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Melanoma risk: reduced by high vitamin D and Sunlight

Melanoma risk between persons with high and low vitamin D levels

Melanoma Risk By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institutemelanoma risk is not caused by sun exposure

The risk directly associates with low levels of vitamin D. That is the conclusion of recent study published in the European Journal of Cancer.[1] The investigators measured the blood vitamin D levels of 137 subjects who had been diagnosed with melanoma. They collected the blood samples at the time of diagnosis of the disease. Another group of 99 healthy subjects served as the control group. The investigators collected the samples of the control group between October and April. The scientists then compared the blood collections of the melanoma group with those of the control group. They then determined whether vitamin D levels had an association with melanoma risk.

The study produced convincing results regarding vitamin D and melanoma risk.

The results were as follows:

  1. The controls (no melanoma) had vitamin D levels 50% higher than the melanoma group (27.8 ng/ml vs. 18 ng/ml).
  2. 66.2% of the melanoma group had vitamin D “deficiency,” compared to only 15.2% of the health controls. The scientists defined vitamin D deficiency as being equal to or less than 20 ng/ml. So, the melanoma group had more than four-times the risk of deficiency.
  3. The scientists defined vitamin D “sufficiency” as being equal to or greater than 30 ng/ml. They found that only 7.4% of melanoma patients were sufficient, compared to 37.4% of healthy controls. Hence, the melanoma group had about one-fifth the likelihood of having sufficient D levels.

More scientific analysis on vitamin D measurements vs. melanoma risk

The scientists then adjusted the data for possible confounding factors such as age, sex and body mass. Then, they performed an analysis that showed the following:

  1. First of all, the science demonstrated a significant inverse association with vitamin D sufficiency versus deficiency. Those who had sufficient levels had only 4% of the melanoma risk when compared to those who were deficient! Hence, this demonstrates that those with the lowest vitamin D levels (after adjusting for confounding factors) had 25-times the melanoma risk!
  2. And, vitamin D insufficiency vs. deficiency was significantly inversely associated with melanoma. Those who were insufficient had a definite advantage over those who were deficient. They had only 13% of the melanoma risk.

Now, this is the most important point about melanoma risk:

In addition, this research proves conclusively that sun deprivation is a major cause of melanoma. I say this because about 90% of serum vitamin D is produced by sun exposure to the skin.[2] So, the aforementioned research is really research on sun exposure. It shows that regular sun exposure leads to a profound reduction in melanoma risk. Therefore, Vitamin D levels are surrogate measurements for sun exposure in nearly every case.

Could sunlight increase health through photoproducts beyond vitamin D?

In conclusion: My new book, Embrace the Sun (coauthored by Dr. William Grant), notes that sun exposure provides more than vitamin D. It also provides other photoproducts such as nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin, and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). All of these photoproducts are vital to human health. Could these photoproducts have a positive and protective effect against melanoma risk beyond vitamin D? And, vitamin D produced by sunlight may be superior to that given in pill form.

Finally, this research gives us one more reason to embrace the sun safely without burning. And who would have thought that safe sunlight could be one of the best prophylactics against melanoma risk?

Happy sunning!

The book is available at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533923845&sr=8-1&keywords=embrace+the+sun+sorenson

1] Cattaruzza MS, Pisani D, Fidanza L, Gandini S, Marmo G, Narcisi A, Bartolazzi A, Carlesimo M. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D serum levels and melanoma risk: a case-control study and evidence synthesis of clinical epidemiological studies. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2018 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]

[2] Reichrath J. The challenge resulting from positive and negative effects of sun: how much solar UV exposure is appropriate to balance between risks of vitamin D deficiency and skin cancer? Prog Biophys Mol Biol 2006;92(1):9-16

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Sunscreen and Skin Cancer: Protection or Cause? Part 2

A new sunscreen studyBeware the sunscreen

Sunscreen may be worthless at best and dangerous at worst. I made that point in my last blog. Now, another recent scientific study corroborates this conclusion.[1] The authors of this study probably expected a different outcome—an outcome opposite of what they found. The researchers wanted to discover which sun-protection behavior was most effective in preventing sunburn. Hence, they designed a cross-sectional investigation using a nationally representative sample of about 32,000 US adults. They interviewed each participant in person. This is especially relevant when attempting to achieve the most accurate results possible. We can conclude, therefore, that their findings regarding sunscreen use and other “sun-protective” behaviors probably have validity. Seeking shade, wearing a hat or visor, and wearing long sleeves and or pants were other sun-protective behaviors included

Sunscreen and sunburn results

In addition, they identified the subjects as sun-sensitive individuals or non-sun-sensitive individuals. Fifty-four percent of the subjects were women, and 15,992 of all individuals were considered sun-sensitive (fair skinned).  Those who used only sunscreen had the highest sunburn likelihood (62.4%). The group with lowest likelihood of sunburn did not use sunscreen, but engaged in the other protective behaviors (24.3% sunburned).  In addition, among 12,566 non–sun-sensitive individuals, those engaged in all 4 protective behaviors had the lowest sunburn (6.6%). The highest likelihood of sunburn was among those who only used sunscreen (26.2%). “the most surprising and counterintuitive finding was that regular sunscreen use, in the absence of other protective behaviors, was associated with the highest likelihood of sunburn.” according to Kasey Morris, who led the study, [2]

Other sunburn results:

Finally, you should understand this: sunscreen use associates closely with sunburning.[3]  That has been known since 2014. This is not a good product, therefore. We should protect ourselves from overexposure. But we should do it the way God (or Mother Nature, if you prefer) intended it:  Cover up with clothing when you start to redden, seek shade, or go indoors for awhile. Good health depends on obtaining regular, non-burning sun exposure.

