Love the sun and the great outdoors

Great outdoors, sun exposure and health.

The great outdoors, sun exposure and health. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

The great outdoors, because of the sun, is magnificent! The UVB rays have returned to the sunshine in Saint George, Utah, and I have taken full advantage of them, sunbathing daily at midday. But In addition, the great outdoors furnishes so many advantages beyond our life-giving sunlight. Or does it? First of all, sunlight directly effects human health through stimulating the skin to produce photoproducts. Hence, such life-saving products as vitamin D, serotonin, endorphin, nitric oxide, dopamine and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) are increased. Furthermore, none of the other attributes of the great outdoors, such as the greenery and animal life, would be possible without the sun.

Recent research on the great outdoors

A recent study analyzed most of the health research that has been done on the benefits of the great outdoors.[1] The title of the research was: The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes. It was an analysis of 143 studies. The researchers showed impressive results from spending time in the great outdoors, especially the green great outdoors, known as greenspace.

Health expectations derived from enjoying the great outdoors:

  • A reduction in diastolic blood pressure
  • Decreased preterm birth risk
  • A reduction in type two diabetes risk
  • Decreased all-cause mortality
  • A reduced risk of small size for gestational age
  • Decreased risk of cardiovascular mortality
  • An increased incidence of self-reported health
  • Decreased incidence of stroke, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, asthma, and coronary heart disease
  • Decreased risk of neurological and cancer-related outcomes and respiratory mortality
  • Reduced negative emotions and fatigue

In addition, the authors noted that groups who exercised in the great outdoors had better health results. Indoor exercisers had results that were less than the outdoor exercisers. Thus, the great outdoors groups had significantly improved blood pressure, heart rate, fat percentage, BMI, cholesterol, depression and physical functioning.

While being in the great outdoors is exceptionally important to health, so is sunlight exposure. It is especially relevant that benefits enumerated for outdoor exposure are identical to those for regular, non-burning sun exposure. My new book, Embrace the Sun, delineates those healthful effects. It also cites research that indicates sun deprivation is as dangerous a cigarette smoking.[1]

Summary: Combine sun exposure with the great outdoors.

I opine that both safe sun exposure and exposure to the great outdoors, are vital to health. So, it is best not to neglect either. Happy sunning!


[1] Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Nielsen K, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Olsson H. Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. J Intern Med. 2016 Oct;280(4):375-87.



[1] Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, Andy Jones. The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes. Environmental Research 166 (2018) 628–637.

[2] Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Nielsen K, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Olsson H. Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. J Intern Med. 2016 Oct;280(4):375-87.

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Bright sunlight and diabetes. Two ways to save your life!

Bright sunlight and diabetes by Marc Sorenson, EdD.

Bright sunlight is important for health. And for the purpose of this article, we are talking only about the effects of sunlight on type-two diabetes. Type-one diabetes will be mentioned only briefly and will require another article at a later date.

First of all, we will tell you what diabetes is, then we will explain its devastating consequences. Finally, we will explain the relationship between diabetes and bright sunlight.  So what is diabetes? It is a pernicious and deadly disease which is due to chronically high blood sugar levels.

What is type-one diabetes? Can bright sunlight help?

In addition, diabetes comes in two types: First of all, Type-one. It is usually due to an autoimmune response, which damages the insulin-producing islet cells of the pancreas. Thus, the production of insulin is reduced. Insulin is responsible for removing glucose from the blood and storing it in the cells. And without insulin, a person has type-one diabetes. Type one comprises about 5% of diabetes cases. And, sunlight may help this less-common type of diabetes. Hence, I would suggest that you read our new book, Embrace the Sun, for that information.

What is type-two diabetes? Can bright sunlight help?

Especially relevant is the fact that that type-two diabetes makes up about 95% of all diabetes cases. The disease is deadly and increasing so rapidly that it threatens to overwhelm our health-care system. For example, the health-care systems in the state of Minnesota is on the brink, because fully one-third of all adults are diabetic.[1] Amputations, heart disease, blindness and neuropathy are just a few of the deleterious effects of diabetes. Yet, this disease is the easiest of all degenerative diseases to reverse.

Bright sunlight is not the cure for diabetes, but it can help.

Bright sunlight is not the cure for diabetes, nor is lack of bright sunlight the cause. Nevertheless, bright sunlight can help us to prevent and reverse the disease. First of all, let’s state the real cause of diabetes: the consumption of junk foods filled with fat and sugar. What one eats is all important. Enough said. Let’s now talk about bright sunlight and diabetes for those who are not eating perfectly. And remember that bright sunlight is only an adjunct for prevention and cure.  

The research on bright sunlight and diabetes.

So how much does bright sunlight influence diabetes? According to recent research, “Increased bright sunlight exposure may be associated with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease by lowering blood insulin and lipid levels.”[2] The study showed that people who were exposed to bright sunlight had lower insulin levels and blood-sugar levels (good result). For every extra hour of bright sunlight exposure, insulin levels decreased by 1.27%. Those who were exposed to bright sunlight also had lower insulin resistance (-1.36%), better islet-cell function and lower triglycerides.

Other important research on bright sunlight exposure and diabetes.

Also, one paper showed that blood-sugar levels were lower during the summer, (there is more bright sunlight in summer).[3] Another demonstrated that exposure to sun lamps increased insulin secretion.[4]  [5]

Finally, recreational exposure to bright sunlight lowers risk of diabetes.

In addition, a meta-analysis produced moderate evidence that recreational sun exposure (more bright sunlight) is associated with a reduced risk.[6] Also, the study was undertaken because the researchers observed that higher vitamin D levels were consistently associated with lower diabetes risk. Yet, vitamin D3 supplementation was not associated with lower risk.  They hypothesized that sun exposure could have influences beyond vitamin D, and such seems to have been the case.

Another of the more important investigations showed that women who had active bright sunlight exposure had a 30% decrease in the risk of type-two diabetes.[7]

The bottom line is that bright sunlight can reduce the risk of type-two diabetes. Do your sunning in a non-burning, safe fashion. And remove the junk food from your life. Enjoy good health!

For more information, read my book, Embrace the Sun, and visit http://sunlightinstitute.org/protective-effect-sunlight-diabetes/

Love the sun and embrace it!
Fun in the sun. Embrace it!

[1] https://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/01/17/diabetes-part1

[2] Noordam R, Ramkisoensing A, Loh NY, Neville MJ, Rosendaal FR. Associations of outdoor temperature, bright sunlight and cardiometabolic traits in two European population-based cohorts. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Feb 12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Noordham+R+Associations+of+outdoor+temperature%2C+bright+sunlight

[3] Ishii H, Suzuki H, Baba T, Nakamura K, Watanabe T. Seasonal variation of glycemic control in type-2 diabetic patients. Diabetes Care 2001;24;1503.

