Make sure you understand all truths about tanning.
It is extremely important you speak to someone who knows exactly what they are talking about.
You do not want to end up burned, with cancer, out of proportion or just simply looking like a Umpa-Lumpa
How Does Sunlight Affect Breast Cancer?
If one is to believe Esther John, an epidemiologist of Northern California Cancer Center, a daily dose of sunlight can decrease the chances of breast cancer by an amazing 40%. A short walk in the sun can also relieve stress and increase blood circulation in addition to reducing the risk of breast cancer. It is a well known and researched fact that the instance of breast cancer is more in cloudy and colder regions. An exposure to the full spectrum light is inversely correlated to colon, rectal and breast cancers. Exposure to sun stimulates production of certain hormones underneath the human skin. The Ultraviolet B rays react with a certain variety of cholesterol in the skin triggering organs like liver and kidneys to produce vitamin D3, which in fact is not a vitamin but a king of steroid that boosts the human immune system. It inhibits the growth of malignant cells and also motivates the digestive tract to absorb more calcium and hinders Angiogenesis that aids growth of cancerous cells. Vitamin D3 also stops formation of blood vessels that aid cancer thus effectively curbing the malignancy of any tumours. Vitamin D3 taken in high does can result in toxic complications. Medications administered for breast cancer thus contain Vitamin D3 in derivative form. These derivatives have been found to be effective in stopping the spread of cancer cells in breast cancer patients and reducing the size of mammary tumours. It is a cause of grave concern that most sunscreens lotions used today block the Ultraviolet B rays thus inhibiting the formation of Vitamin D3. What the human race needs to realize today is that the harm done by sun is far less compared to the goodness that comes from its radiation. Exposure to sun benefits people having prostrate, ovarian, breast or colon cancer, osteoporosis, heart ailments and multiple sclerosis. If one can imagine statistically, people dying from the any of the above diseases are far more then people effected by skin cancer. Moreover, exposure to sun is more beneficial than detrimental as per the past 5 decades of medical research. In spite of awareness, it has been found that almost 59% of patients admitted to the Massachusetts General Hospital have been found to be lacking in Vitamin D. In light of this it is only logical to infer that Americans are more prone to caner and other ailments compared to most other people. Vitamin D is also available in adequate measures in certain foods like tuna, salmon almost all other varieties of fish. Having Vitamin D fortified diet may also help, but look for more information than just claims on the product labels
Vitamin D found to influence over 200 genes, highlighting links to disease
Author: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory The extent to which vitamin D deficiency may increase susceptibility to a wide range of diseases is dramatically highlighted in research published today. Scientists have mapped the points at which vitamin D interacts with our DNA - and identified over two hundred genes that it directly influences. The results are published today in the journal Genome Research. It is estimated that one billion people worldwide do not have sufficient vitamin D. This deficiency is thought to be largely due to insufficient exposure to the sun and in some cases to poor diet. As well as being a well-known risk factor for rickets, there is a growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency also increases an individual's susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, as well as certain cancers and even dementia. Now, in a study whose funders include the Medical Research Council (MRC), the MS Society, the Wellcome Trust and the MS Society of Canada, researchers at the University of Oxford have shown the extent to which vitamin D interacts with our DNA. They used new DNA sequencing technology to create a map of vitamin D receptor binding across the genome. The vitamin D receptor is a protein activated by vitamin D, which attaches itself to DNA and thus influences what proteins are made from our genetic code. The researchers found 2,776 binding sites for the vitamin D receptor along the length of the genome. These were unusually concentrated near a number of genes associated with susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as MS, Crohn's disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (or 'lupus') and rheumatoid arthritis, and to cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and colorectal cancer. They also showed that vitamin D had a significant effect on the activity of 229 genes including IRF8, previously associated with MS, and PTPN2, associated with Crohn's disease and type 1 diabetes. "Our study shows quite dramatically the wide-ranging influence that vitamin D exerts over our health," says Dr Andreas Heger from the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford, one of the lead authors of the study. The first author of the paper, Dr Sreeram Ramagopalan from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, adds: "There is now evidence supporting a role for vitamin D in susceptibility to a host of diseases. Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and the early years could have a beneficial effect on a child's health in later life. Some countries such as France have instituted this as a routine public health measure." The main source of vitamin D in the body comes from exposing the skin to sunlight, although a diet of oily fish can provide some of the vitamin. Research has previously suggested that lighter skin colour and hair colour evolved in populations moving to parts of the globe with less sun to optimise production of vitamin D in the body. A lack of vitamin D can affect bone development, leading to rickets; in pregnant mothers, poor bone health can be fatal to both mother and child at birth, hence there are selective pressures in favour of people who are able to produce adequate vitamin D. This new study supports this hypothesis, having found a significant number of vitamin D receptor binding sites in regions of the genome with genetic changes more commonly found in people of European and Asian descent. It is probable that skin lightening as we migrated out of Africa resulted from the necessity to be able to make more vitamin D and prevent rickets: vitamin D deficiency led to pelvic contraction resulting in increased risk of fatality of both mother and unborn child, effectively ending maternal lineages unable to find ways of increasing availability of the vitamin. "Vitamin D status is potentially one of the most powerful selective pressures on the genome in relatively recent times," says Professor George Ebers, Action Medical Research Professor of Clinical Neurology and one of the senior authors of the paper. "Our study appears to support this interpretation and it may be we have not had enough time to make all the adaptations we have needed to cope with our northern circumstances." More information: Ramagopalan SV, Heger A, Berlanga AJ, Maugeri NJ, Lincoln MR, Burrell A, Handunnetthi L, Handel AE, Disanto G, Orton S, Watson CT, Morahan JM, Giovannoni G, Ponting CP, Ebers GC, Knight JC. A ChIP-seq-defined genome-wide map of vitamin D receptor binding: Associations with disease and evolution. Genome Res doi:10.1101/gr.107920.110 Provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
MS and arthritis may be linked to lack of sun, say scientists
Author: Sarah Boseley, health editor MS and arthritis may be linked to lack of sun, say scientists Vitamin D found to exert an influence over genes associated with certain diseases more common in the northern hemisphere Sarah Boseley, health editor guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 August 2010 22.00 BST The Food Standards Agency says a healthy diet plus â€˜a littleâ€™ exposure to sun should give us all the vitamin D we need. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP Insufficient exposure to sunshine, resulting in low levels of vitamin D, could play a part in a wide-range of diseases, from multiple sclerosis to rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, some cancers and even dementia, scientists say today. A study funded by the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and others, has succeeded in mapping the points at which vitamin D interacts with DNA. Scientists from Oxford University found that the vitamin exerts a direct influence over 229 genes that are known to be involved with certain diseases. Many of the diseases that are implicated are more common in the northern hemisphere than in sunnier, southern climes. Scotland, for instance, has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world. The disease is virtually unknown in Africa. The study, published in the journal Genome Research, lends substantial support to the hypothesis that the migration of humankind, hundreds of thousands of years ago, to the colder and darker parts of the world had an effect both on skin colour and on susceptibility to certain sorts of disease. Research has previously suggested that the need to make more vitamin D resulted in the lightening of skin and hair of people who migrated to the north. A lack of vitamin D has long been known to have an effect on bones. The theory runs that women who were unable to make enough vitamin D suffered from contracting pelvises, with the result that they and their unborn babies died in labour. "Over a very long period of time, there has been a systematic selection for individuals that can cope with diminished sunshine," said Prof George Ebers, Action Medical Research professor of clinical neurology and one of the senior authors of the paper. He added: "It may be we have not had enough time to make all the adaptations we have needed to cope with our northern circumstances." The good news is that â€“ if the scientists are right â€“ diseases such as MS are not genetically predetermined but a mixture of nature and nurture, says Ebers. The work will increase calls for changes in the advice on taking vitamin D supplements, which is not expected to help those already suffering from the disease, but could help future generations. At the moment, authorities such as the Food Standards Agency say that most of us should be able to get all we need from a healthy diet, including oily fish and eggs, and "by getting a little sun". Pregnant women and older people might benefit from a small daily dose of vitamin D. France already gives pregnant women a large supplementary dose of vitamin D, which is fat-soluble, so it stays in the body for some time. The Scottish government has now agreed to a meeting in September with scientists to review the evidence, largely as a result of the Shine on Scotland campaign launched by 15 year-old Ryan McLaughlin, whose mother has MS, which wants vitamin D supplements for every pregnant woman and child. Susan Polson, 60, who lives in Fife, was diagnosed with MS at the relatively late age of 46, causing her to have to give up her job as head secretary in a big independent school. She is on the committee of the research network of the MS Society in Scotland and takes vitamin D every day even though, she says, she is not expecting a cure. "It is too late for me, but my grand-daughter Catriona is two. I don't want to think that because we didn't do anything about vitamin D, she has more risk factors," she said. guardian.co.uk Â© Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
Vitamin D: one of the most potent antioxidants in the world
The melanoma epidemic? Don't panic... It's all a terrible mistake
