Vitamin D and Health – Part 1

Now a Change of Pace

A Major Oversight

The warnings are everywhere, particularly in the summer. “Do not ever, ever go outside without putting on sunscreen!” (Obviously this warning serves the marketers of sunscreen.) Exposure to the sun puts you in danger of skin cancer and at minimum it may damage your skin, they say. There is some truth to these  statements and moderation is indicated.

BUT, there is another side. Before the year 2000 there was little in the way of research concerning the effects of vitamin D deficiency. It is now being done and the story deserves substantial attention.

A Deeply Personal Story

My mother suffered from terrible depressions and great bouts of weeping eczema. My father (who was a surgeon) feared she might suicide. When the first psychotropic medicines came out, he gave his darling wife Milltown to try to help her manage her depression. Much later I learned one of the side effects of that drug was Parkinson’s disease.

In her later years my mother suffered terribly from the effects of Parkinson’s. She would confide in me about her pain and misery—when she knew who I was. She was a very victorian lady who never, ever went in the sun. And that, I was to understand, was her downfall.

As I entered adulthood, increasingly I suffered from devastating winter depressions, also called seasonal affective disorder. By early February I was routinely deeply depressed. I searched for help. I tried medication for depression but there were dreadful side effects and little help. Alternative routine advise was to use broad spectrum light therapy. It did nothing. Also they said to use oral Vitamin D. Even at high doses it did not much of anything. The researchers claimed that tanning booths offered no refuge. They were absolutely wrong.

I Found Nirvana at the Tanning Salon

I recognized that I suffered from the same condition as my mother. Routinely I frequented a tanning booth to very positive effect. I noted another effect. When I failed to go to the tanning booth for a long period even in summer my blood pressure soared.

For a time my wife and I had a business in the Caribbean. It had grown out of the home we had built on St. Lucia. My first act upon arrival was to go lie in the sun. When we closed that business I suddenly had eczema like my mother and returned to the tanning salon. And all around me were warnings about the sun and that I needed to never, ever leave the house without putting on sunscreen.

Stay tuned. In the next post there is more. This is not just a personal story. It has a lot to do with wide-ranging health problems, their origins and treatment.

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Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

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