Sun exposure in youth helps prevent Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Stop the insanity and get back in the Sun!

sunshineSun exposure is crucial to preventing MS, the terrible, debilitating autoimmune disease in which T-cells initiate an inflammatory response against myelin, the protective cover of nerves.[1],[2] This leaves the nerves bare and susceptible to “short circuiting,” a process known as demyelination. This attack prevents proper functioning within the brain and body, which leads to a variety of symptoms like vision changes, muscle spasms, and numbness. These symptoms profoundly decrease the ability to function and destroy the quality of life.

We have known for decades that people who live in areas of low sun exposure, such as far-northern or far southern countries, have a far greater risk of contracting MS than those who live in countries closer to the equator. In fact, there is more than 100 times the risk of MS in far northern as in equatorial areas, where sun is intense, and the rate of MS approaches zero.[3],[4],[5]

I ran across an interesting study demonstrating that the age at which the low sun exposure occurs is also a predictive factor in the risk of MS.[6]  It showed that in Norway, the amount of sun exposure in the period of life between 16-18 years of age was critical in predicting the disease. Those youngsters who experienced the lowest sun exposure during those ages were 83% more likely to develop MS. The same research showed that in Italy the critical period was between birth and age 5 years, with those receiving the lowest sun exposure being 56% more likely to develop MS.

I spite of incontrovertible research that proves regular, non-burning sun exposure is critical for human health, the sunscare movement continues to promote the idea that we should avoid the sun. The blood is on their hands.

[1] Racke, M.  Immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis.  Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2009 Oct–Dec; 12(4): 215–220.

[2] Markovic-Plese S, McFarland HF.  Immunopathogenesis of the multiple sclerosis lesion.  Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2001;1:257-62

[3] Alter M, Yamoor M, Harshe M.  Multiple sclerosis and nutrition.  Arch Neuroll974;31:267-72.

[4] Kurtkze, J. Geography in multiple sclerosis.  J Neurol1977;215:1-26.

[5] Hayes CE, Cantorna MT, DeLuca HF.  Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis.  Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1997;216:21-27

[6] Bjørnevik K, Riise T, Casetta I, Drulovic J, Granieri E. et al. Sun exposure and multiple sclerosis risk in Norway and Italy: The EnvIMS study. Mult Scler. 2014 Jul;20(8):1042-9.

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Sun exposure in the morning leads to sound sleep at night and helps protect against cancer and heart disease. Enhance your circadian rhythms and change your life!

The circadian rhythm is a variation in physiology and behavior persistent with a cycle length close to 24 hours, and regular sun exposure and dark exposure are is necessary to keep the cycle intact.[1] The circadian cycle in humans is approximately 24-hours in length and must be reset on a daily basis in order to remain in synchronization with the external environment. Sun exposure at the correct times of day is exceptionally important to human health, and when the cycle is disrupted by lack of light, such as that experienced by shift workers, or by those who live constantly indoors, it leads to a feeling of being “out of sync.”  Disruption of the circadian rhythm may lead to increased breast-and/or-colorectal cancer risk in women,[2] [3] and research has demonstrated that disruption of circadian rhythms may lead to a profound increase in the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, lung cancer[4] and other cancers.[5] [6] 

According to the Journal Sleep Health, morning daylight exposure helps to reset the circadian rhythm or properly maintain it, which leads to better sleep at night.[7] The authors and researchers used a specialized device to measure the type of light that keeps the circadian rhythm of the human body properly set. By comparing workers in different buildings for sleep quality, they determined that those who received higher levels of morning light had considerably better sleep quality. They stated this conclusion: “The present study is the first to measure personal light exposures in office workers using a calibrated device that measures circadian-effective light and relate those light measures to mood, stress, and sleep. The study’s results underscore the importance of daytime light exposures for sleep health.” See also this link: http://sunlightinstitute.org/sleep-quality-is-improved-by-exposure-to-nature-and-sunlight/Sun exposure. Alive and awake in the sun.

Insomnia is a terrible problem in our modern life. To a great extent, that problem could be solved by arising early and taking advantage of an hour of morning sun exposure.

Safely enjoy your sun exposure, sleep tight and improve your health!

[1] Jeanne F. Duffy, M.B.A., Ph.D. and Charles A. Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D. Effect of Light on Human Circadian Physiology. Sleep Med Clin. 2009 Jun; 4(2): 165–177.

[2] Davis S, Mirick DK. Circadian disruption, shift work and the risk of cancer: a summary of the evidence and studies in Seattle. Cancer Causes Control 2006;17:539-45.

