It’s funny how once one person mentions something to you the same topic seems to pop up everywhere. For instance, Vitamin D deficiencies. A few weeks ago a client mentioned to me that many people nowadays suffer from Vitamin D deficiencies and that perhaps I was going overboard when recommending that people be sure to use sunscreen on every exposed part of their bodies every time they went outside. She pointed out to me that the sun helps our bodies produce Vitamin D. So after that conversation I read an interview with “Dr. Sunshine” in The New York Times about the same topic, and then a few days ago a friend mentioned the same issue on her Facebook status update. So as you may well imagine the topic of Vitamin D and sun protection has been on my mind.
For me the issue of getting enough Vitamin D is very simple: take a supplement and use your sunscreen. I take a multivitamin everyday and it has 200% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D. It turns out that even regular sun exposure does not always result in the body creating enough Vitamin D. Going without sunscreen on a regular basis puts you in too much of risk for skin cancer (and if you want to be more frivolous – wrinkles) even if you justify it by saying that you need the Vitamin D. There are also many foods that are good sources of Vitamin D. These foods include mushrooms, fortified dairy products like milk, and fish such as salmon and cod.
So please think twice when you forego using your sunscreen because of a need for Vitamin D. Take a supplement instead or cook a dish with salmon, mushrooms, and milk in it. I just hope it tastes better than it sounds.
Sources and Further Reading
Vitamin D – Paula Begoun
The Sun and Vitamin D - Dr. Leslie Baumann The Skin Guru Yahoo! Health – July 3, 2008
- Questions for Dr. Michael Holick Dr. Sunshine The New York Times March 15, 2010. Obviously I don’t agree with much that Dr. Holick says here, especially the part about dermatologists recommending the use of sunscreen because they are being paid by cosmetic companies to do so.
- AAD Addresses Vitamin D-Sun Myths Skin Inc. November 25, 2009
- The D Dilemma - The Skin Cancer Foundation