rickets

Vitamin D deficiency now so widespread that rickets is on the rise once again

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 by: E. Huff, staff writer
Tags: vitamin D, rickets, health news

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(NaturalNews) A clinical review paper published in the British Medical Journal is warning the public that widespread vitamin D deficiency is resurrecting the once-obsolete disease called rickets. According to Professor Simon Pearce and Dr. Time Cheetham, authors of the paper, people are getting far too little sunlight exposure which is necessary for the body to produce adequate levels of vitamin D.

Nowadays, children spend most of their time indoors staring at computer and television screens rather than playing outside in the sunlight. On the rare occasion that they venture outside, zealous parents are quick to apply UV-blocking sunscreen that prevents the sun's useful UVB rays from penetrating their skin and producing vitamin D. The result is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency that is leading to all sorts of illness and disease.

Rickets, a disease in which a person's bones do not properly develop and harden, results when a person is getting too little vitamin D and most likely not enough calcium. The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is a mere 400 IU, an amount that is said to be adequate for preventing rickets.

To put this amount into perspective, however, exposure to the summer sun for about 20 minutes is enough to produce up to 20,000 IU of vitamin D in the body. At this level, far more optimal health can be achieved. Yet the fact that children are beginning to develop rickets suggests that they are not even getting 400 IU a day, an amount that should be relatively easy to attain through a moderately healthy diet or a few minutes in the sun every day.

In the U.K., there are several hundred cases of rickets reported every year. According to statistics, more than 50 percent of the adult population in the U.K. is deficient in vitamin D as well. During the winter and spring months, more than 15 percent experience severe deficiency.

Researchers suggest that people with darker skin pigmentation are at a higher risk for rickets because they do not assimilate vitamin D from the sun's UVB rays as easily as those with lighter skin do. Some experts believe that the changing ethnic profile of the U.K. may play a significant role in the onset of rickets while others point primarily to an overall lack of vitamin D among all ethnic groups.

Either way, the changing lifestyles among all people are partially to blame as people are not spending enough time outside and, when they do they are using too much sunscreen to obtain any sort of benefit from the sun. Overuse of sunscreen can be blamed on government health authorities, regulatory agencies, medical professionals, and mainstream media outlets that continually exaggerate the threat of developing skin cancer from sunlight exposure to the point that some people are afraid of getting any at all.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jan/2...

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