February has officially been declared Vitamin D deficiency month. The UV Foundation, SUNARC, The Vitamin-D Council and the Indoor Tanning Association have come together to raise awareness of a problem that affects 60 percent of the country. Ultraviolet light has been demonized by dermatology for decades and industry has followed suite with numerous skin products all designed until recently to block UVB the spectrum of light necessary for the production of vitamin D.Did you know that SPF 8 blocks 97 percent of your vitamin D production? You are certainly not making any vitamin D if you apply SPF 15 or 40. Just in the last year studies suggest that it’s the UVA more than the UVB that contributes to the formation of skin cancer. Not only have we been blocking too much, we’ve been blocking the wrong spectrum of light.
The other misguided recommendation is to stay out of the sun if you have been diagnosed with skin cancer. The lag time between UV overexposure and the development of skin cancer is several decades. It is not clear how keeping people in their seventh or eighth decade out of the sun is supposed to lower their risk of any cancer. They need more vitamin D at that age not less.
It is important to recognize that in February the average peak UV index in this country is about 1 or 2. This means that during Vitamin D deficiency month you CANNOT make vitamin D from sunlight in most of the United States and certainly all of northern Europe. It is also likely that you will not be able to make vitamin D until mid March or mid April unless you are living in southern Florida, south Texas, San Diego or Hawaii.
What’s the solution? Take a vitamin D supplement. You avoid all the controversy and ensure a normal vitamin D level year round. The Vitamin D Cure was designed to address this specific issue. Read chapters 4 and 5 and start taking vitamin D.