Avoid Sunscreen for another reason:

The state of Hawaii has now banned its use. This is because of the destruction of the coral reefs caused by certain ingredients in this chemical soup. In addition, the risk of melanoma skin cancer has increased exponentially since the first sunscreens were introduced. How much? By about 3,000%. And yes, you read that correctly. Do you have other questions? You should probably read the sunscreen section of my new book, Embrace the Sun, to learn more. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X 

Embrace the Sun, avoid sunscreen

 

[1] Kasey L. Morris, PhD; Frank M. Perna, EdD, PhD. Decision Tree Model vs Traditional Measures to Identify Patterns of Sun-Protective Behaviors and Sun Sensitivity Associated With Sunburn. JAMA Dermatol. Published online June 27, 2018

[2] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-sunburns/sun-sensitive-people-need-more-than-sunscreen-to-avoid-sunburn-idUSKBN1K02RB

[3] https://www.webmd.com/beauty/news/20110714/

 

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Part 1. Sunscreens and Skin Cancer: Protection or Cause? Marc Sorenson, EdD

Lets talk sunscreens!

Beware the sunscreens Protection or Cause?

Sales of sunscreens, first of all, are a multi-billion dollar industry. And, it seems like nearly everyone believes that they are a great protection against skin cancer. Especially relevant is the fact that as sales climb higher each year, melanoma risk increases in lock step. Furthermore, sunscreen sales in 1972 were about $18 million per year.[1] And, the total USA market in 2005 had climbed to $640 million a year.[2] Due to inflation, that is equivalent to $320 million in 1972 dollars, an almost 18-fold increase.

What about sunscreens in cosmetics?

In addition, those figures pale by comparison with figures from 2013.  The global sun care market generated $5.6 billion US dollars from its sun-protection products segment. Why? Because the sun care market includes sunscreens, many of which are ingredients in women’s cosmetics.[3] Sales increased despite the fact that as early as 2003, it was known that sunscreens may have been partially responsible for increasing the deadliest of skin cancers, melanoma.[4]

Another important study demonstrates that sunscreens do not help prevent melanoma.[5] The researchers’ goal was to determine the efficacy of sunscreens in preventing melanoma. Hence, they compared melanoma rates with sales in 24 countries in Europe, during the period of 1997-1999 to 2008 and 2012.  They found that higher income people had significantly higher melanoma incidence. And, increased use of sunscreens had not prevented higher income populations from being at higher risk of melanoma. Consequently, we see this equation: Higher use=higher melanoma risk! One of the reasons for this little-known relationship is most noteworthy. Up to 99% of vitamin D production is stopped by sunscreen.[6] Hence, many of the health benefits of sun are voided.

The latest research

In conclusion, the latest research must have deflated the egos of the sunscreen manufacturers: A meta-analysis of 20 studies showed what we would expect. Both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers were not protected by sunscreens.[7]  It is most noteworthy that sunscreens were associated with a slight increase in risk. We could probably say from the information I’ve presented that sunscreens are worthless at best, and dangerous at worst. So, who benefits?  Those who benefit from sales are pleased, while the people suffer. Therefore, it seems like the manufacturers, and the industries they support, are probably quite pleased with the worthless product.

Be careful about sunscreen ads!

So, when you next view the  propaganda, be careful before you drink the Kool-Aid. And, be sure to read my new book, Embrace the Sun. It contains a full section on the chicanery that is prevalent in the sunscreen conspiracy. You will be stunned when you learn the truth. Embrace the Sun, avoid sunscreens

Embrace the Sun is available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532229265&sr=8-1&keywords=Embrace+the+sun

 

[1] Moss, R. Another Dissident Dermatologist.Cancerdecisions.com Newsletter. 2005.

[2] Bonner, C. Contact Kline Co. http://www.klinegroup.com/

[3] http://www.statista.com/topics/1990/sun-care-industry/

[4] Haywood, R. et al. sunscreens inadequately protect against ultraviolet-A-induced free radical damage. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2003;121:862-68.

[5] Williams SN, Dienes KA. Sunscreen Sales, Socio-Economic Factors, and Melanoma Incidence in Northern Europe: A Population-Based Ecological Study. SAGE Open October-December 2014: 1–6.

[6] 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.

[7] Elizabet saes da SILVA, Roberto TAVARES, Felipe da silva PAULITSCH, Linjie ZHANG4. Eur J Dermatol 2018; 28(2): 186-201.

