Monday, July 09, 2007

Sunshine No Guarantee of Vitamin D

news you may not knowGimme The D...

Are you feeling fortified today? Good - it's likely your Vitamin D level is up to snuff. But, if you're feeling a bit brittle, grab a glass of milk and head outdoors. Both milk and sunshine are excellent sources of Vitamin D. Milk because it's been fortified with the vitamin since the 1930s; sunshine causes a photochemical reaction in the skin, resulting in natural production of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is particularly critical to the health of our bones, and deficiency has been linked to rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis. Rickets is a childhood disease, and osteomalacia a bone thinning disease. Osteoporosis, of course, is a disease resulting in weaker bones and increased risk of fractures.

Until recently, it was believed that adequate exposure to sunshine was a sure fire way to fill up your Vitamin D tank. But, scientists from the University of Wisconsin now say that may not be the case. They studied the effect of sunshine on Vitamin D levels in people living in Hawaii. Hmm... I wonder if their research forced them to travel to the sunny isles in the middle of the harsh Wisconsin winter...

They found even the sun-drenched denizens of Hawaii, averaging over 20 hours per week outside, were not guaranteed adequate Vitamin D levels. In fact, 51% of those studied actually had a Vitamin D deficiency.

The researchers say, in light of these results, they will establish ongoing studies and winter in Hawaii for the next several years.

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about Vitamin D, see this from the Office of Dietary Supplements, or this from the Mayo Clinic.

Photo courtesy of thiagofest.


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