Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gwyneth Paltrow has “seen the light.”

I’m a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow—a talented actress who performs well in any movie genre. She recently performed a great service by posting a “sunlight” article on her newsletter: http://goop.com/?page=newsletter_vn&id=most_recent. In it, she related the fact that her tibia had been fractured, and that on having her vitamin D assessed, she was told that her levels were the lowest her doctors had ever seen. She obviously had a disease called osteomalacia, or adult rickets. They suggested strong vitamin D supplementation and that she spend time in the sunlight. Her statement about sunlight was followed by an exclamation point, suggesting her surprise at such a heretical idea. Gwyneth also included an excellent article by her physician, Frank Lipman, which beautifully puts to rest the notion that after thousands or millions of years under the sunlight, we should avoid any contact with it.

Kudos is due Ms. Paltrow and her physicians, especially Dr. Lipman. When celebrities speak, their fans listen. The Powers of Darkness (POD)—those who would have us avoid the sunlight and have even suggested that we live underground to avoid it[1]—are responsible for the weakened bones of Gwyneth and millions more in the US alone. As stated by Susan Brown, PhD, in a research review in Alternative Medicine Review, “Each year in the United States, more than 1.5 million low-trauma osteoporotic fractures occur, including more than 300,000 hip fractures.”[2]

In spite of the fact that calcium cannot be absorbed without sufficient vitamin D, and that “normal” levels of at least 32 ng/ml are needed to optimize absorption,[3] [4] the POD continue to spew their anti-sun venom.

I recently had the opportunity to work with a woman—who had been away from of the sunlight for years—as she worked as a massage therapist in a large resort hotel. She had experienced a great deal of bone and muscle pain and told me that she had to quit her job; her hands hurt too severely to continue. She also informed me that her bones had begun to shift across her chest as she did massages, and she sometimes had to use crutches to walk. I suggested that she have her vitamin D assessed and she complied. Her D measurement was 6 ng/ml, a level indicative of severe deficiency (we now consider optimal levels to be about 60). After bringing her levels to 45, all of her bone disorders disappeared, and she is now able to resume her career in massage therapy.

Those who read the medical literature are not surprised about Ms. Paltrow’s experience. For instance, one of the most compelling studies on fracture risk and sunlight was done by Dr. Sato and his colleagues in Japan.[5] They studied the effects of sunlight exposure—or the lack thereof—on the bone mass of elderly women who were either exposed to sunlight or were kept inside a care facility. Over twelve months, 129 women were exposed to sunlight every day, and another 129 received no sunlight exposure. The results were startling: in these sedentary women, the sunlight group increased bone mass by an average 3.1%; in the non-sunlight-exposed group, it decreased by 3.3%, a difference of 6.4%. This is important, because high bone mass prevents fractures. The risk of fracture increases two to three times for every 10 percent drop in bone density.[6] In Sato’s study, however, the women who stayed indoors had six-times as many fractures as those who sunbathed outdoors. Also interesting to note is that vitamin D levels in the sunlight-exposed group increased by 400%.

In addition, an investigation in Spain concluded that women who actively participated in sun exposure had one-eleventh the chance of a hip fracture as those who did not![7] Another in Switzerland found that only 4% of hip fracture patients had vitamin D blood levels of 30 ng/ml.[8] In other words, 96% were vitamin D-deficient.

Gwyneth, we appreciate your willingness to help spread the truth about sunlight, one of God’s greatest gifts to the world and the only natural way to obtain vitamin D. We hope that more celebs will speak out against the Powers of Darkness and help us “stop the insanity.”

[1] Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, then-president of the American Academy of Dermatology at Derm Update, the AAD’s 1996 annual media day, Nov. 13, 1996.
[2] Brown, S. Vitamin D and Fracture Reduction: An Evaluation of the Existing Research. Altern Med Rev 2008;13:21-33.
[3] Heaney RP. The vitamin D requirement in health and disease. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2005;97:13-19.
[4] Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Giovannucci E, Willett WC, et al. Estimation of optimal serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D for multiple health outcomes. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:18-28.
[5] Sato, Y. et al. Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in stroke patients. Neurology 2003;61:338-42.
[6] Nguyen, T. et al. Prediction of osteoporotic fractures by postural instability and bone density. BMJ 1993;307:1111-15.
[7] Larrosa, M. Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture. Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.
[8] Bischoff-Ferrari, H. et al. Severe vitamin D deficiency in Swiss hip-fracture patients. Bone 2008;42:597-602.

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