Author: Professor Sam Shuster Summer is a marvellous time. It's when we can all enjoy light and warmth, eat gorgeous seasonal foods and get the chance to wear those colourful clothes we've collected during the rest of the year. And, of course, it's also holiday time. All because of the sun, the glorious sun. No wonder the ancients worshiped sun-gods! But in recent years our delight in the sun has been clouded by bullying health warnings. Repeatedly, we are told by the health czars to avoid the sun and never get a tan. Don't cover up all summer: Some exposure to the sun is good for you Don't cover up all summer: Some exposure to the sun is good for you Health organisations that should know better, but rarely do, would have us shun the all-too-short glory of our summer days. Instead, we must cover our arms, wear hats and hide ourselves under a chemical burka of sun-cream. Next, they'll even be ordering us to shut our curtains during the hours of daylight! All this is because of fear of the dreaded big C: cancer. As a result, the killjoys spread their terrifying message, and parents are made to feel unreasonably guilty if they as much as let their children out in the sun unprotected for a minute or two. But if all this miserable propaganda has got you scared and worried, you shouldn't be. Because the evidence is that the message promoted by the anti-sun brigade isn't true. Indeed, the great sun scare that would drive us to live our summers in darkness is just a myth that's grown from a bad piece of medical science. So it's time to lay out the facts. There's no doubt that years of exposure to strong sun wrinkles the skin (as smoking did for the late novelist Beryl Bainbridge), because it loses its elasticity as fibres of collagen - the protein that supports the skin - link together. But the ultra-violet rays from the sun do not speed up true ageing, which is a completely different process caused by the loss of collagen over the years, which makes skin thinner and saggy. This ageing loss occurs at the same rate of one per cent a year whether your skin is exposed to the sun or whether it isn't. And it happens at the same rate for both men and women. The problem is that nature isn't politically correct, and unfairly provides women with 15 per cent less skin collagen than men - the equivalent of 15 years worth of ageing! - so the effects are far more noticeable. Of course we can live with wrinkles, but what about cancer? Fortunatately, the facts are absolutely clear - and they aren't the ones used by doctors who create panic with the figure of 84,000 new cases of skin cancers a year in the UK. What they don't explain is that almost all of these so-called skin 'cancers' don't spread or kill; in fact, they are not really cancers at all. Instead, these mild forms of skin cancer - what doctors call basal cell and squamous carcinomas - are benign tumours, something quite different. Calling them 'cancer' was a wretched historical error and this incorrect name should be abandoned before more people are hurt by it. Not so fast, says the anti-sun brigade. There is another kind of cancer, malignant melanoma. And, true enough, that can be vicious: the smallest of black spots can spread and kill. But don't panic, that outcome is rare, and the melanoma scare is just as phony as the other sun-scare stories. According to the scaremongers, there has been a great increase in these 'melanomas' in recent years, supposedly caused by the sun. The puzzle has been why this has not been accompanied by the expected increase in deaths from them. We now know the reason is that they aren't really melanomas at all: it's all a horrible mistake. 'The idea that sun exposure causes melanoma went public before it was proved. (In fact, we don't know what causes melanoma)' The mistake happened because sunlight makes moles grow, and in pale-skinned people this often gets mistaken for true melanoma. This kind of misdiagnosis, which began in sunny Australia, soon spread to feed the phony melanoma epidemic elsewhere. And it continued because of fear of litigation if the real thing was missed in the doctor's surgery, and because screening programmes artificially increase false-positive diagnoses. The big mistake was that the idea that sun exposure causes melanoma went public before it was proved. (In fact, we don't know what causes melanoma.) This erroneous idea was then supported by nonsense 'research' of the sort we read about daily: first we're told standing on the left leg can lead to cancer of the right testicle, then it's the right leg and left testicle; finally new studies show that it's your partner's leg, not yours. And that story lasts for a few days when it is replaced by yet another study of whether red wine is good or bad for you. Such daily absurdities are typical products of 'descriptive epidemiology' - this is a bastard discipline that counts disease numbers, instead of studying the disease itself. (The problem is if you don't understand that most of the tumours reported as 'melanomas' are not actually melanomas, then your numbers are deeply flawed.) This type of numerical manipulation has single-handedly destroyed clinical science. It has made such a shambles of melanoma that every single one of its claims is suspect: it has not been shown that UV or sunburn is the cause, that children are more susceptible, or that sun beds are dangerous and sun-screens preventative. But health advice often bears little relation to the truth, so off went the thoughtless warnings about sun avoidance, and watching for black spots that enlarge, darken, bleed or itch - a crazy idea because we all have spots that do just that without them being cancerous at all. Anyway, as there's no epidemic of deaths from skin cancer, the risk of spoiling your life by constant worry is far greater than the small chance of finding something that needs treatment. There are very good reasons to ignore these warnings. Suntan is an evolutionary device: it protects against burning. The anti-solar brigade's claim that it indicates skin damage is a measure of their biological naivety. A suntatan is just a sign of increased pigment - melanin - in the skin and is a natural biological response to the sun, not a sign of skin damage. So don't keep yourself and your children out of the sun; far better to develop a healthy tan without burning. Sunshine is the dynamo for vitamin D production. Without it your bones will crack, as those practising sun avoidance have found. Although the profound effect of sun on the immune system is a mystery, it is powerful enough to control many skin diseases. And there's a new chapter in the cancer story, now that epidemiologists have done a UVâ€“turn and claim that sun exposure actually protects against many cancers, including melanoma - a benefit they now say far outweighs the risks that they'd previously claimed! Finally, there's the happy effect of sun exposure on well-being; it makes you look good and feel good, an effect similar to anti-depressive treatment. What more can you want? Having fun in the sun has been badly clouded by the pretence that sun exposure is a dangerous habit. It isn't; solar cancer has been massively exaggerated and sun avoidance will break more bones than bad habits. So forget the dark stories and go out and enjoy the sun while it lasts - just don't get burnt!
Biochemist proposes worldwide policy change to step up daily vitamin D intake
Author: Iqbal Pittalwala Vitamin D is effective in reducing frequency of many diseases and cost of medical care, stresses UC Riverside's Anthony Norman IMAGE: Anthony Norman, a distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at UC Riverside, has a car with a vanity license plate that reads "VITAMN D. " Click here for more information. RIVERSIDE, Calif. â€“ Anthony Norman, a leading international expert in vitamin D, proposes worldwide policy changes regarding people's vitamin D daily intake amount in order to maximize the vitamin's contribution to reducing the frequency of many diseases, including childhood rickets, adult osteomalacia, cancer, autoimmune type-1 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity and muscle weakness. "A reduction in the frequency of these diseases would increase the quality and longevity of life and significantly reduce the cost of medical care worldwide," said Norman, a distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside. "It is high time that worldwide vitamin D nutritional policy, now at a crossroads, reflects current scientific knowledge about the vitamin's many benefits and develops a sound vision for the future." Currently, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D in the United States is 200 international units (IU) for people up to 50 years old; 400 IU for people 51 to 70 years old; and 600 IU for people over 70 years old. Today there is a wide consensus among scientists that the relative daily intake of vitamin D should be increased to 2,000 to 4,000 IU for most adults. "Worldwide public health is best served by a recommendation of higher daily intakes of vitamin D," Norman said. "Currently, more than half the world's population gets insufficient amounts of this vitamin. At present about half of elderly North Americans and Western Europeans and probably also of the rest of the world are not receiving enough vitamin D to maintain healthy bone." Reporting in a review paper in the July 28, 2010, issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, Norman and Roger Bouillon of the Laboratory of Experimental Medicine and Endocrinology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, warn that if the current nutritional guidelines for vitamin D remain unchanged, rickets and osteomalacia, which could be easily prevented, will continue to occur. They add that if the present guidelines for vitamin D intake are strictly implemented and applied worldwide to pregnant or lactating women, newborns and children, the occurrence of rickets in infants could be effectively eradicated. Norman, the first author of the review paper, and Bouillon note that if the daily dietary intake of vitamin D is increased by 600-1000 IU in all adults above their present supply, it would bring beneficial effects on bone health in the elderly and on all major human diseases (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic and immune diseases). The researchers add, however, that if the vitamin D dietary intake were increased to 2000 IU per day and even more for subgroups of the world population with the poorest vitamin D status, it could favorably impact multiple sclerosis, type-1 diabetes, tuberculosis, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular risk factors and most cancers. About vitamin D: Also known as the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D was discovered 90 years ago as a dietary agent that prevented the bone disease rickets. Exposure to the sun is the body's natural way of producing the vitamin. Skin exposed to solar UVB radiation can produce significant quantities of vitamin D. But this vitamin D synthesis is reliably available year-round only at latitudes between 40 degrees north and 40 degrees south. A combination of sunshine, food, supplements, and possibly even limited tanning exposure can raise the daily intake of the vitamin to 2000 IU. Vitamin D is itself biologically inert. Its biological effects result only after it is metabolized first in the liver and then in the kidney â€“ a process that converts the vitamin into a steroid hormone. The best sources of unfortified foods naturally containing vitamin D are animal products and fatty fish and liver extracts like salmon or sardines and cod liver oil. Vitamin D-fortified food sources in the United States (the fortification levels aim at about 400 IU per day) include milk and milk products, orange juice, breakfast cereals and bars, grain products, pastas, infant formulas and margarines. Vitamin D excess can cause health problems such as hypercalcemia, vomiting, thirst and tissue damage. The precise upper limit for daily vitamin D intake is not well defined.
