Vitamin D in Canada and Ely, A Vitamin D Society warning


vitamin D from lightVitamin D is essential in Canada (and Ely). By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

I just received an excellent press release from my friend Perry Holman, who is touting the Canadian Vitamin D Day. Perry is the Executive Director of the Vitamin D Society. The Society is alarmed about the lack of sunlight and vitamin D production during the long Canadian winter. The points made in the press release, however, are also relevant for all areas of the U.S. that have long, cold winters.  This would include Ely, Nevada, my high-school hangout. Therefore, this blog contains a couple of editorial comments regarding Ely and other points in the U.S. [Ely, Minnesota would certainly need this advice too.]

The current lack of vitamin D is due to of the position of the sun in the winter sky. All of the UVB light that stimulates vitamin D production (and many other essential photoproducts) is filtered out when the sun drops too close to the southern horizon.

Here are a few of the salient points made in the release:

  • Vitamin D levels plummet this time of year, since the sun can no longer make vitamin D. [This is also true of Ely, NV, where most vitamin D production ceases on about October 1. It starts up again about March 1.]
  • 93% of Canadians are vitamin D deficient. [For Ely, the number is probably closer to 50%, but for the Northern states in the U.S., the number is probably closer to 80%.
  • This deficiency leads to 23,000 premature deaths yearly in Canada. See this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5129897/pdf/kder-08-01-1248324.pdf
  • There are two primary sources of vitamin D Canadians should consider during the winter – artificial UVB exposure and vitamin D3 supplements.
  • Artificial UVB exposure can be a surrogate for summer sunshine and is obtained from most sunbeds or through special UVB lamps designed for home use.
  • A recent Canadian study found that regular use of sunbeds with UVB similar to outdoor summer sun significantly raised participants’ vitamin D levels to the optimal range. See this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5821157/
  • Perry Holman states: “The current health policy limiting sun exposure may be causing more deaths and disease than its preventing. Vitamin D levels have been dropping and more people are becoming vitamin D deficient in Canada. We need a change in direction to encourage people to get moderate non-burning sun exposure to prevent vitamin D deficiency and reduce the risk of serious diseases.” [My comment here is that the research in my book shows the following: for every single death caused by diseases associated with sun exposure, there are approximately 328 deaths caused by diseases associated with sun deprivation.]

Whether you live in Canada, Ely, Nevada, or anywhere else where you either avoid the sun or have no availability of vitamin D-producing sunlight during the colder seasons, you should read this press release. http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=59

Happy sunning, and as another of my Canadian friends says, “Have a D-lightful day!” And, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540903899&sr=8-1&keywords=embrace+the+sun+sorenson

Embrace the Sun

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Infant Sun exposure? Direct UV light prevents eczema.

An infant breakthrough! Our babies need sunlight! By Marc Sorenson, EdDinfant sun exposure

An infant may return to the sun due to exciting new research from Australia.[1] The researchers surmised that vitamin D deficiency might explain the high rates of infant allergic diseases. They specifically measured infant eczema. Eczema and other allergic diseases are common in areas of industrialization and high latitudes. Thus, eczema could indicate low vitamin D levels. The researchers made this statement: “Suboptimal vitamin D levels during critical periods of immune development have emerged as an explanation for higher rates of allergic diseases associated with industrialization and residing at higher latitudes.” That seems like wisdom, yet, as you’ll see, they turned out to be wrong.

The infant study: UV light or vitamin D?

So, the researchers set out to determine the effects of early-life vitamin D supplementation on infant allergy prevention. In addition to supplementation, they also outfitted some infants with a dosimeter to also measure UV exposure. This group was compared to a placebo group. In addition, each infant was assessed from birth until age six months. This was done because about 90% of vitamin D is produced by sun exposure to the skin. Vitamin D is an important photoproduct of sunlight. And I opine that sun exposure is of much greater importance. Why? Because sun exposure and its UV light lead to the production of many essential photoproducts beyond vitamin D. Also, a high vitamin D level may simply be a surrogate measurement for sun exposure in some cases. Consequently, other photoproducts such as nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, BDNF and many others may be the health givers. (For a list of more photoproducts, see my last blog, called Holistic Sun). An infant may need all that the sun can provide, including vitamin D.

