per Week - You can get 10-15 minutes of high-noon sun exposure in warmer climates a few times a week. In the South you can do this all year long; but in the North it will work only in the summer months. But this is unrealistic for those who already wear sunscreen all day, or have been warned to stay out of the sun by their doctors.
  • Fatty Fish and Cod Liver Oil - If you are one of those people who have been warned to stay out of the sun, another good natural source of Vitamin D is fatty fish.
    In food, Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fish like salmon and in cod liver oil.
  • Fortified Dairy Products - You also can get Vitamin D in fortified dairy products. But you need to be careful. There are only 100 units of Vitamin D per cup, so kids and most adults would need at least four cups of dairy products per day.
    You could drink four glasses of milk a day, but most people choose not to.
  • Multivitamin Supplements - Most multivitamins have a substantial amount of Vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D Supplements - I recommend 1000 to 2000 international units of Vitamin D supplements every day. It's cheap, there are no side effects or down sides. Although D3 is considered more potent and longer lasting, both D2 and D3 are acceptable.



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