By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–
In 1997, Dr. Y Sato and colleagues showed that sunlight deprivation (due to being hospitalized) in Parkinson’s patients resulted in compensatory hyperparathyroidism, which in turn led to reduced bone mass and excessive hip fractures. In 1998, he made the same observation regarding elderly women with Alzheimer’s disease. Then, in 2003, he reported that sunlight deprivation was also a cause of hip fractures in elderly women who suffered from stroke. This time, however, he studied the effects of sunlight—or the lack thereof—on the bone mass of elderly women who were either exposed to sunlight or were kept inside a care facility. Over twelve months, 129 women were exposed to regular sunlight and another 129 received no sunlight exposure. The results were startling: in these sedentary women, the sunlight group increased bone mass by an average 3.1%; in the non-sunlight-exposed group, it decreased by 3.3%, a swing of 6.4%.
Of course, one might ask why a small increase in bone density in one group and a loss of bone density in the other makes any difference; the real question is whether it prevented hip fractures. Now consider this: as proof of the efficacy of improving bone mass, the women who had the benefit of sunlight had only one bone fracture in their group. The sunlight-deprived group had six fractures! This is obviously a reversal of osteoporosis and a reversal of fracture risk.
Sato was not through with his research; in 2005, he and his colleagues exposed a group of Alzheimer’s patients to sunlight for one year, and another was kept in a typical indoor hospital setting. In the sunlight group a 220% increase in vitamin D levels was found, and bone mass increased by 2.7%. In the indoor group, bone mass decreased by 5.6%. That is a difference of 7.3% in only one year! The final proof, of course, is with fractures. In the sunlight group, there were three fractures; in the sunlight-deprived group there were eleven, or 3.7 times more.
Finally, in 2011, Dr. Sato and his group did a similar study on elderly patients with Parkinson’s disease. A two-year program of sunlight exposure was compared to a two-year program of continued sunlight deprivation. This time, the sunlight group experienced an increase of 3.8% bone mass, whereas the sunlight-deprived group lost 2.6% bone mass. The sunlight group experienced three fractures and the sunlight deprived group, eleven fractures, as in the aforementioned study.
One more thought: An investigation in Spain concluded that women who actively participated in sun exposure had one-eleventh the chance of a hip fracture as those who stayed indoors.
The conclusion: sunlight exposure not only prevents, but can also reverse osteoporosis and fractures. Every physician who treats this disease should have sunlight exposure as his number-one treatment protocol. But is anyone listening?
 Sato Y, Kikuyama M, Oizumi K. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and reduced bone mass in Parkinson’s disease. Neurology. 1997 Nov;49(5):1273-8.<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
 Sato Y, Asoh T, Oizumi K. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and reduced bone mass in elderly women with Alzheimer’s disease. Bone. 1998 Dec;23(6):555-7.
 Sato, Y. Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in stroke patients. Neurology 2003;61:338-42.
 Sato Y, Iwamoto J, Kanoko T, Satoh K. Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis d by sunlight exposure in hospitalized, elderly women with Alzheimer’s disease: a randomized controlled trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2005;20:1327-33.
 Sato Y, Iwamoto J, Honda Y. Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2011;17(1):22-6.
 Larrosa, M. Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture. Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.