The results for infant eczema risk

The results were surprising to the researchers but not to me, based on the facts stated in the above paragraph. So, infant vitamin D levels were greater for the supplemented group than the placebo group.at three and six months, That seems like an expected outcome. Most noteworthy, however, was that there was no difference in eczema incidence between infant groups. And also especially relevant was the fact that those who showed the most UV (sun) exposure had the least risk. In addition, the children with eczema had only a bit over half the UV exposure. Vitamin D simply made no difference to eczema.

The researchers’ conclusion regarding infant eczema

Therefore, the researchers wrote the following: “This study is the first to demonstrate an association between greater direct UV light exposures in early infancy with lower incidence of eczema and pro inflammatory immune markers by 6 months of age. Our findings indicate that UV light exposure appears more beneficial than vitamin D supplementation as an allergy prevention strategy in early life.”

In conclusion, UV exposure from sunlight, tanning lamps or tanning beds is far more important that vitamin D per se. And sun exposure also produces vitamin D in the way God (or nature if you prefer), intended. Why should we accept one pill containing vitamin D, when we can obtain the entire package of photoproducts with UV-containing sunlight? For more information on sunlight, eczema and psoriasis, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, Available at Amazon. Also read my previous blog, Holistic Sun.

[1] Rueter K, Jones AP, Siafarikas A, Lim EM, Bear N, Noakes PS, Prescott SL, Palmer DJ. Direct infant UV light exposure is associated with eczema and immune development. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Oct 15. [Epub ahead of print]

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Holistic Sun. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

The term holistic, as used for this discussion

Enjoy the holistic sun.The term holistic (my definition) derives from the word “whole.” Hence, the term incorporates the idea that in nutrition, a whole food functions better than any of its parts. And, it means that when we treat diseases, we should treat the whole person. As an example of holistic nutrition, consuming whole-grains associates with better health than consuming refined grains.[1] Probably, the poor results associated with refined white bread are due to the removal of nutrients during processing. As a result, the bread is no longer holistic. Furthermore, we can state that it is no longer a whole food. Stay with this discussion. Holistic sun will be discussed to sum up.

Other examples: holistic foods and non-holistic supplements

Especially relevant is that whole rice strongly associates with protection against disease, whereas refined rice increases risk.[2] Another example is the case in which a nutrient from a plant is extracted and encapsulated. Since the nutrient is subtracted from a food, neither the nutrient nor the food remains holistic. And, such food manipulation is based on observations that high levels of the nutrient in the body is associated with better health. Therefore, we might expect this encapsulated product to produce healthful outcomes. And, in some cases it does produce positive results. However, the product may also be totally ineffective or counterproductive.

Holistic vegetables vs non-holistic beta carotene and vitamin E

An example of this is supplementation with beta carotene. Beta carotene is a nutrient found in carrots and other orange and yellow vegetables. Since people who consume large quantities of these vegetables seem to be healthier, a question emerges. Could concentrated beta carotene produce a health miracle?[3]

Testing the possibility: Can supplements beat holistic vegetables?

So to test that possibility, researchers gave one group of cancer patients beta carotene pills (not holistic). They gave other patients a placebo. Opposite from the researchers’ expectations, the cancer increased with beta carotene supplementation.[4] Consequently, these adverse results led to the discontinuation of the research. Furthermore, similar results have been shown with vitamin E supplementation.[5] While beta carotene and vitamin E are wonderful, they must work as part of the holistic team.

What about the health of those who eat holistic foods containing beta carotene?

And what about those who have high beta carotene levels due to a high intake of colorful vegetables? It is most noteworthy to again mention that high carotene levels still predict better health. These vegetables contain innumerable, healthful chemical compounds, only one of which is beta carotene. Hence, when beta carotene is part of the magnificent, holistic orchestra of nutrients, it helps to produce a beautiful health concert. In conclusion, whole foods—or holistic foods—will be better for human health than a single, isolated nutrient. And remember this. Junk foods are never holistic.