Exposing the Sunlight/Melanoma Fraud: Part 1
Author: Dr. Marc Sorenson For the purposes of this article, we discuss regular, non-burning exposure to sunlight--the type of sunlight that slowly produces a tan--and the type of sunlight exposure that can save your life. Never, ever burn yourself in the sunlight. See your medical professional before making any changes in your sunlight habits. Is melanoma caused by regular sunlight exposure, or are we being defrauded? The Melanoma International Foundation (MIF), is one the Powers of Darkness--organizations that would have us all become vitamin D deficient and ill by avoiding the healing sun.[i] They, like many other sun phobes, believe that sunlight should be shunned as a detriment to human healthand that â€œ90% or more of melanoma is caused by ultraviolet radiation either from the sun or tanning salons."[ii] The MIF states that â€œMelanoma is epidemic: rising faster than any other cancer and projected to affect one person in 50 by 2010, currently it affects 1 in 75. In 1935, only one in 1,500 was struck by the disease.â€ In other words, they say there has been a 3,000% increase in melanoma since 1935. If true, then their statement that sunlight is the cause of melanoma flies in the face of reason. Consider the following: 1. If melanoma has indeed increased exponentially since 1935, and that increase is due to sunlight exposure, then sunlight exposure must also have shown a parallel or at least significant increase in that time. To determine whether that has happened, I analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) to determine if there was an increase or decrease in human sunlight exposure during the years from 1910 to 2,000.[iii] I paid special attention to the changes since 1935, the year the MIF used as a baseline for measuring increases in melanoma incidence. The data showed that indoor occupations grew from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment between 1910 and 2000, and that during the same period, the outdoor occupation of farming declined from 33% to 1.2% of total employment, a 96% reduction. The data also show that approximately 66% of the decline in the occupation of farmers and 50% of the decline in the occupation of farm laborers occurred after 1935. Further information from the EPA determined that as of 1986, about 5 percent of adult men worked mostly outdoors, and that about 10 percent worked outside part of the time. The proportion of women who worked outside was thought to be lower. [iv] This material demonstrates a dramatic shift from outdoor, sunlight-exposed activity to indoor, non-sunlight-exposed activity during the 20th Century, including 1935, the MIF-baseline year. According to these facts, if there is a relationship between sunlight exposure and melanoma, the relationship is inverseâ€”the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma. It has been theorized that the answer to the statement above, is that a decreasing thickness of the ozone layer (allowing more intense sunlight exposure) is responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. However, research by Moan and Dahlback in Norway reported that yearly melanoma incidence increased 350% in men and 440% in women between 1957 and 1984â€”a period when there was absolutely no thinning of the ozone layer.[v] 2. If melanoma is increasing due to increased exposure to sunlight, it is clear that outdoor workers, being exposed to far more sunlight, would also have far more melanoma. Nevertheless, Godar, et al.[vi] present evidence that outdoor workers, while receiving 3-9 times the UVR exposure as indoor workers,[vii] [viii] have had no increase in melanoma since before 1940, whereas melanoma incidence in indoor workers has increased steadily and exponentially. Many other studies corroborate the Godar findings that outdoor workers have fewer melanomas than indoor workers.[ix] [x] [xi] [xii] [xiii] [xiv] [xv] [xvi] [xvii] [xviii] [xix] [xx] [xxi] [xxii] [xxiii] [xxiv] I repeat: the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma. 3. If sunlight exposure is the reason for the increase in melanoma, we would expect that areas of the body that receive the most exposure would also be the areas of greatest occurrence of the disease. This is not the case. Research by Garland, et al.,[xxv] assessing the incidence of melanoma occurring at various body sites, found higher rates on the trunk (seldom exposed to sunlight) than on the head and arms (commonly exposed to sunlight). Others have shown that melanoma in women occur primarily on the upper legs, and in men more frequently on the backâ€”areas of little sunlight exposure.[xxvi] In African Americans, melanoma is more common on the soles of the feet and on the lower legs, where exposure to sunlight is almost non-existent.[xxvii] Again: the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma. How, then can sunlight cause melanoma? Keep in mind that sunscreen use has increased dramatically in the last four decades, paralleling the increase in melanoma. Sunscreens are meant to block sunlight, no? This is one more indication that melanoma risk is increased by sunlight deficiency. 4. A question: If melanoma is caused by sunlight exposure, why do melanomas occur on areas that seldom or never receive sunlight exposureâ€”areas such as inside the mouth,[xxviii] on sexual organs[xxix] and armpits?[xxx] Mull over this information and you will see that the promoting of sunlight as the cause of melanoma is the promoting of a fraudâ€”a fraud that is creating death and destruction due to vitamin D deficiency, which correlates to more than 100 serious diseases and disorders (see my book for documentation). The Powers of Darkness will continue spreading falsehoods about sunlight and melanoma until the truth is brought forth. Join the sunshine movement and help to spread truth and light. And remember: when you enjoy the sunlight, be sure never to burn. Be sure to look for Part 2 in my next blog. Perhaps the biggest fraud of all is that some dermatologists are diagnosing harmless skin spots as melanoma--a means to defraud insurance companies and increase profits. We will also show that melanoma incidence may not be increasing at all. Stay tuned. The next blog will provide information from enlightened dermatologists who believe that their own profession is misleading the public! [i] Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. [ii] Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. [iii] Ian D. Wyatt and Daniel E. Hecker. Occupational changes in the 20th century. Monthly Labor Review, March 2006 pp 35-57: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics [iv] U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Catching Our Breath: Next Steps for Reducing Urban Ozone, OTA-O-412 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 1989). [v] J. Moan and A. Dahlback. The relationship between skin cancers, solar radiation and ozone depletion. Br J Cancer 1992; 65: 916â€“21 [vi] Godar DE, Landry RJ, Lucas AD. Increased UVA exposures and decreased cutaneous Vitamin D3 levels may be responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. Med hypothesis (2009), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2008.09.056 [vii] Godar D. UV doses worldwide. Photochem Photobiol 2005;81:736â€“49. [viii] Thieden E, Philipsen PA, Sandby-MÃ¸ller J, Wulf HC. UV radiation exposure related to age, sex, occupation, and sun behavior based on time-stamped personal dosimeter readings. Arch Dermatol 2004;140:197â€“203. [ix] Lee J. Melanoma and exposure to sunlight. Epidemiol Rev 1982;4:110â€“36. [x] VÃ¥gero D, RingbÃ¤ck G, Kiviranta H. Melanoma and other tumors of the skin among office, other indoor and outdoor workers in Sweden 1961â€“1979 Brit J Cancer 1986;53:507â€“12. [xi] Kennedy C, Bajdik CD, Willemze R, De Gruijl FR, Bouwes Bavinck JN; Leiden Skin Cancer Study. The influence of painful sunburns and lifetime sun exposure on the risk of actinic keratoses, seborrheic warts, melanocytic nevi, atypical nevi, and skin cancer. Invest Dermatol 2003;120:1087â€“93. [xii] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67. [xiii] Kaskel P, Sander S, Kron M, Kind P, Peter RU, KrÃ¤hn G. Outdoor activities in childhood: a protective factor for cutaneous melanoma? Results of a case-control study in 271 matched pairs. Br J Dermatol 2001;145:602-09. [xiv] Garsaud P, Boisseau-Garsaud AM, Ossondo M, Azaloux H, Escanmant P, Le Mab G. Epidemiology of cutaneous melanoma in the French West Indies (Martinique). Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:66-8. [xv] Le Marchand l, Saltzman S, Hankin JH, Wilkens LR, Franke SJM, Kolonel N. Sun exposure, diet and melanoma in Hawaii Caucasians. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:232-45. [xvi] Armstong K, Kricker A. The epidemiology of UV induced skin cancer. J Photochem Biol 2001;63:8-18 [xvii] Crombie IK. Distribution of malignant melanoma on the body surface. Br J Cancer 1981;43:842-9. [xviii] Crombie IK. Variation of melanoma incidence with latitude in North America and Europe. Br J Cancer 1979;40:774-81. [xix]Weinstock MA, Colditz,BA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. Bronstein, BR, Speizer FE. Nonfamilial cutaneous melanoma incidence in women associated with sun exposure before 20 years of age. Pediatrics 1989;84:199-204. [xx] Tucker MA, Goldstein AM. Melanoma etiology: where are we? Oncogene 20f03;22:3042-52. [xxi] Berwick M, Armstrong BK, Ben-Porat L, Fine J, Kricker A, Eberle C. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Nat Cancer Inst 2005;97:95-199. [xxii] VeierÃ¸d MB, Weiderpass E, ThÃ¶rn M, Hansson J, Lund E, Armstrong B. A prospective study of pigmentation, sun exposure, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1530-8. [xxiii] Oliveria SA, Saraiya M, Geller AC, Heneghan MK, Jorgensen C. Sun exposure and risk of melanoma. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:131-8. [xxiv] Elwood JM, Gallagher RP, Hill GB, Pearson JCG. Cutaneous melanoma in relation to intermittent and constant sun exposureâ€”the western Canada melanoma study. Int J Cancer 2006;35:427-33 [xxv] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67. [xxvi] Rivers, J. Is there more than one road to melanoma? Lancet 2004;363:728-30. [xxvii] Crombie, I. Racial differences in melanoma incidence. Br J Cancer 1979;40:185-93. [xxviii] Burgess, A. et al. Parotidectomy: preoperative investigations and outcomes in a single surgeon practice. ANZ J Surg 2008 Sep;78(9):791-3. [xxix] RibÃ©, A Melanocytic lesions of the genital area with attention given to atypical genital nevi. J Cutan Pathol. 2008 Nov;35 Suppl 2:24-7. [xxx] Rhodes, A. Melanomaâ€™s Public Message. Guest editorial, Skin and Allergy News 2003;34
Exposing the Sunlight/Melanoma Fraud: Part 2
