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NIH told regular and moderate exposure to sunlight is the key to preventing chronic disease

BETHESDA, MD (Oct. 9, 2003) The researcher who discovered the active form of Vitamin D, Dr. Michael F. Holick, a Professor of Medicine, Dermatology, Physiology and Biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine, told the National Institutes of Health's symposium on "Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century" that the nation faces "severe Vitamin D deficiency" which, if not properly addressed, will have profound far reaching health consequences such as hundreds of thousands of new cases of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Holick said, "We have a severe unrecognized epidemic of Vitamin D deficient patients on our hands. The public health issues at stake go far beyond bone health and involve chronic disease such as breast and colon cancer and high blood pressure. There is a mountain of well conducted, validated science that demonstrates that the production of the activated form of Vitamin D is one of the most effective ways the body controls abnormal cell growth. Regular and moderate exposure to sunlight is the best way to help the body manufacture the Vitamin D it needs. The idea that we should protect ourselves from the sun all the time is misguided and unhealthy.

"Moreover, the 1997 daily recommended allowances for Vitamin D are totally inadequate to protect public health. New science supports a significant revision of the recommendation. Adults should be getting 1000 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D a day, not the 200-600 (IU) that was recommended in 1997. Rewriting the recommended daily requirements as soon as possible should be a top priority.

"Taking diet supplements or drinking foods that have been fortified with Vitamin D is too often inadequate since a patient would have to drink the equivalent of 10 days of fortified milk or orange juice every day. Only regular and moderate exposure to sunlight fulfills the body's needs. We ough
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Contact: Jeff Nedelman
jrff.nedelman@verizon.net
703-938-6011
Strategic Communications
9-Oct-2003


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