[3] Reparto di ChirurgiaGenerale A/D, PoliclinicoSant’Andrea, Sapienza Università di Roma. [Night work as a possible risk factor for breast cancer in nurses. Correlation between the onset of tumors and alterations in blood melatonin levels]. Prof Inferm. 2007;60:89-93

[4] Papagiannakopoulos T, Bauer MR, Davidson SM, Heimann M, Subbaraj L, Bhutkar A, Bartlebaugh J, Vander Heiden MG, Jacks T. Circadian Rhythm Disruption Promotes Lung Tumorigenesis. Cell Metab. 2016 Jul26;(16)30312-2016.07.001.

[5] Vignesh Shanmugam, Amro Wafi, Nawaf Al-Taweel and Dietrich Büsselberg. Disruptions of circadian rhythm

Increase the risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.  Journal of Local and Global Health Science, 2013:3.

[6] Bratsun DA, Merkuriev DV, Zakharov AP, Pismen LM. Multiscale modeling of tumor growth induced by circadian rhythm disruption in epithelial tissue. J Biol Phys. 2015 Aug 21. [Epub ahead of print]

[7] Mariana G. Figueiro, Bryan Steverson, MA, Judith Heerwagen, PhD, Kevin Kampschroer, MA, Claudia M. Hunter, PhD, Kassandra Gonzales, MS, Barbara Plitnick, RN, Mark S. Rea, PhD. The impact of daytime light exposures on sleep and mood in office workers. Sleep Health June 2017;3:204-215.

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Sun Exposure and Type-two Diabetes. Can you reverse your disease?

Diabetes and sun exposure By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

sun exposure without sunscreen

Diabetes is a disease of chronically high blood glucose leading to blindness, nerve damage, heart disease and numerous other maladies.  Diabetes comes in two forms: (1) Type-one, in which there is damage to the islet cells of the pancreas. This is usually due to an autoimmune response, and the damage prevents production of insulin responsible for removing glucose from the blood. (2) Type-two, in which insulin is produced, but blood glucose remain high due to insulin resistance. In this article, we will discuss type-two, which is by far the most common type. As with heart and vascular disease, we must realize a paucity of sunlight is not the cause of either type of diabetes; rather it is caused by deleterious nutrition habits, primarily high meat consumption,[1] [2] [3] sugar consumption,[4] [5] egg consumption,[6] low consumption of fruits and vegetables, and too many fried foods.[7] In the case of type-one, milk consumption may be the most important nutritional factor.[8] However, sunlight may act as a prophylactic against either type of diabetes. With either type of diabetes, it is not usually the diabetes that kills, but other diseases resulting from it.

There are several studies showing a relationship between type-two diabetes mellitus (DM) and sun exposure or UVB exposure.  One paper showed blood-sugar levels were lower during the summer,[9] and another demonstrated exposure to sun lamps increased insulin secretion.[10] It has also been found there is a direct and significant association between low 25(OH)D levels (a surrogate measure for low sun exposure) and increased risk of type-two.[11]

In addition, a meta-analysis produced moderate evidence that recreational sun exposure is associated with a reduced risk of type-two.[12] The study was undertaken because of the observation by researchers showing that although higher 25(OH)D levels were consistently associated with a lower risk of diabetes, supplementing 25(OH)D had shown no such effects. They hypothesized sun exposure could have influences not related to vitamin D, and such seems to have been the case.

Another of the more important investigations showed that women who had “active sun exposure habits” had a 30% reduced risk of type-two.[13]

Diabetes is increasing very rapidly and may someday overwhelm the health-care system. In my opinion, it is the most easily reversed of all degenerative diseases, so this is a tragedy. Proper nutrition, exercise and safe sun exposure can prevent almost all type-two diabetes. At our former resort, about two-thirds of type-two diabetics were free of all medication in two weeks. It is a totally unnecessary disease. If you don’t have it, prevent it. If you have it, reverse it. Start today.

[1]FeskensEJ, Sluik D, van WoudenberghGJ. Meat consumption is an important risk factor Meat consumption, diabetes, and its complications. Curr Diab Rep. 2013 Apr;13(2):298-306.

[2]Kim Y, Keogh J, Clifton P. A review of potential metabolic etiologies of the observed association between red meat consumption and development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Metabolism. 2015 Jul;64(7):768-79.