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Disinfectant? Sunlight is best. Marc Sorenson, EdD

Sunlight disinfectant for waterThe best disinfectant is sunlight!  Therefore, those who would frighten us away from the sun would do well to study its superlative disinfectant qualities, as I have. Why use a noxious chemical as a disinfectant, when the sunlight is waiting to be used? How do we know this? First of all, the German microbiologist Robert Koch, who isolated TB bacteria in 1882, showed that sunlight had disinfectant qualities; it destroyed the bacteria. In addition, even earlier, in 1877, other researchers discovered that sugar water left in the shade became cloudy, indicative of bacterial growth. But if exposed to sunlight, it remained clear.[1]

Disinfectant qualities of sunlight as a bactericide

Hence, radiation is a potent bactericide, or disinfectant. Dr. Kime, in his book, Sunlight Could Save Your Life, reviewed the results of research conducted between 1886 and 1909. Most noteworthy, it showed that the following bacteria were killed by ultraviolet light: Anthrax, plague, streptococci, tubercle bacillus, cholera, staphylococcus, colon bacillus and dysentery bacillus. It seems like sunlight was virtually forgotten with the advent of antibiotic drugs, but now the interest has returned.

Ultraviolet light therapy as a disinfectant for communicable diseases

While watching a newscast, I noticed the news ticker announcing, “Sunshine is the most effective anti-infection therapy.” But, is this really news? Dr. Kime cites several early studies on sunlight and infectious diseases, performed at about the same time as the advent of antibiotics. Reports in the scientific literature in the 1940s showed that sunlight killed infectious bacteria or viruses. Kime states …“a number of patients, having such various infections and diseases as blood poisoning, childbirth infections, peritonitis, viral pneumonia, mumps, and bronchial asthma were treated very successfully with ultraviolet light therapy to their blood.”[2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11]  

 Do we need a natural disinfectant for superbugs?

 The interest in blood irradiation for infectious diseases is now kindling new interest, due to the resistance of the “superbugs” to conventional antibiotic therapy. Especially relevant as an example of this interest is found in a scientific book chapter from 2017. It is entitled, Ultraviolet Irradiation of Blood: “The Cure That Time Forgot?”[12] The paper reviews the history of blood irradiation in the cure for infectious diseases. The author makes the following observation: “No resistance of microorganisms to UV irradiation has been reported, and multi-antibiotic resistant strains are as susceptible as their wild-type counterparts.” Consequently, the answer to the superbug dilemma is known, but will it be used? Perhaps not. It could cost the pharmaceutical industry a fortune if a better disinfectant were found.

 In addition, Dr. Kime also cited research showing that UV therapy killed flu virus outside the body[13] and destroyed cancer-producing viruses.[14] He reported good results in his own practice in treating fungal infections with sunlight as a disinfectant. Other early research showed that all bacteria within eight feet of low-intensity UV lights were killed in ten minutes.[15]

Learning about disinfectant qualities of water in Mexico

A Mexican friend invited me to tour a bottled-water plant in a town called Juchipila. Interestingly, the water was exposed to UV as a disinfectant method, an inexpensive technique used in many countries. Sunlight also kills E. coli bacteria in twelve feet of seawater and in waste stabilization ponds.[16]  The Sonicare electric-toothbrush company now sells a sanitizer based on UV. The brush, after use, is placed in the UV sanitizer, because the UV light kills millions of germs in 10 minutes.

Other disinfectant history

This piece of history is also especially relevant:  Nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale insisted that hospitals for wounded troops be constructed to allow free entry of sunlight. So, how many hospitals today follow her brilliant advice? Due to short memories, hospital construction returned to the “dark ages” after the advent of antibiotic drugs. Consequently, in the USA, nosocomial infections (acquired in a hospital) occur two million times yearly and claim 90,000 lives.[17] [18] Meanwhile, the solution to most nosocomial infections is right outside the building, and no one will let it in! That solution is the disinfectant potential of unobstructed sunlight. At the very least, hospital rooms should be cleansed daily with UV of sufficient strength to kill surrounding bacteria. Probably, hospital profits would improve since they are businesses, after all.

Cost savings with the natural disinfectant: sunlight.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Transformation states: “Nosocomial infections create terrific problems by prolonging hospital stays, occupying scarce bed-days, requiring a greater number of diagnoses, more medication, and a greater burden on doctors and nurses.” They estimate, “If a 300-bed hospital with 10,000 admissions yearly had a 5 percent annual infection rate (500 infections) with costs of $600 to $50,000 depending on the type of infection, the total costs for these infections could be as high as $7.6 million.”[19] So, multiply that by the number of hospitals. Imagine the savings if they let the light in! The patients in such rooms would also be happier and have a more positive outlook.

It makes sense to return to a sanitation method used successfully for millennia, especially given the reality of superbugs. The antibiotic drug revolution destroyed the successful and promising use of UV lamps and sun exposure as antiseptic, disinfectant, pro-immunity treatments.  Antibiotics are failing. Therefore, the interest in UV must be renewed. We walk in darkness (or under artificial light) due to our obsession with the pursuit of new antibiotics,  Hence, we fail to see the brilliant source of healing that awaits us outside.

The old-time disinfectant

Serendipitously, I happened on an article called Natural Alternatives to Bleach for Disinfecting.[20] It discussed pros and cons of such disinfectants as bleach, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and yes, sunlight. In conclusion, the article stated that bleach could be dangerous. It could cause irritation to the eyes, mouth, lungs and skin, and could result in the release of toxic fumes. Therefore, this is not a good disinfectant!

