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"Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light" -- Globe and Mail

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  • "Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light" -- Globe and Mail

    Great article in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper...

    Excerpts from "Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light":
    For decades, researchers have puzzled over why rich northern countries have cancer rates many times higher than those in developing countries — and many have laid the blame on dangerous pollutants spewed out by industry.

    But research into vitamin D is suggesting both a plausible answer to this medical puzzle and a heretical notion: that cancers and other disorders in rich countries aren't caused mainly by pollutants but by a vitamin deficiency known to be less acute or even non-existent in poor nations.
    What's more, researchers are linking low vitamin D status to a host of other serious ailments, including multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, influenza, osteoporosis and bone fractures among the elderly.
    Authorities are implicated because the main way humans achieve healthy levels of vitamin D isn't through diet but through sun exposure. People make vitamin D whenever naked skin is exposed to bright sunshine. By an unfortunate coincidence, the strong sunshine able to produce vitamin D is the same ultraviolet B light that can also causes sunburns and, eventually, skin cancer.

    Only brief full-body exposures to bright summer sunshine — of 10 or 15 minutes a day — are needed to make high amounts of the vitamin. But most authorities, including Health Canada, have urged a total avoidance of strong sunlight or, alternatively, heavy use of sunscreen. Both recommendations will block almost all vitamin D synthesis.

    Those studying the vitamin say the hide-from-sunlight advice has amounted to the health equivalent of a foolish poker trade. Anyone practising sun avoidance has traded the benefit of a reduced risk of skin cancer — which is easy to detect and treat and seldom fatal — for an increased risk of the scary, high-body-count cancers, such as breast, prostate and colon, that appear linked to vitamin D shortages.


    "Fifteen hundred Americans die every year from [skin cancers]. Fifteen hundred Americans die every day from the serious cancers."
    Just how much vitamin D is required for optimum health is the subject of intense scientific inquiry.

    Dr. Vieth has approached the matter by asking: What vitamin D level would humans have if they were still living outside, in the wild, near the equator, with its attendant year-round bright sunshine? "Picture the natural human as a nudist in environments south of Florida," he says.
    Read the full article here:

  • #2
    Something else to think about. There are two forms of Vit. D. D2, or ergocalciferol and D3, or cholecalciferol. D2 is the primary kind we get when eating. It is also usually the kind found in supplements, although that may be changing. D3 is what we get when in the sun.

    They both turn into the same kind of Vit D in the body, but D3 is about three times more potent than D2. So ultimately, a balanced diet and some moderate sun exposure is still the way to go. And while you are outside, get some exercise as well.

    Bob S.


    • #3
      Sometimes common sense and listening to your body is in order. Many people (including me) feel their very best when they get sunlight and have a tan. And it's a natural process. And yet certain doctors will tell you what a terrible thing you are doing to your body.