[3]Muntoni S, Mereu R, Atzori L, Mereu A, Galassi S, Corda S, Frongia P, Angius E, Pusceddu P, Contu P, Cucca F, Congia M, Muntoni S. High meat consumption is associated with type 1 diabetes mellitus in a Sardinian case-control study. Acta Diabetol. 2013 Oct;50(5):713-9.

[4] Imamura F, O’Connor L, Ye Z, Mursu J, Hayashino Y, Bhupathiraju SN, ForouhiNG.Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction. BMJ. 2015 Jul 21;351:h3576.

[5] Lamb MM, Frederiksen B, Seifert JA, Kroehl M, Rewers M, Norris JM. Sugar intake is associated with progression from islet autoimmunity to type 1 diabetes: the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young. Diabetologia. 2015 Sep;58(9):2027-34.

[6]DjousséL1, Gaziano JM, Buring JE, Lee IM. Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women.Diabetes Care. 2009 Feb;32(2):295-300

[7]McEvoy CT, Cardwell CR, Woodside JV, Young IS, Hunter SJ, McKinley MC.A posteriori dietary patterns are related to risk of type 2 diabetes: findings from a systematicreview and meta-analysis.J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 Nov;114(11):1759-75.

[8] Karjalainen J, Martin JM, Knip M, Ilonen J, Robinson BH, Savilahti E, Akerblom HK, Dosch HM. A bovine albumin peptide as a possible trigger of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med. 1992 Jul 30;327(5):302-7.

[9] Ishii H,Suzuki H, Baba T, Nakamura K, Watanabe T. Seasonal variation of glycemic control in type-2 diabetic patients. Diabetes Care 2001;24;1503.

[10] Colas C, Garabedian M, Fontbonne A, Guillozo H, Slama G, Desplanque N, Dauchy F, Tchobroutsky G. Insulin secretion and plasma 1,25(OH)2D after UV-B irradiation in healthy adults. Hormone and Metabolic Research 1988;21:154-155.

[11] Song Y, Wang L, Pittas AG, Del Gobbo LC, Zhang C, Manson JE, Hu FB. Blood 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels and incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Diabetes Care. 2013 May;36(5):1422-8.

[12] Shore-Lorenti C, Brennan SL, Sanders KM, Neale RE, Lucas RM, EbelingPR.Shining the light on Sunshine: a systematic review of the influence of sun exposure on type 2 diabetes mellitus-related outcomes. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Dec;81(6):799-811.

[13]Lindqvist PG, Olsson H, Landin-Olsson M. Are active sun exposure habits related to lowering risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women, a prospective cohort study? Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2010 Oct;90(1):109-14.


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Sunlight Vitamin D and Cholesterol levels. Sun exposure does a better job with lipid levels that lead to vascular diseases.

Sun exposure reduces risk of heart disease. High cholesterol levels are associated with vascular diseases such as heart disease, ischemic stroke and intermittent claudication (an occlusion of the arteries of the legs that leads to pain and disability). The authors of a recent study compared the effects of vitamin D supplementation with sun exposure to determine which was more effective in reducing risk factors.[1] A group of individuals with insufficient serum vitamin D levels was divided into two groups with different experimental protocols: one was treated with sun exposure to the arms and face between 11 AM and 3 PM and the other was treated with 1,000 IU of vitamin D. A third group had “normal” vitamin D levels and served as a control (no treatment group). Total cholesterol levels and its components of cholesterol, HDL and LDL, were also measured to determine the positive (or negative) effects of the two treatment protocols.

The results were enlightening. Both experimental groups had significant increases in vitamin D. However, the results with cholesterol varied. A significant decrease in total cholesterol was noted in the sun-exposure group, and HDL and LDL also decreased in the sun-exposure group. However, in the vitamin D-supplement group, a significant increase was noted in in total cholesterol. HDL also increased significantly, and LDL increased non-significantly.sun exposure

In other words, vitamin D supplementation could actually lead to an increased risk of vascular diseases by raising total cholesterol, whereas sun exposure is protective against those diseases. So the takeaway is that there is no substitute for the sun when it comes to providing some protection against vascular diseases.