[4] 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.

[5] 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 ;36(5):1422-8.

[6] Shore-Lorenti C, Brennan SL, Sanders KM, Neale RE, Lucas RM, Ebeling PR. Shining the light on Sunshine: a systematic review of the influence of sun exposure on type 2 diabetes mellitus-related outcomes. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Dec;81(6):799-811.

[7] Lindqvist PG, Olsson H, Landin-Olsson M. Are active sun exposure habits related to lowering risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women, a prospective cohort study? Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2010 Oct;90(1):109-14.

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Love the sun because. Part one

Love the sun because. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

We should love the sun and embrace it in spite of the spate of negative publicity it has received.

Love the sun because it gives life to all things on earth.[1]love the sun for beauty and size

We should love the sun because it gives us light, warmth and energy to make all earthly systems work. And not only physical systems, but physiological systems. Love the sun because it furnishes important rays that enhance the health of human beings, and all other animals.

Love the sun due to its impressive size!

We should love the sun because of its incredible size and temperature. Here is some incredible information from the web site, Plane Facts: http://planetfacts.org/how-big-is-the-sun-compared-to-the-earth/  And “To put it simply, the Sun is as big as more than 1 million Earth masses put together. It is also 1,287,000 times bigger than a solitary Earth. The Sun has a diameter of 1,392,000 km (865,000 miles) while the Earth’s diameter is only 12,742 km (7,918 miles).”

Love the sun due to its impressive temperature!

The temperature of the sun varies: “The Sun’s surface is known as the photosphere and has a temperature of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. And at the core of the sun, temperature can be as high as 27 million degrees.” That’s hot! So, it was a great idea to place it 93 million miles distant from Earth! However, comparing our sun and earth to other heavenly bodies, they are rather small. See this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4cEyCaldH4 But for us, they are everything!

More reasons to love the sun.

We should love the sun because its effulgent rays can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 90%.[2]

Love the sun because its warmth allows us to navigate our rivers, lakes and skies.

Men should love the sun because its light profoundly reduces the risk of prostate cancer.[3]

Love the sun, because its light on the skin of a child can prevent the terrible childhood disease, rickets.[4] And, it can assure that our children may lead normal lives. Hence, we should not deprive our children of safe sunlight

We should love the sun, because it gives us wind, rain, and chlorophyll to provide our food.

We should love the sun because it keeps us in rhythm. (That is, if we use it).

Love the sun because it can reset our circadian rhythms daily, make us feel alive, and reduce the risk of bipolar disorder.[5]

Love the sun because it can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 98%.[6]  http://sunlightinstitute.org/parkinsons-prevents-sun-exposure/

Love the sun because regular sun exposure reduces the risk of melanoma. Since 1935, melanoma has increased by 3,000%.[7] [8] While at the same time, sun exposure has decreased by 90%.[9] And the same has happened in Europe, where melanoma has dramatically increased among the wealthy class that uses sunscreen.[10]

Are there more reasons to love the sun and embrace it?

There are many more reasons to love the sun. Due to the onslaught of misinformation promulgated by the anti-sun industry, the sun is avoided and slandered. It is thought of as a carcinogen (cancer causer), and this fear of sun exposure has cost millions of lives.

In conclusion:

It is especially relevant that our mathematical calculation in the book, Embrace the Sun, shows a phenomenal fact. For every death from diseases associated with sunlight, there are 328 deaths associated with diseases at least partially due to sun deprivation.[11] Consequently, I must ask the question: Do you really believe you should avoid the sun? I hope not. You should love the sun and safely embrace it, because a healthy life and mood depend on its healthful rays. More reasons to love the sun will be presented in my next blog.

Read the web site and you will love the sun!

There are also more than 400 blogs that I’ve posted on my web site. Expand your knowledge of our glorious sun by reading them: http://sunlightinstitute.org/

Enjoy safe sunning while reading the book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Love the sun and embrace it!Sorenson/dp/069207600X

References:

[1] Marc Sorenson and William Grant. Embrace the Sun 2018. Appendix 1, PP. 256-262.

[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

[3] Moon SJ, Fryer AA, Strange RC. Ultraviolet radiation: effects on risks of prostate cancer and other internal cancers. Mutat Res 2005;571(1-2):207-19.

[4] Alouf B, Grigalonis M. Incidental finding of vitamin-D deficient rickets in an otherwise healthy infant—a reappraisal of current vitamin-D supplementation guidelines. J Natl Med Assoc 2005;97:1170-73.

[5] Bauer M, Glenn T, Alda M, Andreassen OA, Angelopoulos E, Ardau R, Baethge C, Bauer R et al. Influence of light exposure during early life on the age of onset of bipolar disorder. J Psychiatr Res. 2015 ;64:1-8.

[6] Zhou Z, Zhou R, Zhang Z, Li K. The Association between Vitamin D Status, Vitamin D Supplementation, Sunlight Exposure, and Parkinson’s disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Med Sci Monit. 2019 Jan 23;25:666-674.

[7] 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.

[8] American Cancer Society. Melanoma Skin Cancer Overview 9/16/2014. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/overviewguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-overview-key-statistics.

[9] 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.

[10] 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.

[11] Marc Sorenson and William Grant. Embrace the Sun 2018. P 65.

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Parkinson’s disease and sunlight. A magnificent finding!

Parkinson's Embrace the SunParkinson’s disease prevented by sunlight. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Parkinson's prevented by sun exposureParkinson’s disease is a common nerve disease, and it is caused by deterioration of brain cells that produce dopamine. It is characterized by tremors, muscle rigidity, shuffling gait, slow speech, and a mask-like facial expression. In addition, even simple movements may become difficult for the person suffering from the disease. And, the disease is a killer that takes the lives of 14,593 per year.[1] So how do we prevent it? In this blog, I will explain the disease, show what the research says about sunlight, and make recommendations for prevention.

Research points out that Sun exposure is the key to prevention of Parkinson’s disease.

Several studies have shown that there is a close association between sunlight exposure, blood Parkinson's prevented by sun exposurevitamin D levels and Parkinson’s. First of all, one paper showed that when vitamin D levels are low, there is a tripling of the risk.[2] Another study from China demonstrated that persons with highest levels of blood vitamin D had a 48% decrease in risk. And, that same research demonstrated that those receiving the greatest sun exposure had about a 47% decrease in risk.[3] So, based on those findings, one might think that vitamin D supplements could prevent the disease. Yet, that thought is erroneous. Sun exposure is the direct key for preventing this debilitating disease.

Vitamin D supplements do not stop Parkinson’s, so how can that be?