Author: Dr. Marc Sorenson Is the purported increase in melanoma a fraud? In the last post, I made a case that sunlight does not cause melanoma, and that if Melanoma is increasing, as stated by the Melanoma International Foundation (MIF), it is doing so while sunlight exposure is decreasing. But suppose that the increase in melanoma is not an increase at all? Some believe that there is no proliferation of melanoma, but only a proliferation of dermatologists, and a proliferation of diagnoses of skin spots as being melanoma by some dermatologists in an attempt to make more money. An article by Harmon Leon, writing for the Huffington Post, served as a reminder of the potential for fraud among (unscrupulous) dermatologists. I strongly suggest you read that article. I am indebted to Mr. Leon for a few of the points made in this post. I do not mean to suggest that all dermatologists are dishonest. Many of the facts that I gather are derived from research performed by dermatologists who are trying to awaken the public to the fraudulent actions of some members of their profession. Those who profit from scare tactics regarding melanoma I call The Powers of Darkness. They have frightened us away from the sunlight, or as Dr. Michael Holick (an honest dermatologist) says, â€œscared the daylights out of us to scare us out of the daylight.â€ The consequence is widespread vitamin D deficiency that has led to millions of cases of death and disability. Dr. Arthur Rhodes, a dermatologist, wrote in a 2003 editorial for an independent dermatology newspaper that melanomaâ€™s public messageâ€”that sunlight was the sole cause of melanomaâ€”was causing death among patients and medical professionals alike. In it he suggested that many people were not taking care of melanomas that occurred in areas of little or no sunlight exposure; this was because they assumed that only sunlight could cause melanoma. The following are some of the examples that he gathered from his experience with this most deadly of skin cancers: 1. A dermatology trainee died of melanoma at age 28. He watched a mole change in his armpit for years, but because that area never received UV light, he assumed it was not melanoma and delayed seeking help. 2. A 40-year-old woman had a sore on the bottom of her heel and believing only sunlight caused melanoma, she had no idea that it was melanoma. She died three years later. 3. A Harvard-trained lung specialist ignored a sore on his upper back. He and his fiancÃ©e, a Harvard-trained pediatric resident, observed the change for several years without having it examined. They didnâ€™t know that melanoma could occur in an area that never received sunlight. He died six months after diagnosis at age 29. Here is a quote from this enlightened dermatologist: â€œIf a medical resident can misinterpret public health messages about sun exposure and melanoma, and two Harvard-trained physicians were ignorant about the most important risk factors for developing melanoma, then the general public will tend to make the same potentially fatal mistakes. Those mistakes lead to delayed diagnosis of this potentially lethal cancerâ€”particularly when we pound out the message that the culprit in melanoma is sun, sun, sun, and we are not sufficiently emphasizing the most important risk factors for developing melanoma.â€ Dr. Rhodes states that â€œmelanoma is a heterogeneous disease with multiple causes, arising from potential precursor moles that have little or nothing to do with sun exposure [emphasis mine], including dysplastic nevi, congenital nevi, and abnormal moles on acral surfaces and mucous membranes.â€ Another celebrated dermatologist, Dr. Bernard Ackerman, wrote a meticulously documented 440 page monograph called The Sun and the â€œEpidemicâ€ of Melanoma: Myth on Myth. In it he presents nearly every piece of research regarding sunlight and melanoma up until 2008, and concludes that the purported "epidemic" of sunlight-caused melanoma is a myth. I agree with these dermatologists. The â€œepidemicâ€ of melanoma is a myth, and dermatologists themselves are paying a price. Their own sunlight avoidance is causing widespread vitamin D deficiency among members of their profession. Australian dermatologists, while living in one of the sunniest areas of the world, have an average blood-vitamin D level of only 13 ng/mlâ€”a level considered to be severely deficient. At least this group is following their own advice to avoid the sun. As you will see, not all dermatologists are following their own adviceâ€”especially those in the USA. There are still other dermatologists who refuse to sing in the official choir of the Powers of Darkness. Writing in the British Medical Journal in 2008, Dr. Sam Shuster argued that the purported increase in melanoma is not really an increase at all, but an artifact due to non-melanoma lesions being diagnosed as melanoma. In 2009, another study by dermatologistsâ€” Dr. Nick Levell and his colleagues, including Shusterâ€”this time published by the British Journal of Dermatology, came to a similar conclusion and called the â€œincreaseâ€ in melanoma a â€œmidsummer nightâ€™s dream.â€ They concluded, after tracking the reported increase in Melanoma in the Eastern region of the UK between 1991 and 2004, that benign lesions were being classified in increasing numbers as stage-one melanoma. No other stages of the disease increased, and the increase in mortality due to melanoma was either miniscule or non-existent. This was true even though all grades of tumors were diagnosed at first presentation. They also noted that â€œthe distribution of the lesions reported did not correspond to the sites of lesions caused by solar exposure,â€â€”in other words, the â€œcancersâ€ were occurring on areas of the body seldom exposed to sunlight. Levell and his group also say that â€œthe large increase in reported incidence is likely to be due to diagnostic drift which classifies benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma.â€ They further stated that â€œThese findings inevitably challenge the validity of epidemiology studies linking increasing melanoma incidence with UV radiation, and suggest the need for a search for other ways in which the disease may be caused.â€ Dr. Ackerman agreed. In his meticulously documented monograph, he notes that â€œresearchers have created an epidemic of melanoma when, in fact, the only change has been an â€œepidemicâ€ in diagnoses of melanoma.â€ Notwithstanding the research presented by these dermatologists, the American Academy of Dermatology (AADA) and other melanoma organizations continue to spread misinformation regarding the disease. Dr. William James, president of the AAD has said that melanoma has become the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old, testifying to that statement before the FDA. Yet, he did not mention data from the National Cancer Institute indicating that death due to melanoma has decreased by 50% among women of ages 20-49 since 1975. That means young women have less than one chance in 100,000 of dying from melanoma, which does not even place it in the top 15 causes of cancer death. And, the American Cancer Society states that â€œsince 2000 melanoma has been decreasing rapidly in whites younger than 50, by 3% per year in men since 1991 and by 2.3% per year since 1995 in women.â€ We might ask why these figures are not included in the statements by dermatologists regarding the â€œepidemicâ€ of melanoma. Could it be because of a cozy financial relationship with pharmaceutical companies that produce sunscreen? Harmon Leon gave another reason to question the â€œepidemicâ€ of melanoma: The USA has 4.5% of the worldâ€™s population, yet has 52% of the worldâ€™s melanoma. The American Cancer Society estimates 68,720 new melanomas in the US during 2009, whereas the World Health Organization estimates 132,000 new cases yearly worldwide. Something is very strange here. It certainly seems that the exceptionally high melanoma figures in the USA might be doctored to produce sunscreen sales, dermatology visits and the removal of benign leisions. If you want to read about how this is done, click on this link. In addition, Dr. Ackerman points out the following in his monograph: 1. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society sold their seals of recognition to manufacturers of sunscreens, based on research conducted solely by the sunscreen industry. The price, he says, was â€œsubstantial in terms of dollars but incalculable in terms of honor.â€ For instance, for an application of $10,000 and an annual fee of 5,000, sunscreen manufacturers may boast approval of their products in the form of the â€œSeal of Recognitionâ€ of the American Academy of Dermatology. They then display this seal on the front of their tubes. The American Cancer Society allows its logo to be placed on tubes of Neutrogena sunscreens in exchange for $300,000 annually. 2. In 2007, the year in which the Seal of Recognition program for the AAD was implemented, the past president of the board, who chaired the Seal program, and half the members of the board had financial ties to companies that manufacture sunscreen. And in 2008, all four new members of the board had those ties. 3. Darrell Rigel, a former president of the AAD, affirmed how important it was to avoid the sun while he, himself, was on vacation in Hawaii. 4. The AAD ran announcements for and updates on their scientific meetings, stating that they took place in â€œSunny San Diegoâ€ and â€œSunny San Antonio.â€ [Arenâ€™t they supposed to avoid the sunlight?] We now have two possibilities (see parts 1 and 2 of this post). (1.) Either melanoma has increased exponentially while sunlight exposure dramatically decreased or (2.) There has been no increase in melanoma; the purported increase is nothing more than an increase in the number of harmless skin spots that are being diagnosed as melanoma by an increasing number of dermatologists. In either case, the idea that regular, non-burning sunlight exposure is the cause of melanoma is a fraudâ€”an idea promulgated by dermatological academies, sunscreen manufacturers and melanoma foundations driven by the desire for profit.   Rhodes, A. Melanomaâ€™s Public Message. Skin & Allergy News 2003;34 (4):1-4  Ackerman, B. The Sun and the â€œEpidemicâ€ of Melanoma: Myth on Myth. Ardor Scribendi, New York 2008.  D. Czarnecki, C. J. Meehan and F. Bruce. The vitamin D status of Australian dermatologists. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 2009;34, 624â€“25.  Shuster, S. Is sun exposure a major cause of melanoma? No. BMJ 2008;337:a764  N.J. Levell, C.C. Beattie, S. Shuster and D.C. Greenberg. Melanoma epidemic: a midsummer nightâ€™s dream? British J Dermatol 2009;161:630â€“34   Age-adjusted mortality rates by Cancer site, Ages 20-49, White, Female 1975-2007. National Center for Health Statistics, Center for Disease Control, April 10, 2010. National Cancer institute.    American Cancer Society Cancer reference Information 2009. 