There are those people who worry that melanoma risk may be increased by regular sun exposure. However, we have mentioned many time in this blog that melanoma is much more common among those who work indoors than those who work outdoors. It should also be mentioned that vascular diseases kill far more people than skin cancer. Dr. Richard perhaps said it best:

“Sunlight may have beneficial cardiovascular effects, independently of Vitamin D production. Vitamin D could, in these circumstances, act as a marker for sunlight exposure and its postulated beneficial effects. These recent human data show the physiological relevance of photorelaxation. High blood pressure is the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years lost worldwide and as a risk factor underlies 18% of all deaths.”  Weller further noted: “The action spectrum of nitrite release shows ultraviolet B is also involved in nitrite reduction to Nitric Oxide, and thus sunlight may be more effective than a pure UVA source.” He concluded: “the prevalence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular deaths is around 100 times higher than those from skin cancer. Interventions leading to small changes in the incidence of cardiovascular disease are thus of greater benefit to the health of the public even than large changes in skin cancer incidence.”[2]

Safely embrace the sun and your heart, brain and blood vessels will love you for it!

[1] Patwardhan VG, Mughal ZM, Padidela R, Chiplonkar SA, Khadilkar VV, Khadilkar AV. Randomized Control Trial Assessing Impact of Increased Sunlight Exposure versus Vitamin D Supplementation on Lipid Profile in Indian Vitamin D Deficient Men. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2017 May-Jun;21(3):393-398.

[2] Weller R. The health benefits of UV radiation exposure through vitamin D production or non-vitamin D

Pathways. Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci. 2016.

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An 83-times increased risk of vitamin D deficiency in children since 2,000. An alarming pandemic!

A major research paper report in the medical journal, Pediatrics, has shown an alarming increase in vitamin D deficiency among children aged 0-17 years of age. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28159871 [1] The researchers use the word “exponential,” and indeed it is, increasing from 3.14 deficient children per 100,000 in the year 2000 to 261 per 100,000 in 2014. We can state that as an 83-times increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, or an 8,300% increase. Either way one states it, it is an alarming increase, and will lead to an overwhelming number of bone diseases and other maladies in the future. 

vitamin D deficiency

Why would such an increase take place?  

That is an easy question to answer. Parents are “protecting” their children from sun exposure by keeping them away from direct sunlight—either by neglecting to take them outside (or demanding they stay indoors)—or slathering them with sunscreens, which can reduce the skin’s production of vitamin D by as much as 99%.[2] In the 1930s, when the medical community had not yet bought into today’s sun phobia, the Department of Labor printed a pamphlet called Sun for Babies in which they made this statement: “Every mother who wishes her baby to have robust health should give him regular sun baths from early infancy until he is old enough to play in the sun himself. If the sun’s rays are to help the baby grow properly and to prevent rickets, they must fall directly on the skin and tan it.” That would not be popular advice today, and it is likely any parent practicing “baby tanning” would be arrested for child abuse. Since the 1930’s the dermatological profession has come a long way… in the wrong direction. This is not to say that all dermatologists are sending the wrong messages. In my new book, Embrace the Sun (scheduled for publication shortly), I draw from the research from several “enlightened” dermatologists who have given stern warnings to their colleagues who are spreading their destructive, anti-sun messages. In fact, the person who is writing the foreword is a dermatologist, and one of the top sunlight/vitamin D scientists in the world.

Another chilling result of robbing our children of sunlight is the dramatic increase in myopia. There are several studies proving this point, but I will mention only one here: This research showed the prevalence of myopia among Chinese children living in Singapore was 29.1%, whereas Chinese children living in Sydney, Australia, had a prevalence rate of only 3.3%. The children in Sydney spent about 13.8 hours per week outdoors compared to 3.05 hours in Singapore. In other words, the children who spent most of their lives indoors, had 9.5 times the risk of developing myopia![3] In addition, rickets is now making a comeback. After a century of knowing how to prevent this disastrous children’s disease, it is returning, and cases of rickets are reported as far south as Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.[4] If children are not allowed to play outside, their vitamin D levels will be no better than if they lived at the North Pole.

But what about future risk of melanoma? Melanoma risk has increased by 3000% since 1935 while outdoor activity has decreased by about 90%.[5] The advice to halt the increase in melanoma, which is given by the melanoma foundations of course, is stay out of the sun and use more sunscreen. That is about as counterintuitive as it gets.

vitamin D deficiency

Protect your children from excessive sun exposure by using clothing and shade when they have had enough. Also be sure that the kids gradually and safely develop a protective tan. Never burn!

By Marc Sorenson, Ed.D. An advocate for the sun…Fighting vitamin D deficiency.

[1] Basatemur E, Horsfall L, Marston L, Rait G, Sutcliffe A.  Trends in the Diagnosis of Vitamin D Deficiency. Pediatrics. 2017 Mar;139(3).

[2] Matsuoka LY, Ide L, Wortsman J, MacLaughlin JA, Holick MF. Sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1987; 64:1165-68.

