Public health advisories to minimize solar UVB irradiance, especially when given without any additional guidelines for the importance of vitamin D, could be more harmful than beneficial to public health, especially because the primary vitamin D source for many people is solar UVB irradiance.
That's the conclusion of a major study of the economic and health impact of vitamin D deficiency in the U.S. and U.K. Details are found in the actual report, but these are the vital points.
> 50,000+ people in the U.S. die prematurely of cancer because of widespread vitamin D deficiency.
> Sunscreen doesn't protect against deadly malignant melanoma.
> Other studies show that one form of vitamin D actually cuts MM death rates by 50%!
From the report cited below:
Guidelines regarding sunscreen use might also be changed, because sunscreen preferentially absorbs UVB radiation and thus markedly impairs vitamin D production (SPF 8 can reduce vitamin D production by 95% . Sunscreen has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of squamous cell carcinoma and actinic keratoses. Sunscreen use has been shown to not be effective in reducing the risk of either basal cell carcinoma or CMM [cutaneous malignant melanoma ]. The fact that CMM mortality rates nearly doubled from the 1950–1969 period to the 1970–1994 period, whereas those for NMSC fell approximately 50% (27), suggests that altered solar UV irradiance behavior and/or sunscreen use have likely played an important role . Note that tanning can generate increased “induced protection factor” (IPF) of about 3."
Here is the title and abstract of the scientific paper which can be found at
William B. Grant,1, * Cedric F. Garland,2 and Michael F. Holick3
1Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC), 2107 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 403B, San Francisco, CA 94109-2529, USA
2Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, 0631C, La Jolla, CA 93093, USA
3Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory, Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA
Received 24 January 2005; accepted 11 September 2005; published online 13 September 2005
Vitamin D sufficiency is required for optimal health, and solar ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiance is an important source of vitamin D. UVB and/or vitamin D have been found in observational studies to be associated with reduced risk for over a dozen forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, osteoporotic fractures, and several other diseases. On the other hand, excess UV irradiance is associated with adverse health outcomes such as cataracts, melanoma, and nonmelanoma skin cancer. Ecologic analyses are used to estimate the fraction of cancer mortality, multiple sclerosis prevalence, and cataract formation that can be prevented or delayed. Estimates from the literature are used for other diseases attributed to excess UV irradiation, additional cancer estimates, and osteoporotic fractures. These results are used to estimate the economic burdens of insufficient UVB irradiation and vitamin D insufficiency as well as excess UV irradiation in the United States for these diseases and conditions. We estimate that 50000–63000 individuals in the United States and 19000–25000 in the UK die prematurely from cancer annually due to insufficient vitamin D. The U.S. economic burden due to vitamin D insufficiency from inadequate exposure to solar UVB irradiance, diet, and supplements was estimated at $40–56 billion in 2004, whereas the economic burden for excess UV irradiance was estimated at $6–7 billion. These results suggest that increased vitamin D through UVB irradiance, fortification of food, and supplementation could reduce the health care burden in the United States, UK, and elsewhere. Further research is required to confirm these estimates.
Sunscreen and excessive avoidance of sunlight kills tens of thousands every year.
A startling claim backed up by serious scientific research - TV reports always get this wrong, mostly because they don't really understand any of the science and just follow the herd.
If you really care about your health and that of friends and family, please don't dismiss this as the ranting of a lunatic - read all the information and take the citations to your doctor.
I am simply quoting from reputable scientific and medical research papers.
What you do with the information is up to you. But I have done my part.
You can show people the facts, but you can't understand for them.
Since my site directly contradicts a lot of things you have heard on TV and read in popular magazines or newspapers, you are probably asking yourself that question so I need to address it.
The information I present is all based on referenced, published scientific and medical papers.
I have both the scientific and journalistic background to be qualified to verify the information but you need to take the actual citations, as well as any conclusions to a doctor before deciding.
I have been published more than 17,000 times and have written five non-fiction technology books published by major publishers.
My early work was even cited in Cambridge Scientific Abstracts.
Compare that to the average TV reporter who is hired for their appearance and speaking voice.
I apologise for some of the rather sensational headlines on this site but they are necessary to get the attention of readers.
Qualified journalists, researchers, and medical professional are welcome to contact me for my references.
I began my medical literature research when I discovered that many new breakthroughs are taking years to make their way into mainstream medicine and this is causing untold deaths and suffering.
The research is out there on Crohn's disease and some other major diseases but doctors don't have time to read 10% of the studies published so it is up to patients to do their own research.
Now you need to decide if you are going to risk your health, perhaps your very life on published scientific data, or on the comments of semi-educated TV talking heads.
A good doctor will welcome the information I have on my site - I know because many doctors, including my own, have told me so.
TV Reporters (also newspaper and magazine writers)
Why do they always get it wrong?
If I'm right and scientists as well as medical doctors are really saying these things about Vitamin D and other topics I cover in my reports, that must mean that all those pop magazine, newspaper, and TV reports you see about the dangers of sunlight and the importance of sunscreen are wrong. How can that be?
As a long-time science reporter (and member of The National Press Club of Washington), I would ask a different question. Why would they get it right?
Reporters are very rushed; their editors keep telling them that their stories are too "complicated" for the average reader to understand; and, to top it off, they mostly studied journalism in college - they have absolutely no scientific training and can't possibly understand what is important and what isn't in the latest science reports.
(I studied mathematics and quantum physics in college.)
The few who are actually medical doctors have to worry about being sued or discredited. (Anyone who is old enough can recall that a famous TV doctor on NBC told people for years that no one needed vitamin supplements - now Dr. Art Ulene publishes books about vitamin supplements and endorsed his own line of pills - how many people suffered and died before he learned the "truth?"