Is the sun holistic, or do we need only to take a vitamin D pill?

Learn to love non-burning sunlight and prevent breast cancerSo, can the sun be holistic? Yes! First of all, the idea of a holistic sun was the reason I wrote my latest book, Embrace the Sun. I had noted numerous studies where vitamin D, the major photoproduct of sun exposure, sometimes failed as a supplement. In other cases it seemed to work quite well. Yet, when sun exposure was tested for the expected result, that result was almost invariably positive. At this point, I must make it clear that there are many studies showing that vitamin D supplementation can produce terrific, healthful outcomes. This is especially true when vitamin D deficiency is present. But since sun exposure produces many other healthful photoproducts, why should we settle for just one? Beyond vitamin D, here are few additional photoproducts produced by sun exposure.

Photoproducts that are part of the holistic sun’s health arsenal:

  1. Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which immediately lowers blood pressure and leads to a decrease in heart disease risk.[6] Taking a D pill does not produce this result.
  2. Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin.[7] This result is nearly immediate and not triggered by vitamin D.
  3. Sun exposure increases the production of BDNF, part of a cascade of proteins promoting growth of neurons and preventing nerve death.[8] This result is not triggered by vitamin D. BDNF is a major player on the holistic sun’s team.

More holistic photoproducts:

  1. Sun exposure increases the production of endorphin, another mood enhancer.[9] This is a non-vitamin D response.
  2. UVB light from sun, sunlamps or sunbeds directly helps heal psoriasis.[10] This is not a vitamin D response.
  3. Sun exposure also leads to the production of several additional natural chemicals that enhance human health. Here are a few: Alpha melanocyte-stimulating hormone, Calcitonin gene-related peptide and Neuropeptide substance P. A full discussion of them here would become too cumbersome for this blog.

Summary: the importance of holistic sun

So, suffice it to say that the holistic sun has many benefits beyond the production of vitamin D. And remember, sunbeds and sunlamps can furnish the holistic effects of sun exposure when sunlight is not available. These include the production vitamin D, which, when combined with the other photoproducts, enhances health to a far greater extent than vitamin D alone. Hence, we might say that the photoproducts of sun exposure are synergistic—the holistic sun being far more effective than any of its individual parts. When major players are taken away from the orchestra, the concert is not as good. Don’t let that happen with your holistic sun. Be sure that all of the sun’s remarkable photoproducts are working for you, including vitamin D.

In conclusion, Embrace the Holistic Sun safely and reap the health benefits. Don’t burn and don’t use sunscreens, which take away one of the major players in your orchestra: vitamin D. Have a sunny week!




[1] Tayyem RF, Bawadi HA, Shehadah I, Agraib LM, Al-Awwad NJ, Heath DD, Bani-Hani KE. Consumption of Whole Grains, Refined Cereals, and Legumes and Its Association With Colorectal Cancer Among Jordanians. Integr Cancer Ther. 2016 Sep;15(3):318-25.

[2] Musa-Veloso K, Poon T, Harkness LS, O’Shea M, Chu Y. The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Oct 1;108(4):759-774

[3] Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med. 1994 Apr 14;330(15):1029-35.

[4] Tanvetyanon T, Bepler G. Beta-carotene in multivitamins and the possible risk of lung cancer among smokers versus former smokers: a meta-analysis and evaluation of national brands. Cancer. 2008 Jul 1;113(1):150-7

[5] Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med. 1994 Apr 14;330(15):1029-35.

[6] 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.

[7] 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.

[8] http://scicurious.scientopia.org/2010/12/13/bdnf-and-depression/

[9] Aubert PM, Seibyl JP, Price JL, Harris TS, Filbey FM, Jacobe H, Devous MD Sr Adinoff B. Dopamine efflux in response to ultraviolet radiation in addicted sunbed users. Psychiatry Res. 2016  30;251:7-14.

[10] National Psoriasis Foundation web site Oct. 2005.

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Mood and sunlight, safely soak it up.