[3] Rose KA, Morgan IG, J, Kifley A, Huynh S, Smith W, Mitchell P. Outdoor activity reduces the prevalence of myopia in children. Ophthalmology 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.

[4]Weisberg P, Scanlon KS, Li R, Cogswell ME. Nutritional rickets among children in the United States: review of cases reported between 1986 and 2003. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80(6 Suppl):1697S-705S.

[5] Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. Sources: National Cancer Institute 2007 SEER Database, American Cancer Society’s 2007 Facts and Figures, The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Academy of Dermatology.

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New research says sunscreen use is leading to vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency is increasing rapidly in spite of the fact more people are taking supplements than ever before. According to an article in the Daily Mail (UK), 75% or the U.S. population are deficient in Vitamin D, and among African Americans, 95% are deficient.[1] Recent research in the Journal of the American Osteopath Association places the blame for this deficiency squarely on two factors:  (1) sun deprivation through sunscreen use, and (2) chronic diseases.[2]sunscreen

The paper makes perfect sense. It is known sunscreen use can inhibit up to 99% of the production of vitamin D by the skin.[3] And of course, chronic diseases themselves may be the effect of sunlight/vitamin D deficiency. So, in trying to prevent sunburn and skin damage, we set ourselves up for a spate of illnesses.

Caution is the best prevention for sunburn. One should never stay out until the skin turns red, and in the beginning stages of sun exposure, one should gradually increase it until a tan develops. A tan is a sign the skin is protecting itself against burning. In a landmark paper published in 1993 in the journal Preventive Medicine, Dr. Gordon Ainsleigh stated, “As melanoma research has demonstrated, the best prevention is regular exposure, thereby maintaining a protective tan and high vitamin D blood and tissue levels.”[4] And we now know that sun exposure produces photoproducts beyond vitamin D, such as nitric oxide, endorphins, and serotonin. Staying out of the sun, or blocking its rays, are recipes for health disasters. Queensland, Australia has vigorously promoted sunscreen for decades, and Queensland now has one of highest rates of melanoma in the world,[5] along with a rate of vitamin D deficiency which is becoming critical.[6]  The answer from the dermatologists, of course, is to prescribe more sunscreen and frighten more people out of the sun. Is that not the most counterintuitive decision of the century?

A much better choice than sunscreen is to simply leave the sun when it becomes too intense, or cover up with light, reflective clothing. Enjoy the sun, but do it carefully and never burn. And don’t destroy all the salubrious effects of the sun by using a noxious sunblock.

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4462730/Too-sunscreen-making-vitamin-D-deficient.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

[2] Pfotenhauer KM, Shubrook JH. Vitamin D deficiency, its role in heath and disease, and current supplementation recommendations. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2017; 117(5):301 – See more at: http://www.ajmc.com/newsroom/sunscreen-use-chronic-disease-linked-to-vitamin-d-deficiency#sthash.Yfx4Rbny.dpuf

[3] Matsuoka LY, Ide L, Wortsman J, MacLaughlin JA, Holick MF. Sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1987; 64:1165-68.

[4] Ainsleigh G.  Beneficial effects of sun exposure on cancer mortality.  Preventive Medicine 1993;22:132-140.

[5] Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED. Could sunscreens increase melanoma risk? American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 82, No. 4, April 1992, pp. 614-15.

[6]Van der Mei IA, Ponsonby AL, Engelsen O, Pasco JA, McGrath JJ, Eyles DW, Blizzard L, Dwyer T, Lucas R, Jones G. A high vitamin D insufficiency across Australian populations and latitude.  Environmental Health Perspect 2007;115:1132-39.

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Sun exposure of pregnant mothers decreases risk of child cancer

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, for sun exposure and children’s health…

sun exposure

It is well-known that sun exposure is associated with a reduced risk of many major cancers in adults. But what about children? A California study has shown that sun exposure during pregnancies also influences the childhood cancer risk of children who are a result of those pregnancies.[1] In this research, sun exposure, based on the geographical area where the women lived while pregnant, was measured. Then their children were compared in terms of childhood cancer risk, based on high or low sun exposure. Those children whose mothers experienced more sun exposure were less likely to develop acute lymphoblastic leukemia, hepatoblastoma, and non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. The authors of the study make this summary statement: “Our findings suggest that UVR during pregnancy may decrease the odds of some childhood cancers. Future studies should explore additional factors that may be correlated with UVR exposure and possibly include biomarkers of immune function and vitamin D.”

