Well, no, not really.  Sunscreen has an important role in preventing sunburn and skin problems.  But I've long thought that we are now going overboard to avoid the sun, and this article on vitamin D deficiency encourages that belief.  It turns out that vitamin D is valuable for far more than preventing rickets, and the recommended daily dose is probably much too low.  A few interesting quotes from the article (since I know it will become inaccessible after a while):

A series of recent studies has found that vitamin D, the so-called sunshine vitamin—once thought to be critical only to bone health—is useful throughout the body to strengthen the immune system and control cell growth. Yet researchers estimate that as many as half of all Americans are likely deficient in the nutrient.

[R]esearchers say [vitamin D] may help you stave off everything from osteoporosis to multiple sclerosis to diabetes, schizophrenia and breast cancer.

A mere SPF-8 sunscreen...uts vitamin D synthesis by roughly 95 percent.

[F]ew foods offer even modest amounts of natural vitamin D....They include cream, egg yolks, cod liver oil and fatty fish.

[T]hough milk and some cereals are fortified with D in this country, the vitamin is often delivered in the form of synthetic D2, which is more stable but not easily used by the body. Many multivitamins also use D2.

"Make sure you're taking D3...the same compound that is made in sun-exposed skin," advises best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician and strong proponent of holistic medicine. "So often, you see orange juice or foods that say they're vitamin D-fortified. But many times, those are fortified with D2. [And] vitamin D has to be taken with fat. Taking a vitamin D pill with orange juice isn't going to work; it won't stick to you."

"It has taken science and medicine a long time to figure out how vitamin D really works," explains Dr. Luke Bucci, a biochemist and vice president of research for Schiff Nutrition International. "People were afraid because they thought it accumulates in the body. Well, no, it doesn't."

Gotta go.  It's almost time for my daily walk vitamin D-making session.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 23, 2007 at 7:09 am | Edit
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