Mood is essential to a happy life and wellbeing. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Mood (a good mood) is critical to optimal living, and those who work in natural light experience improvement. In addition, a good mood leads to better performance, behavior and psychological health. Sun exposure. great moodFurthermore, very few things improve wellbeing like arising early in the morning and walking outside on a sunny day: Our attitude improves too, and our serotonin and endorphin levels increase. Consequently, there is an almost immediate feeling of exhilaration. So, we become happier and less confrontational, and our minds seem to click on all cylinders. This mood change is all due to the morning sun exposure. Does midday sun exposure also help?

Mood and midday sunlight

Later on, around midday, we produce large quantities of vitamin D, and our nitric oxide levels increase. That is, of course, if we are fortunate enough to safely sunbathe (with a lot of skin exposed).  As a result, we experience a delicious feeling of relaxation and a lowering of blood pressure as the cares of the day melt away. Therefore, mood is again enhanced.

Mood and sun robbery

Regrettably, due to various factors, most of us live in a society robbed of the sun.  We are confined to artificially lighted buildings and poor little cubicles and our mood is crushed. These little cubicles, of course, seem like prison cells that won’t allow our happiness to manifest itself.

Consequently, concerned scientists are recognizing that modern humans suffer from artificial, insufficient light in their lives. So these scientists are advocating a return to natural light. One of their studies on the subject of light and mood is most noteworthy. They, due to their concern about light availability measured the impact of windows and daylight on mood. They studied the physiological, psychological and behavioral health of working nurses.[1] First of all, they used biological measurements, behavioral mapping and data analysis in a nursing unit of two wards. While both wards exhibited similar conditions, one ward had more windows and more natural lighting than the other.

Impressive mood results:

As a result, in the ward with more windows and natural light, the nurses had better health. They had lower blood pressure and higher body temperature, less sleepiness and a better mood. Communication and laughter also increased. Heart rates were shown to be lower with greater exposure to light, and caffeine intake was reduced as well. In conclusion, mood was improved, as was performance. Rana Zedeh, the lead researcher of that study, made the following statement:[2] “Research has shown a range of different outcomes are impacted by sun, including regulation of the circadian rhythm, shorter length of stay for patients, reduced perception of pain for patients, and reduced anxiety and agitation among elderly patients with dementia. Improved outcomes for patients also help staff manage their patients better.”

Change the environment, change the mood.

Finally, one can only imagine the potential benefits that could be realized if unencumbered sun rays are allowed. Vitamin D production would increase, and it is likely that patients as well as nurses would improve their health.

Hence, Dr. Zadeh also made this declaration: “Intelligently designed clinical workspaces could lead to higher safety and quality levels… By default, when we think of a healthcare workspace, we may think of a large, deep building with no windows for staff, little access to greenery or outdoors, an institutional feel, complex way-finding, and monotonous color and lighting. Knowing how the human brain receives stimuli from the environment and constantly changes neural hormonal responses controlling cognitive performance and alertness, we might be able to improve outcomes by creating more vigilant and restorative elements in environments.”[3] The translation is, “elevate your mood by getting out of the little dark boxes and back into the sun.”

Sunshine improves the mood.How does the sun work to improve mood?

First of all, what does the sun do to relieve “the blues?” The answer lies in a chemical responsible for transmitting impulses between nerve cells. This “neurotransmitter,” serotonin, is a natural “upper,” working in synchronization with the natural “downer,” melatonin. So, when we awake to sunshine, light enters the eye and stimulates serotonin production. Because of this reaction, sunlight can dramatically increase serotonin levels in the brain and immediately improve mood.

Dr. Gavin Lambert and his colleagues in Australia measured serotonin levels in response to varying degrees of bright light. [4]  To do so, they drew blood samples from the internal jugular veins of 101 men and compared the serotonin concentrations of the blood to weather conditions and seasons. The remarkable results: Men who were measured on a bright day produced eight times more serotonin. That is, compared to those who were measured on a dismal day. Of course, the mood was improved due to sunlight.

Get your regular, non-burning sun exposure and enhance your good mood!