We have discussed in previous blogs the association of sunlight deficiency during women’s pregnancies and the subsequent risk of profoundly increased autism in their children. Therefore, similar results with cancer are not surprising. Safe, non-burning sun exposure has positive effects on at least 100 of the most frightening diseases, many of which will be discussed in my upcoming book that is coauthored by Dr. William B. Grant, and entitled Embrace the Sun. Children, even babies, need at least some sun exposure. And children, if they do not get outdoors in the sun are also subject to a remarkable increase in the risk of myopia.[2]

Take care of your children. Be sure that they play in the sunlight each day, without sunscreen. If any reddening occurs, put them in the shade or cover them up. But don’t deny them their share of sunshine; if you do, their risk of childhood cancers may increase.

[1] Lombardi C, Heck JE, Cockburn M, Ritz B. Solar UV radiation and cancer in young children. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Jun;22(6):1118-28.

[2] Rose KA, Morgan IG, J, Kifley A, Huynh S, Smith W, Mitchell P. Outdoor activity reduces the prevalence of myopia in children. Ophthalmology 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.

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How important is sun exposure for bone strength?

Sun exposure and health… by Dr. Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute…

Lack of vitamin D, which is produced by sun exposure, leads to rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia and other bone diseases. In addition, research well after the first discovery of vitamin D has shown that vitamin D deficiency and sunlight deprivation also lead to many cancers, heart disease and multiple additional maladies. Now, as the world has modernized, the population is moving indoors, and even in the areas that are sunny throughout the year, sunlight exposure and vitamin D deficiency is increasing, both in rural and urban populations. The bones become so weakened without regular sun exposure, that the slightest movement may cause a fracture. As an example, the mother of an acquaintance of mine—a woman who avoided the sun—turned over in bed one night and broke her hip. Osteoporosis often destroys all quality or life for those who suffer it.


shrinking woman sun exposure

The importance of the sun in maintaining and producing strong bones has been known since antiquity. Dr. Richard Hobday, author of The Healing Sun, writes the following comments along with a history in an online article.[1] “Traditionally, sunlight deprivation has been linked with weak or brittle bones. One of the earliest references to this was made more than two thousand years ago by the Greek historian Herodotus (480-425 BC), who noted a marked difference between the remains of the Egyptian and Persian casualties at the site of battle of Pelusium which took place in 525 BC:

‘At the place where this battle was fought I saw a very odd thing, which the natives had told me about. The bones still lay there, those of the Persian dead separate from those of the Egyptian, just as they were originally divided, and I noticed that the skulls of the Persians were so thin that the merest touch with a pebble will pierce them, but those of the Egyptians, on the other hand, are so tough that it is hardly possible to break them with a blow from a stone. I was told, very credibly, that the reason was that the Egyptians shave their heads from childhood, so that the bone of the skull is indurated by the action of the sun — this is why they hardly ever go bald, baldness being rarer in Egypt than anywhere else. This, then, explains the thickness of their skulls; and the thinness of the Persian’s skulls rests upon a similar principle: namely that they have always worn felt skull -caps, to guard their heads from the sun.’

Herodotus, ‘The Histories’”


And here is a perhaps the transcendent study on hip fracture and sun exposure: research in Spain showed that women who were sun seekers had only about one-eleventh the risk of hip fracture as those who stayed indoors[2] (See the chart below).


hip fracture sun exposure

That is very powerful evidence of the efficacy of sun in preventing weak bones. In stark contrast to this research are studies done on women who completely avoid the sun and suffer from osteomalacia. Osteomalacia is a soft-bone disease known as adult rickets, resulting from severe vitamin D deficiency, which deficiency prevents bone from properly mineralizing. Women who seldom go outdoors, or who are nearly always fully covered with clothing, have an extremely high incidence of osteomalacia at a very young age, even if they live in geographical areas with abundant sunlight.[3] [4] If one is never exposed to the available sun, the sun will not be able to produce its beneficial effects on the body, so one may as well live at the North Pole.

Sunbed use also is associated with stronger bones and higher vitamin D levels. An excellent study compared 50 people who used sunbeds regularly with 106 who did not.[5] The sunbed group had 90% higher vitamin D, significantly higher bone density and lower PTH levels (high PTH levels are associated with lower bone mass). The users had healthful vitamin D levels of 46 ng/ml [115 nmol/L] compared to only 24 ng/ml [60 nmol/L] for those who did not regularly use sunbeds.

