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How to improve sleep through seeking and avoiding light at the right times

I came across this report last week of a study into sleep-wake cycles. A group of adults were monitored in their normal environments (with electrical lighting, TV and electronic devices) and also had their levels of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin assessed [1]. It was discovered that in their normal environment, melatonin secretion was generally delayed […]

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How does sunlight cause melanomas on the soles of the feet?

This article in the Daily Mail caught my eye today. It concerns, as often seems to be the case at this time of year, the perils of sun exposure. It includes the comments of a consultant dermatologist who tells us that she wears factor 30 or higher sunscreen on her face throughout the year, “even […]

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Are kids really being reckless for seeking the sun and shunning sunscreen?

I spied this ‘editorial’ in the Daily Mail this week (we’ll come to why editorial is in quotes in a moment). It’s about a poll that shows, apparently, a significant number of young children are refusing to wear sunscreen. One in three, apparently, will seek to get out in the sun at every available opportunity. […]

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‘Sunlight’ found to lower blood pressure

There’s abundant evidence linking sunlight exposure with a reduced risk of chronic diseases including heart disease, several forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. If the sun is bright enough and high enough in the sky, sunlight can stimulate the product of vitamin D (actually, a hormone) in the skin. Higher levels of vitamin D […]

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Vitamin D improves energy production in muscles of vitamin D-deficient people

Vitamin D is perhaps best known for its role in bone formation, and vitamin D deficiency is an established cause of rickets (soft, deformed bones in children), as well as a potential underlying factor in osteoporosis. In recent years, the role of vitamin D in muscle function has come to the fore. Two potential features […]

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Vitamin D found to improve insulin functioning

In one of my blog posts last week I reported on a study which suggested that obesity is a potential cause of vitamin D deficiency, but that vitamin D deficiency is unlikely to have a big role in driving obesity. However, even if this conclusion is utterly correct, it does not mean that boosting vitamin […]

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Research points to obesity as a potential cause of vitamin D deficiency (not the other way round)

Previous research has found a link between lower levels of vitamin D and higher body weight, causing some to speculate that vitamin D deficiency may be a factor in obesity. The problem with this sort of evidence is that while it can show a link between vitamin D deficiency and, say, obesity, we can’t tell […]

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Vitamin D appears to have given my mum a whole new lease of life

2 or 3 weeks back, I was having a conversation with my 79-year-old mother regarding her mobility. She is, ordinarily, a bit of a force of nature, with abundant energy and still fending entirely for herself (with the help of my father) in all aspects of her life. In recent years, though, she has found […]

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Has scare-mongering around skin cancer contributed to the resurgence in rickets?

I spotted this article earlier this week in the UK national newspaper The Telegraph. It concerns warnings about vitamin D deficiency, and particularly how the less-than-brilliant summer we had in the UK can only add to our woes in this respect. The end result may well be an upsurge in the rates of rickets (poorly […]

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My piece in The Times on vitamin D

Last Saturday the Times newspaper here in the UK carried a piece I’d written summarising some of the most salient issues regarding vitamin D deficiency and what we might do about it. Here it is… The shortened days at this time of year will for some people usher in a downturn in mood that may […]

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