Atlanta, GA, May 3, 2004 - Ignoring the health benefits of natural occurring vitamin D production in the skin, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is promoting its annual "Melanoma Monday" today. In an effort to promote more office visits for its members, the Academy is ignoring last week's published findings by the University of Michigan Health System that point to the benefits Vitamin D plays. Vitamin D is manufactured in the skin after direct exposure to UV light - accounting for 90 percent of the daily-recommended intake. Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System are finding this often ignored bone-building vitamin can play a significant role in the prevention of heart disease and the function of other critical body systems. And getting enough vitamin D in your system is as easy as soaking up the sun.
Regular and moderate exposure to sunlight is the best way to help the body manufacture the Vitamin D it needs. Today, Vitamin D deficiency is associated with more than 100,000 additional cases of cancer and 30,000 annual cancer deaths. Only regular and moderate exposure to sunlight fulfills the body's needs.
The AAD claims that even moderate exposure to sunlight can have deadly consequences. The AAD have intentionally confused the public to believe that any UV light exposure is dangerous. In fact, regular moderate sun exposure is not linked to melanoma, but intermittent sunburn - particularly among those who are predisposed to sunburn - is believed to be the risk factor.
"I think an overall shift in thought on the vitamin D system is in order," says Robert Simpson, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology in the University of Michigan Medical School in the news release issued last week. "We're getting a signal from sunlight to produce vitamin D."
"The idea that we should protect ourselves from the sun all the time is misguided and unhealthy," said Dr. Michael Holick. the former Chief of the Section of Endocrinology, Nutrition and Diabetes; Director of the General Clinical Research Center, and Professor of Medicine, Dermatology, and Physiology and Biophysics at the Boston University Medical Center. "Possible overexposure to ultraviolet light should not be an excuse to scare people out of the sun entirely," Holick added.
Recent reports by The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New York Times, CNN, WebMD, The Chicago Tribune, Newsday and NBC News have been fair and balanced - presenting both sides of the story - which is contrary to the ADA message of sun avoidance.
Outlawing Bikini's Next?
"Short of advocating the outlawing of the bikini, the AAD have ignored more than 60 years of scientific research which shows no definitive link to melanoma from occasional and moderate sunlight exposure," said Michael Stepp, a widely published UV researcher and expert, and president and CEO of Wolff System Technology. "This campaign and the media exposure it generates, creates fear to drive the sales of visits to dermatologists."
It's difficult to get enough vitamin D through a normal diet. According to the University of Michigan's research it's not found in many foods, and those that do contain vitamin D - egg yolks, fish oils - aren't typically part of an everyday diet. According to Holick's Vitamin D research, an adult would need to drink 8-10 glasses of milk a day to achieve the recommended amount of vitamin D.
According to the recent research, sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D. Experts say as little as fifteen minutes of direct sunlight several times a week will get you your recommended dose. If you live in an area that does not get sunshine, including northern climates in the winter months, you may not get enough vitamin D from the sun. Exposing the hands, face or arms to direct sunlight for 15 minutes two or three times per week will help produce vitamin D. Sunscreen with SPF 8 or higher will block the UV rays that cause vitamin D to form in the skin.
Putting it all in proper perspective
According to the AAD there will be about 95,880 new cases of melanoma in 2004, which will claim the lives of an estimated 7,910 people during the year.
- According to published research by Dr. William Grant, 1,334,100 new cases and 556,500 deaths were expected from all types of cancer in the U.S. last year. Dr. Grant's published scientific work indicated that there were approximately 45,000 premature deaths and 130,000 preventable cases of cancer annually through additional UVB exposure and/or vitamin D.
- While indoor tanning has been found to be loosely associated with an increase in melanoma rates in studies in Europe and Canada, no increased risk was found in the U.S. Even if indoor tanning were associated with an increased risk of developing melanoma, the risk pales in comparison to the health benefits resulting from vitamin D production from the small amount of UVB in tanning lamps.
- 400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis. Recent studies indicate that 50% of the cases can be prevented through UVB exposure through the production of vitamin D. Thus, 200,000 cases of multiple sclerosis in the U.S. may have been prevented through moderate exposure to UVR.
Since 1978, Wolff System Technology, as the founder of the indoor tanning industry in the U.S., has been the leading advocate of health related and cosmetic benefits in the U.S. for both the media and consumers alike. Wolff System Technology contends that responsible tanning in moderation is the answer to warnings issued by dermatologists and government agencies of potential skin damage from indoor tanning. During the past several months, several important new developments have been presented to scientific forums that underscore the vital role vitamin D plays in human health. While the indoor tanning industry promotes its services for cosmetic purposes, the production of vitamin D from exposure to ultraviolet light is a well-documented side effect of tanning outdoors under the sun or indoors in a professional tanning facility. The sun's rays are a key source of vitamin D, which reduces the risk of colon, breast, prostate and other cancers. "We believe both sides have validity in their arguments, and even though we also have a vested interest, we are willing to provide the media with scientific evidence that dermatologists ignore or are unaware of," said Stepp.
Editors Note: For more research on what the AAD is not telling you, please contact email@example.com for a position paper, "What the AAD Doesn't Want the Media and Patients Know." Michael Stepp, a recognized expert on UV light and Vitamin D and the CEO of Wolff System Technology, the founder of the indoor tanning industry in the U.S., is available for interviews.
Wolff has published a media backgrounder on the health-related benefits of Vitamin D available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, helpful tanning tips and a guide to proper exposure available at http://www.wolffsys.com/faq.html.
Dr. Michael Holick, director of the Vitamin D Research Lab at Boston University Medical Center and considered by many to be the nation's leading authority on vitamin D, is available for interviews by contacting Daryl Toor at 770-777-9489.
UMHS Guidelines for calcium and vitamin D:
NIH Clinical Center: Facts about vitamin D: http://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/supplements/vitd.html
Calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis: http://www.nof.org/prevention/calcium.htm
Dietary supplements: http://www.niapublications.org/engagepages/supplements.asp