Recent research, a systematic review and meta-analysis, is most noteworthy. And it explains this interesting paradox.[4] It showed that sun exposure was significantly associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s. Especially relevant is the fact that those persons with plenty of sun exposure had only 1/50 the risk of Parkinson’s. That is an astounding figure! However, although vitamin D supplements were effective in raising vitamin D levels, they had no significant benefits for Parkinson’s disease.

Vitamin D and sun exposure are not the same.

While sun exposure and supplements both raise vitamin D levels, supplements are no help to Parkinson’s sufferers. Hence, we must look beyond vitamin D for an answer. Sun exposure leads to the production of vitamin D, but it also leads to the production of dopamine. Dopamine, as previously mentioned, is a vital chemical for the brain as regards Parkinson’s. Vitamin D is a marvelous, vital photoproduct and is due to sun exposure. It is vital for human health. However, it appears that vitamin D does nothing for Parkinson’s. Most of all, we must remember that sun exposure produces many essential photoproducts beyond vitamin D.

Vitamin D blood levels, in the case of Parkinson’s and some other diseases, are simply surrogate measurements of sun exposure. We simply cannot substitute a vitamin D pill for sun exposure and expect to reap all the benefits of sunlight. The “holistic” sun will never be supplanted by a capsule. The sun stimulates the production of vitamin D, dopamine, nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphins, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and other photoproducts. And, all of these photoproducts play their roles in human health. For some diseases, vitamin D is vital for prevention. In others such as Parkinson’s, it is just along for the ride.

The takeaway regarding sun exposure and Parkinson’s.

To help prevent this disease, be sure to obtain plenty of non-burning sunlight. And In lieu of that, when there is no sunlight available, use a low-pressure sunbed (tanning bed) in a salon. Always remember not to burn. For more information, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X Parkinson's Embrace the Sun

Happy sunning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] ttps://www.rightdiagnosis.com/p/parkinsons_disease/deaths.htm

[2] Knekt P, Kilkkinen A, Rissanen H, Marniemi J, Sääksjärvi K, Heliövaara M. Serum vitamin D and the risk of Parkinson disease. Arch Neurol. 2010 Jul;67(7):808-11.

[3] Wang J, Yang D, Yu Y, Shao G. Wang Q. Vitamin D and Sunlight Exposure in Newly-Diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease. Nutrients 2016;8:142.

[4] Zhou Z, Zhou R, Zhang Z, Li K. The Association between Vitamin D Status, Vitamin D Supplementation, Sunlight Exposure, and Parkinson’s disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Med Sci Monit. 2019 Jan 23;25:666-674.

 

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Sunscreens and toothpaste? Please, no!

Sunscreens are not toothpaste. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.Beware the sunscreens

Sunscreens, in Australia and New Zealand, are being touted as absolutely indispensable to prevent of skin cancer. And, this has been the mantra for decades. So, experts from the two countries convened to obtain opinions and produce a statement regarding use of sunscreens.[1] Much as I expected, they concluded people should apply sunscreen daily when the UV index reaches 3. And for much of Australia, that means every day.

Thus, as a result of this declaration, a major Australian newspaper weighed in. They stated “Make it like brushing your teeth:”[2] https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/make-it-like-brushing-your-teeth-experts-urge-daily-sunscreen-use-20190124-p50thn.html.  Rather convenient for those who produce sunscreens, no? If this advice is taken to heart by the people, sunscreen manufacturers and their stockholders will make a fortune. However, I guarantee that the people will suffer.

Increasing use of sunscreens and skin cancer through Slip, Slop, Slap.

It is especially relevant that Australians have been using a campaign called Slip, Slop Slap for decades. The campaign pushes everyone to avoid the sun and use sunscreens. And, according to Cancer Council Australia (the biggest manufacturer of sunscreens in Australia and New Zealand), it is remarkably effective.[3] Thus they state, “The Slip Slop Slap slogan has become institutionalized as the core message of Cancer Council’s SunSmart program.” And, they say the campaign has played a key role in the shift in sun protection behavior over two decades. (The program has actually been used for about three decades.) Because of this program, Australians and New Zealanders use more sunscreens than any other countries on earth, and the use of sunscreens continues to rise. But as a result of this sunscreen use, has skin cancer diminished?

How are the sunscreens promotions working for the health of the Australian people?

First of all, this is not new information; it has been known for decades. Dr. David Myers, a dermatologist, thus wrote an article that contains this statement: “The Australian experience provides the first clue. The rise in melanoma has been exceptionally high in Queensland where the medical establishment has long and vigorously promoted the use of sunscreens. Queensland now has more incidence of melanoma per capita than any other place. Worldwide, the greatest rise in melanoma has been experienced in countries where chemical sunscreen have been heavily promoted.”[4] [5]

And Dr. Cedric Garland echoed that statement, saying that Queensland, Australia has vigorously promoted sunscreens for decades. And he also says that Queensland now has one of highest rates of melanoma in the world.[6] [In addition, the rate of vitamin D deficiency there is becoming critical.[7]]Sunscreens lead to melanoma?

Does the Australian sunscreen declaration run up against some inconvenient truths?

So, we have a declaration suggesting that we should use sunscreens regularly like toothpaste.  The declaration obviously implies that sunscreens are protective against skin cancer in Australia. It is hard to explain that conclusion. Why? Because the long-term, exponentially increasing use of sunscreens has been accompanied by an exponential increase in skin-cancer incidence. Therefore, if sunscreens are protective against skin cancer, there is something very wrong with that history.

And, unfortunately, skin cancer also continues to rise. Hence, Australia and New Zealand have more skin cancer than any other country on earth.[8] [9] It seems like this emphasis on sunscreens has not worked. So we come up with this new formula. More use of sunscreens over the years=higher risk of skin cancer. And, it appears that they want to continue using this formula!

But of course, the “experts’” solution is to ignore the historical facts and promote the use of more sunscreens. It seems like these people have not heard the old saying: “Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results, is the definition of insanity.” So, shall we be as dedicated to sun screen use as we are to brushing our teeth?  Shall we make the use of sunscreens like the use of toothpaste? I have a secret for the people who promote sunscreens: Sunscreens are nothing like toothpaste, because toothpaste may actually accomplish something.

Should North America adopt this Australian recommendation of daily use?

First of all, according to the main research used for this recommendation, the answer is a big NO. One of the Australian researchers, Adele Green, made this statement:  “Although the results are directly relevant to people who live in sunny climates like Australia’s and who receive relatively high levels of ambient sun exposure as a matter of course, they also have implications for white people living in temperate climates in North America and Europe who are at increased risk of melanoma because of increased solar UV exposure caused by the predilection for holidays in sunny places.” So they are saying sunscreens are NOT required unless on sunny holidays or if you have a sunburning risk. This doesn’t sound like a recommendation for daily use in North America. And, as European research demonstrated, it is certainly not a useful recommendation for Europe. (See the heading below regarding Europe.)

