So, I went to the osteoporosis clinic last week and had a bone density test and got the results on Friday. Let's just say the news was not good, not good at all. Dem bones, dem old bones ain't what they used to be. The diagnosis was osteoporosis in the lumber spine, left hip and femur. Bummer.
|A photo from the internet showing healthy vs osteoporotic bone|
I did a little online sleuthing to see if I really could get enough sunshine to produce Vitamin D3 at 41 degrees northern latitude in the winter. The answer was a loud and shattering NO. The study most often cited was one done in 1988 by Webb, Kline, and Holick, "Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin." The abstract reads:
Sunlight has long been recognized as a major provider of vitamin D for humans; radiation in the UVB (290-315 nm) portion of the solar spectrum photolyzes 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin to previtamin D3, which, in turn, is converted by a thermal process to vitamin D3. Latitude and season affect both the quantity and quality of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface, especially in the UVB region of the spectrum, but little is known about how these influence the ability of sunlight to synthesize vitamin D3 in skin. A model has been developed to evaluate the effect of seasonal and latitudinal changes on the potential of sunlight to initiate cutaneous production of vitamin D3. Human skin or [3 alpha-3H]7-dehydrocholesterol exposed to sunlight on cloudless days in Boston (42.2 degrees N) from November through February produced no previtamin D3. In Edmonton (52 degrees N) this ineffective winter period extended from October through March. Further south (34 degrees N and 18 degrees N), sunlight effectively photoconverted 7-dehydrocholesterol to previtamin D3 in the middle of winter. These results quantify the dramatic influence of changes in solar UVB radiation on cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis and indicate the latitudinal increase in the length of the "vitamin D winter" during which dietary supplementation of the vitamin may be advisable.I was surprised and dismayed to learn that I could not produce any Vitamin D3 no matter how much time I spent in the winter sunlight. And my meager attempts with supplements did not help my bones at all. All of the literature says that weight-bearing exercise, Vitamin D3 and Calcium are the best for maintaining good healthy bones. I really thought I had been doing all the right stuff.
The bone density results have made us rethink our plans about where to live. We're starting to consider moving further south for the sun. It's a good thing that all (and I do mean ALL) the houses that have come on the market here have been so outrageously and laughably bad. They're as bad as my old bones.