The Truth About Sunlight, Cancer and Vitamin D
Vitamin D-Parkinson's link
GREATER levels of vitamin D have been linked to a lower risk of Parkinson's disease in a study in Finland where low sunlight leads to a chronic lack of the nutrient, researchers said on Monday
Is Profit Behind Dermatology's 'Sun Scare' Message?
Is Profit Behind Dermatology's 'Sun Scare' Message? Author: Harmon Leon 2010-07-09-20080107t221238z_01_nootr_rtridsp_2_healthcancersundc.jpg There's a strange health tug-of-war going on. Doctors are now telling us to get back into the sun for better health since a large majority of Americans are being deprived of natural vitamin D and other benefits associated with sunshine. Meanwhile, the cosmetic dermatology industry seems to be turning up the heat on their "stay out of the sun, wear sunscreen 24/7" message. Who's a person to believe? With balance and common sense seeming pretty obvious, it calls the question: What's really behind the 'sunshine is killing us' message that's pouring out of dermatologists' mouths, via the media, these days? With the summer months upon us I wanted to find out firsthand what exactly the mantra is that dermatologists are telling patients. So I went undercover to several San Francisco dermatologists in order to see if there is legitimate concern about the sun-scare media hype. Are these doctors being sensible or going overboard when it comes to advice on sunscreen use and skin cancer prevention? Is the sky falling with dangerous UV rays or are we being induced into a media panic? Let's journey on into the heart of mole darkness and find out. 2010-07-09-mole.jpg Dermatologist Appointment #1: Marina District My first dermatology stop is in the posh San Francisco neighborhood near Union Street. With nothing to read but Botox literature, I'm made to wait in the pristine reception area for a good hour. This place feels more like a cosmetic spa than a doctor's office. With all these pamphlets on wrinkle elimination, the dermatologists' message seems to be centered on beauty rather than health issues. My excuse for wanting an appointment is to get my moles checked out. The message dermatologists constantly trumpet is that moles should be frequently checked for malignant melanoma. Except these are ordinary moles I've had my entire life. Finally my name is called. I'm then made to wait another 20 minutes in the examination room. The dermatologist finally comes in. I take off my shirt and point to my moles. She immediately determines that they don't look cancerous. I press her by saying the mole under my arm is of concern because it rubs against my clothes. She takes a closer look: (Listen to the appointment here.) DERM: Now as far as this mole right here. ME: Yeah, how about getting that chopped off? (The dermatologist then explains the protocol.) DERM: Because of the insurance we need to get approval. Because, we don't want you to get a bill we want your insurance to pay for what they need to pay for. So that's why we have to ask their permission. It usually takes a week to get their permission. Then we'll ask you to come back here. (She looks harder at my moles and concocts a plan.) DERM: This one, I'll remove for you because you said it's become irritated. If you want to get things removed for cosmetic reasons I don't know if your insurance will balk at that. I think if we remove a couple of other spots because it's irritated, you're maybe worried about it, and I want to make sure its not skin cancer, they will pay for that. But I've had patients come in and remove seven moles at once, and they were all for cosmetic reasons, and the insurance said we're not paying for any of that and she got a huge bill. DERM: I think if we took off a couple of moles they wont say anything like that. ME: So just a couple of moles? DERM: Yeah. I think if we do a couple of moles I don't think they'll balk at that. So which moles do you want done? (She looks again at my non-skin-cancerous moles.) The one here I'm going to say gets irritated sometimes on clothes. And when it gets irritated does it get itchy? You just kind of recognize that its there. I'll just say it's more sensitive. How about that?" ME: If you can get my insurance to cover it that would be great. DERM: So right here I'll say that's an irritated mole--the one on the front. ME: I guess that's irritating too. DERM: I'll say: rubs on backpack. So sensitive or itchy?" ME: Let's just go with itchy. DERM: If it's an irritant mole they will cover it. Bingo! We go with irritant. Besides being advised that I should never go into the sun without wearing a visor, sunglasses, long sleeves and sunscreen (which needs to be reapplied obsessively every few hours), I can get my non-cancerous moles removed because they are an irritant. (A week later I find out that my insurance approved the removal of these two non-cancerous moles--I'm added to the reported melanoma statistics.) It happens more often than you might think. A quick Google search shows that in the past years several dermatologists have been sent to prison for flat-out lying about skin cancer to their patients; slicing up healthy skin for insurance dollars. Do these cases show there's money to be made in cutting off skin lesions and calling them cancer? Is this a factor why skin cancer numbers might seem overinflated? Do the numbers add up when you start digging? A May 2010 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute listed melanoma as one of five cancers over-diagnosed by doctors. Though doctors are removing more and more skin lesions, researchers pointed out that melanoma mortality rates haven't increased since 1975--with insurance companies paying for the procedures. A 2009 British Journal of Dermatology report also concluded: that melanoma isn't increasing in actual incidence, but merely in reported incidence. What the report found was doctors were simply reporting and removing more lesions that may not actually be cancerous. Would this explain why the United States has just 4.5 percent of the world's population but has 52 percent of the world's melanomas when you compare the American Cancer Society's numbers (68,720) with those from the World Health Organization (132,000 worldwide)? In contrast, both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer have been declining in Canada. A University of Alberta study this year showed that non-melanoma skin cancer incidence in Canada has been declining for a generation. Riddle me this: how is it possible the U.S. estimates more-than-triple while Canada's real numbers are actually declining? Has the U.S. dermatology-induced media scare propagated more dermatologist visits in our for-profit health care system or are a larger number of Canadians simply staying inside to watch their beloved championship curling teams? Regardless, by having just a few cosmetic moles chopped off, my dermatologist was able to fix it so my insurance company would foot the bill. Dermatologist Appointment #2: Fillmore District More literature on Botox. More pamphlets on wrinkle elimination. More tips on how to look young and pretty. But, unlike the previous dermatology office, after I quickly fill out my paperwork I'm immediately whisked into an examination room. When I tell the dermatologist I'm concerned about moles, she asks me if anyone in my family has ever had skin cancer. I tell her they have. She then asks whether it was melanoma or not. (Listen to audio here.) ME: I'm not entirely sure. DERM: People die from melanoma. ME: They die from it!? What's the percentage? DERM: It depends on the stage when diagnosed. It's the fourth-leading cause of death due to cancer. On the list of cancers it's number four. ME: I always thought it was just mild. DERM: No, it's not mild. Basal cell cancer, that's mild. That sounds pretty severe--I mean death is as extreme as it gets. But according to the National Cancer Institute, melanoma only contributes just 0.1 percent of all cancer deaths--it isn't even in the top 15 when it comes to cancer. This past spring the Association of Health Care Journalists called into question dermatology's math about melanoma. AHCJ reported a person's risk of melanoma is identified at roughly two-to-three per thousand. (Whether they catch sun outdoors or in a tanning bed.) Melanoma is quite rare and it's actually declining in most of the population, except for older men, who get it most often. Oddly, the media marketing campaign for skin cancer prevention is aimed almost entirely at young women, who have less than a one in 100,000 chance of succumbing to melanoma. According to the National Cancer Institute's data, that number has actually gone down more than 50 percent in women 20 to 49 since 1975. 2010-07-09-19752007_Melanoma_Mortality__F2049.jpg And yet, dermatology leaders regularly state that melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in women between the ages of 25 to 29 -- ignoring men, the group most at risk, altogether. Is there a correlation between young women being the largest consumers of skin care products as well as being the largest demographic group scared into dermatologists' offices to have moles removed? (And Botox injections--the fastest-growing procedure in dermatology today.) Is there a connection between dermatologists getting more press over skin cancer than heart disease or other top cancer killers that have no connection to the multibillion-dollar cosmetics industry? Back to my appointment: The dermatologist continues to examine my non-cancerous moles. Unlike my previous appointment, she tells me that if I want the moles removed it would be a purely cosmetic procedure and my insurance won't cover it. I press the irritated issue. Candidly, I ask her if she could simply write it up as being cancerous so my insurance will cover it. The dermatologist says she won't but admits a big flaw in the system. DERM: I'm sorry they don't cover it. You could go to some dermatology offices that would lie and say that it's irritated. I can't do that. It's something I don't want to do--start lying on charts. They might do that for you. But I just like to do things how they are done. I then ask what measures I should take to prevent skin cancer. I'm told to apply sunscreen 24/7, wear a hat and sunglasses, as well as avoid the sun as much as possible. (The only thing she doesn't mention is to live underground with the mole people.) (Listen here.) ME: Do you wear sunblock? DERM: Everyday. SPF 30 and higher. ME: Is 100 good? DERM: 100 is good. Just remember to reapply it. Don't be fooled that it's 100 SPF. ME: I was reading that some sunblocks are bad for you. Like the toxins. DERM: We don't believe that. The sun is more harmful to you. Human beings and our predecessors have been living and working under the sun for millennia. This advice seems like de-evolution. Are we experiencing Darwinism in reverse? Now we're being told to use chemical sunscreen products on a daily basis--even when a sunburn isn't possible. Some sources suggest that the rise in skin cancer cases is due to the excessive use of sunscreens due to the toxic ingredients that we've recently learned seep into our bodies, rather than the increased exposure to ultraviolet light. Nearly half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products may increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A or its derivative. According to researchers at Environmental Working Group, their annual report cites problems with bogus sun protection factor (SPF) numbers, the use of the hormone-disrupting chemical oxybenzone (which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream), overstated claims about performance, and the lack of needed regulations and oversight by the Food and Drug Administration. If their claims are correct, then even though the white sunscreen goop might prevent sunburn don't count on it to prevent skin cancer from forming. More goop for thought: sunscreen companies can't actually advertise that their product prevents skin cancer because research doesn't support that claim. So companies fork over millions of dollars in "pay for play" endorsements to groups like The American Academy of Dermatology and The Skin Cancer Foundation to make that claim for them. Indeed, most people are surprised to learn that the Skin Cancer Foundation is mainly funded by the very pharmaceutical companies who profit from its anti-sun message. Could this multimillion-dollar business from cosmetics companies be affecting the objectivity of dermatology lobbying groups and the derms in our communities? 