North American research on sunscreens and skin cancer

Another piece of research[10] looked at sunscreen use in North America and stated the following; “In contrast, for people who live at higher latitudes where UV radiation is weaker and less constant, regular sunscreen use may provide less protection against skin cancer, or even increase the risk of carcinogenesis.” The paper goes on to say “While the current evidence suggests no increased risk of skin cancer related to sunscreen, this systematic review and meta-analysis does not confirm the expected protective benefits of sunscreen use against skin cancer in the general population.” So again, this is NOT a recommendation for daily use of sunscreens. And, it indicates they may do more harm than good.

Are sunscreens counterproductive?

So it appears, based on what has been written so far, that sunscreens may be worthless at best and dangerous at worst. Another recent scientific study on sunscreens and sunburns corroborates this conclusion.[11] The authors of this study expected an outcome opposite of the facts. The goal was to discover which sun-protection behavior, including use of sunscreens, was most effective in preventing sunburn. Hence, they designed a cross-sectional investigation using a nationally representative sample of about 32,000 U.S. adults. And, those conducting the research 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 have validity. Those other sun-protective behaviors included seeking shade, wearing a hat or visor, and wearing long sleeves and pants.

Sunscreens and sunburn results

In addition, the subjects were identified 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. It is most noteworthy that among sun-sensitive individuals, those who used only sunscreens had the highest sunburn likelihood (62.4%). The group with lowest likelihood of sunburn did not use sunscreens 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 risk (6.6%). And in that group, the highest likelihood of sunburn was among those who only used sunscreen (26.2%). According to Dr. Kasey Morris, who led the study, “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.”[12] 

What do dermatologists believe about sunscreen and sunburn?

I have never heard of a dermatologist who didn’t believe that sunburns led to skin cancer. And I have only seldom heard of dermatologists who didn’t believe that sunscreens prevented sunburns. This research turns their beliefs about sunscreen upside down.

I have also been told that the reason sunburn occurs with the use of sunscreens, is this: People get a false sense of safety while using sunscreens. Consequently, they stay out in the sun for excessively long times. To me that doesn’t matter. If sunscreen leads to sunburn, which leads to skin cancer, who cares what the reason is? When using a poison, does it matter what the mechanism of poisoning is if the patient dies? Why use a product that causes harm?

Other sunburn results with sunscreens

Finally, it has been known since 2014 that sunscreen use associates closely with sunburning.[13] Therefore, sunscreens are not good products. We should protect ourselves from overexposure to the sun the way God (or Mother Nature, if you prefer) intended it.  1. Cover up when you start to redden, 2. seek shade or 3. go indoors. And remember that good health depends on obtaining regular, non-burning sun exposure.

Another reason to avoid sunscreens

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

Use of sunscreens in Europe

Another important study demonstrates that sunscreens do not help prevent melanoma.[14] 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 sunscreen use had not prevented higher income populations from being at higher risk of melanoma. Consequently, we see this equation again: Higher sunscreen 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.[15] Therefore, many of the health benefits of sun are voided.

Summary on sunscreens and sunlight:

The best sunscreen, when you need it, is covering your skin with clothing, or going indoors. Stay away from the noxious chemicals. Be sure to obtain some non-burning sunlight whenever possible.

Happy sunning!

 

[1] David C. Whiteman, Rachel E. Neale, Joanne Aitken, Louisa Gordon, Adele C. Green, Monika Janda, Catherine M. Olsen, H. Peter Soyer, on behalf of the Sunscreen Summit Policy Group. When to apply sunscreen: a consensus statement for Australia and New Zealand. When to apply sunscreen: a consensus statement for Australia and New Zealand.

[2] https://www.theage.com.au/national/queensland/make-it-like-brushing-your-teeth-experts-urge-daily-sunscreen-use-20190124-p50thn.html

[3] https://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sun-protection/campaigns-and-events/slip-slop-slap-seek-slide.html

[4] http://www.yourhealthbase.com/sunscreens.htm

[5] Garland, Cedric F., et al. Could sunscreens increase melanoma risk? American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 82, No. 4, April 1992, pp. 614-15

[6] Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED. Could sunscreens increase melanoma risk? American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 82, No. 4, il 1992, pp. 614-15.

[7] Van der Mei IA, Ponsonby AL, Engelsen O, Pasco JA, McGrath JJ, Eyles DW, Blizzard L, Dwyer T, Lucas R, Jones G. A high vitamin D insufficiency across Australian populations and latitude. Environmental Health Perspect 2007;115:1132-39.

[8] https://www.rightdiagnosis.com/news/skin_cancer_rate_increasing_in_australia.htm.

[9] https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/1329-nz-skin-cancer-statistics

[10] Elizabet saes da SILVA, Roberto TAVARES, Felipe da silva PAULITSCH, Linjie ZHANG. Use of sunscreen and risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Dermatol 2018; 28(2): 186-201.

[11] 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

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

[13] https://www.webmd.com/beauty/news/20110714/sunscreen-users-more-likely-burn#4

[14] 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.

[15] 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.

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Sunlight exposure for health: Vitamin D Society.

Canadians need sunlight exposureSunlight exposure for Canadian health promoted by Vitamin D Society. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

The essential need for sunlight exposure.

Sunlight is essential for human survival and human health. So, common sense would dictate that the current counterintuitive message—that sun exposure is harmful—is in error. First of all, without the sun, the earth would not have existed. And, without sunlight exposure for humans, humans could not have existed. In fact, rather than a world teeming with life, an earth without sunlight exposure would be a cold, lifeless mass.

A recent message on sunlight exposure reemphasized

On January 7, 2019, I posted a blog regarding new research regarding public health and the need for sunlight exposure. http://sunlightinstitute.org/sunlight-public-health-common-sense/. The research was authored by Drs. David G. Hoel and Frank R. De Gruijl.[1] And in it, they proved through research review that sunlight was healthful. And they also stated that the erroneous public health message about sunlight exposure needed to change.

Perry Holman realized the need to promote this sunlight exposure information.

Due to this research paper by Hoel and De Gruijl, my sunlight colleague Perry Holman took action. He understood the exceptionally low sun exposure among Canadians, and, their consequent suffering. Mr. Holman, the director of the vitamin D society of Canada, therefore wrote a press release that everyone should read: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=61

Here are some of the salient points of the press release:

First of all, the paper pointed out that the public is confused regarding sunlight. This is especially because terms such as “overexposure” are not clearly defined.

In addition, the authors stated that “The public is led to believe that all sun exposure should be avoided and that the avoidance of sun exposure is free of risk from a health perspective. That is not the case.”