Reporters mostly quote summaries of studies sent to them by organizations which have a vested interest in getting donations by seeming to promote cures for some big disease. They, like the reporters, are far more interested in keeping the money flowing than in presenting all sides of a complex topic in a way everyone can understand.
This is especially true of TV news which relies heavily on "visuals" - if they can't show an interesting image on the screen, they simply won't report most stories.
If you don't believe me, just watch one local evening newscast (it happens on almost every one) and ask yourself why they send reporters out to stand in the dark in a parking lot or in broad daylight near an intersection, supposedly near where something happened a day or a week earlier? All that time and money wasted just to read a printed statement from the police or repeat for the 10th time the actual news which was reported earlier when something actually happened. They could just read it from the studio and spend all that wasted hat time and money actually doing some research and covering ACTUAL news.
Of course there is very little real "news" on the news shows, but I go into that on other sites. Just a quick example, why does the weather reader spend half his or her air time telling people what the weather is right NOW when they could just look out the window?
Why? because TV news, newspapers, and magazines are mostly about entertainment and ALL about selling advertisements.
All they want is your money, don't give them control over your life also.
A lot of the confusion over the question of whether Vitamin D can help prevent or cure cancer is based on a dumb mistake. Even researchers make dumb mistakes (for decades they got the number of human chromosomes wrong even though they published photographs showing the right number.)
In this case, there are many studies which showed no benefit to cancer patients who took vitamin D supplements over the years. Unfortunately, they missed the point that the kind of vitamin D in over the counter pills, or used to fortify milk, bread, and other foods, or found naturally in foods, isn't the kind that helps prevent and cure cancer.
ONLY vitamin D3, which can only be obtained by prescription or from exposure to sunlight (only UVB which is blocked by window glass and other things, UVA, which passes through glass actually destroys D3), has been shown or claimed to protect cells from cancer.
So, all those studies are junk. Meaningless.
But there ARE studies showing that high levels of D3 in the bloodstream cuts the death rate from melanoma by 50%, and studies which show that indoor workers have a higher death rate from melanoma than outdoor workers, and studies which show anti-cancer action in the laboratory for D3.
Samuel J. Moon,1, 2 Anthony A. Fryer,1 and Richard C. Strange1
1Human Genomics Research Group, Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University School of Medicine, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Hartshill Campus, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK
2Department of Urology, Keele University School of Medicine, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Hartshill Campus, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK
Received 20 January 2005; accepted 27 June 2005; published online 15 July 2005
Most common diseases appear to result from complex, poorly understood interactions between genetic and environmental factors. Relatively few factors have been unequivocally linked with disease risk or outcome. Evidence from various studies using different experimental approaches has been interpreted as showing that, apart from its harmful effects on the pathogenesis of the common skin cancers, ultraviolet radiation (UVR) may exert a beneficial effect on development of various internal cancers and other pathologies. This concept is supported by parallel studies showing that hypovitaminosis D is linked with increased risk of various diseases including insulin resistance and multiple sclerosis. These findings suggest that, first, host factors such as skin pigmentation that affect UVR-induced synthesis of vitamin D and, second, polymorphism in genes that mediate the effectiveness of vitamin D action are susceptibility candidates for a variety of diseases. Collectively, these data suggest the hypothesis that, via effects on vitamin D synthesis, UVR exposure has beneficial effects on susceptibility and outcome to a variety of complex diseases. We describe evidence from studies in various diseases, but mainly from prostate cancer patients, that supports this hypothesis, but we emphasize that, although supportive data are available, the concept is unproven. Indeed, other explanations are possible. However, given the potentially important public health implications of the hypothesis and the potential for the development of novel therapeutic modalities, we believe the concept is worthy of further investigation.
Could a simple lack of sunlight be the root cause of the dramatic increase in childhood diabetes? It's an interesting idea and could explain a lot - we know kids are spending a lot more time indoors and consuming a lot more sugar, so could the two factors together explain this incredible problem? I don't know, but here is a very interesting research paper which has some clues.
Photochemistry and Photobiology: Vol. 81, No. 6, pp. 1267–1275.
A.-L. Ponsonby,, 1 R. M. Lucas,2 and I. A. F. van der Mei3
1Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia
2National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
3Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
Received 15 February 2005; accepted 16 June 2005; published online 21 June 2005
We review the evidence indicating a possible beneficial role for UVR on three Th1-mediated autoimmune diseases: multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis in relation to recent developments in photoimmunology. Recent work suggests that UVR exposure may be one factor that can attenuate the autoimmune activity leading to these three diseases through several pathways involving UVB and UVA irradiation, UVR-derived vitamin D synthesis and other routes such as α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, calcitonin gene related peptide and melatonin. Ecological features, particularly a gradient of increasing prevalence of multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes with higher latitude, provide some support for a beneficial role of UVR. Analytical studies provide additional support, particularly as low vitamin D has been prospectively associated with disease onset for all three diseases, but are not definitive. Randomized controlled trial data are required. Further, we discuss how associated genetic studies may assist the accumulation of evidence with regard to the possible causal role of low UVR exposure and/or low vitamin D status in the development of these diseases.
This site does NOT provide medical advice, it provides summaries and links to information in medical journals and my aim is to provide medical professionals and patients with vital information which can be used to guide medical professionals in the treatment of various difficult-to-treat conditions.
The reference links were active when posted but publishers do not always keep documents online. Each study quoted and paraphrased is also referenced in full for the print edition and can be found in larger medical libraries.