2010-07-09-shutterstock_17030833.jpg Dermatologist Appointment #3: Large Medical Building In Pacific Heights These dermatology offices all seem to subscribe to the exact same Botox pamphlets and literature. Sure the sun gets a bad rap from dermatologists, but that's nothing compared to their take on indoor tanning booths. Dermatologists, along with the media, have launched a full out blitzkrieg on the tanning industry. A recent 20/20 report made it seem like indoor tanning was as dangerous as putting the bronze barrel of a gun in your mouth. If I were to believe their reports, an indoor tanning session is as deadly as arsenic and as addictive as heroin. Meanwhile, dermatologists sell indoor tanning sessions in their own offices for up to $100 a visit to treat cosmetic skin conditions. Could some of their angst at indoor tanning be about profit? A January 2009 New York Times article states that some psoriasis patients have benefited from commercial-grade tanning beds that use UVB radiation; many of which are actively in use in dermatologists office across America. The indoor tanning industry reports that 1 million clients are actually referred to them annually by dermatologists to treat psoriasis, eczema and other cosmetic skin conditions. But stepping into a tanning booth, according to dermatology lobbying groups, is about as dangerous as jumping in front of a speeding truck. UV light, in the form of sun or indoor tanning, produces vitamin D. (Affectionately known as the "sunshine vitamin.") Surely dermatologists must see some benefit in moderate UV light? What suddenly set off their dragon-fire? (Listen here.) ME: I was doing some phototherapy for psoriasis. Do you recommend phototherapy? DERM: Yeah, phototherapy is great. ME: Do you get the same thing if you go to a tanning booth? DERM: I wouldn't do a tanning booth because it's not localized to one area and they control the beams that actually go on you. ME: Are they dangerous? DERM: Yeah, tanning booths are very dangerous. You can get burnt. ME: How does the equipment compare? DERM: The doctor office that has the phototherapy they can control amount of rays that go on and how long you're in there. In the tanning bed it's all over so it's not targeted and you are exposing yourself to all these UVA and UVB rays. ME: Is it covered by my insurance? DERM: It should be. Not the tanning beds but going to the phototherapy. If you refer to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, back in the early 90s dermatologists used to annually deliver roughly 873,000 phototherapy sessions. By 1998 that number had gone down 94 percent to 53,000 for a procedure they still consider safe and viable. Maybe that's why the dermatologist sternly warned that I should never go into a tanning booth--under any circumstance--even though in often cases the indoor tanning equipment is exactly the same. They're trying to drum up more business. 2010-07-09-302295862_c72380d7ab.jpg Dermatologist Appointment #4: Financial District At my final appointment, the dermatology assistant informs, once again, how I should engage in obsessive daily sunscreen use. She neglects to mention that constant use of sunscreen is suspected to be a factor in vitamin D deficiency--a condition that affects three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults. According to findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the deficits are increasingly blamed for everything from cancer and heart disease to diabetes. Yet the advice--slather it on daily, even in the winter--still flows from the mouths of most dermatologists with little regard to these reports. (Listen here.) DERM ASSIST: Do you use any sunblock? ME: Now and then. DERM ASSIST: What SPF do you use? ME: Around 15. What do you recommend? DERM ASSIST: We do recommend 30 and higher and especially on your face if its in the sun and we recommend you put it on the morning, when you are in sun and reapply it every two to four hours. ME: Every day? Isn't it bad, everyday? Because doesn't sunblock have toxins in it? DERM ASSIST: Not if it's only the oxidized zinc. A lot of the ones over the counter have chemicals in there. So you want to pick ones that have those raw materials in there. DERM ASSIST: So a couple of times a day put on sunblock ... It's recommended. I ask if sunblock prevents cancer. I'm told it prevents skin damage, which can cause cancer. Linking these two elements together makes it imply that sunscreen is the antidote for skin cancer, rather than a preventative against skin damage. When the dermatologist finally comes in to examine my moles ("These moles are totally normal. Totally normal. Everybody has got moles"), she sings a completely different tune. (Listen here.) ME: Do I need to use sunblock everyday? DERM: Just be responsible. We do need sun to produce vitamin D. Be responsible. If you know you're going to go to the beach for two hours then use sunblock. If you're working in the office all day long there's no reason to use sunblock--just be reasonable. Amazing. Finally a dermatologist who actually gives sound, sane advice about the use sunscreen, rather than sounding like she's part of some strange sunscreen cult. Does she have similar moderation counseling on phototherapy and tanning booths? (Listen here.) ME: I was doing some phototherapy for psoriasis. Could I do that at a tanning booth with ultraviolet rays? DERM: Yes, it is the same thing. ME: It's the same thing!? DERM: They use UVB. Sun or tanning booth or psoriasis treatment box--they all use UVB light. ME: So, I would get the exact same treatment if I go to a tanning booth as I get with phototherapy?" DERM: Yes, you could go to a tanning booth and choose UVB not UVA, and it's the same thing mostly. ME: So it's the exact same equipment and everything like that. DERM: Yes! ME: So you would recommend that?" DERM: Yes! It only took four separate appointments (six if you count the two appointments where my digital recorder didn't work) to finally find a dermatologist who wasn't spouting the exact same overblown anti-sun mantra as all the rest of the industry. The sun scare message, fueled by dermatologists, has helped sunscreen companies turn a multimillion-dollar industry into a six billion dollar cosmetic juggernaut that uses dermatology endorsements to drive overuse of their product, which in some cases has been implicated in containing undisclosed toxins. Because of it, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer has called for a full investigation into sunscreen safety. In this nation of panic, cosmetic dermatology is benefiting by driving a fear-based pipeline of customers directly into their offices. But as a whole, the dermatology industry is retreating to their corner of the sandbox, refusing to accept the scientific reality of a balanced message about sun protection in light of research clearly showing the need for regular sun exposure. Do you feel bombarded by the sun scare messages? Are your fears justified or do you think there a profit motivation behind the dermatology messaging? Let us know what you think. Follow Harmon Leon on Twitter:
Higher Vitamin D Levels Linked to Fewer Infections
Previously I have highlighted the benefits vitamin D has with regard to improving the immune response and helping keep infections such as flu at bay. It has been mooted that the upsurge in viral infections during the winter is connected with the generally lower vitamin D levels at this time. The traditional view is that winter infections are due to â€œindoor crowding.â€ However, research indicates that flu epidemics do not occur in the summer in crowded workplaces despite the presence of the flu virus around people who should be susceptible to infection. This is based on research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team in Atlanta, published in May 2001 in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, and other research published in Volume 8 of Epidemiologic Reviews in 1986. These facts were plucked from a study by the department of medicine at Yale University. Published in June in PLoS One journal, the study looked at the relationship between vitamin D levels and risk of viral respiratory tract infection such as cold and flu. This study assessed blood levels of vitamin D and viral infection in almost 200 American men and women throughout last autumn and winter. This study produced some interesting findings: Compared to individuals with vitamin D levels less than 38 ng/ml (95 mmol/l), individuals with levels of 38 ng/ml or above were about half as likely to suffer from a viral respiratory infection during the study period. Of those with higher vitamin D levels (as defined above), 83 percent had no infections at all during the study period, compared to 55 per cent of those with lower levels. Those with higher levels of vitamin D who succumbed to flu were ill for an average of two days per infection. Those with lower levels of vitamin D who succumbed to flu were ill for an average of nine days per infection. This study showed that as vitamin D levels rose, so did resistance to infection. However, the benefit appeared to plateau at about 38 ng/ml. Of course, epidemiological studies of this nature cannot be used to prove causality (that is, that higher vitamin D levels protect against viral infection). They indicate only that the higher vitamin D levels are associated with improved resistance to infection. However, the idea that vitamin D might actually help protect against infection is at least plausible, as the authors of the above study point out: â€œVitamin D has known effects on the immune system. The production of the antimicrobial peptides cathelicidin by macrophages and ÃŸ-defensin by endothelial cells is upregulated by vitamin D. These peptides may be involved in the direct inactivation of viruses.â€ If it is true that optimizing vitamin D can help protect against infection, then this might have particular significance for the elderly, particularly those who are institutionalized. A combination of low vitamin D, somewhat compromised immune function, and crowding could indeed be a lethal mix for some. Enhanced sunlight exposure or vitamin D supplementation could be a safe and inexpensive way of protecting against illness and preserving life. Dr. John Briffa is a London-based physician and author with an interest in nutrition and natural medicine. His website is Drbriffa.com
Official recommended intake for vitamin D is too low
Author: David Gutierrez (NaturalNews) Official government recommendations on vitamin D intake are far too low for optimal health, the director of the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center has warned. "The current dietary guideline, approximately 400 IU/day, was based on the amount of vitamin D in a spoonful of cod liver oil, which prevented rickets," William B. Grant said. Scientists initially assumed that vitamin D's primary role in the body was in producing strong bones and teeth. Newer research, however, shows that at higher levels, vitamin D helps prevent and even treat chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes; bacterial and viral infections; and autoimmune diseases including asthma, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and possibly rheumatoid arthritis. The body naturally produces vitamin D upon exposure to UVB radiation from sunlight. "With whole-body exposure to the sun, one can make at least 10,000 IU/day in a short time," Grant said. "Adverse effects such as hypercalcemia have been found in general only for 20,000-40,000 IU/day for very long periods." Grant warned that in people with certain health conditions (such as certain cancers or hormonal conditions), high levels of vitamin D even from sunlight can be harmful. For others, Grant recommends a daily vitamin D intake of 2,000 IU per day for people with light skin, 3,000 IU per day for those with very dark skin and 6,000 IU per day for pregnant or lactating women. Current government recommendations for pregnant women are only 200 IU per day. Sunlight remains the best way to get vitamin D, but only with sufficient exposure. "Due to current lifestyles in the United States, most people do not spend sufficient time in the sun to produce the higher serum D levels associated with optimal health," Grant warned. For optimal vitamin D production from sunlight, Grant recommends exposing "as much of the body as possible without sunscreen near solar noon, the time when one's shadow is shorter than one's height, for 10-30 minutes depending on skin pigmentation, being careful not to turn pink or red or burn."