[1] Zadeh RS, Shepley MM, Williams G, Chung SS. The impact of windows and daylight on acute-care nurses’ physiological, psychological, and behavioral health. HERD 2014 Summer;7(4):35-61.

[2] Katy Mena-Berkley. Mood: the Science of Letting the Sunshine In. MD News

[3] Katy Mena-Berkley. Mood: the Science of Letting the Sunshine In. MD News

[4] 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.

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Multiple sclerosis (MS): tame it with sunshine.

Multiple sclerosis is a sunlight-deficiency disease. Another reason to embrace the sun. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Photo of multiple sclerosis First of all, multiple sclerosis is a terrible autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack myelin, the protective nerve cover.[1], [2]  Hence, this process, known as demyelination, leaves the nerves bare and susceptible to “short circuiting.” This results in a debilitating disease which is often characterized by severe neural and muscular impairments. It may also result in sensory losses, bladder dysfunction, pain and visual problems due to nerve damage.

MS is a big problem!

And recent findings, from National MS Society, estimate 1 million people in the United States have multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, this is more double the last reported number, and the first national research on multiple sclerosis prevalence since 1975. Consequently, it is estimated that about 200 new cases are diagnosed each week in the United States.[3]

Multiple sclerosis and sun exposure: What does new research say?

While no one disputes the horror of an increasing MS rate, a new study reiterates the vital need for sun exposure to prevent MS. Also, we are not surprised about the latest research. Why? Because the new study is simply a reiteration of myriad research papers and opinions showing that more sunlight reduces the risk.

In this research, 151 MS patients defined their previous lifetime sun exposure in the different seasons by questionnaire. In addition, they were compared to 235 non-patients who answered identical questionnaires.[1]  As a result, those living in high-UVB areas experienced a 45% lower risk of multiple sclerosis. Living in those areas at ages 5 to 15 years also was associated with a reduced risk of 51-52%. UVB, of course, is a spectrum of light that emanates from the sun and causes tanning. In addition, it is used in sunbeds and sun lamps.

The conclusion regarding MS and sunlight.

In conclusion to their research, the authors stated, “Living in high ambient UVB areas during childhood and the years leading up to MS onset was associated with a lower MS risk. High summer sun exposure in high ambient UVB areas was also associated with a reduced risk.”

While this research is impressive, there is a plethora of additional science. Most noteworthy are the studies that follow. And, all show the association of sun exposure to lowered risk of MS.

Multiple sclerosis and the Davenport study

Probably, the most important early study was from 1922 by Dr. Charles Davenport. He wrote a paper entitled, “Multiple Sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race.”[2] He analyzed the multiple sclerosis rates of military draftees and compared it to their states of origin. As a result, he showed that the highest rates were found in men who grew up in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the extreme northwest. These areas, of course, have very low sun availability. There were only a few cases of MS among those who grew up in southern states, where sun availability is abundant. In addition, Dr. Davenport also noted that draftees from urban areas, and where sun availability is low, had 50% higher MS rates than those who came from rural areas. Similar studies confirm that relationship. [3],[4] In 1979, assessments of the MS rates of USA military personnel Produced nearly identical results.[5]

Reducing relapse of multiple sclerosis through sunlight and/or vitamin D.

Mowry and colleagues, in correlating serum vitamin D to the rate of disease relapse, have reported the following: For every increase in serum levels of 10 ng/ml [25 nmol/L], there is a 34% decrease in the risk of relapse in young people.[6] Especially relevant, however, is that 90% of serum levels is derived from sun exposure. And, we also know that sun exposure has protective effects on MS beyond vitamin D.[7] Also, in the aforementioned research on vitamin D, high levels may really be surrogate measures for sun exposure. Sunlight and vitamin D are not the same.

More hours of sun equal lower risk of multiple sclerosis.

