Winter's Approach: Vitamin D
It's no secret that vitamin D is necessary for good health. Low levels of vitamin D have been found to affect the development and prognosis in as many as 18 internal cancers, including prostate, colon and breast cancers. Vitamin D is known to protect again bone diseases in adults and rickets in children. Vitamin D has been shown to help prevent multiple sclerosis, hypertension and depression.
The question is how to get the necessary amounts of vitamin, especially in the northern latitudes. Many people, especially teenage females, but females in general, have chosen to use a tanning salon, not just for vitamin D, but for aesthetic reasons as well. There has been much debate on this subject -- the argument against being the risk of skin cancer. While Vitamin D deficiency should be treated, e.g., by giving vitamin D orally, it has been suggested that dermatologists and other clinicians should recognize that there is convincing evidence that the protective effect of less intense solar UV radiation for shorter periods outweighs its mutagenic effects. Although further work is necessary to define an adequate vitamin D status and adequate guidelines for solar UV exposure, it is at present mandatory that public health campaigns and recommendations of dermatologists on sun protection consider these facts. Well-balanced recommendations on sun protection have to ensure an adequate vitamin D status, thereby protecting people against adverse effects of strict sun protection without significantly increasing the risk of developing UV-induced skin cancer.