Tomatoes, and many other fruits and vegetables, protect against skin cancer. Eat good foods, enjoy regular, moderate sun exposure and protect your skin.

In an impressive mouse study,[1] it was shown that in animals that were exposed to high doses of radiation during a 35-week program, those that were fed a pre-radiation dose of tomato powder or tangerine powder had a higher level of the antioxidant lycopene than mice who were not fed the powders (control group). Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, tangerines, watermelon and other fruits and vegetables.Tomatoes fight skin cancer

Interestingly, the animals that consumed the tangerine powder had higher levels of lycopene than those consuming the tomato powder, but the results were not as impressive. The number of cancerous tumors that developed in the tomato-fed mice was about half the number that developed in the control group. Tomatoes obviously have anti-skin cancer attributes, but remember that lycopene may not be as effective as the whole tomato powder in reducing that disease. Whole foods are nearly always superior to the nutrients extracted from them, as all of the nutrients work in concert to help health whether for mice or men. There may be hundreds of nutrients besides lycopene in tomatoes, all having a positive effect in protecting against cancer. Why just take one nutrient from the tomato and put it in a pill? I’ll tell you why: It is a way to make money. In this case, the researchers discovered that important substances called glycoalkaloids were significantly higher in the skin after the ingestion of tomato powder, and seem to believe that these substances were responsible for the reduced risk of skin cancer.

It has actually been known for some time that some of the best skin protectants are tomatoes. One investigation showed that among individuals who consumed forty grams of tomato paste daily for ten weeks, sunburn-resistance time increased by 40%,[2] and other research demonstrated that eating different tomato-based products correlated to significantly reduced risk of sunburn after exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlamps.[3] It is also known that individuals with the lowest intake of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and lycopene (all carotenoid antioxidants found in such vegetables such as carrots and tomato) had a 50% increased risk for melanoma.[4]

There are several other scientific investigations demonstrating that high fruit and vegetable consumption predict a lesser risk of skin cancer.[5],[6],[7], [8] 

There are few foods that taste better than a ripe, field-grown tomato. Eat your fill and enjoy some regular, non-burning sun.



[1] Cooperstone JL, Tober KL, Riedl KM, Teegarden MD, Cichon MJ, Francis DM, Schwartz SJ, Oberyszyn TM. Tomatoes protect against development of UV-induced keratinocyte carcinoma via metabolomic alterations. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 11;7(1):5106.

[2] Stahl W, Heinrich U, Wiseman S, Eichler O, Sies H, Tronnier H. Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light–Induced Erythema in Humans. J Nutr 2001;131:1449-51.

[3] Aust O, Stahl W, Sies H, Tronnier H, Heinrich U. Supplementation with tomato-based products increases lycopene, phytofluene, and phytoene levels in human serum and protects against UV-light-induced erythema. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2005;75:54-60.

[4] Millen AE, Tucker MA, Hartge P, Halpern A, Elder DE, Guerry D 4th, Holly EA, Sagebiel RW, Potischman N. Diet and melanoma in a case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1042-51

[5] Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Polyphenols: skin photoprotection and inhibition of photocarcinogenesis.Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011 Dec;11(14):1200-15.

[6] Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res 2010;302:71.

[7] Stahl W, Heinrich U, Wiseman S, Eichler O, Sies H, Tronnier H. Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light–Induced Erythema in Humans. J Nutr 2001;131:1449-51.

[8] Meyskens FL Jr, Farmer PJ, Anton-Culver H. Diet and melanoma in a case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1042-51.

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Sun exposure increases bone mass and reduces fracture risk INDEPENDENTLY of current vitamin D levels.

Sun exposure leads to an increase in bone mass and a decrease in falls. It is generally assumed that since sun exposure also leads to an increase in blood-vitamin D levels, those levels are responsible for those positive effects of sun exposure.sun exposure builds bone However, in the July issue of Osteoporosis International, there are indications that sun exposure may have some bone-building and bone-protecting effects of its own.[1] The researchers used microtopographical skin changes to quantify cumulative lifetime sun exposure. This method is known as the Beagley-Gibson (BG) method of measuring cumulative sun exposure. After this measurement, they compared lifetime sun exposure to bone-mineral density, risk of falls and risk of fractures in older adults, aged 53-83 years. Vitamin D levels were also assessed in all subjects.

In women, an increasing BG grade (increasing sun exposure) was quite protective; their risk for vertebral fractures was reduced by 66%, and all major fractures were reduced by 25%. For men, bone-mineral density was increased in younger males who showed the most sun exposure. These results were independent of current vitamin D levels. Risk of falls were not changed. We know that sun exposure is very closely associated with better bone strength and have assumed that most of that bone strength is due to higher vitamin D. In this investigation, vitamin D levels had no predictive value. However, there may have been be other factors at play.

What, besides vitamin D, could be responsible for the reduction in fractures? One possibility is this: Outdoor living is necessary for sun exposure, and people who enjoy the outdoors are generally more physically active. It is well-known that exercise builds bone mass and/or strength due to the stress on the bones. That probably happens with any reasonable level of vitamin D.

I opine, that a study conducted in Spain, is perhaps the transcendent research on hip fracture and sun exposure: it showed that women who were sun seekers had only about one-eleventh the risk of hip fracture compared to those who stayed indoors.[2] So, it may be, that to protect our bones, lots of sun exposure, rather than just a little, may be best. Just be sure not to burn. Daily exercise is also imperative. And be sure to eat a healthful, anti-inflammatory diet, which guards against both osteoporosis and skin cancer. Happy sunning.


