October 13, 2008


Growing up in the South where the sun shines brightly except for a few months of the year I was never concerned about protecting myself because my suntan never faded and I was brown year 'round. After relocating to Chicago and spending many long winter months indoors I ventured out as soon as the weather permitted and got a horrible sunburn. I also realized for the first time that my skin was white and sensitive . From that day forth I was never without sunscreen.

As the number of cases of deadly skin cancer increased in recent decades so have the warnings to the general public of the sun's dangers. I think that we gardeners who spend a lot of time in the sun are more keenly aware than most of the damage the sun can do.

Just recently however I was reading some interesting new research that shows many Americans are lacking sufficient Vitamin D in their diet . Vitamin D has been proven to be helpful in preventing prostate, colon and breast cancer and other diseases. Rickets as most people know is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D, but research shows that heart problems, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and osteoporsis can also be caused by it.

Experts now recommend you get the sunshine vitamin by exposing your skin to at least two 15 minute period twice a week , at the time when the sun is not at his hottest, such as early morning and late afternoon. The sun is still the single most source of vitamin D and exposure for 15 minutes, even every day , is theraputic. Researchers found that women with advanced breast cancer who took in daily doses of sunshine saw an improvement.

News reports this morning advised parents to double the dose of D for children, from 200 to 400 IU, which means than 800 IU is now the adult dosage. Dr. Michael Holik, Head of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Lab even suggests a dosage of 1,000 , but not to go over 2,000.

Since new research about the importance of Vitamin D came out labs have reported a 80 per cent increase in testing for levels in patients. It's especially important for darker skin people and those living north of Chicago to take Vitamin D supplements or have a diet high in it. Cod liver oil has the highest concentration of D, followed by tuna, salmon and mackerel. Grandma was right about the cod liver oil but I don't think I will ever learn to like it.

So enjoy your final few Fall days in the sun soaking up some D.


  1. I visited my daughter & son-in-law this past weekend... and the subject of cod liver oil came up! I cannot think of it without extreme distaste! Thank heavens there are other ways to take it besides by the spoonful! ha. Good article. :-)

  2. I too blogged about this back in July and now with the new recommendations for children, it's been brought to the forefront again. We're sure enjoying the Vitamin D here in the Midwest these days, haven't we? :-)

  3. A gardener's favorite time in the garden is early in the day and late in the day which is perfect for soaking up some D. Plus I love tuna fish sandwiches.

  4. I think Canadians are more aware now too about the vit D factor .. with our long winters and low light conditions. I do a lot of research on supplements .. I have a few chronic health issues, so I try to stay on top of this sort of thing .. good to see it as a topic CG ! Thanks !

  5. Hello

    Something I keep forgetting is that here (England) we were warned, a few years ago, that a hole in the ozone layer goes over in the spring and in the autumn and that we should put on sun cream then, even though the sun is not hot and there is no way we would get sunburn.

    (I don't know the route of the hole so I don't know whether or not it would affect you in Chicago.)


  6. I've taken salmon and even seal oil capsules and find them more palatable than cod liver oil ever thought of being! And the sun IS so important, especially as we get into this time of year and it becomes less bright. I need the sunlight for its gloom-alleviating therapy as much as for the Vitamin D, so I try to MAKE myself go outside on sunny days even when I'm not feeling well.

  7. Thanks to all of you for visiting and commenting.

    Just yesterday I discovered that Cod Liver Oil now comes in capsules! Good news for our sun-deprived friends in northern climes and other who can't abide the taste of CLO .

    And yes salmon and other fish oil capsules are good but cod liver oil is still the most potent. You'd need to take 12 1,000 mg. of fish oil to get the amount of vitamin D in 1 tablespoon of the cod liver oil.

    And Jodi good news for arthritis sufferers - CLO has proven effective in its treatment.


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