Monday, April 29, 2013

Legislation and Me

I had the opportunity to testify before a State Senate committee hearing again this week. The bill being proposed is asking to make a law requiring parental consent for anyone under 18. That consent is to be renewed every 6 months. While I think it is unnecessary, I am not completely opposed to the bill. Currently professional salons require consent for anyone under 18 voluntarily, so really the only major change would be that it is required by law and the frequency of the consent renewal.

I got word from my salon that there was talk that there would be an amendment proposed to completely ban anyone under 18 from tanning. I made sure I would be there to voice my concerns about how a ban would be a mistake. Sure enough, one of the Senators said she would be introducing an amendment to ban anyone under the age of 18 from tanning through a professional salon, so I am glad I went.  Well, of course, guess who is the FIRST person called up to testify. While I am not terribly comfortable in this kind of setting, I didn’t have a chance to think about it much since I was the first one to go. I guess that may have worked to my advantage.

The tanning industry had a few people that testified after me with some very interesting data. Some of which I have learned while doing my own research, but I certainly learned some new things as well. For instance, Melanoma is more common in someone that works indoors than someone with a job spent outdoors. Seems to me that means that UV exposure ISN’T the black and white cause of melanoma that the medical industry would like us to believe. Clearly there are other factors that contribute. Also, there have been surveys done that show that 3 out of 4 teens that currently tan, with their parent’s permission, would seek out home units or tan aggressively outdoors if there were a ban preventing them to go to a salon. Banning teens from the one source that has extensive safety measures in place, will end up increasing these teen’s health risks. That isn’t the result these lawmakers want, yet many of them don’t want to admit that. They are told that all of the increased cancer risks come exclusively from tanning in professional salons. That isn’t true, home units are much more dangerous and increase a person’s risk by 40 percent because there are no limits to how often or how long a person tans, and there is no skin type assessment to set the limits.

There were Dermatologists testifying again that the bill doesn’t go far enough and were pushing for the full ban. The Dermatologists said things that were completely false. Not just skewed, but flat out lies. One dermatologist said that “no UV is safe” “47% of tanners are addicted” and that “salons let clients tan daily” None of those statements are true. Another doctor claimed that sunbeds are 10-15 times more intense than the summer sun at noon. That is not true as I have written about before; sunbeds are only 2-3 times more intense than the sun and you spend a fraction of the time in a sunbed to avoid overexposure.      I couldn’t take notes fast enough to get all of the inaccurate statements and only caught one of their names. Dr. Hunter H Sams, a dermatologist said, “Adequate amounts of Vitamin D can be derived easily from our diet.” As I have written in prior blogs, it is impossible to get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D through diet alone. UV exposure is the most effective and efficient way to get Vitamin D.

The bill for parental consent passed, but I am very happy to report that the Senate committee did not approve the amendment to ban anyone under 18 from tanning in a professional salon. I feel like my voice was heard. One of the Senators made it clear to me that he agreed that a parent should be the one to make this decision. Another Senator asked many of the others testifying about how the science isn’t clear and he seemed to feel they shouldn’t legislate on something that had this many variables. He understood that salons have strict safety rules they abide by to keep clients from burning.

All in all, it has been a very interesting experience. I have never been involved in a process like this and I have learned a great deal. It has also been an eye opening experience as to what lengths the opposition will go to, in order to get their way, even if the facts don’t support their claims. It is amazing to me that there is so much blame placed on professional salons when they have not contributed to the statistics used against them.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Change in Perspective

I’ve found that I now have a different reaction to people for certain things since experiencing and studying Vitamin D and tanning.  Like when that basketball player from Louisville broke his leg so horrifically during March Madness, my first thought was, “I wonder if he has Vitamin D deficiency.”