The authors suggested three alternatives: vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and sunlight, with sunlight being the safest disinfectant. The article states; “In fact, scientists have found that exposing a bottle of water to sun for 6 hours is an economical way to provide developing countries with safe drinking water. The disinfecting properties of sun can also be useful around the house. If you have an object you can move outside, the sun’s rays can help disinfect it. A stained piece of white laundry can be effectively brightened and disinfected by spraying the stain with lemon juice or vinegar, then hanging it in the sun.”

In addition, the authors also mentioned that exposing the armpits to the sun would kill odor-causing bacteria. There is little I (Sorenson) enjoy more than sunbathing with my hands behind my head and my armpits exposed to the sun. Lots of vitamin D, nitric oxide and endorphins produced, and therefore, I am more popular with my friends—without using deodorants!

Sunlight is a disinfectant for smelly socks!

Furthermore, research has shown that sunlight may be a good disinfectant for your socks and feet. Scientists tested socks contaminated with the fungus causing tinea pedis (“athlete’s foot”), a chronic skin disease. The objective of the research was “to evaluate the effectivity of sun exposure in reducing fungal contamination in used clothing.” Fifty-two socks, proven by fungal culture to be contaminated by patients with tinea pedis, were studied. The the researchers divided the samples into two groups: Group A underwent sun exposure for 3 consecutive days and Group B remained indoors. At the end of each day fungal cultures of the samples were performed.[21] As a result, the researchers reported that elimination of the fungal cultures was significant in the sun-exposure group, but not the indoor group. Sunlight is a great disinfectant, indeed!

Finally, I remember my childhood. I won’t forget how fresh the clothing (including the socks) smelled after my mother had laundered and hung it outside in full sunshine to dry. I expect that fungi or bacteria were eliminated, along with odor, which would have occurred in a dark place.

Let’s give the sun its proper place in our world. It may save our lives. More information can be found in my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1530822524&sr=1-1&keywords=embrace+the+sun+sorenson

 

[1] Downes, A. Researches on the effect of light upon bacteria and other organisms. Proc Roy Soc Med 1877;26:488. Cited in Kime, Z. Sunlight Could Save Your Life. World Health Publications, Penryn, CA 1980:126-30.

[2] Miley, G. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation in acute pyogenic infections. New York J Med 1942;42:38.

[3] Miley, G. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation in acute pyogenic infections. New York J Med 1942;42:38.

[4] Rebbeck, E. Ultraviolet irradiation of auto-transfused blood in the treatment of puerperal sepsis. Amer J Surg 1941;54:691

[5] Rebbeck, E. Ultraviolet irradiation of autotransfused blood in the treatment of postabortal sepsis. Amer J Surg 1942;55:476.

[6] Rebbeck, E. Ultraviolet irradiation of the blood in the treatment of escherichia coli septicemia. Arch Phys Ther 1943;24:158.

[7] Rebbeck, E. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation as a control of infection in peritonitis. Amer J Gastroenterol 1943;10:1-26

[8] Hancock, V. Irradiated blood transfusions in the treatment of infections. Northwest Med 1934;33:200.

[9] Barrett, H. Five years experience with hemo-irradiation according to the Knott technic. Am J Surg 1943;61:42

[10] Barrett, H. The irradiation of auto-transfused blood by ultraviolet spectral energy: results of therapy in 110 cases. Med Clin N Amer 1940;24:723

[11] Miley, G. The present status of ultraviolet blood irradiation. Arch Phys Ther 1944;25:357.

[12] Hamblin, M. Ultraviolet Irradiation of Blood: “The Cure That Time Forgot”? Springer International Publishing AG 2017. Ahmad (ed.), Ultraviolet Light in Human Health, Diseases and Environment, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 996, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56017-5_25.

[13] Hollaender, A. The inactivating effect of monochromatic ultraviolet radiation on influenza virus. J Bact 1944;48:447.

[14] Heding LD, Schaller JP, Blakeslee JR, Olsen RG. Inactivation of tumor cell-associated feline oncornavirus for preparation of an infectious virus-free tumor cell immunogen. Cancer Res 1976;36:1647.

[15] Hart, D. Sterilization of the air in the operating room by special antibacterial radiant energy. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1936;6:45.

[16] Gameson, A. Field studies on effect of daylight on mortality of coliform bacteria. Water Res 1967;1:279.

[17] Wang TT, Nestel FP, Bourdeau V, Nagai Y, Wang Q, Liao J, Tavera-Mendoza L, Lin R, Hanrahan JW, Mader S, White JH. Cutting edge: 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is a direct inducer of antimicrobial peptide gene expression. J Immunol 2004;173:2909-12.

[18]Avalos-bock, Steven rn, cic, and Valarie Campbell, MD. Knocking our nosocomial infections. Nursing 2017. Nursing: November 2004 – Volume 34 – Issue 11 – p 24–25

[19] University of Pennsylvania Center for Health Transformation 2006.

