Surprising Findings About Effects Of Sun Exposure On Those With Chronic Kidney Disease

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"Just curious." a KidneyBuzz.com reader wrote, "I am vitamin D deficient. Is this a serious issue and should I be getting a lot of sunlight to balance my levels?" A study published May 9th, 2013 found that "sunshine may do more than boost vitamin D levels it could also help to reduce blood pressure, which in turn could cut the risk of heart attack and stroke." More recently, studies found that vitamin D deficiency was not only common in the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) community, but was also "strongly associated with Cardiovascular risk in CKD patients. To further connect the dots, Cardiovascular Disease is the major cause of death in those with CKD. 

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Recommended Reading: Vitamin Supplement Linked To Increased Function, Survival, And Decreased Rejection Of Kidney

Many CKD patients take either high blood pressure medications or immunosuppressant drugs (after kidney transplantation) which increases the risk of skin cancer from sun exposure. So people with CKD try to avoid the sun entirely causing inadequate sunlight. 

Recommended Reading: Vitamin Supplements That CKD Patients Should Consider Utilizing And Others To Avoid

Although "optimal" vitamin D levels vary among CKD patients, according to the Oxford University Press, an individual is consider vitamin D deficient when levels fall <20 ng/mL. Inadequate sunlight exposure and vitamin D deficiency can also lead to Itchy and dry skin, Bone Disease, Anemia, and Diabetes. 

Recommended Reading: Vascular Access Dysfunction Significantly Reduced by Vitamin D

For people with Diabetes, the latest research suggests macrophage (specialized immune cells that attack invaders) activity can have an added drawback when a person with Diabetes is vitamin D deficient.  Macrophage becomes more active and "impair insulin action in the liver and muscle," which causes increased insulin resistance, a key factor in Type II Diabetes. Researchers found that when you give people vitamin D, inflammatory reactions will be reduced and insulin sensitivity will be improved by 37%.   

Recommended Reading: CKD Patients Should Be Aware That A Frequently Taken Daily Supplement May Be Harmful 

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PURCHASE YOUR $5.00 "NO BLOOD PRESSURE (BP)/NO NEEDLE STICK (STICK)" MEDICAL ALERT BRACELET TO PROTECT YOUR FISTULA FROM FAILURE AND SUPPORT KIDNEYBUZZ.COM. CLICK HERE.

Hence, the "sunshine" vitamin can be very important to manage the health and quality of life for people with CKD and/or Diabetes. Vitamin D needs to be activated in the kidney; however, people with kidney failure are no longer able to convert vitamin D to its active form which make getting vitamin D through their diet a challenge. Talk with your Nephrologists about the right amount of daily sunlight you should be getting. There are also vitamin D supplements available for people with kidney disease who are not on dialysis and medicines for people on dialysis to give them vitamin D. Do not forget to pick up our Brand New Diet and Life Management Guide, Fight Kidney Disease and Diabetes, to support KidneyBuzz.com in providing daily tailored news coverage for CKD and Diabetic patients, as well as take your diet to the next level! We sincerely appreciate your support, and thank you for continuing to make us a key part of your day.  

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References: 

Curry, Andrew. "The Role of Vitamin D in Type 2 Diabetes." Http://www.diabetesforecast.org/. Diabetes Forecast.

Claas Ulrich1, A. Degen2, Manisha J. Patel3 and Eggert Stockfleth1. "Sunscreens in Organ Transplant Patients." Http://ckj.oxfordjournals.org/. Oxford University Press on Behalf of ERA-EDTA.

Zhong Yi Loh1, Chun Wei Yap1, Vathsala Anantharaman2 and Priscilla How1. "CLINICAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC PREDICTORS FOR VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY IN MULTI-ETHNIC ASIAN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE." Http://ndt.oxfordjournals.org/. Oxford University Press on Behalf of ERA-EDTA.