Vitamin D Fears Lead to Sun Warnings Review
Warning people to stay out of the sun may have led to vitamin D deficiencies, British newspaper The Independent reported Monday. The newspaper cited a confidential report from Cancer Research U.K., which revealed the charity was reconsidering its advice about avoiding the sun between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. The charity was responding to concerns that people were at risk of a lack of vitamin D without adequate exposure to sunlight. Medical researcher Oliver Gillie told the newspaper the current warnings to stay out of the sun may be causing health problems. â€œLack of sunshine and the vitamin it makes in our skin is probably the most serious single cause of disease in the U.K. today. Vitamin D deficiency is well known as the classic cause of rickets and serious bone diseases," he said. The draft document states: â€œCancer Research U.Kâ€™s SunSmart campaign encourages people to enjoy the sun safely and avoid exposures that lead to sunburn. However, for most people, sunlight is also an important source of vitamin D, which is essential for good bone health. It is important to ensure that skin cancer prevention messages are balanced with the need to make enough vitamin D.â€ A Cancer Research U.K. spokeswoman said the document was not yet finalized.
Vitamin D Low in Patients With Headache and Migraine
Author: Allison Gandy July 6, 2010 (Los Angeles, California) â€” Patients with headache and migraine may need to have their vitamin D levels assessed, report researchers. Preliminary findings released here at the American Headache Society (AHS) 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting reveal low vitamin D levels in these patients, with levels similar to those found in patients with chronic pain. "This potential biomarker should be studied in double-blind trials both for epidemiological and clinical reasons and for potential treatment effects," said presenter John Claude Krusz, MD, from Anodyne Headache and Pain Care in Dallas, Texas. "Vitamin D may play some yet unknown role in multiple painful and possibly headache and migraine disorders." Researchers measured serum vitamin D levels in 900 patients and included 100 of these in the current analysis. About half of the patients had new migraine and headache (n = 55). The remaining patients had chronic pain disorders, including fibromyalgia, rheumatic, and neuropathic pain disorders (n = 45). Investigators report low levels similar to those found in patients with chronic pain. The average vitamin D level in patients with predominantly headache and migraine was 26.3 ng/mL. This compared to a mean vitamin D level of 25.2 ng/mL in chronic pain patients with no headache (P < .80). These findings mirror those of another AHS poster presentation from 2008. In that study, Steven Wheeler, MD, from the Ryan Wheeler Headache Treatment Center in Miami, Florida, found low vitamin D levels in patients with migraine. "Unfortunately, that study included a significant percentage of patients with coexistent pain disorders as well," Dr. Krusz told Medscape Medical News. "We tried to separate, as much as possible, headache and migraine patients from those with chronic pain syndromes in order to measure and document vitamin D in both groups individually." In the current study, 15% of those in the headache and migraine group had other transient pain disorders in their medical history. "But not at the time their vitamin D levels were measured," Dr. Krusz said. He acknowledges this is a small study and neither group was compared to people without these clinical conditions. "I screen everyone," Dr. Krusz said, "and treat when the levels fall below the blue line" (see graph). "I think there are probably about 5 Nobel prizes to be won in this area. There's still so much we don't know." Dr. John Claude Krusz Treat Vitamin D Deficiency John Cannell, MD, executive director of the Vitamin D Council in San Luis Obispo, California, echoes this view. "We propose vitamin D deficiency syndrome exists when 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of less than 50 ng/mL are found in patients with 2 or more of the following conditions: osteoporosis, heart disease, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, certain cancers, depression, chronic fatigue, or chronic pain." The Vitamin D Council is a nonprofit organization set up to educate the public and professionals about vitamin D deficiency. The Vitamin D Council's recommendation of 50 ng/mL is a little lower than the current investigators cutoff of 60 ng/mL. Dr. Cannell says that deficiency is more common among people with dark skin, elderly individuals, and those who avoid the sun. He suggests that vitamin D is safe when used in physiologic doses of at least 5000 IU/day from all sources, including sunlight, diet, and supplements. Dr. Cannell points out that vitamin D hypersensitivity can occur in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism, occult cancers â€” especially lymphoma â€” or granulomatous disease such as sarcoidosis. "In such cases," he notes, "treatment of vitamin D deficiency should be done under the care of a knowledgeable physician." The researchers have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. American Headache Society (AHS) 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting: Poster 51. Presented June 26, 2010.