[20] http://homeguides.sfgate.com/natural-alternatives-bleach-disinfecting-79312.html

[21] Amichai B, Grunwald M, Davidovici B, Shemer A. Sun as a disinfectant. Isr Med Assoc J. 2014 Jul;16(7):431-3.

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Breast Cancer Anyone? Or would you prefer sunlight?

Breast cancer breakthrough. Soak up the sun and prevent breast cancer~By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute

Stunning Breast Cancer research shows that the highest vitamin D levels associate with an 80% reduction in risk.[1] 

Is the breast cancer pandemic due to vitamin D deficiency?

First of all, as pointed out by the authors, numerous studies have shown an association between higher vitamin D level and breast cancer. But, other studies had not taken into consideration serum levels of vitamin D above 40 ng/ml. Why? Because that level had been considered the highest level needed for good health. Nevertheless, this study showed differences in breast cancer risk when comparing all serum vitamin D levels, and that made all the difference in the results. The research included 5,038 womenLearn to love non-burning sunlight and prevent breast cancer.

A dose-response association between vitamin D levels and breast cancer

The most noteworthy finding can be summed up in the study conclusions: “Higher 25(OH)D concentrations were associated with a dose-response decrease in breast cancer risk with concentrations ≥60 ng/ml being most protective.” In other words, the higher the vitamin D levels, the greater was the protection.

This fact is especially relevant: serum vitamin D levels in 90% of the population are effected by sun exposure. Hence, sun exposure may be the operative factor in the comparisons. Sun exposure causes the body to produce nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). Most noteworthy is that all of these photoproducts are vital to human health.

Is something besides vitamin D at work in preventing breast cancer?

Therefore, it could be that these additional photoproducts added power to the vitamin D produced by the sun. Could the “holistic” sun be more important than vitamin D alone? Of course it is! Another study, little known, may hold the answer. An investigation from Iran, on the association between breast-cancer risk and vitamin D, showed that low vitamin D predicted only a slightly increased risk of the cancer. However, among women who totally covered themselves and thereby had no sun exposure, there was a 10-fold increase in the risk of the disease.[2] In other words, there was a 1,000% increase in breast cancer risk due to sun deficiency.

Summary:

Finally, consider this: With the holistic sun, we get the entire package, not just vitamin D. Embrace the Sun, and don’t burn.

For more on the study, see the press release put out by the Vitamin D Society: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=58

Learn to love non-burning sunlight

[1] Sharon L. McDonnell , Carole A. Baggerly, Christine B. French, Leo L. Baggerly, Cedric F. Garland, Edward D. Gorham, Bruce W. Hollis, Donald L. Trump, Joan M. Lappe. Breast cancer risk markedly lower with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≥60 vs <20 ng/ml (150 vs 50 nmol/L): Pooled analysis of two randomized trials and a prospective cohort. PLoS One. 2018 Jun 15;13(6)

[2] Bidgoli SA, Azarshab H. Role of vitamin D deficiency and lack of sun exposure in the incidence of premenopausal breast cancer: a case control study in Sabzevar, Iran. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(8):3391-6.

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Sunlight increases the ability to think. Get smart. by Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute

Think with Sunshine First of all, to think is to prevent poor test scores, win at business and otherwise be successful. And, if I think and remember clearly, I also prevent mental disabilities such as Alzheimer’s. Consequently, there are innumerable pills on the market that purportedly increase the ability to think. But you may need only one pill to improve your cognitive ability: the sunshine pill. It is most noteworthy that I’m not talking about vitamin D.  Therefore, the sunshine pill is not really a pill at all. Rather, it is exposure to the UV light of sunlight itself, which helps prevent myriad diseases. Maybe we should call it the “magnificent non-pill.”

How does the sunshine pill help us to think?

Recent research shows that exposure to sunlight causes a cascade of chemical reactions that help us to think.[1] Especially relevant is the fact that exposure to UV elevates a natural chemical known as blood urocanic acid (UCA). This chemical then crosses the blood-brain barrier. This chemical is then converted by a metabolic process to glutamate, and consequently, nerve synapses in the brain are enhanced. As a result, there were improvements in both physical learning (motor learning) and object recognition memory, which is an ability to think.

Is there more research indicating that sun exposure enhances the ability to think?

In addition, the ability to think has been shown in many research studies to improve with sunlight. Most noteworthy is a 2013 article, published in the journal Neurology.[2] It reveals that among people with high sun exposure, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is profoundly decreased. Therefore, they are able to think more clearly than those who receive low sun exposure.

Finally, research published in the journal Endocrinology, sums up the effects of the sun on the brain and body: It is entitled, “How ultraviolet light touches the brain and endocrine system through skin, and why.”[3] The authors begin their abstract by stating that “the skin is a self-regulating protective barrier organ that is empowered with sensory and computing capabilities to counteract the environmental stressors to maintain/restore disrupted cutaneous homeostasis.” In other words, the skin has the ability to take on what life deals it, and maintain its equilibrium and balance. In addition, the skin communicates bidirectionally with the central nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Thus, it helps to maintain balance for all body systems, including the ability to think.

Safely soak up the non-burning sunlight and enhance your intelligence!

