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Lack of Sunlight Could Lead To Early Death 304

Posted by kdawson
from the among-other-unpleasant-consequences dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Members of this community may want to venture out of the basement more often, because Dr. Harald Dobnig and his team have found that vitamin D deficiency leads to increased mortality. These results still hold when they take into account such factors as exercise and heart disease. Low vitamin D status has 'other significant negative effects in terms of incidence of cancer, stroke, sudden cardiac death and death of heart failure,' Dr. Dobnig said. The evidence of ill effects from low vitamin D 'is just becoming overwhelming at this point.' Vitamin D3 is usually produced by exposure to the UV-B in sunlight, but in high latitudes, especially in the fall and winter, insufficient UV-B gets through the atmosphere to produce enough vitamin D3, even with hours of exposure. The researchers are recommending that people at risk for deficiency take 800 IU of vitamin D3 daily. Just don't go overboard — as a fat-soluble vitamin, D3 is more capable of causing adverse effects at unnaturally high dosages. The human body tops out at producing about 10,000 IU per day." According to the Wikipedia entry linked above, the D2 (ergocalciferol) version -- available as a vegan product -- works approximately as well to supply humans with their needed vitamin D.
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Lack of Sunlight Could Lead To Early Death

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  • by mrbluze (1034940) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:04AM (#23913911) Journal
    .. since pollution decreases sunlight penetration, whereas down south we have cleaner air and a lovely big ozone hole.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Slacksoft (1066064)

      ...so we either go out into the big blue room to avoid dying sooner, but risk getting cancer that could kill us too. I for one would rather bath in the cool non-skin roasting rays of my flat panel monitor and just increase my intake of once a day vitamins!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rossifer (581396)

        ...so we either go out into the big blue room to avoid dying sooner, but risk getting cancer that could kill us too.

        Actually, there are two important forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. The differences between these two forms of cancer are so significant as to be "critical knowledge for humans", and yet they tend to be lumped together under "skin cancer".

        Basal cell carcinomas are pretty low grade, tend to be very easy to treat, and are not associated with very many mortalitie

  • UVB CPF anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RockModeNick (617483) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:04AM (#23913913)
    This is EASY, people. It's not like they don't sell UVB 2% up to 10% daylight CPF screw in light bulbs at any decent pet store that carries reptiles.
  • Sunlight (Score:3, Interesting)

    by retech (1228598) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:05AM (#23913917)
    It would be nice to know the proper balance between too much and not enough. Given the fact that too much will cause cancer and an equally alarming rate.
    • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Informative)

      by icebike (68054) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:13AM (#23913965)

      Actually all the studies that address "too much" involved sever sunburns in teen years.

      There is no peer reviewed study that suggests normal exposure to sun imposes a high mortality.

      Yet the press, over-reacting as usual, have scared people out of the sun and created a sunscreen industry overnight by failing to actually read the studies that were done.

      Cancer rates caused by sun exposure only show significant rise in direct relation to bad burns. Avoid the bad burns and you are fine.

      60 thousand years of human existence can't be discounted overnight.

      Go out and play. Get a tan. Drink some coffee. Have some beer with those salty chips. Lets see, did I forget any of the other discredited cancer scares?

      • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Informative)

        by amRadioHed (463061) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:19AM (#23913995)

        Cancer is only one potential risk. The sun worshipers I've known still are wrinkled way beyond their years.

        • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Insightful)

          by isorox (205688) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @07:14AM (#23915065) Homepage Journal

          Cancer is only one potential risk. The sun worshipers I've known still are wrinkled way beyond their years.

          There's a difference between sun worshippers and people who go out in the sun, just as there's a difference between binge drinking and a glass of wine on a saturday night.

          All things in moderation.

        • by Gewalt (1200451)

          Cancer is only one potential risk. The sun worshipers I've known still are wrinkled way beyond their years.

          I like to call those fun lines. Its the tradeoff you make when having fun.
      • All those sound good to me, but the UVB bulbs still sound nice for the winter. I wonder if the UV spectrum light has any other side benefits other than vitamin D.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by icebike (68054)

          I wonder if the UV spectrum light has any other side benefits other than vitamin D.
          You mean like Goggle Eyes?
      • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:28AM (#23914043)

        60 thousand years of human existence can't be discounted overnight.