Scientists at one time believed that sunlight and vitamin D were good only for preventing rickets, osteoporosis and other bone weaknesses. That belief has been supplanted by myriad research studies that show the efficacy of both sun exposure and vitamin D repletion on protection against numerous additional diseases. Nevertheless, we should never forget the extraordinary, never-changing value of sun exposure to maintaining a strong skeleton well into old age.

[1]Richard Hobday. The Healing sun: Sunlight, Brittle Bones, and Osteoporosis. http://sunlightenment.com/the-healing-sun-sunlight-brittle-bones-and-osteoporosis/. (accessed February 5, 2016)

[2] Larrosa M, Casado E, Gómez A, Moreno M, Berlanga E, Ramón J, Gratacós J. Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture.  Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

[3] Sahibzada AS, Khan MS, Javed M. Presentation of osteomalacia in Kohistani women.  J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad 2004;16:63-5

[4] Al-Jurayyan NA, El-Desouki ME, Al-Herbish AS, Al-Mazyad AS, Al-Qhtani MM. Nutritional rickets and osteomalacia in school children and adolescents. Saudi Med J 2002;23:182-85.

[5] Tangpricha V, Turner A, Spina C, Decastro S, Chen TC, Holick MF. Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher bone mineral density. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6):1645-9.

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As has been known for nearly 100 years, sun exposure protects against tuberculosis.

By Marc Sorenson, for sun exposure and healthlungs sun exposure

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that has caused the death of millions of people, especially in the early part of the 20th Century, but evidence of TB infections date back to about 8,000 BC. The CDC estimates that one-third of the world’s population is infected with TB and that there are about 1.5 million deaths yearly from this lethal disease.[1]

Drugs have done wonders to help, but have not been effective in the complete eradication of TB.  However, there is a treatment that has been shown to be effective in nearly 100% of cases, and that treatment is sun exposure. Sun therapy (heliotherapy) was used in the early 20th Century to effectively treat TB patients, and Dr. Aguste Rollier’s records of 1,129 surgical TB cases showed that heliotherapy cured 87% of “closed cases” and 76% of “open cases.”  Among 158 patients with tuberculosis of the hip, 125 were cured and 102 “regained complete recovery of articular function.”[2] And according to one source, “During one period of time just following World War 1, 1,746 of the 2,167 tubercular patients who were under Rollier’s care completely recovered health. The only failures were among those who had allowed their tuberculosis to enter its most advanced stages.”[3]

It is worthy to note that the first case of drug-resistant TB has arrived in the US from Peru.[4] It is nearly 100% resistant to antibiotics and does not bode well for the country, since it could cause an immense killer epidemic. There seems to be no answer to the “superbug” that causes it.  Or is there an answer?  Could sun exposure provide answers to this latest health threat? The superbugs are upon us like a bad horror movie, and when they start to take over the earth, there will be one solution: UV light from sun exposure or sun lamps. We would be well advised to have our defenses set up in advance by enjoying daily sun in the early morning and at midday.

The latest research simply shows what we have known for a century. A study conducted in Chile on the prevalence of sun exposure compared to the incidence of TB, shows that there is an independent and highly significant inverse association between sun exposure and TB incidence rate. In other words, the greater the sun exposure, the lesser the risk of contracting TB.[5]

So, we have defined one more disease here that can be nearly eradicated by sunshine, not drugs. We must safely embrace the Sun to live our lives in good health.

[1] http://www.medicinenet.com/tuberculosis_tb_facts/page2.htm

[2] Clark, W. Treatment of Bone and joint tuberculosis with Tuberculin and Heliotherapy.  Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 1923;5:721-39.

[3] Fielder, J. Heliotherapy: the principles & practice of sunbathing. Soil and Health Library (online) http://www.soilandhealth.org/index.html

[4] http://www.sphere.com/nation/article/first-case-of-highly-drug-resistant-tuberculosis-in-us/19294836?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl1|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sphere.com%2Fnation%2Farticle%2Ffirst-case-of-highly-drug-resistant-tuberculosis-in-us%2F19294836

[5] Balcells ME, Cerda J, Concha , Hoyos-Bachiloglu R, Camargo C, Martineau A, Borzutzky A. Regional solar radiation is inversely correlated with incidence and severity of tuberculosis in Chile. Epidemiol Infect. 2017 Apr 3:1-9. doi: 10.1017/S0950268817000607. [Epub ahead of print]

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Sun exposure and vitamin D. A common-sense approach to health.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD for sun exposure and health…sun exposure

The Vitamin D Society of Canada has just released one of the best articles on the relationship of sun exposure and its potential for vitamin D production. Sun exposure is the natural way to obtain your essential vitamin D, and of course provides other essential photoproducts such as nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin and BDNF.