[1] Zhu et al., 2018, Cell 173, 1–12, June 14, 2018

[2] White RS, Lipton RB, Hall CB, Steinerman JR. Nonmelanoma skin cancer is associated with reduced Alzheimer disease risk. Neurology. 2013 21;80(21):1966-72.

[3] Slominski AT, Zmijewski MA, Plonka PM, Szaflarski JP, Paus R. How ultraviolet light touches the brain and endocrine system through skin, and why. Endocrinology. 2018 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print]

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What is the real cause of melanoma? It’s not sunlight!

What do you know about melanoma?melanoma is not caused by sun exposure

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, Therefore, we will discuss some truths to be aware of:

  • First of all, seventy-five percent of these cancers occur on areas of the body that are seldom or never exposed to sunlight.[1] For example, research has shown that melanomas in women occur primarily on the upper legs, and in men more frequently on the back—areas of little sun exposure.
  • Most noteworthy, in the U.S., sun exposure has decreased by about 90% since 1935. In the same time, melanoma incidence has increased by 3,000%! [2] [3] [4]

Dr. Diane Godar furnishes this exceptionally important melanoma information:[5]

  • The same as in the US, while sun exposure in Europe has profoundly decreased, there has been a spectacular increase in the disease.
  • Men who work outdoors have about half the risk as men who work indoors. Hence, sun exposure could not me the cause.
  • in addition, outdoor workers, while receiving 3-9 times the sun exposure as indoor workers, have had no increase in melanoma since before 1940, whereas the incidence in indoor workers has increased steadily and exponentially.
  • Especially relevant is that sunscreen invention, along with its steadily increasing use, has not reduced the risk of melanoma. Rather, the disease has increased as sunscreen use has increased.
  • Increasing melanoma incidence significantly correlates with decreasing personal annual sunlight exposure.
  • Also, outdoor workers get many sunburns but still have dramatically lower risk of contracting the disease.

So, since melanoma increases as sun exposure decreases, should we continue to blame the sun?

Here are more facts you should know about the causes of melanoma:

  • First of all, people in the highest quintile (fifth) of alcohol consumption have a 65% increase in risk.[6]
  • Weekly meat consumption increases the risk of melanoma by 84% and daily fruit consumption reduces the risk by nearly 50%.[7]
  • Furthermore, those with the highest levels of blood PCBs have 7-times the risk compared to those with the lowest levels.[8]
  • Recent use of Viagra is associated with an 84% increase in risk, and long-term use of the drug is associated with a 92% risk increase.[9]
  • Finally, there is a positive association between melanoma and obesity.[10]

Furthermore, Dr. Adele Green found that the strongest risk factor for both limb and trunk melanoma was moles. The presence of more than 10 moles on the arm predicted a 42-times increased risk.[11]

Therefore, please stop blaming the sun. Safely embrace the non-burning sun and reduce your risk of melanoma.

References:

[1] Crombie IK. Distribution of malignant melanoma on the body surface.Br J Cancer. 1981 Jun;43(6):842-9.

[2] 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.

[3] Ian D. Wyatt and Daniel E. Hecker. Occupational changes in the 20th century. Monthly Labor Review, 2006 pp 35-57: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[4] US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Catching Our Breath: Next Steps for Reducing Urban Ozone, OTA-O-412 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, July 1989).

[5] Stephen J Merrill, Samira Ashrafi, Madhan Subramanian & Dianne E Godar. Exponentially increasing incidences of cutaneous malignant melanoma in Europe correlate with low personal annual UV doses and suggests 2 major risk Factors. Dermato-endocrinology 2015;7:1

[6] 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 Jun;13(6):1042-51.

[7] Gould Rothberg BE, Bulloch KJ, Fine JA, Barnhill RL, Berwick M. Red meat and fruit intake is prognostic among patients with localized cutaneous melanomas more than 1 mm thick. Cancer Epidemiol. 2014 Oct;38(5):599-607.

[8] Gallagher RP, Macarthur AC, Lee TK, Weber JP, Leblanc A, Mark Elwood J, Borugian M, Abanto Z, Spinelli JJ. Plasma levels of polychlorinated biphenyls and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma: a preliminary study. Int J Cancer. 2011  15;128(8):1872-80.

[9] Li WQ, Qureshi AA, Robinson K, Han J. Sildenafil use and increased risk of incident melanoma in US men: a prospective cohort study. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Jun;174(6):964-70C

[10] Karimi K, Lindgren TH, Koch CA, Brodell RT. Obesity as a risk factor for malignant melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2016 Sep;17(3):389-403.

[11] Green AC, Siskind V. Risk factors for limb melanomas compared with trunk melanomas in Queensland. Melanoma Res. 2012 ;22(1):86-91.

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Get your sun and save your mind! Alzheimer’s disease is closely associated with a lack of sun exposure.

Get your sun, don;t shrink your brain with Alzheimer's

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Alzheimer’s disease is a plague in our modern world. It is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to degeneration of the brain. Alzheimer’s is also the most common cause of premature senility. The United States will see a 44 percent increase in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.[1] First of all, the disease occurs because amyloid plaques appear in brain tissue. These plaques consist of tangles of amyloid protein (a complex protein resembling starch) in nervous tissue. They are pathological markers of the disease that are found in spaces between the brain’s nerve cells. As a result of these plaques, the brain loses its ability to function properly.