        60 thousand years of short lifespans and high mortality rates.

        • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Interesting)

          by umghhh (965931) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @05:46AM (#23914617)

          I am not sure about 60thousand years - I studied once history of my family and got back to the end of 18th century. The records in this particular part of Europe end or should I say start then.

          What I saw is that my grand grand born in XVIII century got married second time and had a kid in late 80ties of his life. He was a simple farm worker. The life span of others were similar. It changed when the area they lived got industrialized - life span of working men went down to 40 around end of XIX and beginning of XX century. It recovers significantly afterwards sign of reaction to bad working conditions (sick worker = not efficient worker). I suppose this varied a lot from place to place and time to time so talking about short lifespan and high mortality rates is not entirely correct.

          • by TheLink (130905)
            I think infant/child mortality might have been high. And there was a high risk of women dying in child birth.

            But once you made it past that, my guess is you'd live fairly long, maybe not as long as now, but the biblical 70 years (3 score and ten) wouldn't have been far off. The biblical upper limit of 120 years seems to hold even till today.
        • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Funny)

          by Oktober Sunset (838224) <[ku.oc.oohay] [ta] [301egapds]> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @06:10AM (#23914735)
          I think for every generation the mortality rate turns out to be about 100%...
        • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Informative)

          by tgd (2822) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @06:50AM (#23914939)

          Don't fall for the error in statistics that cause human lifespans to seem short before modern times -- average lifespans were short because of massive infant mortality, not because people who survived to be adults didn't live to old ages.

          There's no evidence to suggest people died earlier 5,000 or 50,000 years ago -- and there's strong counter evidence for that during historical periods of the last 3-5k years.

          • Lifespan (Score:5, Informative)

            by NIckGorton (974753) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @07:38AM (#23915267)

            average lifespans were short because of massive infant mortality, not because people who survived to be adults didn't live to old ages.
            No. Average lifespan was shorter in part because of higher infant mortality. Infectious disease was (and is still to a lesser extent) a threat to even healthy adults. While plague wiped out a third of the population of Europe in the worst epidemics in the middle ages, people still commonly die in the first world from infectious disease. Trauma and violence was (and is) a significant risk, but the difference is that now if you get an open fracture of your femur and you live in the developed world odds are you will be up and walking on it within a few months. And while childhood and infant mortality contributed to those lower averages, so did maternal mortality. (The biggest hurdle for men to make it to old age was childhood mortality. The biggest hurdle to women was surviving childbirths.)

            .

            The best way is to look at the median lifespan - the age to which 50% of people reached or to look at life expectancy at age 20. Life expectancy at 20 didn't reach the 60's till the last century. There were certainly some lucky people who survived to age 70 or 80, but that was the exception rather than the rule. However the biggest gains in life expectancy in the modern era weren't because of level 1 trauma centers and ICUs. The big improvements were due to things like public sanitation, improved nutrition, vaccinations, refrigeration, and simple prenatal and antenatal care.

            There's no evidence to suggest people died earlier 5,000 or 50,000 years ago -- and there's strong counter evidence for that during historical periods of the last 3-5k years.
            Um. No. The life expectancy at birth in the Bronze age, Upper Paleolithic, and Neolithic was all 33 years or less. If you assume a 30% infant mortality it still doesn't average out to approach modern life expectancy. And until the early 20th century, the average life expectancy at birth didn't cross 40. That's not even cutting edge research, that's textbook/encyclopedia data. However if you have some citations supporting your argument, please provide them.

            .

            Hobbes was right: life in the state of nature is "nasty, brutish and short".

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by gnuman99 (746007)

              You forget one important thing for men - war. Men tended to get sent to wars, which at least evened out the mortality with women and childbirth.

              Similarly, since myopia is a hereditary trait, why do you think it wasn't passed down to all of us yet? People that couldn't see got their head bashed in.

              Hobbes was right: life in the state of nature is "nasty, brutish and short".

              How is that different from today?

          • by vertinox (846076)

            There's no evidence to suggest people died earlier 5,000 or 50,000 years ago -- and there's strong counter evidence for that during historical periods of the last 3-5k years.