Also, the paper reported that approximately 12% of U.S. deaths per year may be linked to inadequate sunlight.Sunlight exposure improves the mood.

The conclusions about sunlight exposure:

Perhaps this comment was most noteworthy: “Vitamin D supplementation is not always an adequate substitute for sun exposure. [This is also something I realized before Dr. William Grant and I wrote Embrace the Sun.]

In conclusion, the authors stated “non-burning UV exposure is a health benefit and – in moderation – should be recommended as such.”

And although this press release was written with Canadians in mind, it is appropriate for the entire world. Why? Because the world is becoming deficient in sunlight exposure due to the false messages of the powers of darkness.

So, use the links above to peruse this must-read press release. In addition, find more information at the Sunlight Institute site: http://sunlightinstitute.org/. Also, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X

 

 

 

safe sun exposure explained

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Hoel D, de Gruijl, F. Sun Exposure Public Health Directives. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018;15:2794

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Antioxidants: power against skin cancer?

Antioxidants: power against skin cancer. Marc Sorenson, EdD

Antioxidants can quench (eliminate) free radicals.

Antioxidants are popular as supplements, and they are found many foods, but especially in fruits and vegetables. Because they are critical to good nutrition, let’s first consider what they do to a prevent cancer. First of all, what are they? They are substances that eliminate free-radical atoms and molecules. These radicals are formed by combining oxygen with stable atoms, hence the term “oxidation.”  Therefore, we must also understand the free radical in order to understand the antioxidant’s importance.

Antioxidants and the notorious free radical Free radical needs antioxidants

A free radical is a highly unstable atom capable of independent existence and having at least one unpaired electron in its outer shell.[1] So, when an atom loses an electron, it becomes unstable in an attempt to reestablish balance. Because this atom “craves” to have its balance restored, it will “steal” an electron from another atom to achieve stability. Therefore, the atom from which the electron is stolen becomes another free radical. The first atom now becomes stable because it has snatched an electron. Consequently, however, the atom from which the electron is snatched becomes another free radical.

So this process repeats innumerable times.[2] And this chain reaction cannot cease until another substance, with an extra electron to “give away,” steps in. That substance finally furnishes the electron that produces stability. That substance, of course, is an antioxidant. Antioxidant furnishes an electornThus, antioxidants can furnish electrons to stabilize free radicals without causing damage. Hence, they are like the hero who gives his life for the team and then passes on.

Oxygen in free-radical formation

As mentioned, the process of free-radical formation is known as oxidation, because free radicals are usually formed due to oxygen molecules, which are unstable.  This is possible because oxygen easily combines with other substances.  Oxygen gives us life, but its byproducts, if not controlled, can quickly end life.  As an iron pipe rusts, it is because it succumbing to the free-radical attack of oxidation.  When anything burns, free radicals form.  Due to oxidation, a single cigarette creates about one quadrillion free-radical attacks.[3] Cooking creates massive quantities of free radicals. Breathing, heart beat and exercise also create oxidation. It is most noteworthy to understand that without antioxidants, our metabolic processes would shortly kill us because of oxidation.

Antioxidants and skin cancer

Oxidation damages DNA, and unchecked, it causes cancer. Therefore, the fact that smoking kills so many people attests to an obvious reality. Because smokers have insufficient levels of antioxidants to handle the free-radical load, they succumb to cancer.  In fact, smoking is a major cause of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC); the greater the number of cigarettes smoked, the greater is the risk of skin cancer.[4] So, how important are antioxidants to cancer prevention, especially non-melanoma skin cancer? The research on antioxidants and skin cancer expatiates on this subject.[5]

More important research on antioxidants and Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

The research just mentioned tells us that NMSC accounts for more that half of all diagnoses of cancer. And basal cell skin cancer (BCC) accounts for 70-80% of skin tumors. So, the researchers set out to determine the influence of antioxidants on NMSC. They tested 84 individuals and divided them into two groups: 1. a control group of healthy people, and 2. a case group of those who were undergoing surgery for BCC. In addition, they measured the blood of each group for free-radical markers, and then they compared the two groups. Also, they assessed the usual dietary intake of the subjects. As a result they discovered that the case group had significantly higher markers of oxidative stress compared with controls. While these results were impressive, there were other interesting results:

Other results regarding antioxidants

  1. Especially relevant was that antioxidants from foods were more pronounced in the control group. It seems like antioxidants from food must have been protective against BCC. Why? Because the intake of foods containing antioxidants showed their influence in reducing oxidative stress. Most of all, vitamins A and E were more prevalent among the non-diseased subjects.
  2. Also, the dietary concentrations of antioxidants minerals such as zinc, copper and selenium in the case group were significantly lower than healthy controls.

The power of fruits and veggies. Antioxidants are contained in fruits and vegetables.

Vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants are protective against various diseases. We know this due to a plethora of research and observations. This research adds more information indicating that we should stop blaming the sun for skin cancer and clean up our diets. See sunlightinstitute.org for more information on skin cancer and nutrition, And to learn more about the benefits of sunlight, read my book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X  make the sun safe with antioxidants

Also, search sunlightinstitute.org:  http://sunlightinstitute.org/protect-skin-nutrition-sun-exposure/

Happy sunning!

[1] Karlsson, J. Introduction to nutraology and radical formation. In: Antioxidants and Exercise. Illinois: Human Kinetics Press 1997:1-143. Goldfarb, A. et al.  Nutritional antioxidants as therapeutic and preventive modalities in exercise-induced muscle damage. Can. J. Appl. Physiol 1999;24:249-266.

[2] Goldfarb, A. et al. Nutritional antioxidants as therapeutic and preventive modalities in exercise-induced muscle damage. Can. J. Appl. Physiol 1999;24:249-266.

[3] Rahman, I. et al.  Role of antioxidants in smoking- induced lung disease. Free Rad Biol Med 1996;21:669-681.

[4] De Hertog, S. et al.  Relation between smoking and skin cancer.  J  Clin Oncol 2001;19:231-238.

[5] Freitas Be, de Castro LL, Aguiar JR, de Araújo CG, Visacri MB, Tuan BT, Pincinato Ede C, Moriel P. Antioxidant capacity total in non melanoma skin cancer and its relationship with food consumption of antioxidant nutrients. Nutr Hosp. 2015 Apr 1;31(4):1682-8.

 

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Sunlight for Public Health. Common sense prevails!

Sunlight is essential for public healthSunlight improves public health. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

An excellent new paper by Dr. Hoel and Dr. de Gruijl is titled “Sun Exposure Public Health Directives.” It decries the vilification of sunlight and suggests people return to its healthful rays.[1] https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/12/2794/htm

So is dermatology awakening to the truth about sunlight?

