A new article has been published online by Lorna Nessi PhD promoting UV exposure to combat the global pandemic of Vitamin d Deficiency. The pandemic is now so bad that there has been a resurgence of children diagnosed with Rickets, a disease almost completely eradicated in the 1950’s. Modern UK soceity does not have the widespread cases of malnutrition as a result of rationing in World War 2 and as such, the primary cause is lack of UV exposure.
Nessi states that “It is possible to obtain vitamin D principally from food and food supplements, but the main and best source of vitamin D is sun exposure”. UV exposure has been recently demonised by the media, screaming headlines of the risk of cancer, but as we have previously demonstrated, the research in this area is not infallible.The research was based on a very small group and of this group, a negligible number used commercial sunbeds. Even statisticians have shown that the results from the research is not statistically significant and as such, further research is certainly required. However, we are currently in a position whereby the world population is so terrified of UV light, that SPF lotions are slathered on in bucketfuls, as Nessi says;
“Conflicting recommendations about the risks of sun exposure and its relationship to skin cancer has contributed to a lack of exposure to the sun’s UV rays as people cover up and use sunscreen. Nonetheless there are a multitude of factors at work here, and a sharp rise in time spent indoors must be considered as a significant contributing social factor”
Yes, there is always a risk of cancer if we expose ourselves to excess of any environment, product or food. Excess alcohol, smoking, red meat, mobile phone use, pollution and so on, but moderation is always the key when considering the human body. This excess in respect of avoiding sunlight has resulted in a suggested 80% of the European population and 50% of the global population being vitamin D deficient
We know that Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for optimal health with the majority of biological functions (such as regulation of the immune system and the conversion of calcium which is important for strong bones). Research has associated Vitamin D deficiency with a multitude of illnesses, such as Cancer, Dementia, Osteoporosis, Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis, to name just a few.
We have previously reported on the work of Dr Michael Holick, who is leading the research on Vitamin D and frequently reports on not only the illnesses associated with deficiency, but the causes and effects. Not only are children at risk, but nursing mothers and the elderly, people who are confined indoors, even people who cover their bodies for social or religious reasons
Whilst Vitamin D supplements are readily available, research has shown that these are not as effective as UV exposure in the production of Vitamin D, let alone the cost involved. As Nessi says “Direct sunlight exposure facilitates synthesis of vitamin D by the body itself, and there is evidence that this provides additional benefits which the supplements alone cannot.
In order for the body to synthesize vitamin D, direct sun exposure is needed. The recommended amount of exposure has been found to depend on a whole range of factors such as skin pigmentation, age, altitude, latitude, diet, clothing and an individual’s current vitamin D levels. Consequently, it is impossible to provide accurate general guidelines as to how much sun exposure is required to avoid vitamin D deficiency”
“It is proven that sun exposure is not only beneficial but essential for human beings. Still in much of the Western world, this fear of sunlight coupled with the long dark days of winter, and rainy summers without enough sun are keeping us from obtaining even the minimum sunlight necessary for our bodies to obtain the chemical benefits. Our sedentary lifestyles frequently keep us closer to the dim light of a bulb or that of a flickering computer screen than to the sun, and even when we do exercise we often choose to do this indoors in a gym or sports facility. It seems that it is high time we turn once more to worship the sun — source and sustainer of all life on Earth”
The Tanning Shop is now stocking Smartsun wristbands which measure the amount of UV exposure an individual experiences throughout a 24 hour period. For more information, see our blog on “UV indicator Wristbands” Remember, The Tanning Shop is dedicated to responsible tanning practices and store staff are always happy to assist you with any queries. Contact us either at Customer Services or ask in-store.
Nessi, L. (2013) Scared of the Sun – The Global Pandemic Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Gartner, L. (2003). Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency: New Guidelines for Vitamin D Intake PEDIATRICS, 111 (4), 908-910
Hanley, D., Cranney, A., Jones, G., Whiting, S., Leslie, W., & , . (2010). Vitamin D in adult health and disease: a review and guideline statement from Osteoporosis Canada (summary) Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182 (12), 1315-1319
Heaney RP, Recker RR, Grote J, Horst RL, & Armas LA (2011). Vitamin D(3) is more potent than vitamin D(2) in humans. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 96 (3)
Holick MF (2006). Resurrection of vitamin D deficiency and rickets. The Journal of clinical investigation, 116 (8), 2062-72
Holick MF, & Chen TC (2008). Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87