            I'm not sure where you got that information, but in the middle ages it was recorded by the people of the day (especially the tax keepers and clergy) about mortality. It was indeed higher during 1200s to the 1600s mostly due to disease, famine, and violence.

            Yes, you could live to be 80+ years of age, but when you are living in your own f

          • It was crappier (Score:3, Informative)

            by Moraelin (679338)

            Actually, we have better statistics than that. Say, from the Egyptians, we have plenty of records left of when someone died. You know, plaques, inscriptions, etc. So you have a somewhat random sample, and the ages at which they died.

            So you can sorta plot a gauss curve, albeit one with a massive spike in the first 3 years, due to the infant mortality that you mention. But the more interesting part is what happens when you look past that spike, at the peak of the proper gauss curve. That's basically the age w

      • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Informative)

        by antiphoton (821735) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:49AM (#23914141)
        The problem with saying "60 thousand years of human existence can't be discounted overnight" is that life expectancy has greatly increased in recent centuries. Maybe skin cancer didn't matter back when you died in your 30's or 40's. Also, you can get your vitamin D from supplements. Not to mention the exposure of even 5 minutes in the sun per day matches the minimum vitamin D requirements to remain healthy. There is no need to go sunbake for hours on end, or not slip-slop-slap.
        • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Informative)

          by tanveer1979 (530624) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:59AM (#23914407) Homepage Journal
          There was a study which said that Cancer will be disease of the future. Not because we are doing something to encourage cancer, but because other causes are being defeated. In olden times people used to die of typhoid, cholera etc., at a younger age. Cancer rarely got a foothold. Now with people living to 70s or 80s easily diseases like cancer are becoming more noticeable.
        • Re:Sunlight (Score:4, Informative)

          by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @09:03AM (#23916219) Journal

          Also, you can get your vitamin D from supplements.
          The type of Vitamin D from supplements is typically D2 which is 1/3 as potent as D3, produced naturally from exposure to sunlight. Source [endojournals.org] I've heard this from doctors, too.

          Just go outside for 10 minutes every day. It's not that bad.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by IAR80 (598046)
        Skin cancer rates have also to do with melanin production in the skin or better said the lack of. For example if you lived in uk all your life and so did all your ancestors for the past 100 generations you have probably not have evolved (damn it I used this word again) a very efficient melanin production mechanism compered to one of south European, Semitic or African ancestry. If you are in that situation and go 2 weeks a year to southern Spain and get totally sunburned every year, yes you have an increased
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Rhabarber (1020311)
        This story is a dupe [slashdot.org] which is more than one year old. From the discussions in many mainstream media back then I remember some dermatologist advising full body sunlight exposure for 10 minutes every day (not more though).

        The original publication is here [nih.gov]. Honestly I wonder why we did not see any follow up untill now.

        In case you like to read: #18565885 [nih.gov], 18424428 [nih.gov] and 17540555 [nih.gov]
        (no open access, I'm afraid).
        • I remember some dermatologist advising full body sunlight exposure for 10 minutes every day (not more though).
          Whoo yeah it's nudist sunbathing time! What, don't look at me like that, I need to get my minimum recommended full-body sunlight exposure. You'd join in if you wanted to be healthy, you could eat lunch at the same time and kill two birds with one stone. I'll be in the parking lot if you need me. *tosses clothes onto back of chair*
      • Re:Sunlight (Score:5, Funny)

        by pjt33 (739471) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @05:19AM (#23914487)

        sever sunburns
        I didn't realise it was possible to get such severe sunburn that your limbs fell off. Ouch.
      • by Dekortage (697532)

        Go out and play. Get a tan. Drink some coffee. Have some beer with those salty chips. Lets see, did I forget any of the other discredited cancer scares?

        Yeah, charbroiled meat. I can't tell you how many times people tell me that eating charbroiled burgers, sausages, whatever, is going to give me cancer... particularly ironic when some of them smoke cigarettes.

      • Actually all the studies that address "too much" involved sever sunburns in teen years.
        There is no peer reviewed study that suggests normal exposure to sun imposes a high mortality.

        Yet the press, over-reacting as usual, have scared people out of the sun and created a sunscreen industry overnight by failing to actually read the studies that were done.