Our experience with Alzheimer’s sufferers

My wife, Vicki, and I worked with residents of an assisted-care facility for over three years. We conducted and supervised church meetings for many disabled, elderly people. Because we worked up close and personally with these residents, we understood the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s. Many of these residents could not find their way to the church meeting room without our assistance. Therefore, they obviously had the disease. Additionally, it was manifest because many of them were unable to recognize us after our being away for a day. Also, they were prone to simply get up and leave the building and be found (if lucky) wandering outside.

Does sun exposure help to reduce Alzheimer’s?

First of all, research indicates that vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids may help in removing the aforementioned plaques.[2] Therefore, they reduce the risk or severity of AD. So, the disease may be lessened by sun exposure, since 90% of vitamin D produced in the US population is due to sun exposure.[3]

Hence, it is no surprise that the latest research paper found high risk in low-sunlight countries. Consequently, the researchers stated: “According to sunlight data, we can conclude that countries with low average sunlight have high AD (Alzheimer’s disease) death rate.[4]

Are there other indications that sun exposure is associate to reduced risk?

Sun exposure directly correlates to non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Therefore, the latter is often used as a sun-exposure indicator. It is thus compared with various diseases to evaluate the relationship between them and sun exposure. A 2013 article, published in the journal Neurology, reveals that among people with NMSC, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is profoundly decreased:[5] Those with NMSC had a 79% reduction in disease risk. Stated another way, those without NMSC had about five times the risk of Alzheimer’s! Of course, this demonstrates the importance of sun exposure in reducing the risk, whether due to vitamin D production of from other photoproducts of the sun.

So, what is the bottom line? Be sure to obtain some unscreened, non-burning sun exposure and keep your marbles!

[1] Disease growth: U.S. will see average 44 percent increase in Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. Alzheimer’s Association 2015. https://www.alz.org/alzwa/documents/alzwa_resource_ad_fs_ad_state_growth_stats.pdf

[2] Champeau R. Vitamin D, omega-3 help clear amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s. UCLA Newsroom 2013.

[3] Reichrath J. The challenge resulting from positive and negative effects of sun: how much solar UV exposure is appropriate to balance between risks of vitamin D deficiency and skin cancer? Prog Biophys Mol Biol 2006;92(1):9-16

[4] Câmara AB, de Souza ID, Dalmolin RJS. Sunlight Incidence, Vitamin D Deficiency, and Alzheimer’s Disease. J Med Food. 2018 Mar 22 [Epub ahead of print].

[5] White RS, Lipton RB, Hall CB, Steinerman JR. Nonmelanoma skin cancer is associated with reduced Alzheimer disease risk. Neurology. 2013  21;80(21):1966-72.

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Of mice and men (or women): Sunlight reduces breast cancer beyond the effects of vitamin D. Another reason to embrace the sun.

Marc Sorenson, EdD, for breast cancer prevention. Prevent breast cancer with sunlight!

While many doctors know that ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from sunlight reduces risk of breast cancer, they have missed something. UVR stimulates production of vitamin D in human skin. Therefore, many health professionals assume that vitamin D is responsible for the reduced cancer risk. This may lead them to advocate the use of vitamin D supplementation and totally miss the bigger picture. In addition to vitamin D, UVR from sunlight or sunlamps produces many supplementary healthful photoproducts. Among others, nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin and BDNF are produced by sunlight, and these photoproducts are vital to health. And, it is likely that these healthful photoproducts lead to an inhibition of breast cancer.

New research shows that sun exposure per se is capable of reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Consequently, it should not surprise us that for breast cancer, sunlight’s effects go beyond vitamin D.[1] Researchers at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, used a murine model (mice) that easily develops breast cancer, and treated them with UVR. Much as we might expect, they found that UVR treatments produced significant anti-cancer effects. Furthermore, they found that neither dietary vitamin D nor topical vitamin D influenced cancer risk. Because of their findings, they stated the following: “UVR’s inhibitory effects occur irrespective of whether or not the treatment increases circulating D3 in the mice.” Also, they made one more important comment regarding their research on breast cancer and UVR. “Therefore, supplemental D3 may not mimic all possible beneficial effects of UVR, and uncovering non-D3-mediated mechanisms of UVR tumor inhibition may lead to novel strategies for cancer prevention.”

An important point about vitamin D, sunlight and breast cancer.

Finally, there is no doubt that vitamin D has anticancer benefits. This research however, is especially relevant in that it corroborates what I have said in my soon-to-be-released book, Embrace the Sun. First of all, we must not put all of the benefits of sunlight in the vitamin D box. Secondly, sun exposure performs myriad miracles beyond vitamin D. One of those miracles may be breast cancer prevention and inhibition.  Thirdly, if we erroneously believe that we can obtain all of the sun’s benefits from popping a vitamin D pill, we may miss the holistic effects of the sun, which provide a cornucopia of salubrious results.

So, safely (without burning) embrace the sun and ease your mind about breast cancer.