Vitamin D deficiency on the rise
Author: Kim Kozlowski Research suggests it has health benefits, but doctors say many people not getting enough Susan Waun remembers her doctor was skeptical when she asked for a vitamin D test. That changed when the test showed she was deficient. Since then, Waun's doctor has given her a prescription dosage that increased her vitamin D level. A growing body of research suggests the vitamin -- long known to ward off rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults -- also shows promise in fighting scores of ailments, including heart attacks, cancer, autism, arthritis, migraine headaches and even depression. More doctors are testing patients' levels as a federal committee prepares a vitamin D report scheduled for release this year. "I feel better that I've discovered something that could have a long-term effect" on preventing serious disease, said Waun, a Lathrup Village resident. Vitamin D, found only in a limited number of foods such as salmon and tuna, is produced naturally in the body through sunlight. But officials say the number of people deficient in vitamin D is reaching epidemic proportions, as more forgo the sun over fears of skin cancer and other skin damage. Many also live in regions far away from the equator, making it more difficult to get adequate sun exposure to produce vitamin D naturally. The maximum amount of possible sunshine from sunrise to sunset with clear skies in Detroit is 53 percent annually, compared to 70 percent in Miami and 73 percent in Los Angeles, according to Comparative Climatic Data, a report by three federal agencies. Federal officials issued guidelines for recommended daily vitamin D intake in 1997. The suggested amounts range from 200 to 600 units, depending on age. But new recommendations could be on the horizon: The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board has just completed its final meetings of a yearlong examination of vitamin D, and a report on recommended levels is expected later this summer or early fall, said Matthew Spear, senior program assistant. Vitamin D technically is not a vitamin but a steroid hormone system in the skin. It is critical because it regulates more than 1,000 genes, said Dr. John Cannell, executive director and founder of the Vitamin D Council in San Luis Obispo, Calif. "Treating vitamin D deficiencies has a good chance to profoundly change the practice of medicine," Cannell said. More doctors are starting to test their patients' vitamin D levels with a blood test. Although data is not available for Michigan, Quest Diagnostics, one of the world's largest medical testing labs, which is based in Madison, N.J., reported a 50 percent growth in vitamin D tests during the last quarter of 2009 over the previous year, said spokeswoman Wendy Bost. Vitamin D eases symptoms Among the doctors who screen patients' vitamin D levels is Dr. James Dowd, a Brighton-based rheumatologist. He personally discovered an optimum level of vitamin D can make a difference when he was struggling with insomnia, muscle cramps and aching joints at age 40. Many of his patients were complaining of the same thing. He started taking supplements and his symptoms vanished. He has since been testing all of his patients' vitamin D levels and prescribes supplements when necessary. "It amazing how such a simple change made a difference in how they felt," said Dowd, who wrote the book "The Vitamin D Cure." Dr. Paul Erhmann, a Royal Oak general practitioner, also tests patients for vitamin D deficiency. He said it's important to monitor levels since too much of the fat-soluble vitamin can lead to neurological or kidney problems. "We've been surprised by people who are vitamin D deficient," Erhmann said. "It's an important risk factor for a lot of preventable problems." Tied to disease prevention Research began decades ago when epidemiologists noticed fewer people suffered from chronic diseases who lived in regions with more sun exposure. Hundreds of studies have since shown links between optimum level of vitamin D and prevention of disease. "It's one issue but it's a very, very important issue because it can be so easily addressed and so inexpensively addressed," Cannell said. New federal research released last month is dashing hopes about the potential that vitamin D could have in reducing the risk of some cancers. Though some studies have shown a risk reduction in colorectal cancer with higher levels of vitamin D, a large study by researchers at the National Cancer Institute found adequate levels of vitamin D offered no protection against cancers such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or cancers of the esophagus, stomach, kidney, ovary or pancreas. "We did not see lower cancer risk in persons with high vitamin D blood concentrations compared to normal concentrations for any of these cancers," said Demetrius Albanes, an investigator in the study that appeared online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Even so, many Metro Detroiters are turning to supplements or extra sunshine, just in case. Leigh Anne Cutcher thought it was funny when she saw her cousin sprawled out in the sun, hoping to boost her vitamin D levels. But not long after, Cutcher, 47, went to her doctor and found out she needed more of the "sunshine vitamin." Cutcher, of Farmington Hills, has since been taking vitamin D regularly to give her body what it needs. "When you have something low or out of balance," she said, "it's important to know it so you can proactively address it and avoid some of those health issues." Article Tools:PrintEmailCommentRead CommentsShare From The Detroit News:
Reap the Sun's Vitamin D Benefits Without Getting Burned
Author: FitCeleb As we reach the peak season of the summer sun, wisdom suggests that we pay greater attention to protecting our skin. Yet, there are questions about the best way to do this. Should we avoid the sun? Is all sun exposure bad for us? Are all sunscreens created equal? Does clothing afford any protection? On one hand, we've all been warned of the dangers that lurk behind those healthy-looking tans; most notably, an increased risk of skin cancer and premature wrinkles. On the other hand, there is also reasonable evidence that sun exposure does not induce melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In fact, there are several studies that demonstrate sun exposure can actually protect us from cancer! To be specific, the exposure to UVB sun radiation has been shown to reduce the risk of 19 major types of cancerthrough the production of vitamin D! So what's a bikini to do?! I think it's important we all try to get 20 minutes of unprotected sun-to-skin exposure every day. This is essential for meeting our most basic needs for Vitamin D. Once this is taken care of, I recommend both physical protection; i.e., hats, clothing and umbrellas, as well as chemical protection, sunscreens. However, it must be mentioned that many sunscreens on the market today have come under fire not only due to inaccurate labeling -- a product states it has an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 50 and it's actually a 4 -- but many have been found to contain a host of controversial chemicals that include potential carcinogens, cancer promoters, free radical generators, and hormone disruptors. In addition, the use of sunscreen is known to reduce the production of Vitamin D in the body. Tip: Try and get 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure daily. Recently, The Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/), a non-profit organization with the mission of using the power of public information to protect public health and the environment, came out with a fairly disconcerting report about sunscreens. EWG researchers recommended only 39 of 500 (that's only 8 percent!) beach and sport sunscreens for this season. The reason? As the word got out that the higher the SPF the better, there was a surge among manufacturers misrepresenting that their products contained an SPF over 50. Additionally, there have been new disclosures addressing potentially hazardous ingredients. In particular, recent government data has linked the common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A to accelerated development of skin tumors and lesions. According to EWG, the best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No worries about chemicals that will be absorbed through the skin, and no question about their effectiveness. But if you choose to wear a "teenie weenie yellow polka dotted bikini," or any clothing that provides only partial skin coverage, EWG suggests using sunscreens that provide broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB-sunburn) protection, as well as those that contain fewer hazardous chemicals. For a list of their recommendations, go to: Tip: Make every effort to avoid burning your skin. There is sufficient data to know that sun burns cause serious, long-term damage. In an effort to make a wise decision regarding which sunscreen to purchase, many consumers look for The Skin Cancer Foundation's "seal of approval." However, this shouldn't be the sole criteria you use to make a purchasing decision. According to the EWG, The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) lends its logo to hundreds of sun protection products that have not necessarily been thoroughly scrutinized. My Advice: Get 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure daily. Even on cloudy days, you can still get up to 80% UV rays and boost your production of vitamin D. Make every effort to avoid sunburns. Be particularly cautious during mid-day sun exposure or near water where reflections can increase exposure and risk of burns. This can lead to skin damage and injury. Extensive research demonstrates that sunburns -- and particularly repeated burns -- cause serious, long-term damage. Cover up! The use of hats, shirts and umbrellas offer safe and effective protection from the sun. Buyer beware. Before purchasing a sunscreen, consult with a website such as to ensure you are purchasing a product that is both safe and effective. Â© 2010 Keith I. Block, M.D., author of Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment Author Bio: Keith I. Block, M.D. is Director of Integrative Medical Education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine; Medical Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Evanston, Illinois; and founder and Scientific Director of the nonprofit Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education. He is also editor in chief of the peer-reviewed professional journal Integrative Cancer Therapiesand a member of the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Editorial Board.
Critique of the IARC on the association of sunbed use and risk of CMM
Author: William B. Grant The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported meta-analyses of the association of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM), finding significant correlations with ever use of sunbeds and first use of sunbeds prior to age 35 years; it did not claim that the associations showed causal links. However, some observational studies in the meta-analysis included individuals in the UK with skin phenotype at increased genetic risk of CMM without adjustment for skin phenotype. Treating the five UK studies separately from the other 14 corrected this oversight. In the original study, the summary relative risk (RR) of CMM with respect to sunbed use was 1.15 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00-1.31). In this study, the similar RR was 1.20 (95% CI, 1.03-1.38). The RR for the five UK studies was 2.09 (95% CI, 1.14-3.84), whereas the RR for the other 14 studies was 1.09 (95% CI, 0.96-1.24). For first use of sunbeds prior to age 35 years, the IARC found a summary RR of 1.75 (95% CI, 1.35-2.36). This study plotted the RRs versus latitude of each study population, with a linear regression analysis carried out for all but the one UK study. The RR increased at 0.077 per degree of latitude and the regression explained 67% of the variance. It is also argued that factors other than sunbed use explain the increasing worldwide trends in CMM. Because solar-UV-simulating sunbeds induce production of vitamin D, the health benefits of their use greatly outweigh any possible risks.
Vitamin D helps Gaucher disease patients
Author: Jimmy Downs Editor's note: The enzyme replacement therapy is essential for treatment of gaucher disease. But it is also important to note that many lifestyle parameters affect a person's health status. Vitamin D is one thing that these patients need to pay attention to. On Feb 26, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has approved velaglucerase alfa for injection (VPRIV) to treat children and adults with a rare genetic disorder called Gaucher disease. Gaucher disease results from the deficiency of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase. Because of the deficiency, patients tend to build up harmful amounts of a certain fatty substance (lipid) in the liver, spleen, bones, bone marrow and nervous system , making cells and organs dysfunctional.The enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is the standard treatment for Gaucher disease. The FDA says patients who are on Cerezyme, which has been approved earlier to treat the disease, but in short supply currently may be safely switched to this enzyme which studies show is as effective and safe as Cerezyme. VPRIV is manufactured by Shire Human Genetic Therapies Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. Type 1 Gaucher disease is the most commonly seen lusosomal storage disorder and frequently lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis. One study led by Mikosch P and colleagues from State Hospital Klagenfurt in Klagenfurt, Austria suggests that vitamin D supplementation should be recommended for patients with type 1 Gaucher disease to help maintain bone health. Vitamin D is known to be essential for bone health. The researchers wanted to examine whether sufficiency of vitamin D may help the Gaucher disease patients. Mikosch et al. tested 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) in blood samples collected from sixty patients aged 17 to 85 years with the disease living at home and with residence in southern or central England. T-scores and Z-scores of the lumbar spine and hip were used in the study. They found high incidence of vitamin D insufficiency among Gaucher disease patients, particularly during the period between December and May. Depending on the definition of vitamin D sufficiency (less than 25, 50 or 80 nmol per liter), the insufficiency rates were 15.7%, 63.8%, 92.9% for the December to May period and for the period from June to November, 2.9%, 26.3%, 73.7%, respectively. Most importantly, the researchers found "The 25(OH)D values representing the seasonal nadir observed during the season December-May showed a significant correlation with T-scores and Z-scores of the lumbar spine and hip." The study was published in the March 2009 issue of Molecular Genetics and Metabolism.