And one of the authors, Dr. de Gruijl, works at a dermatology department in the Netherlands. He is also a photobiologist and melanoma skin cancer research specialist. It seems like the dermatology world is returning to common sense, since other dermatologists have lately suggested more sunlight exposure. And well they should suggest more sunlight! Sunlight can save millions of lives, yet much of the population is dying in the dark due to misinformation. Many dermatologists consider sunlight exposure to be a killer, and thus frighten their patients away from sun exposure. Why? Because they are fearful of skin damage from sunlight, something they need not fear if they advise their patients properly.

Sunlight and skin cancer: the truth

One of my pet peeves is the statement that “sunlight causes cancer.” First of all, there are about 18 major cancers that are reduced by sunlight. And in addition, there are also myriad non-cancer maladies that are reduced or eliminated by safe sun exposure. These disorders run the gamut from arthritis and heart disease to psoriasis, erectile dysfunction and osteoporosis.[2] Secondly, not even skin cancer is caused by sun exposure unless people burn themselves. Therefore, it is a lack of both caution and common sense that leads to skin damage. The authors state that the public has been taught that health benefits of sun exposure are limited to bone health. That is another egregious error (italics mine).

The aforementioned paper reads almost like a synopsis of Embrace the Sun, the book by Marc Sorenson and William Grant,

Here are the major points on sunlight that make the research in the paper so compelling:

  1. There is a public health message that “overexposure” to the sun causes skin cancer. Nevertheless, those who promote this message do not define overexposure. Therefore, due to the lack of a definition, the public is led to believe that sun exposure is an enemy. In addition, the public is not educated regarding the detriments of “sun avoidance,” or should we say “underexposure.” Due to this omission, the public is exposed to disability, destruction and death (italics mine).

Sunlight deprivation: the staggering cost to human health

Consequently, in Embrace the Sun, we calculated the number of deaths due to diseases associated with high sunlight exposure. And, we then calculated the number of deaths due to diseases associated with sunlight deprivation. As a result, we determined that approximately 1,684,677 yearly deaths are caused by diseases associated with sunlight deprivation. Also, there were about 5125 deaths from diseases associated with high sunlight exposure, producing a ratio of approximately 328.7:1. This is most noteworthy! 328 deaths were associated with diseases of sun deprivation for each death associated with diseases of sun exposure. So, what do you think?

So, is sunlight avoidance risk free?

  1. Furthermore, the paper states that people believe sun avoidance is risk free. That is a colossal error as previously stated,
  2. Another mistake is to believe vitamin D supplements are an adequate substitute for sunlight. That is simply not so. Sun exposure causes the production of serotonin, nitric oxide, endorphin, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), dopamine and urocanic acid. All of these substances are vital for human health and wellbeing.
  3. Another important point stated by the authors is as follows: “This public health message is potentially causing significant harm to public health and should be changed immediately.” And, based on the analysis from Embrace the Sun, mentioned above, that should be an easy conclusion.

Is there an inverse association between sunlight and melanoma?

  1. The authors also state that melanoma risk is reduced by non-burning sun exposure. And only severe sunburns increase risk. In addition, they mention that melanoma in the U.S. has steadily increased at an annual rate of 3–4%.  There was 1 case per 100,000 in 1935, when accurate records were established. Yet, there were 25.8 cases per 100,000 in 2015. [That is about a 2,600% increase!]

Our analysis of melanoma in Embrace the Sun was almost identical. It showed a 3,000% increase in melanoma risk accompanied by a 90% decrease in sunlight exposure from 1935 to 2015. And, Sunscreen use also increased dramatically during that period, meaning that more sunscreen use is associated with greater melanoma risk.

And should we use sunscreens to reduce sunlight damage?

The answer to that question is “of course not.”

I was surprised that nothing was said about sunscreens, while I was considering the authors’ comment on severe sunburns,  Why? Because recent research has shown that persons who use sunscreens have 4-6 times greater risk of sunburn.[3] In addition, the same research showed that the greatest protection against burning was to seek shade or cover up. Imagine that! Also, a recent meta-analysis showed that sunscreen use made absolutely no difference in the risk of skin cancer.[4].

  1. The authors also make it clear that the common assertion—that tanned skin affords insignificant protection against sunburn—is not correct.
  2. In conclusion, the commentary made this statement: “All persons in the world regardless of skin color or latitude of residence, other than those with extraordinary sensitivity to sunlight, should get enough sun exposure to maintain a serum 25(OH)D level well over 20 ng/mL (desirably at 30–60 ng/mL) while taking care to avoid sunburn.

I agree and would like to reiterate that vitamin D supplements are not an adequate substitute for sunlight. Consequently, these measurements should be used only among those who do not take supplements. That is, if we expect to really measure sunlight exposure.

Embrace the Sun is available here.  Sunlight for public health

Happy sunning!

[1] Hoel D, de Gruijl, F. Sun Exposure Public Health Directives. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018;15:2794

[2] Sorenson, Marc, Grant, WB. Embrace the Sun. Sorenson, Publisher 2018. Available at Amazon.

[3] 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.

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

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Obesity, sun deprivation during mom’s pregnancy.

Obesity in children: Caused by pregnant mom’s sun deprivation? By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Pregnant Moms need sun exposure to prevent obesity in children.

Obesity in children is linked closely to maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy.[1] And is anyone surprised about this? First of all, everyone should know that vitamin D deficiency is caused by inadequate sun exposure. So, if high vitamin D is associated with less weight, it is because of high sun exposure. That is of course, unless the research involves vitamin D supplementation.  Because sunlight produces nitric oxide, endorphin, serotonin, dopamine and other chemicals, only research can determine if vitamin D is protective. Therefore, a supplementation study would be required.

What did the research show regarding obesity?

It seems like sun exposure, which produces all of the photoproducts, would always be the best way to prevent weight gain. Most noteworthy, however, is that we are discussing only the sun deprivation aspects of obesity. That is because being overweight is primarily due to 1. eating junk food and 2. not staying active. This blog, however, deals only with extra weight due to sun deprivation.

So what did this obesity study show? To perform the research, pregnant women were first of all measured for vitamin D levels before birth. In addition, their newborns were followed for 4-6 years and then compared for obesity levels. In conclusion, those whose mothers had the lowest vitamin D levels had children with the greatest obesity problems.

So, we still don’t know if vitamin D was the protective photoproduct against obesity in children. Because of that lack of surety, let’s visit some research on sunlight and obesity.

In addition to the aforementioned research, another scientific paper “sheds more light” on the subject of obesity.[2]

This research was conducted on mice with shaved backs, because the applied light needed to be unimpeded by hair. Also, a second part of the experiment was to put them on a high-fat diet. Finally, they were exposed to non-burning ultraviolet radiation (UVR) during a three-month period. (UVR is the same light they would receive from sunlight). The mice, because of the high-fat diet, would have been expected to gain weight rapidly. But with UVR, the weight gain was consequently (and impressively) reduced. As a result of the treatment the mice achieved 30-40% less weight gain. That is, compared to the expected weight gain.

