Friday, July 18, 2008

My alternative remedy

I'm not a big alternative medicine guy. I don't, for example, believe that there's some magic diet that will stop my tumors in their tracks, and I'm doubtful that big pharma has left a $100-billion compound or derivative on the table because it happens to be found naturally in a mushroom or spice. I'm not trying to criticize folks who feel differently -- it strikes me that taking charge of one's diet or making one's own decisions about supplements recovers some of the power and agency that this disease takes away, and for all I know it just might fight the illness as well -- I'm just talking about my personal inclinations.

But even I have been trying to adopt an alternative remedy recently: sunlight.

A growing body of research suggests that low levels of vitamin D (which is hard or impossible to get in sufficient quantities through diet, easy to get through the sun) are correlated with incidence of a variety of nasty health complaints, including a potpourri of cancers. More stunning to me, some research suggests that the vitamin slows the progression of breast and prostate cancer, as well as melanoma (which has some similarities to soft-tissue sarcoma).

I'm making a concerted effort to get "sensible" amounts of sun (a few minutes on the arms and legs, not baby-oil-soaked, skin-destroying tanning sessions) this summer, and I may talk to my doctor about supplementing (or even hitting a tanning booth!) during the November to February period when sun is scarce in these cold latitudes.
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I know I'm short on meat here, but this post from the Wall Street Journal's health blog is an excellent place to begin reading more about this topic. This Canadian Broadcasting Company article makes a startling case for D. Here's the recent AP story on D and breast cancer.

Whether or not it fights cancer, preserves life and prevents disease, sunlight at least feels good... unlike, say, a chai colonic or a dinner of sea kelp.

1 comment:

Patria said...

Hi, I've gotten quite behind in your blog, but as I was catching up and reading this, I remembered that we just found an article saying that sunlight was as good as the drugs currently being used for my dad's Alzheimer's. And you're right, it feels good, and it makes you feel happier too.