[1] Anastasia M. Makarova, Flora Frascari, Parastoo Davari, Farzam Gorouhi, Philip Dutt, Lynn Wang, Akash Dhawan, Grace Wang, Jeffrey E. Green, Ervin H. Epstein, Jr. Ultraviolet radiation inhibits mammary carcinogenesis in an ER negative murine model by a mechanism independent of vitamin D3. Downloaded from cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org on April 12, 2018.

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Protect your gut! Low levels of sunlight exposure may predispose to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which will be accompanied by increased fracture risk.

Marc Sorenson, EdD

What is IBD?

First of all, IBD consists of two primary diseases, ulcerative colitis (UC) Prevent IBD with sunlightand Crohn’s disease (CD). UC is a chronic inflammatory condition characterized by relapsing and remitting episodes of inflammation limited to the mucosal layer of the colon.[1] Crohn’s disease, however, can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. Yet, it most commonly affects the small intestine or the colon, or both.[2]

The gift of sunlight

First of all, there is a beautiful gift that may prevent or lessen IBD. The gift, (sunlight) awaits us, but if we do not accept the gift, we are no better off than if we didn’t have it. So it is in Italy, where those who suffer from IBD are shown to have far less sun exposure than those who do not have the disease.[3] Therefore, this may indicate that part of the cause of IBD is lack of sunlight. And in Italy, low sun exposure probably indicates a reluctance to step outside because, Italy is a sunny country. Maybe, many of the Italians who succumb to IBD, have obviously not accepted the gift. Either that, or they are using too much sunscreen, since sunscreen blocks the sun.

Furthermore, IBD patients are at an increased risk for fractures. Hence, one may conclude that both maladies may be due to low sun exposure.

Embrace the sun to prevent IBD

Another investigation, conducted over 12 years and involving hundreds of thousands of IBD patients produced remarkable outcomes. Hospitalizations for both UC and CD were far higher among those with low sun exposure.[4] And, the same relationship was shown between sun exposure, bowel surgeries and deaths: more surgeries were needed for those patients who experienced the lowest sun exposure. Also, more deaths occurred among those with low exposure.

And what about non-IBD patients?

Another side note to this investigation was the large number of non-IBD patients analyzed for sun exposure levels. It is most noteworthy that the same relationship existed as with the IBD patients. Low sun exposure associated with prolonged hospitalizations and more deaths when compared with high exposure. Especially relevant is other research involving the association of Crohn’s disease to surgery. It found that surgery for the disease was significantly reduced among patients who received more sun exposure.[5]

The north-south gradient

In addition, research shows that in the US, there is a north-south gradient for IBD risk.[6], [7], [8], [9]   The risk of developing the disease is significantly lower in southern latitudes (because sun exposure is greater).

An important nutritional note about IBD:

In addition to what we have heretofore described, it is especially relevant to understand that IBD causes malabsorption of nutrients in the gut. Consequently, it leads to diseases of malnutrition.[10] And, vitamin D is one of the “nutrients” that may not be absorbed efficiently. Therefore, sun exposure (or sunlamps) may be the only viable source of vitamin D for a person with IBD.

Most of all, remember that non-burning sun exposure is essential to human health. It seems like a good idea to obtain your share, and protect your gut from IBD.

[1] Peppercorn M, Cheifetz, A, Rutgeerts P, Grover S. Definition, epidemiology, and risk factors in inflammatory bowel disease. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/definition-epidemiology-and-risk-factors-in-inflammatory-bowel-disease.

[2] Web MD http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/crohns-disease/inflammatory-bowel-syndrome.

[3] Vernia P, Burrelli Scotti G, Dei Giudici A, Chiappini A, Cannizzaro S, Afferri MT, de Carolis A. Inadequate sunlight exposure in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. J Dig Dis. 2018 Jan;19(1):8-14

[4] Limketkai BN, Bayless TM, Brant SR, Hutfless SM. Lower regional and temporal ultraviolet exposure is associated with increased rates and severity of inflammatory bowel disease hospitalization. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Sep;40(5):508-17.

 [5] Govani SM, Higgins PD, Stidham RW, Montain SJ, Waljee AK. Increased ultraviolet light exposure is associated with reduced risk of inpatient surgery among patients with Crohn’s disease. J Crohns Colitis. 2015 ;9(1):77-81

[6] Schultz M, Butt AG. Is the north to south gradient in inflammatory bowel disease a global phenomenon? Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Aug;6(4):445-7.

[7] Kappelman MD, Rifas-Shiman SL, Kleinman K, Ollendorf D, Bousvaros A, Grand RJ, Finkelstein JA. The prevalence and geographic distribution of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the United States. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Dec;5(12):1424-9.

[8] Sonnenberg A. Similar geographic variations of mortality and hospitalization associated with IBD and Clostridium difficile colitis. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2010 Mar;16(3):487-93.

[9] Holmes EA, Xiang F, Lucas RM. Variation in incidence of pediatric Crohn’s disease in relation to latitude and ambient ultraviolet radiation: a systematic review and analysis. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2015 ;21(4):809-17

[10] Margulies SL, Kurian D, Elliott MS, Han Z. Vitamin D deficiency in patients with intestinal malabsorption syndromes–think in and outside the gut. J Dig Dis. 2015 Nov;16(11):617-33.

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