For example, last week my mom cut her vacation short due to being sick. When speaking to her on the phone she was complaining about her congestion and asthma type of feeling in her lungs. I had just read information about how Vitamin D can help with asthma like symptoms because it helps prevent swelling in the tissues of the bronchial tubes, so my immediate response, “Load up on Vitamin D.” I discussed with her how she should take a large amount of Vitamin D for a few days and then taper down. She said she had some supplements on hand that were 1000 IU. I took some 10k IU to her the next day. At 1000 IU she would have had to take 30 pills or more a day! The good news is that after a few days of taking 50k IU she started feeling an improvement.  Of course, she also went to the doctor and got antibiotics and she also took Vitamin C. I am not claiming the Vitamin D alone was what cured her, but I believe it contributed to her improvement.

Another example is when a friend recently told me that she is expecting a child for the first time. My initial response was to advise her to make sure she gets plenty of Vitamin D. I told her that recent studies are linking Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy to Autism, food allergies, M.S. and other health concerns like low birth weight etc. I told her it is important not only to take more Vitamin D, but she needs to know what her levels are right now. If a pregnant woman is already deficient to start with, she would need to take a lot to get to a healthy level just taking the recommended daily amount isn’t enough. Sunshine and UV exposure are the most efficient way to increase levels; supplements just can’t do the job as effectively.

I have been reading many articles and books about the benefits of Vitamin D; I want to share the information with everyone I can.  When people talk about muscle aches, common colds, or even bleeding gums, my suggestion is, “get Vitamin D.” If someone tells me they are going to the doctor, I encourage them to ask to get their Vitamin D blood level checked. I’m no doctor, but I feel comfortable telling people that increasing their Vitamin D could be helpful.  Getting too much Vitamin D is nearly impossible, especially since the majority of the population is deficient. That is why it is good to know your level.  It seems I read something new about Vitamin D every day. I saw an article today that says studies are showing Vitamin D could reduce uterine fibroids. Not only am I learning something new each day, but they are discovering new information on Vitamin D each day. 

I can’t help but think about how much healthier a society we would be had it not been for that unbalanced message, to avoid any and all UV exposure, that has been drilled into our heads for the past few decades. It amazes me that it is STILL being drilled into our heads. I can’t understand why much of the medical industry insists that sunscreen and sun avoidance is the best approach. That message is making us sicker. They need to embrace the balanced message that moderate, responsible UV exposure is not only healthy, but necessary for our well-being.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Workout!

I have started working out again and I realized that I have not experienced the muscle aches I experienced when I started working out early last year. In February, I started working out around the same time I started tanning so I was still Vitamin D deficient. I did notice that I didn’t have the muscle aches once my Vitamin D level was found to be healthy, but I also felt like part of that was because I had been working out and the muscles were getting used to the added exercise.  I stopped going to the gym early in the summer, but still did 5k walks every month. Once the fall started, I only did a few walks now and then, and my activity level tapered off.  I started working out at the gym last week, and to my surprise, my legs do not ache at all. Yes, I started out slowly since I am just getting back into fitness, but what a difference in my experience this year. Last year when I started out slowly, I had muscle aches the following day. The difference being my healthy Vitamin D level over last year’s deficiency.

Years ago I hurt my knee and have always struggled to exercise without pain before I increased my Vitamin D level.  Who am I kidding? I struggled with pain without exercise, my knee hurt constantly. The exercising strengthened my knee and the pain isn’t constant anymore. I did not expect it to be pain free once I increased activity again. Thank you Vitamin D!

Coming soon to this blog:

I am re-listening to the testimony from the legislative hearing I attended weeks ago. There was so much said that I want to address here it is taking me some time to get it all organized into a coherent point rather than an emotional rant. It really was stunning to hear the blatant lies and misleading information claimed by the medical industry.  Bear with me on this. I will get to it soon, I promise.

I made an appointment with my doctor which will be coming up in a few weeks for a check-up. I am curious to see what my Vitamin D level is now. When I was tested last year, I was tanning every other day. Now I am just once a week for 5-6 minutes. I want to see if shifting down to a maintenance schedule has any effect on my level. I feel like it is still in the healthy range but it may not be as high as 75ng/ml any more. I should know in about a month and you all know it will be blogged about. Stay tuned.