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Friday, November 26, 2004

Daily Dose
Friday November 26, 2004
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

Winter "warning" from the wackos!

Something I read online really got my goat the other day: It was a
short piece warning people of the "dangers" of autumnal and
winter sunlight.

Basically, it said that just because it's a little cooler and cloudier
outside doesn't mean you should skip the sunscreen. These
paranoiacs then all-too-cheerfully reminded readers that killer
sunlight can reflect off of water, sand, snow, and cement (cement?)
even in the bitter cold.

What alarmist crap!

So just to pull the rug out from under these goofball kooks, I did a
little digging around online and found out they were 100% wrong
when it comes to this "winter-skin-cancer" warning. As it turns
out, Alaskan Eskimos - who spend their entire lives in the glare
of sunshine both from above and reflected from the ice and snow
- enjoy LOWER rates of melanoma when compared to whites in
the lower 48. Doesn't exactly jive with their doom-and-gloom
winter sunlight warning, does it?

Take that, you dimwits!

Look, you know I've railed long and loud about the needlessness
of over-priced sun-protective goop (Daily Dose, 2/27/04, and many
others). But I can't stress enough that we NEED vital sunlight to
maintain good health - especially in the fall and wintertime.
Sunlight triggers your body's production of vitamin D (which, I
might add, is made from another whipping-boy of the mainstream,
cholesterol), which is vital in keeping your bones strong, your teeth
healthy and keeping you upbeat and free of the "blahs."

Further, a recent report in the Journal of the American Dietetic
Association concluded that many in the U.S get less than the
recommended amount of vitamin D every day. Based on a study of
more than 27,000 people, the research showed that an alarming
90% of adults aged 50-70 weren't getting enough vitamin D -
and that only 2% of those over 70 were getting enough of this
precious bone-booster from their diets.

D is for "Darn right!"

Offsetting the disturbing (and utterly irresponsible) piece written
by Yahoo's yahoos, I also came across a study from the Nutrition
Journal online - one that casts a better "light" on solving the
vitamin D crisis the vast majority of our country's seniors face.

According to the article, a pair of recent Canadian studies
concluded that aggressive wintertime supplementation with high
doses of vitamin D (as much as 7 times the recommended
minimum of 600IU per day) carried no measurable downsides -
while facilitating a marked improvement in the "well being" of the
high-dose vitamin D subjects.

What's "well being" mean? For the purposes of this research, the
term refers to depressive symptoms - mood swings, melancholia,
etc. The study also highlighted the vitamin-D-caused boost in
blood calcium levels - a crucial co-component of this miracle
vitamin's benefits to your bones and other tissues.

So what's to be done to make sure you get enough D this winter?
Eat plenty of eggs, fish, and dairy products to do it the dietary way.
Or you can fortify your body with a daily dose of supplemental
vitamin D-up to several thousand IU without worry, if the
Canadian research is worth its salt. But most importantly, expose
yourself to as much sunlight as you can: Take the grandkids
sledding, go for a snowy hike in the woods behind the house -
even just sitting for 15 or 20 minutes a day in front of a sun-soaked
window is better than nothing.

These are by far the best ways to "activate" the vitamin D you're
ingesting, so you can stay as resilient and cheery as you can be this

Shedding "light" by being right,

William Campbell Douglass II, MD
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1 comment:

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