Blue light for reduced obesity?

Furthermore, a study published in 2017 showed that the blue-light spectrum of sunlight can cause subcutaneous fat to decrease.[3] In other words, it can cause obesity to diminish, much as good nutrition would also cause it to decrease. Thus, the action of sunlight may help one to prevent obesity or even to create slimness. Consequently, blue light from the sun may be a preventer of obesity, and an adjunct to good nutrition and exercise.

Is obesity reduced by morning light?

So—here we have another benefit of sun exposure—morning sun specifically! A recent study from Northwestern Medicine demonstrates that timing and intensity of light correlate with body mass index (BMI).[4] So to understand the research we need to understand BMI. BMI is a numerical computation comparing height and weight. And it is a commonly used method to assess obesity or the lack thereof. So a high BMI usually means a person is obese or at least approaching obesity. Optimal BMI is 18-25. Below 18 is considered underweight, above 25 is overweight, 30 is obese and 40 and above is morbidly obese.

So does sun exposure influence BMI? Is obesity reduced?

This study showed, first of all, that exposure to bright morning light was directly related to BMI. After adjusting for confounders, it was determined that very early exposure to morning light correlated remarkably to lower BMI. Opposite to what one might expect, when light intensity was equal at different times of the day, results were identical.  Consequently, those who received the earliest bright light had lower BMI. Furthermore, for each hour later in the day when light exposure occurred, BMI increased by 1.3 units. This fact is exceptionally important, since a person who has a BMI of 25 (upper ideal range) could approach 30 (obesity). And that would be due to the habit of later sun exposure (10:00 AM rather than 6:00 AM).

Does vitamin D supplementation help prevent obesity?

Another scientific paper “sheds more light” on the subject of obesity.[5] 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) during a three-month experiment. The mice, without the benefit of UVR, would have been expected to gain weight rapidly on that diet, but when they were exposed to UVR, the weight gain was impressively reduced. The UVR treatment achieved a 30-40% reduction in weight gain, compared to the expected weight gain with the high-fat diet.

Interestingly, when vitamin D supplementation was used, it did not help, and actually stopped the positive effects of UVR treatment.

In conclusion, the pandemic of obesity may be exacerbated by sun deprivation. And, it may be due to something other than low vitamin D. Expectant mothers and their children should always obtain plenty of non-burning sun exposure. So should most other members of the human race. Happy sunning! Moms need sunlight to reduced risk of childhood obesity.

Also see: http://sunlightinstitute.org/sun-exposure-reduces-obesity-vitamin-d-not

Read My book, Embrace the Sun, available at

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[1] V. Daraki  T. Roumeliotaki  G. Chalkiadaki  M. Katrinaki  M. Karachaliou  V. Leventakou M. Vafeiadi  K. Sarri  M. Vassilaki  S. Papavasiliou  M. Kogevinas  L. Chatzi. Low maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity

[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

[3] Ondrusova K, Fatehi M, Barr A, Czarnecka Z, Long W, K Suzuki K, Campbell S, Philippaert K, Hubert M, Tredget E, Kwan P, Touret N, M Wabitsch M,  Lee K, Peter E. Light P. Subcutaneous white adipocytes express a light sensitive signaling pathway mediated via a melanopsin/TRPC channel axis. Scientific Reports 2017 November 27;7:16332

[4] Reid KJ, Santostasi G, Baron KG, Wilson J, Kang J, Zee PC. Timing and intensity of light correlate with body weight in adults. PLoS One 2014;2;9(4)

[5] 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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Sun avoidance: Healthful practice or child abuse?

Sun avoidance for children. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

Sun avoidance or sun protection?Children must not practice sun avoidance.

Sun avoidance is deadly. And, no one would disagree that sun protection (covering up and seeking shade—not sunscreen use) is essential when one has reached sufficiency, further exposure could cause burning and thereby damage the skin. So, the operative phrase should always be, “protect against sun exposure when one has had enough.” Most noteworthy, however, is the fact that we abuse both our children and ourselves when we demand sun avoidance. This is not to say that the abuse is deliberate, since parents and health professionals alike may have their hearts in the right place. They are simply misinformed and lacking in knowledge.

Is sun avoidance as dangerous as water avoidance?

As a result of withholding water, a child (or adult) will quickly develop multiple organ failures and die. The results with sun avoidance might not be quite so dramatic, yet the same scenario occurs. Much as water deprivation leads to catastrophe, sun deprivation leads to multiple maladies, life-threatening or otherwise. And unfortunately, the term “sun protection,” as used by many dermatologists, means staying out of the sun at all costs. Hence, we could call it sun avoidance. To suggest or promote that idea is not really protective; rather, it might be considered abusive, no?

First of all, the vital need for safe sun exposure in children has been firmly established by research. Therefore, we should review the facts:

  • Do we love our little girls? Consider this: those who have the greatest sun exposure have a 35% reduced risk of breast cancer as adults. So sun avoidance, aka “sun protection” may lead to breast cancer.[2] Requiring sun avoidance of girls could be child abuse, no?
  • Also, sun exposure in expectant mothers reduces the risk of leukemia and other cancers in their children.[3] Therefore, could encouraging sun avoidance end up as child abuse?
  • In addition, children also benefit from sun exposure’s protection against Non-Hodgkin’s-lymphoma (NHL) risk. Sun exposure is associated with a 40% reduced risk.[4] Therefore, could advocating for sun avoidance be child abuse?

More outcomes of sun avoidance in children: prostate cancer, blood pressure, multiple sclerosis and asthma.

  • Another point is this: men exposed to high quantities of sunlight as children have one-fifth the risk of contracting prostate cancer.[5] So, is demanding childhood sun avoidance a form of  child abuse?
  • It is most noteworthy that in children, blood pressure is higher in winter than summer.[6] This is probably due to nitric oxide production by sun exposure to the skin. It is especially relevant to remember that vitamin D is only one of many vital photoproducts stimulated by sun exposure. Therefore, could it be that promoting sun avoidance is child abuse, due to the fact that it may lead to heart disease?
  • In addition, adults who experienced low childhood sun-exposure are three times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS).[7] So, does it seem like promulgating sun avoidance could be child abuse?
  • Also, living in rooms without sunlight is associated with a 930% increase in the risk of childhood asthma.[8] Hence, could sun avoidance be like child abuse?

Are childhood pneumonia, lower respiratory infection, autism and rickets predicted by sun avoidance?