        I don't normally defend Big Media, but in this case they were reading press releases from the dermatologists, whom I suspect had previously bought a number pof shares in that industry.

        The reporters were acting in good faith on the authority of doctors.

        Aside from that, I'm in total agreement.

      • At first I heard that "sunscreen increases cancer risk" from an unreliabel source (but it was on the internet, so it had to be true!) but I then did my own searches.

        Indeed it seems that there is a /slight/ correlation between sunscreen use. There is no solid explanation as of yet, but there are two basic theories:

        1. Sunscreen users increase sun exposure (in terms of hours) and the sun screen is not able to compensate.(I find this hard as most everyone is using SPF 30+, which would give you 3 days of sun expos
    • It would be nice to know the proper balance between too much and not enough. Given the fact that too much will cause cancer and an equally alarming rate.

      Even if the rate of skin cancer was much higher though, it would still favor greater sun exposure since the cancer that sun exposure makes you vulnerable to is visually detectable while the cancer that sun exposure protects you from is often only detectable by more invasive means. For some reason people seem much more amenable to getting a good visual skin inspection than a camera on a stick up the butt.

      That said, as an extremely pale physician (who can burn in bright flourescent light) with a family hi

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Assuming your skin tone is not too light for your latitude then it seems likely that evolution over the last 10,000 years (last glacial period) or more has prepared your body against sun burn and cancer. So why can I look on a summer's beach and see so many sun burnt people? Ignoring the case where people have moved to somewhere much sunnier like Australia it's because of our lifestyle.

      Before a few hundred years ago almost everyone was outside all the time. This gave your skin a chance to slowly tan at
  • Oh no! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We'll all going to die!

  • by fyoder (857358) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:09AM (#23913947) Homepage Journal
    I have this uneasy feeling that sooner or later, we're all going to die.
    • by MrMr (219533)
      But if we grease up real good, we may look like baby corpses in the end.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Time to add another UV tube to my growing collection of case mods.

  • by ianpm (787890) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:32AM (#23914061)
    If this were true, then Vampires would die young. But they're immortal. Thus this theory holds no water.

    I should like, totally do science for a living.
  • by Kingston (1256054) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:37AM (#23914079)
    Low levels of vitamin D have been implicated in the susceptibility and severity of attack in patients who have auto-immune diseases. Multiple Sclerosis [msrc.co.uk] and Rheumatoid Arthritis [webmd.com] are two of the diseases that seem to show a link. Coversely, patients suffering from Sarcoidosis ( another auto-immune disease ) where the body produces too much vitamin D, may benefit from staying out of the sun and cutting vitamin D [netprints.org] out of their diet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      I can understand why MS patients lack vitamin D, but it may be BECAUSE they have MS tht they have less vitamin D.

      As George Carlin would have said:

      I can understand why people with MS don't get enough sun. I had a friend who had MS. Taking him anywhere was tough. It wasn't like I could just hook a chain to his wheelchar and just TOW the motherfucker to a party ...

      Going to the Dairy Queen was out of the question. You couldn't give him a milkshake. With his tremors, he'd just churn that shit into butter.

  • by Pinchiukas (828697) <pinchiukas.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:39AM (#23914093) Journal
    you should live a healthy life if you don't want to die early.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pjt33 (739471)
      But if living an unhealthy life makes you die young, and only the good die young, isn't it good to live an unhealthy life?
  • Milk as subsitute? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BountyX (1227176) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:40AM (#23914099)
    does vitamin d in milk contain the same sub-elements as that found in UV? If not, would milk be a viable alternative to UV exposure at all?
    • by iamapizza (1312801) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:44AM (#23914127)
      Only if you're Gisele Bundchen and pour it all over yourself.
    • by Sapphon (214287) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:46AM (#23914351) Journal

      Vitamin D is produced by the skin in response to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light, and as such is not a true vitamin (since vitamins are substances we can't naturally produce -- it's a hormone). Vitamin D is also found in certain fats (e.g. cod-liver oil).