Here is the press release from the Vitamin D Society, in full:

For Immediate Distribution

TORONTO, Ont (April 4, 2017) – The daylight hours are getting longer, the sun is getting stronger and summer is just around the corner. Make this the year that you optimize your vitamin D levels through effective sun exposure. Enjoy the health benefits and disease prevention from optimal vitamin D levels and learn to control your risks from sun exposure.
Vitamin D is made naturally in your body when UVB rays from the sun convert cholesterol in your skin to pre-vitamin D3. We make about 90% of our vitamin D from UVB sun exposure. UVB rays are short and only reach the earth when the sun is directly above us. We can’t make vitamin D in the winter in Canada because the sun is at too low of an angle and the UVB rays are absorbed in the atmosphere.

You make vitamin D in Canada between the months of May and October. The best time for exposure is around midday, between 10am and 2pm, when the UV index is above 3 and your shadow is shorter than your height. The further you get from noon, the lower the amount of vitamin D you’ll make. The sun’s visible light may penetrate through glass, but UVB light will not; therefore you will not make vitamin D.

Full body sun exposure at non-burning levels can create between
10,000-25,000 IU of vitamin D in your skin. You can never get too much vitamin D from the sun as your skin self regulates, whereas ingesting vitamin D does not have the same control. In addition, vitamin D that you make from the sun lasts twice as long in your body as vitamin D taken through supplements or food.

Statistics Canada reports that Canadian vitamin D levels have dropped by 10% over the past six years. The root cause of this decrease is lower sun exposure. People are just not getting outside around midday in the summer and making vitamin D, and when they are outside they are using sunscreen, which if applied correctly prevents 95%+ of vitamin D production.

In Canada, 12 million Canadians (35%) have vitamin D blood levels below the recommendations from Health Canada. This puts these people at a higher risk for several diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and many more. In fact, a study completed in 2016 reported that if Canadians increased their vitamin D levels to the recommended level of 100 nmol/L, we would save $12.5B in healthcare costs and 23,000 premature deaths annually.
A recent study reported that women who avoided the sun have twice the risk of all cause death. The authors said that “avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking.”

Skin cancer is a concern and risk of sun exposure must be managed and balanced with the benefits from vitamin D and other photoproducts. Research has shown that people with higher sun exposure such as outdoor workers, who have 3-10 times the sun exposure as indoor workers, have a lower incidence of melanoma. The National Cancer Institute reports that
melanoma risk is increased as a result of intermittent acute sun
exposure leading to sunburn. People who are a skin type 1, with white or very pale skin colour, red or blonde hair colour and who always burn and never tan, should severely limit their sun exposure.

The Vitamin D Society offers the following tips:

– Know your own skin and skin type. Don’t burn. Never overexpose yourself.
– Acclimatize or condition your skin for sun exposure by gradually
building or lengthening exposure times as your skin begins to tan to reduce your risk of burning
– Prevent burning and overexposure when required through the use of hats, clothing, shade and sunscreens.
– For vitamin D, get sun exposure at midday, between 10 am and 2 pm, when the UV index is above 3 and your shadow is shorter than your height.
– Expose more skin for a shorter period of time to generate more vitamin D while reducing your risk of overexposure.

It’s important to manage the risk and enjoy the rewards of moderate sun exposure for good health. Cancer Research UK, through the Consensus Vitamin D Position Statement, offers the following recommendation:
“Enjoying the sun safely, while taking care not to burn, can help provide the benefits of vitamin D without unduly raising the risk of skin cancer.”

“This advice may go against what current health organizations
recommend,” says Perry Holman, Executive Director of the Vitamin D Society. “They typically recommend you stay out of the sun at midday and use sunscreen when outdoors. But this would reduce your potential vitamin D production and does not consider the benefits as well as the risks of sun exposure on overall health. You need to have balance.”

About the Vitamin D Society:

The Vitamin D Society is a Canadian non-profit group organized to increase awareness of the many health conditions strongly linked to vitamin D deficiency; encourage people to be proactive in protecting their health and have their vitamin D levels tested annually; and help fund valuable vitamin D research. The Vitamin D Society recommends people achieve and maintain optimal 25(OH)D blood levels between 100 –
150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA).

To learn more about vitamin D, please visit www.vitamindsociety.org

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Andrade, Enterprise Canada 905-346-1230


Marc Sorenson.

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