H.L. Greenberg, MD, Las Vegas Dermatology, is a board certified dermatologist with a thorough background in all areas of dermatology including surgical, medical, laser and cosmetic procedures. A graduate of The University of Michigan, Dr. Greenberg completed medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit. He then spent three years as an Internal Medicine resident at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where his interest in dermatology grew. Later he completed a Dermatology Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Dermatology Residency at Scott & White of the Texas A&M University Health System.
With eleven years of formal training in medicine, Dr. Greenberg is board certified in dermatology, and has received multiple awards for speaking at dermatology conferences throughout the country. He also lectures and advises medical students at University of Nevada School of Medicine. Dr. Greenberg founded Las Vegas Dermatology in 2007. Located in Las Vegas, the clinic offers standard dermatological services as well as a full range of spa, laser and aesthetic procedures.
Dr. Greenberg emphasizes being pro-active in the realm of sun protection and skin health. He is a proponent of safe skin screenings and tells his patients that if they have any abnormal or suspicious looking skin spots or lesions they should be examined. We took a few minutes out of Dr. Greenberg’s day to ask him about the subject of sun exposure and healthy vitamin D levels.
Dr. Greenberg, there seems to be a lot of misconceptions about sun exposure and vitamin D. What do you recommend to your patients to keep their vitamin D levels high while avoiding the dangers of sun overexposure?
Dr. Greenberg: My recommendation is that people take vitamin D supplements to elevate or normalize their vitamin D levels and to not rely on sun exposure in order to get their vitamin D.
Let’s expand on that a little bit. In your opinion, is there a difference in the way your body processes vitamin D from the sun as opposed to taking supplements?
Dr. Greenberg: No. The body processes vitamin D in same way no matter the source. Supplements have become quite good over time and now the supplements that we do take are processed the same in the liver as the vitamin D you get from the sun. So you don’t need to have sun exposure in order to get your vitamin D.
Are there any other known benefits to limited sun exposure, besides raising your vitamin D levels, or is that something we should completely avoid?
Dr. Greenberg: No. I think that there are plenty of benefits to being exposed to the sun. Not the least of which is just enjoying life. Some people who don’t have any sun exposure at all get depressed, we see seasonal defective disorder in certain climates where they don’t have sun exposure. So being out in the sun can be healthy, but being sun smart is an important component to that.
It seems that we are seeing more cases of vitamin D deficiency than ever before. Do you think we’re sending mixed messages?
Dr. Greenberg: I think that people need to realize that the sun is not the best source of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation is the best and safest source of vitamin D.
Do you think because we are seeing more vitamin D deficiency these days that it is more of a reflection of our nutritional habits as opposed to not spending enough time outside?
Dr. Greenberg: Certainly times have changed. Perhaps back in the caveman days you would get your vitamin D through the sun itself. Now, even milk and orange juice are supplemented with vitamin D. So there are multiple sources of vitamin D supplementation.
What do you think is the biggest consideration somebody should make when trying to maintain a balance between healthy vitamin D levels and having healthy skin?
Dr. Greenberg: Well, first of all it would be important to know if you are you vitamin D deficient. So getting a blood test to determine whether you are or are not vitamin D deficient would be an important first step. When you have the answer to that question, then you take supplements in order to increase your vitamin D. The typical supplement recommendation would be 800 units of vitamin D, and 1,000 units of calcium daily. I like a 1,000 units of vitamin D supplementation personally.
Is that basically what you’re recommending for your patients?
Dr. Greenberg: Yes. I’m recommending that they take supplements for their vitamin D levels and depending on if they’re vitamin deficient, you then increase the supplementation so that they get into the appropriate vitamin D levels based on the normal blood test standards.
As far as vitamin D is concerned Doctor, is vitamin D water soluble or fat soluble?
Dr. Greenberg: Vitamin D is fat soluble. Vitamins D, E, A and K are fat soluble vitamins. So we do have storage capacity for these vitamins.
Is Vitamin D something we should take every day?
Dr. Greenberg: We’re using it every day. So it should be taken every day.
Thank you for taking the time today to give us some insight into sun exposure and Vitamin D. We certainly appreciate it.
Dr. Greenberg: You’re very welcome.
Dr. H.L. Greenberg, MD, Las Vegas, is founder of Las Vegas Dermatology which offers a full range of dermatological services to the Las Vegas community and beyond. Office treatments for common skin conditions as well as more obscure skin diseases are performed at Las Vegas Dermatology. His clinic also offers a wide range of aesthetic skin care services, laser tattoo removal, wrinkle removal treatments and a full line of skin care products that he endorses. His clinic can be reached by calling 702-456-3120. His business website is: http://www.lasvegasdermatology.com.