      This basic form of Vitamin D gets processed by the liver into an second form (25-hydroxyvitamin D3), and then by the kidneys into the active form 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, which tells your body how much calcium to draw out of your food. If you don't have enough calcium in your diet, but enough Vitamin D, the body can even draw the calcium out of your bones. Calcium is also required for the correct transmission of brain signals, so too little vitamin D can also lead to seizures.

      To veer back to the OP's question: whether the synthetic vitamin D additive to milk products (as opposed to the vitamin D we used to create in foods in the 1920's and 1930's using mecury lamp ultraviolet radiation) is Vitamin D or Vitamin D3 is pretty much irrelevant for our body, but I believe it is the latter, yes.

      Aside: Did you know we can cure cancer with Vitamin D? Sadly, the dosis required is lethal to humans... they're working on it.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @06:23AM (#23914791)
        When this was discussed a year ago [slashdot.org] I was desperate enough to try it. I had severe constant back pain from a squashed vertebrae (that happened from lifting a garbage bag out of the container under the sink) that was worsened from playing very gentle soccer on a sandy beach. It astonished me that I hurt my back just from the soccer and I was pretty desperate for a solution. After reading the article, I knew that my vitamin D intake was low because (1) I am allergic to fish, (2) I don't drink milk, (3) I'm half way to a century, (4) I'm a basement-loving geek.

        I started taking fish oil (containing both vitamin A and D -- they work together) and immediately reduced my pain levels. Since then I have tried a combination of mostly synthetic D + fish oil (did not work as well, yet got the symptoms of over consumption) and eventually found the lowest level that took away all pain -- about 1,500 IU per day or about double what the article suggests.

        In addition to the risk factor we geeks share for being outside less than average, vitamin D absorption declines with age and the average slashgeek seems to be in their forties or fifties.

        Increasing my intake of vitamin D has saved my life, and especially the quality of my life. Frankly, I'm surprised the medical profession let this information out.

        And now back to the vampire and sunburn jokes...
      • by ProppaT (557551)

        You can also cure AIDS with bleach. I still haven't seen anyone line up for the IV drip yet, though.

      • Vitamin D is produced by the skin in response to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light, and as such is not a true vitamin (since vitamins are substances we can't naturally produce -- it's a hormone).

        What's your take on vitamin K (which "we" produce through our intestinal flora)? Izzat not a "true" vitamin either? Just curious, since I figured it stood for vital amine, not for "can't be produced by us"... that would sortof make a lot of other things vitamins (salt, for starters).

      • by pla (258480)
        Aside: Did you know we can cure cancer with Vitamin D? Sadly, the dosis required is lethal to humans...

        You could say the same for a bullet...
    • by nospam007 (722110)

      Only if the cow doesn't live in a basement as well.
      But more seriously, lots of milk brands add vitamin D to their product.

      • by maglor_83 (856254)

        I don't think I've ever seen milk with vitamin D. Not that I've looked for it or anything. Why would they add it? Or maybe Australia is sunny enough that nobody worries about it?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by JazzHarper (745403)

      Milk doesn't provide enough to make a significant contribution. In the US, almost all milk sold commercially has been fortified with 400 IU of D3 per quart.

      Your skin will make up to 10,000 IU per day, *if* you get 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight. Your body's ability to do that diminishes with age.

      In April, my doctor had me take a 25-hydroxy D3 test (which Blue Cross refused to pay for, BTW), and found that my level was 19.5 ng/mL. Recent studies show that 32 ng/mL is a minimum threshold for good health

    • or elemental calcium unless it is artificially fortified.

      However, in the US at least milk is a great source of antibiotics, bacteria (from puss) and all manner of hormones that the cows are regularly pumped with.

      Now, enjoy your cereal and coffee.

      By the way, vitamin D is not "found in UV light", it is produced by the human cells when exposed to UV light.

  • Bullshit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo (549451)

    There's plenty enough light coming through even in winter. It's just that you usually don't really get exposed to much of it while sitting in a frickin' cubicle during the decidedly short days in winter.

    I do not trust studies that tell me I have to take stuff to be healthy. Going out an hour a day is enough to produce enough vitamin D. We need so little of it to properly function. The true problem lies in the fact that we just are either too lazy to get out or have built our society around a schedule that d

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zoney_ie (740061)

      We sometimes have entire months here in Ireland with little direct sunshine (I think last year some places had an entire 80 day block with rain each day, and that was in the lousy summer we had last year).

