Vitamin D is easy and free to absorb into the body. All it takes is going outside. Sunlight is free and available to everybody. There have been new studies in the media lately that say vitamin D supplements do not provide a significant amount of support for a body. It is also difficult to receive the recommended amount from food. This is not surprising. Nothing can equal the amount of intake the sun can provide. There was a time when people naturally spent more time enjoying the outdoors. Flat screens televisions, computers and cellphones make it so easy to sit inside and get practically everything done. There is no need to go out as much as people used to.
It can be a bit confusing deciding whether to choose the easy exposure to the sun route. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states it is important to protect one’s self from ultraviolet (UV) radiation all year round. It says UV rays can reach you from the sun no mater the weather since snow, water, sand and cement reflect the rays. In addition tanning also provides exposure. One of CDC’s recommendations to avoid UV rays exposure is to use sunscreen. An ABC News post by Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University, Michel McDonald, M.D., states “Sunblock does prevent you from being able to convert vitamin D to the active metabolite that you need.” There are varying theories on this based to some extent on the amount of sunscreen used.
In a Health US News article, writer Deborah Kotz states Australian National University epidemiologist, Robyn Lucas found possibly when western countries promoted protection from the sun the education might have been a bit extreme. It is understood the concern over the rising rates of skin cancer caused the reaction. Lucas also states everyone needs some time without sunscreen during midday to receive UV-B rays for vitamin D absorption. The Vitamin D Council says lighter people do not need as much sun exposure as darker people to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Science Daily reports lead investigator Barry I. Freedman, M.D.; John H. Felts, III, Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine and Nephrology; Chief, Section on Nephrology found supplemental vitamin D may be harmful to black people. Freedman states “In black patients, lower levels of vitamin D may not signify deficiency to the same extent as in whites.” He advises using caution when providing supplements of the vitamin because it may increase calcium deposits in the arteries.
Dr. Freedman said black people have lower vitamin D levels than white people in general. This is due to naturally having higher levels of melanin. The studies also revealed that when blacks receive equal health care treatment they have fewer heart attacks than whites. When health care access is unequal, whites have less heart attacks. Furthermore it was found higher levels of vitamin D became more calcium in the artery walls of blacks. For whites it is the exact opposite reaction. This means the required normal amounts of vitamin D intake is different for blacks and whites.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to heart attacks, rickets, osteoporosis, heart disease and cancers of the breast, prostate and colon. On the up side sunshine protects against depression, insomnia and an overactive immune system according to Lucas. In addition the sun does not provide vitamin D through windows. Those living north of Atlanta receive less UV B rays in general due to the angle of the sun’s rays being lower. Vitamin D shortage from the sun has been linked to children possibly being diagnosed with anemia. The message seems to be with it being so easy to acquire vitamin D people obviously need to spend more time outside.
By Dada Ra
Health U.S. News