It annoys me when I read a headline like this: “Vitamin D Does Not Prevent Cancer”; or substitute “Heart Disease”, or any other affliction. From my point of view such headlines are irrelevant. Making sure that your body has enough vitamin D is the point, regardless of the benefits. Our bodies need Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. It is essential to good health. Essential!!!
When possible, I like to examine topics from an evolutionary point of view. I can think of only three “substances” that are critical to our health and can be essentially free: oxygen, water, and Vitamin D. Providing that our progenitors of eons past lived near a source of fresh water (I picture a babbling brook) and near enough to the equator (think thatched hut in the south Pacific) that they could get a good dose of direct sunshine for most of the year, they simply did not have to exert themselves, or pay, to benefit from the three aforementioned substances. They all occur naturally.
Today such a sanguine existence is improbable for most of us: pollution of the air and water can be problematic. And skin cancer related concerns due to exposure to the sun have changed our behaviour. Covering up or slathering on sun blockers has become normal.
Unfortunately the protect-yourself-response to sun exposure has had an important side effect: reduced natural generation of Vitamin D. Additionally, for individuals living in the mid-to-northern latitudes, direct sunshine skin exposure sufficient to produce Vitamin D is not available for as much as six months of the year.
Vitamin D is important because of its contribution to good health. I don’t think any reasonable person would deny this. It is well-known for maintaining healthy bones. But research suggests the goodness of Vitamin D extends far beyond bones. You can do your own research by reading the linked Wikipedia site. Regardless, Vitamin D is inexpensive to buy and invaluable in promoting good health. I ingest over 2,000 IU’s each day and during the summer months try to get as much unprotected sun as reasonable. My direct sun exposure rule-of-thumb is that a 30 minute session is okay (about the time required to hit a large bucket of balls on the golf range), but one hour may be risky.
My message: do not concern yourself with what the benefit of sufficient Vitamin D may be. All that matters is that you get enough of the sunshine vitamin. A 1,000 IU supplement each day should keep you in the acceptable range without hurting in the pocket book. Don’t wait for spring. Do it now. Your good health depends on it.