New product development opportunity: Seasonal vitamin regimen

For any vitamin and supplement producers reading this, here’s an idea for a seasonal vitamin regimen.

A daily dose of vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to a half, a 40-year review of research has found. The evidence for the protective effect of the “sunshine vitamin” is so overwhelming that urgent action must be taken by public health authorities to boost blood levels, say cancer specialists.

After assessing almost every scientific paper published on the link between vitamin D and cancer since the 1960s, US scientists say that a daily dose of 1,000 international units (25 micrograms) is needed to maintain health. ” The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency combined with the discovery of increased risks of certain types of cancer in those who are deficient, suggest that vitamin D deficiency may account for several thousand premature deaths from colon, breast, ovarian and other cancers annually,” they say in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health.

The dose they propose of 1,000IU a day is two-and-a-half times the current recommended level in the US.

Since sun exposure produces some Vitamin D it makes sense to take two multivitamins during the winter and one in the summer in order to keep a constant level of vitamin D. However, this is not the only consideration. Folate is broken down by sun exposure:

The protective role of folate in preventing neural tube defects is now well established. The hypothesis is advanced here that photolysis of folate by ultraviolet (UV) light may, in some women, precipitate a folate deficiency sufficient to cause a neural tube defect (NTD) during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This hypothesis is supported by the demonstration of in vitro photolysis of folate by simulated strong sunlight (1), a decline in folate levels in light-skinned subjects exposed to UV light for dermatological conditions (1), and the occurrence of NTDs in the offspring of women who exposed themselves to high levels of UV light on the sunbeds of tanning salons (2). If established, a connection between in vivo folate photolysis by UV light, clinical folate deficiency and NTDs would suggest that intense or prolonged periconceptual exposure of women to UV light for recreational or therapeutic reasons should be avoided.

As a result, it makes sense to take two multivitamins in the summer and one in the winter in order to keep a constant level of folate.

The obvious solution would be to have two versions of multivitamins, one high in folate for summer and the other high in vitamin D for winter.

Thanks to Mickey for this post.

December 28, 2005

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