The Magic of Vitamin D

May 31, 2015

NICE is finally supporting the advice that Environ founder, Dr Des Fernandes, has been giving for years.  Their aim is to encourage people to modify their behaviour, reduce deaths from skin cancer and, notably, to reduce diseases from vitamin D deficiency caused by lack of UV exposure.

Dr Des Fernandes says:

We used to live in a way that meant most people made adequate amounts of vitamin D for a significant period every year because we went out into the sunlight for extended periods every day.  Now we generally only get a reasonable amount of sun-exposure on weekends …. or worse still, some people totally avoid the sun for fear of getting a wrinkle, pigmentation marks or skin cancer

We need sunlight

…. in the summer time because that’s the only time that we get exposed to UVB rays.  In winter, because of the angle of the rays coming through the atmosphere, the UVB rays are filtered out.

We need sunlight in the mid-day period because that’s the only time that we get exposed to UVB rays that will make vitamin D.  We are every good at blocking out UVB rays: an SPF15 gives 96% protection, so we becoming vitamin D deficient.

At all other times we are exposed to UVA which destroys vitamin D … and that’s why we can walk around with low vitamin D levels in our blood, even when we think we are constantly enriched with vitamin D.

Dangers of low vitamin D status

Virtually everyone in the UK who does not take vitamin D supplements has a low normal level of vitamin D in their blood, or, more likely, a really low level below the normal range.  Have your doctor check your blood levels of vitamin D and you may be shocked to find out how low it is.

So, what does vitamin D protect us from?

  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancers
    • about 26 difference cancers have been described as being related to low vitamin D.  For example, breast cancer is more common the further you are from the equator.  In the US 600,000 people die from a cancer that could have been saved by having higher vitamin D levels
  • Colds and common flu because vitamin D promotes our immune system
  • Depression – vitamin D is the ‘happy’ vitamin
  • With high levels it may even protect us from melanoma.  Researchers now believe melanoma can come from not enough of the right sun exposure

How to ensure a healthy vitamin D level

  1. Get a little sun exposure without sunscreen between 10am to 4pm …. yes, exactly when you have been told to avoid the sun to prevent skin cancer
  2. Stay in the sun for just half the time it would take y our skin to go pink (if you stay out too long unprotected you can destroy the vitamin D you made)
  3. If you don’t expose your skin to sunlight, then supplement with both vitamin A and D orally

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