[1] Thompson MJW, Aitken DA, Otahal P, Cicolini J, Winzenberg TM, Jones G. The relationship between cumulative lifetime ultraviolet radiation exposure, bone mineral density, falls risk and fractures in older adults. Osteoporos Int. 2017 Jul;28(7):2061-2068.

[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.

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Sun Exposure and Rheumatoid Arthritis—an interesting Result.

In research on rheumatoid arthritis, involving studies done on nurses, an interesting result emerged.[1] It was found that among nurses 30-55 years of age who were assessed in 1976, and followed until 2008, there was an inverse association between sun exposure and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Those who were exposed to the greatest sun exposure had a 21% reduced risk of the disease. However, among nurses 25-42 years of age who were assessed in 1989 and followed until 2008, rheumatoid arthritis was not associated with greater sun exposure.

The authors of the researchers offered an explanation regarding the disparate results. They felt that the greater use of sunscreen among the younger subjects sun and rheumatoid arthritismay have made the difference.

I agree with that idea. Sunscreen would have decreased the availability of vitamin D production, which may have lead to the lack of a protective effect on rheumatoid arthritis among the younger nurses.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease which causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints and even in certain organs in the body.[2] It is an autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and seasonal vitamin D declines may trigger it.[3] Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory hormone and declines in vitamin D levels, of course, are a result of decreasing sun exposure in colder seasons.

Arthritic joints carry another devastating side effect. Hip replacement surgery is often prescribed for arthritic conditions, and those people who go through total-hip-replacement procedures are 4.7 times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, and 4.4 times as likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke in the first two weeks post surgery.[4] Those stroke risks remain elevated for 6-12 weeks. The term “ischemic” means producing a local deficiency of blood supply by obstructing blood flow.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the transcendent importance of anti-inflammatory nutrition program. Sunlight is important but what you eat is critical. I would suggest that you google “anti-inflammatory diet.” Learn which foods (primarily fruits and vegetables) will help to decrease or prevent the inflammation that leads to RA. In the meanwhile, enjoy some safe, non-burning sunbathing.


[1] Arkema EV, Hart JE, Bertrand KA, Laden F, Grodstein F, Rosner BA, Karlson EW, Costenbader KH. Exposure to ultraviolet-B and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis among women in the Nurses’ Health Study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2013 Apr;72(4):506-11

[2] Medicinenet.com. Definition of rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5354.

[3] Cutolo M, Paolino S, Sulli A, Smith V, Pizzorni C, Seriolo B. Vitamin D, steroid hormones, and autoimmunity. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 May;1317:39-46.

[4] Lalmohamed A, Vestergaard P, Cooper C, de Boer A, Leufkens HG, van Staa TP, de Vries F. Hip replacement surgery and stroke. Stroke 2012;43(12):3225-9.

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Sunshine deficiency, vitamin D deficiency and mental health in the UK.

A recent sunshine article in the UK online newspaper, The Mail, led with the headline, “Sunshine breaks could mean better mental health.” It then went on to describe how many shift workers, as well as other residents of the UK, are deficient in vitamin D.[1] Quoting from research published in the Journal BMC Public Health,[2] the article stated that about 91% of residents are at least insufficient in vitamin D.Sunshine and mental health

Vitamin D deficiency of that extent is a health crisis, of that there is no doubt. It is also a surety that the way to combat vitamin D deficiency is by taking “sunshine breaks.” However, it is misleading to assume it is vitamin D deficiency that is responsible for the entire problem with mental health and other diseases as they relate to sun exposure. Consider the fact that lack of sunshine deficiency also causes problems beyond vitamin D deficiency. For example, the natural 24-hour cycles, called circadian rhythms, are desynchronized by lack of sunshine in the morning. This causes us to feel out of synch and to be more susceptible to many diseases including cancer.

Remember that sun exposure also leads to the production of serotonin,[3] endorphin,[4] dopamine,[5] and BDNF,[6] all of which have a positive effect on mood and mental health.

Sunshine is vital to mental and physical health, and that health is not due to vitamin D alone. Take a holistic view of the importance of sunshine.

[1] http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/Sunshine-breaks-could-mean-better-mental-health-88b00574-032c-4467-846c-1eff0514d4e8-ds

[2] Sowah D, Fan X, Dennett L, Hagtvedt R, Straube S. Vitamin D levels and deficiency with different occupations: a systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2017 Jun 22;17(1):519.

[3] Lambert GW, Reid C, Kaye DM, Jennings GL, Esler MD. Effect of sun and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. Lancet. 2002 Dec 7;360(9348):1840-2.

[4] Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan. Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production: Dermato-End Holick, M. The UV Advantage 2. Ibooks 2003, New York. Ocrinology 2012;4(2):109–117.

[5] Holick, M. The UV Advantage 2. Ibooks 2003, New York.

[6] Molendijk ML, Haffmans JP, Bus BA, Spinhoven P, Penninx BW, Prickaerts J, Oude Voshaar RC, Elzinga BM. Serum BDNF concentrations show strong seasonal variation and correlations with the amount of ambient sun. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48046.

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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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