Most noteworthy, among people living in geographical locations, where there are 3,000 hours of available sun yearly, multiple sclerosis rates are quite low. [8] The same relationship exists when latitudes are correlated with rates of MS: And, The risk of MS in far northern areas is more than 100 times greater than it is in equatorial areas, where sunlight is intense, and the rate of MS approaches zero.[9], [10] 

Therefore, for all who would like to prevent MS or reduce its exacerbation, soak up some regular, non-burning, safe sunlight. In conclusion, this is another of the wonderful benefits of our magnificent sun. It seems like a good time to indulge before the winter comes.

Finally, for more information on multiple sclerosis, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon.

References and footnotesLearn to love non-burning sunlight and prevent breast cancer

[1] Helen Tremlett, PhD, Feng Zhu, MSc, Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH, and Kassandra L. Munger, ScD.

[2] Davenport, C. Multiple Sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1922;8:

[3] Acheson ED, Bachrach CA, Wright FM. Some comments on the relationship of the distribution of multiple sclerosis to altitude, solar radiation and other variables. Acta Psychiat (Scand) 1960;35 (suppl 147):132-47.51-58

[4] Norman JE Jr, Kurtzke JF, Beebe GW. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in USA veterans: 2. Latitude, climate, and risk of multiple sclerosis. J Chron Dis 1983;36:551-59

[5] Kurtzke JF, Beebe GW, Norman JE Jr. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in USA veterans: 1. Race, sex, and geographic distribution. Neurology 1979;29:1228-35.

[6] Mowry EM, Krupp LB, Milazzo M, Chabas D, Strober JB, Belman AL, McDonald JC, Oksenberg JR, Bacchetti P, Waubant E. Vitamin D status is associated with relapse rate in pediatric-onset MS. Annals of Neurology 2010;10.1002.

[7] Pantazou V, Schluep M, Du Pasquier R. Environmental factors in multiple sclerosis. Presse Med. 2015 ;44(4 Pt 2):e113-20.

[8] Goldberg, P. Multiple sclerosis: vitamin D and calcium as environmental determinants of prevalence (a viewpoint). Part I: sun, dietary factors and epidemiology. Int J Environ Studies 1974;6:19–27.

[9] Alter M, Yamoor M, Harshe M. Multiple sclerosis and nutrition. Arch Neurol l974;31:267-72.

[10] Kurtkze, J. Geography in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol 1977;215:1-26.

[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] https://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/facts-statistics-infographic#2

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Bone strength is enhanced by “sun supplementation,” without harming skin. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

bone disease caused by sun deprivationBone needs vitamin D

Bone is deteriorating in our society. Why? Since the year 2000, there has been an 8,300% increase in vitamin D deficiency in children. Insufficient time playing outdoors and/or sunscreen use are the causes of this disaster.[1] It is especially relevant to know that the skin produces vitamin D when it is touched by ultraviolet light (UV). (UV, of course, is a spectrum of sunlight, and of tanning beds and sunlamps.) And, the artificially-lighted environments that most children (and adults) live in, produce no vitamin D for bones. Vitamin D is critical for preventing osteoporosis, a fact that is most noteworthy for this discussion. Without vitamin D, weak bones develop in adults and rickets can develop in children.

Bone strength in children: Rickets is making a comeback.

Rickets is a horrible, disfiguring children’s bone disease. And, before the population became terrified of sun exposure, rickets was at one time considered to be eradicated. Hence, people are surprised to find out that the bones of children are deteriorating. Hence, rickets is making a frightening comeback,[2] it is rearing its ugly head even in sun drenched southern states. That is probably because the children are inside, avoiding the sun and concentrating on their technology. Of course, disuse of the body  during this sedentary state also causes loss of calcium, thus causing weakness.

Can “sun supplementation” stop or reverse bone loss?

Therefore, the latest research on UV supplementation is exceptionally important in this world of indoor artificial light. First of all, rats exposed to long–term low-dose ultraviolet irradiation showed an increase in bone formation rate. Furthermore, there was a decrease in resorption (bone breakdown). And, there was an improvement in bone mass content and bone mineral density without any adverse effects on skin.[3] Consequently, this research shows that the concept of ultraviolet light causing skin cancer is incorrect. Also, it corroborates how effective ultraviolet light is in maintaining and increasing bone mass. For example, a Spanish study shows that women who are sun-seekers are protected from bone loss. They have only one/11 the risk of hip fracture as those who avoid the sun.[4]

Bring the UV light inside to protect bone and enhance wellbeing.