      In any case, it's not a matter of the amount of light in winter. It is to do with UVB rays, and these don't reach us in the winter due to the sun being low in the horizon and refraction from the rays passing through more atmosphere. Not only that, but even past the height of winter, these rays only reach u

    • by compro01 (777531)

      Going out for an hour a day in the summer yes, but in the winter, UVB is rarefied at higher latitudes. UVB availability has little to do with how much visible light there is. There can be tons of UVB and very little visible (cloudy day in the middle of summer) and tons of visible, but practically no UVB (clear blue day in December).

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Funny)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @06:05AM (#23914719) Journal

      Going out an hour a day is enough to produce enough vitamin D.

      But we don't wants to, Master. It burnss us. Don't make uss go away from preciouss...

      *huggles his monitor*

  • Confounding (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fadunk (721585) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:50AM (#23914143)
    The article acknowledges its own shortcomings: Vitamin D levels could possibly be used as a measurement of sunlight exposure in people not taking supplements and not conscientiously eating the proper foods. So when someone's chronically ill or massively overweight and doesn't go outside to exercise, their vitamin D levels will be decreased. Those people already have an increased 8 year mortality regardless of how much vitamin D they consume or have in their diet. It's like the studies "linking" coffee to lung cancer years ago: once it was realized that lots of people smoke when they drink coffee, those studies looked ridiculous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confounding_variable [wikipedia.org]
  • Makes sense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Amiralul (1164423)
    Well, that would explain the lower population number in Norway, for instance, where Wikipedia says that they are only 4.7 millions inhabitants in such a beautiful country.

    If your vitamin D level gets down during winter and you catch a rainy summer, you're doomed!
  • by uxbn_kuribo (1146975) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:56AM (#23914169)
    deathmatch and early death, or exercising and long life... the choice is clear *starts up HL2*
  • by Jeff Jungblut (744824) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:10AM (#23914201)

    I always stand in the sun when I smoke. Do I break even?

    • I always stand in the sun when I smoke. Do I break even?

      Maybe if you open wide enough to let the sun shine down your lungs?
  • Last I checked the mortality rate was 100%

  • by Critical_ (25211) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:31AM (#23914283) Homepage

    Disclaimer: IAAJD (I am a junior doctor) but this is NOT medical advice. Please consult your physician for your specific situation.

    Vitamin D supplements come in two forms: ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol. Studies suggest that cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) increases serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D) more efficiently than does ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). Milk in the United States has been fortified with vitamin D3 (the natural form made through sunlight) since the 1940. This was mandated and reduced the incidence rate of juvenile rickets by 85% in the United States.

    Calcitriol is the most active metabolite of vitamin D. It can frequently cause hypercalcemia and/or hypercalciuria, necessitating close monitoring and adjustment of calcium intake and calcitriol dose. Therefore, it isn't recommended that calcitriol be given for vitamin D supplementation in osteoporosis. However, calcitriol or other vitamin D analogs are an important component of therapy for secondary hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease.

    Now to the meat and potatoes of this post. The intake at which the dose of vitamin D becomes toxic is not clear. In 1997, the National Academy of Sciences defined the Safe Upper Limit for vitamin D as 2000 IU/day. Newer data however indicate that higher doses are safe at least over a several-month period. Doses as high as 10,000 IU per day for up to five months were not associated with toxicity. It is important to inquire about additional dietary supplements (some of which contain vitamin D) that patients may be taking before prescribing extra vitamin D. Excessive vitamin D, especially combined with calcium supplementation may cause hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, and kidney stones.

    So be careful and only take the amounts listed on your supplement bottles and inquire with your doctor before starting anything. We have a mentality here in the United States that more is better. When it comes to the human body moderation is key.

    As a side note, I also don't really understand the significance of Vitamin D's fat solubility making it any more or less dangerous in higher dosages.