  • First of all, each one-hour increase in sun exposure per day lowers a child’s risk of contracting pneumonia by about 33%.[9] And, pneumonia kills many children. Does promoting sun avoidance seem like child abuse to you? So here is another question: should you also limit your child to only an hour per day outside?
  • Another fact is that children with very low blood vitamin D levels are ten times more likely to contract acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI).[10] That is, compared with children with the highest levels. Especially relevant is the fact that about 90% of vitamin D in serum is produced by sun exposure to the skin.[11] Therefore, this study really shows the benefits of sun exposure for children. And, does it also establish that suggesting sun avoidance could be a form of abuse?
  • Finally, urban children have significantly higher rates of both rickets and autism when compared to rural children. Lack of sunlight, of course, is the reason.[12] Is this another reason to define sun avoidance as child abuse?

Other disorders associated with sun avoidance in children: bipolar disorder, eczema, myopia, anaphylaxis and rickets.

  • Increased number of hours of daylight at the location of birth during the first three months of life are associated with a significantly older age of onset of bipolar disorder.[13] Babies need sunlight, so be sure to carefully provide them substantial, non-burning sun exposure. Why? Because regular sun avoidance for babies might be considered abusive.
  • Children with low sun exposure also have a significantly increased risk of eczema.[14] Could sun avoidance, therefore, be considered a form of child abuse?
  • Children who spend most of their lives indoors also have 9.5 times the risk of developing myopia compared to children who spend their lives outdoors! So, sun avoidance may lead to blindness in children. Does that constitute child abuse?
  • Anaphylaxis is much more prevalent in countries with low sunlight availability.[15] Anaphylaxis can kill. So could sun avoidance, especially in countries that already have low sun exposure, be considered abusive?
  • Rickets is returning to the U.S.[16] This can only be due to the lack of sufficient sunlight to produce vitamin D, either in the expectant mother or in the child itself. Therefore, could promoting sun avoidance for these children be considered a form of abuse?

Growth rates, brain cancer and melanoma in children: are they associated with sun avoidance?

  • Children’s growth is accelerated in seasons of greater sunlight exposure.[17] Does retarding a child’s growth, through promoting sun avoidance, seems like a good idea to you?
  • Children born in seasons of little sunlight have a greater risk of developing brain cancer.[18] Do you really want your children to avoid the sun? That seems like a form of abuse to me.
  • Children who engage in outdoor activities are less likely to develop melanoma than those who do not.[19] Since 1935, sun exposure has decreased by 90%. Melanoma has increased by 3,000%. So, promoting sun avoidance seems abusive to me. How about you?

Sun avoidance predicts poor outcomes for dental health in boys.

• Boys (and probably girls) growing up with high sunlight exposure have 40% fewer dental caries than boys who grow up with low exposure. So sun avoidance, aka “sun protection” obviously has a detrimental effect on dental health.[1] Hence, could requiring sun avoidance of boys be child abuse?

No sun avoidance in my youth

As a youngster, I spent most of my days on the farm working in the sunlight. No illnesses developed in the summer. And, I never had a skin cancer later in life. How can that be? I am a blue-eyed, light skinned Caucasian, and yet skin cancer never materialized. So did sun exposure protect me? Probably. I was never subjected to sun avoidance, the abuse that is so prevalent today.

Caution! Remember that at no time should you burn yourself. People who cannot tan need to stop sun exposure to the skin at the first sign of redness. Work into a few minutes of sunlight over days or weeks if necessary. And, one way for light-skinned non-tanners to obtain sun is to be under a beach umbrella in a bathing suit. Nevertheless, do not burn. Watch for reddening and cover up immediately if it occurs.

Words of caution regarding sunscreens

Caution! Don’t think that sunscreens will help you avoid damage. That is because they are not sun protection. First of all, the latest research, a meta-analysis, shows that sunscreen use does not make any difference in skin-cancer risk.[20] Secondly, other late research also shows that people who use sunscreens are much more likely to experience sunburns than non-users.[21] As a result, those who used sunscreens were about two-and-one-half-to-four-times more likely to sunburn compared to those who used other methods to prevent excessive exposure. Hence, covering up with clothing or seeking shade is a far better method of protection than sunscreens, which are no protection at all. Could the use of sunscreens with children constitute sun avoidance and be another form of abuse?

Embrace the Sun, but do it carefully, and please do not engage in the abusive practice known as sun avoidance.

Read more about sun avoidance and children’s diseases in my new Sun avoidance is abuse. book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X

Also, read hundreds of blogs on sunlight at http://sunlightinstitute.org/

[1] McBeath, E. The role of vitamin D in control of dental caries in children. J Nutr 1938;15:547.

[2] Knight JA, Lesosky M, Barnett H, Raboud JM, Vieth R. Vitamin D and reduced risk of breast cancer: a population-based case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2007;16(3):422-9.

[3] Christina Lombardi, Julia E. Heck, Myles Cockburn, and Beate Ritz. Solar UV Radiation and Cancer in Young Children. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2013;22:1118-1128.

[4] Petridou ET, Dikalioti SK, Skalkidou A, Andrie E, Dessypris N, Trichopoulos D. Sun exposure, birth weight and childhood lymphomas: a case control study in Greece. Cancer Causes Control. 2007 Nov;18(9):1031-7.

[5] Moon SJ, Fryer AA, Strange RC. Ultraviolet radiation: effects on risks of prostate cancer and other internal cancers. Mutat Res 2005;571(1-2):207-19.

[6] Polat M, Akil I, Yuksel H, Coskun S, Yilmaz D, Erguder I, Onag A. The Effect of seasonal changes on blood pressure and urine specific gravity in children living in Mediterranean climate. Med Sci Monit 2006;12:CR186-90.

[7] van der Mei IA, Ponsonby AL, Dwyer T, Blizzard L, Simmons R, Taylor BV, Butzkueven H, Kilpatrick T. Past exposure to sun, skin phenotype, and risk of multiple sclerosis: case-control study. BMJ 2003;327:316-321.

[8] Kamran A, Hanif S, Murtaza G. Risk factors of childhood asthma in children attending Lyari General Hospital. J Pak Med Assoc 2015 Jun;65(6):647-50.

[9] Paynter S, Weinstein P, Ware RS, Lucero MG, Tallo V, Nohynek H, Barnett AG, Skelly C, Simões EA, Sly PD, Williams G; ARIVAC Consortium. Sunshine, rainfall, humidity and child pneumonia in the tropics: time-series analyses. Epidemiol Infect. 2013 Jun;141(6):1328-36.

[10] Wayse V, Yousafzai A, Mogale K, Filteau S. Association of subclinical vitamin D deficiency with severe acute lower respiratory infection in Indian children under 5 y. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004;58:563-7.

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