In conclusion, this research demonstrated a concept that had never occurred to me. If we can’t bring the children (or adults) out into the sunlight, perhaps we can bring the sunlight inside to them. Also, it seems like a great idea to use low-intensity ultraviolet light indoors for northern climes where sunlight is scarce in the winter. I guarantee that it will also improve moods, reduce seasonal affective disorder and otherwise enhance the health. So remember regular, non-burning sun exposure when you consider a healthful lifestyle.

[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] 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.

[3] Guo R, Du Y, Zhang S, Liu H, Fu Y. The effects of ultraviolet supplementation to the artificial lighting on rats’ bone metabolism, bone mineral density, and skin. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2018 Aug 27;188:12-18.

[4] 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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Metabolic syndrome reduced by sun. Marc Sorenson, EdD.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a group of physical conditions that are predictors of disease. And, it can also be an indicator that disease is already present. Hence, when someone suffers from metabolic syndrome, they will have many dangerous disorders. High blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, Low HDL, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Furthermore, these disorders are linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. And, they are often indicative of upcoming health disasters.Avoid metabolic syndrome with sun exposure

How metabolic syndrome is influenced by sunlight.

First of all, how does this tie into the benefits of sunlight? A recent study showed that a program designed to raise vitamin D levels reduced existing metabolic syndrome remarkably.[1] Fifty-nine people with metabolic syndrome participated in the study. It is most noteworthy that these subjects were told to expose themselves regularly to sunlight and eat foods high in vitamin D. Metabolic syndrome, as a result, decreased by about half after one year on this regimen.

Does other research associate metabolic syndrome with sun exposure?

One major aspect of metabolic syndrome is obesity. Hence, research demonstrating a reduction of obesity also indicates a reduction of metabolic syndrome. So, let’s mention another scientific paper that “sheds more light” on the subject of obesity.[2] This research was conducted on mice with shaved backs that were placed on a high-fat diet and then exposed to non-burning ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UVR is one of the types of light that is produced by sunlight. Especially relevant is that the mice should have gained weight rapidly. But the weight gain was impressively reduced when they were exposed to UVR. The treatment achieved a 30-40% reduction in weight gain, compared to the expected weight gain with the high-fat diet. Therefore, the “sun treatment” reduced the risk of obesity. And, it also reduced metabolic syndrome.

Other metabolic syndrome changes shown in this research

Benefits of these treatments also included: significant reductions in glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and fasting insulin levels (all markers and predictors of diabetes and metabolic syndrome). In addition, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and high cholesterol were also reduced.

Furthermore, a very interesting finding emerged: Supplementation with vitamin D actually reduced the aforementioned beneficial effects. Dr. Shelley Gorman, The research leader, made the following interesting observations:

  1. “These findings were independent of circulating vitamin D and could not be mimicked by vitamin D supplementation.”
  2. “It looked like the presence of vitamin D in mice on the high fat diet prevented the [beneficial] effect of UV radiation on weight gain.”

  1. Furthermore, Dr. Gorman mentioned that the mechanism of weight loss may be dependent on nitric oxide (NO). NO originates from diet and is mobilized by UV radiation to become bioactive. This conclusion was due to another part of the experiment. Skin induction of nitric oxide (NO)—also a product of skin exposure to the sun—reproduced many of the positive effects of UVR. This was something vitamin D supplements could not do.

In conclusion to this research, the investigators stated their findings. “These studies suggest UVR [sun exposure] may be an effective means of suppressing the development of obesity and MetS, through mechanisms independent of vitamin D but dependent on other UVR-induced mediators such as NO.”

It seems like there is no end to the miracles of regular, non-burning sun exposure. Consequently, do not disregard the sun and its health-giving effects. Just don’t burn. For more information, read my book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. Embrace the Sun, avoid sunscreen

[1] Nasser M. Al-Daghria, Khalid M. Alkharfya, Yousef Al-Salehb, Omar S. Al-Attas et al. Modest reversal of metabolic syndrome manifestations with vitamin D status correction: a 12-month prospective study.

