Hypertension, or chronic high blood pressure, is determined by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries. The more blood the heart pumps and the tighter the arteries, the higher the blood pressure. The top number on a blood-pressure measurement, stated in millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg), is called systolic pressure, and the lower number is called diastolic pressure. Hypertension is defined as having a blood pressure > 140/90 mm/Hg. Thirty-one percent of US adults are hypertensive. Hypertension can damage arterial walls and can eventually lead to an increased risk of death from heart disease, heart failure, and other arterial diseases. It is also associated to a higher risk of kidney disease, irregular heart rhythms, osteoporosis, cognitive dysfunction, painful intercourse and stroke. Conventional textbook theory holds that blood pressure is regulated by the brain, blood vessels, or kidney, but recent evidence suggests it could be regulated in the skin, and sun exposure plays a role in controlling hypertension.
One of the earlier studies of hypertension and sun showed hypertension increased linearly at increasing distances from the equator. One study of hypertensive subjects shows that blood pressure levels average 165/90 in winter but 134/74 in the summer, and both stroke and heart attack rates double in the winter. Even in children, blood pressure is higher in winter than summer. This, of course, is indicative of a protective role of sun exposure on hypertension.
UVB light treatments with sun lamps have also been shown to substantially lower blood pressure in 24 hours, and over six weeks to raise serum 25(OH)D levels of vitamin D by 162%, while lowering both systolic and diastolic pressure by six points.
However, it is important to again mention that there is another important player in the relationship between hypertension and sun. Ultraviolet A (UVA) light (part of sunlight) stimulation of the skin causes the release of nitric oxide (NO) from pre-formed stores of NO in the skin. NO is a potent vasodilator, and when released into the arteries by UVA stimulation, causes increased blood flow and lowered blood pressure., 
Safe sun exposure, along with plenty of vegetable and fruit consumption, may enable you to say goodbye to blood-pressure problems.
 Mayo Clinic Diseases and Conditions: High blood pressure (hypertension). http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/basics/definition/con-20019580 (accessed January 5, 2016).
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 Ann Pietrangelo. Healthline 2014 http://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/effect-on-body (accessed January 4, 2016).
 Johnson RS, Titze J, Weller R. Cutaneous control of blood pressure. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2016;Jan25(1):11-5.
 Rostand SG. Ultraviolet light may contribute to geographic and racial blood pressure differences. Hypertension. 1997 Aug;30(2 Pt 1):150-6.
 Charach G, Rabinovich PD, Weintraub M. Seasonal changes in blood pressure and frequency of related complications in elderly Israeli patients with essential hypertension. Gerontology. 2004 Sep-Oct;50(5):315-21
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 Liu D, Fernandez BO, Hamilton A, Lang NN, Gallagher JM, Newby DE, Feelisch M, Weller RB. UVA irradiation of human skin vasodilates arterial vasculature and lowers blood pressure independently of nitric oxide synthase. J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Jul;134(7):1839-46.
 D Liu, BO Fernandez, NN Lang, JM Gallagher, DE Newby, M Feelisch and RB Weller. UVA lowers blood pressure and vasodilates the systemic arterial vasculature by mobilization of cutaneous nitric oxide stores. Photobiology Abstract # 1247 May 2013.
A new study, from the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, reports that synthesized chemicals that mimic those found occurring naturally in broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, have the ability to inhibit melanoma. The synthesized chemicals, in fact, were able to inhibit the growth of melanoma cells by about 70% in an experiment on mice.
My last blog showed that tomato powder also had the ability to cut the risk of melanoma by 50% in another mouse experiment, and other studies have also shown that fruits and vegetables have important anti-cancer effects. So when we talk about the reasons that melanoma has increased so rapidly, despite the best efforts by the sunscreen industry and the anti-sun movement, we know many reasons that are backed by science: Lack of regular sun exposure, alcohol consumption, milk consumption and lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the typical modern nutrition program.
Other investigations have studied the relationship between melanoma survival and fruit consumption. Melanoma patients who had their cancers removed—and who had a predicted death rate of 40% within 10 years—were assessed for consumption of fruit and red meat. Daily fruit consumption correlated to a reduced risk of death of 46%. Those who ate red meat at least once weekly showed an increased risk of death of 84%.
Eat your vegetable and fruits, eschew the meat and most other animal products, obtain regular, non-burning sun exposure, forget the alcohol and milk products and enjoy many outdoor activitiesin natural surroundings. Many of these factors will be discussed in my forthcoming book, Embrace the Sun.
Enjoy the outdoors!
 Deepkamal N. Kareliaa, Ugir Hussain, Parvesh Singh, A.S. Prakasha Gowdad, Manoj K. Pandey. Srinivasa R, Ramisettia. Shantu Amin, Arun K. Sharma. Design, synthesis, and identification of a novel napthalamide-isoselenocyanate compound NISC-6 as a dual Topoisomerase-IIα and Akt pathway inhibitor, and evaluation of its anti-melanoma activity. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 135;28:282-295.
 Gould Rothberg BE, Bulloch KJ, Fine JA, Barnhill RL, Berwick M5. 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.
In an impressive mouse study, 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.
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%, and other research demonstrated that eating different tomato-based products correlated to significantly reduced risk of sunburn after exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlamps. 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.
There are few foods that taste better than a ripe, field-grown tomato. Eat your fill and enjoy some regular, non-burning sun.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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
 Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Polyphenols: skin photoprotection and inhibition of photocarcinogenesis.Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011 Dec;11(14):1200-15.
 Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res 2010;302:71.
 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.
 Meyskens FL Jr, Farmer PJ, Anton-Culver H. Diet and melanoma in a case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1042-51.
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 the sun. 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. 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 being exposed to the sun 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. 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.
 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.
 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.
In research on rheumatoid arthritis, involving studies done on nurses, an interesting result emerged. 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
may 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. It is an autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and seasonal vitamin D declines may trigger it. 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. 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.
 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
 Medicinenet.com. Definition of rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5354.
 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.
 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.
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. Quoting from research published in the Journal BMC Public Health, the article stated that about 91% of residents are at least insufficient in vitamin D.
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.
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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 Holick, M. The UV Advantage 2. Ibooks 2003, New York.
 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.
Sun exposure is crucial to preventing multiple sclerosis (MS), the terrible, debilitating autoimmune disease in which T-cells initiate an inflammatory response against myelin, the protective cover of nerves., 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.,,
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. 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.
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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. 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,  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 and other cancers. 
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. 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/
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!
 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.
 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.
 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
 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.
 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.
 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]
 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.
Diabetes and sun exposure By Marc Sorenson, EdD.
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,   sugar consumption,  egg consumption, low consumption of fruits and vegetables, and too many fried foods. In the case of type-one, milk consumption may be the most important nutritional factor. 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, and another demonstrated exposure to sun lamps increased insulin secretion. 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.
In addition, a meta-analysis produced moderate evidence that recreational sun exposure is associated with a reduced risk of type-two. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
 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.
 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.
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
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.
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 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.
 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.
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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. 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.
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.”
Safely embrace the sun and your heart, brain and blood vessels will love you for it!
 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.
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Pathways. Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci. 2016.