    • by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:54AM (#23914383)
      Do correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that the problem with lipophilic substances is that they can lead to poisoning easier because they tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body and cannot be excreted easily; an excess of water soluble vitamins on the other hand would be flushed out the next time you urinate.
      Disclaimer: I'm not even a little bit of a doctor, so this might be completely wrong or misremembered... :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        OP is correct. fat soluble vitamins such as A, E are stored in cells and can be very toxic. water soluble vitamins, although easily flushed from the body, can still cause several diseases. there is no significant difference in how easy or difficult a vitamin builds up concentration. it comes down to the bodies ability to metabolize substances.

        there are far tighter levels on water soluble vitamin overdose levels than fat soluble. it also logically follows that fatter people can take more into their cells tha

      • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @07:40AM (#23915291) Homepage

        Disclaimer: I'm not even a little bit of a doctor.
        I am.

        Do correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that the problem with lipophilic substances is that they can lead to poisoning easier because they tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body and cannot be excreted easily;
        Exactly. You are perfectly correct.

        The hydrophilic substances will happily circulate in the blood stream and excess will be flushed out by the kidneys. That's why, when you read closely the composition of most vitamin supplements, they advertise quantities as stupidly excessive as 3'000% the daily recommendation or Vitamin C (which is hydrophilic). Most of the excess will simply get peed out.

        Lipophilic substances, if not handled properly (binds to blood transporter - like albumin or substance specific transporter - and processed in liver - which will convert them into soluble substances) tend to accumulate wherever there's fat :
        skin, nerves, CNS, also in organs : inside the liver, inside the kidney (but get stuck in the basal membrane instead of getting flushed out), etc...

        The fact that Vitamin D seem to be tolerated at high concentration despite being rather hydrophobic is probably due to the fact that this is a naturally occurring substance and the body has ways to deal with it anyway.

    • by Alsee (515537)

      As a side note, I also don't really understand the significance of Vitamin D's fat solubility making it any more or less dangerous in higher dosages.

      I have a guess why that might be true. Anything dissolved in fat is pretty much inactive so long as it remains stored there. When you lose weight your body breaks down and consumes your fat reserves - any fat-soluble stuff stored there generally gets dumped out into the bloodstream. If you continue vitamin D intake while fat breakdown dumps stored vitamin D int

  • You will prise my warm AMD only from my cold dead fingers! How dare anyone suggest I get out more.

  • Whassat? (Score:5, Funny)

    by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:52AM (#23914371) Homepage

    Sun...light?

    Now you're just making stuff up!

    I used to believe you, Slashdot. But now you're all 'sun' this, and 'outside' that, like all those other nutbags! Screw you guys! Go ahead, go outside, see if I care! Maybe you'll get eaten by one of those 'wild animal' things you people are always going on about. Like a..uh..what was it...beer? Bar? Oh, right... A bear! Maybe you'll get eaten by a bear! It'd serve you right!

    This post was brought to you by the latter hours of a horrible caffeine bender which failed to see anything accomplished. Enjoy!

    • by Alsee (515537)

      Huh?

      Are you guys talking about the really big room with the blue ceiling?

      -

  • by MLS100 (1073958) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @05:00AM (#23914413)
    My MD said it's nothing to worry about because I'll usually make the saving throw for death from vitamin deficiency due to my high stamina as an ogre.

    Err, wait that was my DM...

    Still, he does play a Cleric.
  • That's odd, I was always under the impression that the mortality rate was 100%.

  • So programmers will be dying younger, because they don't get enough sunlight.

    And there will be fewer to begin with, because 20% fewer students are pursuing IT-related degrees.

    Yet demand is going up. Therefore: More money for those intrepid few of us who survive!

    • Therefore: More money for those intrepid few of us who survive!
      Who'll then have enough choice and money to work from home. Using the house's WiFi to code with a laptop by the pool.

  • by Oktober Sunset (838224) <[ku.oc.oohay] [ta] [301egapds]> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @07:04AM (#23915005)
    I'm a perfectly adapted vitamin D producing machine.
  • This is why milk is fortefied with vitamin D. 1 cup of milk has 45% of your RDI. 1 bowl of cereal / day is all you need.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @09:56AM (#23917087) Homepage Journal
    in summer, of course.

    in antalya, mediterranean coast, southwestern turkey, it gets 40 degrees celsius in shadow, and 99% humid in the summer.
  • It's a problem? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:08AM (#23918621) Journal

    That is why you need to drink your milk, children.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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