[2] Geldenhuys S, Hart PH, Endersby R, Jacoby P, Feelisch M, Weller RB, Matthews V, Gorman S. Ultraviolet radiation suppresses obesity and symptoms of metabolic syndrome independently of vitamin D in mice fed a high-fat diet. Diabetes. 2014 Nov;63(11):3759-69

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Low-back pain: lack of sun? By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Sun exposure low-back painFirst of all, low-back pain is pandemic in much of the world. And, it is especially common in countries where most women wear clothing that prevents sun exposure to the skin.[1] One of the first studies to show an association between LBP and reduced sun exposure was done in England:[2] Northerners were 3-4 times as likely to suffer low-back pain as southerners. Of course, we know that there is less sunshine in the north.

Other low-back pain research shows similar results based on latitudes.

Hence, it is no surprise that research done in Southeast Asian countries shows an equally impressive result for sun exposure.  Low-back pain increases from southern to northern latitudes, starting at 5º North (Malaysia – 8.8% low-back pain rate), continuing to 23º N (10.2% low-back pain rate), then 32º N (13%), and finally to 40º N (Beijing — 15.8%).[3] Furthermore, another study by showed that vitamin D deficiency was common among those suffering from low-back pain. It was three-times more common than among those who did not suffer from low-back pain.[4] The researchers stated, “The major determinant of hypovitaminosis D in our patients is limited sun exposure.”

Low-back pain research from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

In addition, similar findings have been reported in Saudi Arabia[5] and Pakistan.[6] Researchers did a study on undergraduates in  those areas. They researchers wanted to assess the students awareness regarding vitamin D deficiency associated with lack of sun exposure. These students often suffered from fatigue and muscular pain. Researchers concluded that many of them were acquainted with vitamin D deficiency, and some used a supplement. However, the investigators seemed to feel that supplements were not sufficient. They believed that sun exposure was the best method to maximize vitamin D levels.

In conclusion, they stated that the role of the sun, and the proper time and duration of exposure, could not be ignored. That is, if the students were to help effect a healthy and active society. Furthermore, they also indicated that since these students would be medical care givers in the future, their habits should be similar to the habits they intended to recommend to their future patients.

My conclusion about sun exposure and low-back pain.

In conclusion, it appears that sunlight, whether or not accompanied by vitamin D production, is effective for relief. Try a few minutes of non-burning sun exposure daily to ease the low-back pain. Remember how vital regular, non-burning sun exposure is for human health. For more information, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534654532&sr=8-1&keywords=embrace+the+sun+sorenson

Learn to love non-burning sunlight and prevent breast cancer

[1] Lotfi A1, Abdel-Nasser AM, Hamdy A, Omran AA, El-Rehany MA. Hypovitaminosis D in female patients with chronic low back pain. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Nov;26(11):1895-901

[2] Walsh K, Cruddas M, Coggon D. Low back pain in eight areas of Britain. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1992 Jun;46(3):227-30.

[3] Zeng QY, Chen R, Xiao ZY, Huang SB, Liu Y, Xu JC, Chen SL, Darmawan J, Couchman KG, Wigley RD, Muirden KD. Low prevalence of knee and back pain in southeast China; the Shantou COPCORD study. J Rheumatol. 2004 Dec;31(12):2439-43.

[4] Lotfi A, Abdel-Nasser AM, Hamdy A, Omran AA, El-Rehany MA. Hypovitaminosis D in female patients with chronic low back pain. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Nov;26(11):1895-901

[5] Al Faraj S, Al Mutairi K. Vitamin D deficiency and chronic low back pain in Saudi Arabia. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003  15;28(2):177-9.

[6] Qureshi AZ, Zia Z, Gitay MN, Khan MU, Khan MS. Attitude of future healthcare provider towards vitamin D significance in relation to sun exposure. Saudi Pharm J. 2015 Oct;23(5):523-527.

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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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