Why Being Obsessed with Vitamin D is Dangerous

Why Being Obsessed with Vitamin D is Dangerous

Feeling lethargic? A little down in the dumps? When winter rolls around, are you ready to hit the sack at 4pm?

If you’ve expressed these feelings to a friend or family member in Nashville, it wouldn’t be unsurprising to hear that vitamin D could zap all that away. After all, it’s one of our greatest deficiencies, right?

According to coverage by the New York Times, this ‘deficiency’ is more like a pandemic. In a recent sample of 800,000 patients in Maine, nearly one in five had had at least one test for blood levels of vitamin D over a three-year period. More than a third got two or more tests, often to evaluate such ill-defined complaints as malaise or fatigue.

This shouldn’t be entirely surprising. What remains shocking, though, is the fact that there has never been widely accepted evidence that vitamin D is helpful in preventing or treating any of those conditions. Though we may like to place all the blame for many of our conditions on a vitamin D ‘deficiency’, there’s no substantial proof to corroborate these claims.

As a Nashville dermatologist, here’s my take on it: I’ve always thought people in Nashville were over-testing for this deficiency and in turn, being misdiagnosed. When I read this article, it seems that my hunch was right - public confusion about the mythical abilities of vitamin D are far-reaching and not backed up. What has emerged as a frustration for dermatologists like myself is the fact that many people now believe that since they are always taking vitamin D supplements, they don’t need to go in the sun - hence, they think they don’t need sunscreen.

Here’s a statistic for you - patients aren’t dying due to vitamin D deficiencies (it’s actually riskier to take excessive amounts of it), but they are dying from skin cancer, which I unfortunately see a lot in Nashville as a dermatologist. The best way to protect yourself? Sunscreen.

In essence, I believe that to fully understand the impact of vitamin D on our bodies and whether or not we need to be supplementing and testing it, people need to look to the actual research being done. For the time being, the fact remains that vitamin D has not been proven to help or treat many of the conditions we think it does. It’s very possible to have too much vitamin D, which can be both excessive and dangerous.

Last, not least - you always need to protect your face with a sunscreen, whether you’re in the shade or taking vitamin D! In the Nashville heat, you are susceptible in cars, in the shade and of course, in the sun. Here are some of our favorite, dermatologist-approved body and facial sunscreens - trust us, your skin will thank you.

Source: The New York Times

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD