Brain Health from the Sun

By Joan Sumpio, RND–
Many experts are still in denial that a big number of Asians are suffering from, if not at risk of having, Vitamin D deficiency. Experts who say that it is next to impossible for Asians to have vitamin D deficiency do not have a clear picture of the way of life of Asians.

Individuals who live in a tropical country would actually often shelter themselves from the sun’s rays to keep their skin from getting darker. This practice alone already puts most Asian populations at risk of having inadequate vitamin D.

To the working Asian population, longer office hours keep them from being exposed to the sun’s rays for a reasonable time. Many would say that they leave for work before the sun rises and go home when the sun has set – another reason why many people miss the sun’s health benefits. Although it is true that many foods are now fortified with vitamin D, we cannot guarantee that this is enough. Note that a lot of foods have been fortified with vitamin A, Iron and Iodine, and yet, its deficiency is still a big public health problem.

Vitamin D is well known to be a very important bone nutrient. Its primary function is to maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphorus concentrations at a range that will support body processes, neuromuscular functions and bone building/strengthening activities. Aside from these important functions, vitamin D also acts like a hormone that stimulates maturation of cells including those of the immune system.

Vitamin D is also beneficial to our brain functions. In one study, participants with vitamin D deficiency were found to have higher risk of substantial cognitive decline by 60 percent compared to those with sufficient vitamin D levels. As we age, our cognitive performance naturally declines. With vitamin D deficiency, this decline is accelerated.

If you do not experience this accelerated decline in cognitive function, you should have regular exposure to sunlight for at least 15 minutes in day.

On days when you are most sheltered from sunlight, make sure you incorporate vitamin D food sources into your meal plans. Foods like salmon, sardines, and those fortified with vitamin D (milk, cheese/cheese spreads, breakfast cereals, pasta and margarine)are sources of vitamin D.

Presently, our recommended daily intake for vitamin D is 5ug for the general population. For those aged 50 – 64 years old there is higher recommended intake of 10ug and for those above 65 years old, a daily intake of 15 ug is recommended. Prolonged exposure under the sun does not pose any risk because the body can regulate the production of vitamin D3 from the sun; it is our exogenous intake of vitamin D that we have to watch out for as chronic excessive intake can lead to bone resorption.

Link: http://bit.ly/d0qxvH

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Keeping Health in the Dark

By: Joanne Hunt–

If you needed another reason to moan about the Irish weather – US vitamin D specialist Dr Michael Holick is the man to talk to.

The professor of Medicine at Boston University Medical Center and author of The Vitamin D Solution believes Ireland’s lack of sunshine, needed to stimulate the production of vitamin D in the body, is making us all less healthy.

Known as the “sunshine vitamin”, it not only helps us absorb up to twice as much calcium from our food for good bone health, but Holick says it can also play a role in everything from labour pains to multiple sclerosis.

The modern lifestyles “of avoiding the sun, putting on sun screen and working indoors” is thwarting Mother Nature, something that’s further exacerbated by Ireland’s northerly latitude, says Holick.

“You get no Vitamin D in Ireland from November through March,” he says. “The sun is coming in at an angle at that time of year and the vitamin D producing rays are being absorbed by the ozone layer.”

Our summers aren’t much good either, according to Holick, particularly if we’re being sun smart. “If you go out in the early morning and late afternoon as you’ve been taught, you get no vitamin D in summer either because the sun is coming in just like winter sunlight.”

So how does he explain sunburn at these off-peak times? “UVA radiation makes no vitamin D, but it can still cause redness to the skin – it’s not UVA rays you’re after, it’s UVB and it mainly comes in from 10am to 3pm.”

Before sun-worshippers take Dr Holick’s words as carte blanche to hit the garage roof with some reflective foil and a slick of baby oil, he urges caution.

“Get out for five or 10 minutes, protect your face because it’s the most sun damaged – but exposing your arms or legs a couple of times a week won’t cause any problems and will definitely improve your vitamin D status.”

So what can the sunshine vitamin do for us? “We’ve shown that pregnant women who are vitamin D deficient in their first trimester have a higher risk of vaginal infection and of pre-eclampsia,” he says.

“We did a study of 400 women to see if vitamin D levels had an effect on the numbers requiring C-section – we found a 400 per cent reduced risk of a C-section if they simply were vitamin D sufficient at the time they gave birth.”

Holick says a deficiency of the vitamin in utero and in the first year of life brings a higher risk of eczema and wheezing disorders and also impairs growth.

He says “there’s no food that naturally contains vitamin D other than oily fish. It’s mainly in foods especially fortified with vitamin D, like milk.”

For pregnant women, he advises pre-natal vitamins containing vitamin D and two glasses of D-fortified milk a day.

There are also benefits for teens, he says. “There’s data in the US that teenagers who are D deficient have over twice the risk of having high blood pressure and four times the risk of having type 2 diabetes.”

Holick claims vitamin D can also have a powerful effect on multiple sclerosis (MS) and again draws a parallel between our geographic location and the disease.

“We know that if you live north of Atlanta Georgia, so basically all of northern Europe, for the first 10 years of your life, you have a 100 per cent increased risk of getting MS for the rest of your life,” he says.

Holick agrees that he gets a certain amount of criticism from skin cancer lobbyists for his pro-sun advice.

“I do get criticism, but I can tell you that 40 per cent of Australians are vitamin D deficient – it turns out the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap!’ campaign has caused a major epidemic in vitamin D deficiency.

“Even the Australian Cancer Council and the Australian Dermatology Association have now recommended some sensible sun exposure.”

This wonder vitamin might just be good for government coffers too, according to Holick. He believes that Ireland’s annual healthcare budget could be decreased by up to 25 per cent if we all had higher levels of vitamin D.

Let’s hope for a fine summer then.

Link: http://bit.ly/eO1Ofo

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Sunlight, Vitamin D and Brain Disorders. If You Want to Stay Smart, get some Sunlight!

A recent study on the relationship between cognitive impairment (thinking disorders) and vitamin D levels came to some very interesting conclusions. Dr. David Llewellyn, the lead researcher, stated the following: “Compared with those patients with sufficient levels of vitamin D, those participants who were very vitamin D deficient had a 6-fold higher risk for cognitive impairment, with a doubling of risk still for those who were considered deficient (>25 to <50)”[1]” Dr. Llewellyn also stated that “low levels of vitamin D are just genuinely bad for the brain.”

Vitamin D research continues to amaze. The evidence mounts that vitamin D deficiency has a profound negative influence on the function of the brain. Previously, I wrote of the compelling evidence that autism is a vitamin D deficiency disease and also presented research indicative of a role of vitamin D in reducing depression, elevating mood and increasing happiness. I also came across a small study of 17 psychiatric patients. Of these patients, two were borderline deficient and 15 were deficient. Seven had such low levels that blood tests could not produce an accurate reading. Encouragingly, the researchers recommended that mental-health inpatients receive adequate exposure to sunlight.[2] In my book, I documented the critical importance of sunlight/vitamin D to the development and health of the brain:

1. Prenatal vitamin D deficiency in animals profoundly alters brain development.[3] [4]] Dr. Darryl Eyles and his colleagues state, “rats born to vitamin D-deficient mothers had profound alterations in the brain at birth.” The cortex was longer but not wider, the lateral ventricles were enlarged, the cortex was proportionally thinner and there was more cell proliferation throughout the brain… Our findings would suggest that low maternal vitamin D(3) has important ramifications for the developing brain.”

2. Rats born to vitamin D-deficient mothers also have permanently damaged brains into adulthood[5] and exhibit hyperlocomotion (excessive movement from place to place) at the age of ten weeks.[6] Could this relate to hyperactivity in our children? Such rats also show impairment in learning and memory skills.

3. People hospitalized for bipolar disorder, and who are exposed to sunlight daily, are able to leave the hospital almost four days earlier than those who are not exposed,[7] and people hospitalized for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also have shorter stays when they are placed in rooms on the sunny side of the hospital.[8]

4. Two studies of mice with abnormal vitamin D receptors (VDR) in the brain found an increase in anxiety, aggression, poor grooming, maternal pup neglect and cannibalism.[9] [10] Abnormal VDR cause a situation similar to vitamin D deficiency; the vitamin D that is available cannot properly stimulate the genes that prevent the anxiety, cannibalism, etc.

5. Another vital function of vitamin D is in inducing the production of nerve-growth factor (NGF), a protein that is essential for proper development of nerve cells in the brain and elsewhere.[11] [12] It is obvious that if vitamin D is not present, nerve cells will simply not develop as they should in the central nervous system and brain, leading to the mental disorders we discuss here.

Can it be that the Powers of Darkness (the “sunscare” promoters) are partially responsible for the widespread depression, negativism, anxiety and psychological disorder that plague our society to a greater extent each year? Their efforts, coupled with modern indoor lifestyles, are leading to increases in a plethora of diseases, some of which are disorders of the brain. I believe it will be only a matter of time until vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women will be correlated to abnormally low IQ in the children they bear. In another blog, I have already discussed autism as a vitamin D deficiency disease, and there is an indication that women who conceive in the fall and winter tend to bear more dyslexic children,[13] as well as children with other learning and reading disabilities.[14] [15] [14] The nervous system’s critical time to develop neural connections is in the first months after conception. If the pregnant woman is low in vitamin D during that time, it could affect the development of the fetal brain.Activated vitamin D is a potent hormone that is essential for proper brain development.

As a society and as parents, we cannot wait for more research before acting on the crying need for optimal vitamin D levels. Our mental and physical health, as well as that of our children, depends on regular, non-burning exposure sunlight, or other sources of vitamin D.

 

[1] Susan Jeffery, Low Vitamin D Levels Associated With Increased Risk for Cognitive Impairment Medscape Today, July 13,2010. [2] Tiangga, E. et al. Psychiatric Bulletin 2008;32:390-93 [3] Eyles, D. et al. Vitamin D3 and brain development. Neuroscience 2003;118:641-53. [4] McGrath, J. et al. Vitamin D3-implications for brain development. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2004;89-90:557-60. [5] Feron, F. et al. Developmental vitamin D3 deficiency alters the adult rat brain. Brain Res Bull. 2005 Mar 15;65(2):141-8. [6] Burne, T. et al. Transient prenatal Vitamin D deficiency is associated with hyperlocomotion in adult rats. Behav Brain Res 2004;154:549-55. [7] Benedetti, F. et al. Morning sunlight reduces length of hospitalization in bipolar depression. J Affect Disord 2001;62:221-23. [8] Beauchemin, K. et al. sunny hospital rooms expedite recovery from severe and refractory depressions. J Affect Disord 1996;40:49-51. [9] Kalueff, A. et al. Increased anxiety in mice lacking vitamin D receptor gene. Neuroreport 2004;15:1271-74. [10] Kalueff, A. et al. Behavioral anomalies in mice evoked by Tokyo disruption of the vitamin D receptor gene. Neurosci Res 2006;54:254-60. [11] Kiraly,S et al. Vitamin D as a neuroactive substance: review. Scientific World Journal 2006;6:125-139. [12] Carlson, A. et al. Is vitamin D deficiency associated with peripheral neuropathy? The Endocrinologist 2007;17:319-25. [13] Livingston, R. et al. Season of birth and neurodevelopmental disorders: summer birth is associated with dyslexia. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1993;32:612-6. [14] Badian, N. Reading Disability in an Epidemiological Context: Incidence and Environmental Correlates. J Learn Disabil. 1984;17:129-36. [15] Martin, R. Season of birth is related to child retention rates, achievement, and rate of diagnosis of specific LD. J Learn Disabil 2004;37:307-17 – See more at: http://www.sunlightinstitute.org/sunlight-vitamin-d-and-brain-disorders-if-you-want-stay-smart-get-some-sunlight#sthash.JzZjCaNl.dpuf

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Insufficient Vitamin D Levels in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients Linked to Cancer Progression

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found a significant difference in cancer progression and death in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels in their blood compared to those who didn’t.

In the Mayo Clinic study, published online in the journal Blood, the researchers found that patients with insufficient levels of vitamin D when their leukemia was diagnosed progressed much faster and were about twice as likely to die as were patients with adequate levels of vitamin D.

They also found solid trends: increasing vitamin D levels across patients matched longer survival times and decreasing levels matched shortening intervals between diagnosis and cancer progression. The association also remained after controlling for other prognostic factors associated with leukemia progression.

The finding is significant in a number of ways. For the first time, it potentially offers patients with this typically slower growing form of leukemia a way to slow progression, says the study’s lead author, Tait Shanafelt, M.D., a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “This finding may be particularly relevant for this kind of leukemia because although we often identify it at an early stage, the standard approach is to wait until symptoms develop before treating patients with chemotherapy,” Dr. Shanafelt says. “This watch and wait approach is difficult for patients because they feel there is nothing they can do to help themselves.” “It appears vitamin D levels may be a modifiable risk factor for leukemia progression. It is simple for patients to have their vitamin D levels checked by their physicians with a blood test,” he says. “And if they are deficient, vitamin D supplements are widely available and have minimal side effects.”

This research adds to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for development and/or progression of a number of cancers, the researchers say. Studies have suggested that low blood vitamin D levels may be associated with increased incidence of colorectal, breast and other solid cancers. Other studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels at diagnosis may be associated with poorer outcomes in colorectal, breast, melanoma and lung cancers, as well as lymphoma.

Replacing vitamin D in some patients has proven to be beneficial, the researchers say. For example, they cite a placebo-controlled clinical trial that found women who increased their vitamin D intake reduced their risk of cancer development.

In this study, the research team enrolled 390 CLL patients into a prospective, observational study. They tested the blood of these newly diagnosed patients for plasma concentration of 25-hydroxyl-vitamin D and found that 30 percent of these CLL patients were considered to have insufficient vitamin D levels, which is classified as a level less than 25 nanograms per milliliter. After a median follow-up of three years, CLL patients deficient in vitamin D were 66 percent more likely to progress and require chemotherapy; deficient patients also had a two-fold increased risk of death.

To confirm these findings, they then studied a different group of 153 untreated CLL patients who had been followed for an average of 10 years. The researchers found that about 40 percent of these 153 CLL patients were vitamin D deficient at the time of their diagnosis. Patients with vitamin D deficiency were again significantly more likely to have had their leukemia progress and to have died, Dr. Shanafelt says.

“This tells us that vitamin D insufficiency may be the first potentially modifiable risk factor associated with prognosis in newly diagnosed CLL,” he says.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, the Henry J. Predolin Foundation, Vysis, Inc., and the Mayo Hematologic Malignancies Fund. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Link: http://bit.ly/aUawWP

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Vitamin D Health Warning for the Children who Shun the Sun

By: Richard Alleyne —

 

Casualty departments are dealing with dozens of emergency cases where infants are having seizures as a direct result of not getting enough vitamin D, which is essential for healthy teeth and bones.

In one case, a baby suffered brain damage after a fit.

The study said the extreme cases are part of an escalating problem of a deficiency of the vitamin, which the body makes when exposed to sunlight.

The report in the London Journal of Primary Care blames indoor lifestyles and the use of high sun protection factor creams for a health issue unheard of a decade ago.

The findings have prompted experts to call for vitamin D pills to be made more widely available on the NHS, especially for pregnant women.

The study reveals the introduction of schemes offering mothers supplements has been slow. Some areas of London have no vitamin packs available and people are ignorant about the benefits of vitamin D, which is also found in oily fish, liver and eggs.

Colin Michie, a co-author of the study, said vitamin D deficiency was no longer a “poor” problem and the middle classes are just as vulnerable.

The consultant paediatrician, who works at Ealing Hospital and BMI Clementine Churchill, said GPs should be more alert to symptoms such as muscle aches and pains.

He told the Evening Standard: “This is a totally avoidable condition which is now a public health issue. It’s affecting middle-class children because they’re overprotecting with sunscreen and not going out as much.

SPF is also increasingly in cosmetics used by young women.

“The more dramatic cases tend to be in people who wear traditional clothing and so are covered up.” However, he added, GPs also see a growing number of low-level cases in other groups.

Warnings over the links between sunburn and skin cancer have prompted some people to shun the sun. The actress Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed recently that she was diagnosed with very poor vitamin D levels after years of keeping her skin covered.

A special investigation is being launched into the extent of emergency admissions for patients with vitamin D deficiency.The British Paediatric Surveillance Unit will gather data from hospitals from next year.

Mr Michie analysed the cases of 17 babies and infants treated at Ealing Hospital for a severe lack of vitamin D between 2006 and 2008. He found many experienced a delay in walking, a problem last common in Victorian times.

Cancer Research UK is considering changing it guidelines concerning sun exposure because of the problem.

Instead of advising people to stay out the midday sun completely, it may suggest that a few minutes exposure could be healthy.

Link: http://bit.ly/bwpLQL

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Exposing the Sunlight/Melanoma Fraud: Part 2

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

Is the purported increase in melanoma a fraud?

In the last post, I made a case that sunlight does not cause melanoma, and that if Melanoma is increasing, as stated by the Melanoma International Foundation (MIF), it is doing so while sunlight exposure is decreasing. But suppose that the increase in melanoma is not an increase at all? Some believe that there is no proliferation of melanoma, but only a proliferation of dermatologists, and a proliferation of diagnoses of skin spots as being melanoma by some dermatologists in an attempt to make more money. An article by Harmon Leon,[1] writing for the Huffington Post, served as a reminder of the potential for fraud among (unscrupulous) dermatologists. I strongly suggest you read that article. I am indebted to Mr. Leon for a few of the points made in this post.

I do not mean to suggest that all dermatologists are dishonest. Many of the facts that I gather are derived from research performed by dermatologists who are trying to awaken the public to the fraudulent actions of some members of their profession.

Those who profit from scare tactics regarding melanoma I call The Powers of Darkness. They have frightened us away from the sunlight, or as Dr. Michael Holick (an honest dermatologist) says, “scared the daylights out of us to scare us out of the daylight.” The consequence is widespread vitamin D deficiency that has led to millions of cases of death and disability. Dr. Arthur Rhodes, a dermatologist, wrote in a 2003 editorial for an independent dermatology newspaper[2] that melanoma’s public message—that sunlight was the sole cause of melanoma—was causing death among patients and medical professionals alike. In it he suggested that many people were not taking care of melanomas that occurred in areas of little or no sunlight exposure; this was because they assumed that only sunlight could cause melanoma. The following are some of the examples that he gathered from his experience with this most deadly of skin cancers:

1. A dermatology trainee died of melanoma at age 28. He watched a mole change in his armpit for years, but because that area never received UV light, he assumed it was not melanoma and delayed seeking help. 2. A 40-year-old woman had a sore on the bottom of her heel and believing only sunlight caused melanoma, she had no idea that it was melanoma. She died three years later. 3. A Harvard-trained lung specialist ignored a sore on his upper back. He and his fiancée, a Harvard-trained pediatric resident, observed the change for several years without having it examined. They didn’t know that melanoma could occur in an area that never received sunlight. He died six months after diagnosis at age 29.

Here is a quote from this enlightened dermatologist: “If a medical resident can misinterpret public health messages about sun exposure and melanoma, and two Harvard-trained physicians were ignorant about the most important risk factors for developing melanoma, then the general public will tend to make the same potentially fatal mistakes. Those mistakes lead to delayed diagnosis of this potentially lethal cancer—particularly when we pound out the message that the culprit in melanoma is sun, sun, sun, and we are not sufficiently emphasizing the most important risk factors for developing melanoma.”

Dr. Rhodes states that “melanoma is a heterogeneous disease with multiple causes, arising from potential precursor moles that have little or nothing to do with sun exposure [emphasis mine], including dysplastic nevi, congenital nevi, and abnormal moles on acral surfaces and mucous membranes.”

Another celebrated dermatologist, Dr. Bernard Ackerman, wrote a meticulously documented 440 page monograph called The Sun and the “Epidemic” of Melanoma: Myth on Myth.[3] In it he presents nearly every piece of research regarding sunlight and melanoma up until 2008, and concludes that the purported “epidemic” of sunlight-caused melanoma is a myth.

I agree with these dermatologists. The “epidemic” of melanoma is a myth, and dermatologists themselves are paying a price. Their own sunlight avoidance is causing widespread vitamin D deficiency among members of their profession. Australian dermatologists, while living in one of the sunniest areas of the world, have an average blood-vitamin D level of only 13 ng/ml—a level considered to be severely deficient.[4] At least this group is following their own advice to avoid the sun. As you will see, not all dermatologists are following their own advice—especially those in the USA.

There are still other dermatologists who refuse to sing in the official choir of the Powers of Darkness. Writing in the British Medical Journal in 2008, Dr. Sam Shuster argued that the purported increase in melanoma is not really an increase at all, but an artifact due to non-melanoma lesions being diagnosed as melanoma.[5] In 2009, another study by dermatologists— Dr. Nick Levell and his colleagues, including Shuster—this time published by the British Journal of Dermatology, came to a similar conclusion and called the “increase” in melanoma a “midsummer night’s dream.”[6] They concluded, after tracking the reported increase in Melanoma in the Eastern region of the UK between 1991 and 2004, that benign lesions were being classified in increasing numbers as stage-one melanoma. No other stages of the disease increased, and the increase in mortality due to melanoma was either miniscule or non-existent. This was true even though all grades of tumors were diagnosed at first presentation. They also noted that “the distribution of the lesions reported did not correspond to the sites of lesions caused by solar exposure,”—in other words, the “cancers” were occurring on areas of the body seldom exposed to sunlight. Levell and his group also say that “the large increase in reported incidence is likely to be due to diagnostic drift which classifies benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma.”

They further stated that “These findings inevitably challenge the validity of epidemiology studies linking increasing melanoma incidence with UV radiation, and suggest the need for a search for other ways in which the disease may be caused.”

Dr. Ackerman agreed. In his meticulously documented monograph, he notes that “researchers have created an epidemic of melanoma when, in fact, the only change has been an “epidemic” in diagnoses of melanoma.”

Notwithstanding the research presented by these dermatologists, the American Academy of Dermatology (AADA) and other melanoma organizations continue to spread misinformation regarding the disease. Dr. William James, president of the AAD has said that melanoma has become the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old, testifying to that statement before the FDA.[7] Yet, he did not mention data from the National Cancer Institute indicating that death due to melanoma has decreased by 50% among women of ages 20-49 since 1975.[8] That means young women have less than one chance in 100,000 of dying from melanoma, which does not even place it in the top 15 causes of cancer death.[9] And, the American Cancer Society states that “since 2000 melanoma has been decreasing rapidly in whites younger than 50, by 3% per year in men since 1991 and by 2.3% per year since 1995 in women.” We might ask why these figures are not included in the statements by dermatologists regarding the “epidemic” of melanoma. Could it be because of a cozy financial relationship with pharmaceutical companies that produce sunscreen?[10]

Harmon Leon gave another reason to question the “epidemic” of melanoma: The USA has 4.5% of the world’s population, yet has 52% of the world’s melanoma. The American Cancer Society estimates 68,720 new melanomas in the US during 2009,[11] whereas the World Health Organization estimates 132,000 new cases yearly worldwide.[12] Something is very strange here. It certainly seems that the exceptionally high melanoma figures in the USA might be doctored to produce sunscreen sales, dermatology visits and the removal of benign leisions. If you want to read about how this is done, click on this link. http://www.cnbc.com/id/27087326 In addition, Dr. Ackerman points out the following in his monograph:

1. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society sold their seals of recognition to manufacturers of sunscreens, based on research conducted solely by the sunscreen industry. The price, he says, was “substantial in terms of dollars but incalculable in terms of honor.” For instance, for an application of $10,000 and an annual fee of 5,000, sunscreen manufacturers may boast approval of their products in the form of the “Seal of Recognition” of the American Academy of Dermatology. They then display this seal on the front of their tubes. The American Cancer Society allows its logo to be placed on tubes of Neutrogena sunscreens in exchange for $300,000 annually. 2. In 2007, the year in which the Seal of Recognition program for the AAD was implemented, the past president of the board, who chaired the Seal program, and half the members of the board had financial ties to companies that manufacture sunscreen. And in 2008, all four new members of the board had those ties. 3. Darrell Rigel, a former president of the AAD, affirmed how important it was to avoid the sun while he, himself, was on vacation in Hawaii. 4. The AAD ran announcements for and updates on their scientific meetings, stating that they took place in “Sunny San Diego” and “Sunny San Antonio.” [Aren’t they supposed to avoid the sunlight?]

We now have two possibilities (see parts 1 and 2 of this post). (1.) Either melanoma has increased exponentially while sunlight exposure dramatically decreased or (2.) There has been no increase in melanoma; the purported increase is nothing more than an increase in the number of harmless skin spots that are being diagnosed as melanoma by an increasing number of dermatologists. In either case, the idea that regular, non-burning sunlight exposure is the cause of melanoma is a fraud—an idea promulgated by dermatological academies, sunscreen manufacturers and melanoma foundations driven by the desire for profit.

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harmon-leon/is-profit-behind-dermatol_b_64… [2] Rhodes, A. Melanoma’s Public Message. Skin & Allergy News 2003;34 (4):1-4 [3] Ackerman, B. The Sun and the “Epidemic” of Melanoma: Myth on Myth. Ardor Scribendi, New York 2008. [4] D. Czarnecki, C. J. Meehan and F. Bruce. The vitamin D status of Australian dermatologists. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 2009;34, 624–25. [5] Shuster, S. Is sun exposure a major cause of melanoma? No. BMJ 2008;337:a764 [6] N.J. Levell, C.C. Beattie, S. Shuster and D.C. Greenberg. Melanoma epidemic: a midsummer night’s dream? British J Dermatol 2009;161:630–34 [7] http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-academy-of-dermatology-… [8] Age-adjusted mortality rates by Cancer site, Ages 20-49, White, Female 1975-2007. National Center for Health Statistics, Center for Disease Control, April 10, 2010. National Cancer institute. [9] http://caonline.amcancersoc.org/cgi/content/full/59/4/225/TBL6 [10] http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb4393/is_3_39/ai_n29418761/ [11] American Cancer Society Cancer reference Information 2009. http://nccu.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_1X_What_are_the_key_s… [12] http://www.who.int/uv/faq/skincancer/en/index1.html

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Exposing the Sunlight/Melanoma Fraud: Part 1

For the purposes of this article, we discuss regular, non-burning exposure to sunlight–the type of sunlight that slowly produces a tan–and the type of sunlight exposure that can save your life. Never, ever burn yourself in the sunlight. See your medical professional before making any changes in your sunlight habits. Is melanoma caused by regular sunlight exposure, or are we being defrauded?

The Melanoma International Foundation (MIF), is one the Powers of Darkness–organizations that would have us all become vitamin D deficient and ill by avoiding the healing sun.[1] They, like many other sun phobes, believe that sunlight should be shunned as a detriment to human health and that “90% or more of melanoma is caused by ultraviolet radiation either from the sun or tanning salons.”[1] The MIF states that “Melanoma is epidemic: rising faster than any other cancer and projected to affect one person in 50 by 2010, currently it affects 1 in 75. In 1935, only one in 1,500 was struck by the disease.” In other words, they say there has been a 3,000% increase in melanoma since 1935. If true, then their statement that sunlight is the cause of melanoma flies in the face of reason. Consider the following:

1. If melanoma has indeed increased exponentially since 1935, and that increase is due to sunlight exposure, then sunlight exposure must also have shown a parallel or at least significant increase in that time. To determine whether that has happened, I analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) to determine if there was an increase or decrease in human sunlight exposure during the years from 1910 to 2,000.[2] I paid special attention to the changes since 1935, the year the MIF used as a baseline for measuring increases in melanoma incidence. The data showed that indoor occupations grew from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment between 1910 and 2000, and that during the same period, the outdoor occupation of farming declined from 33% to 1.2% of total employment, a 96% reduction. The data also show that approximately 66% of the decline in the occupation of farmers and 50% of the decline in the occupation of farm laborers occurred after 1935.

Further information from the EPA determined that as of 1986, about 5 percent of adult men worked mostly outdoors, and that about 10 percent worked outside part of the time. The proportion of women who worked outside was thought to be lower. [3] This material demonstrates a dramatic shift from outdoor, sunlight-exposed activity to indoor, non-sunlight-exposed activity during the 20th Century, including 1935, the MIF-baseline year. According to these facts, if there is a relationship between sunlight exposure and melanoma, the relationship is inverse—the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma.

It has been theorized that the answer to the statement above, is that a decreasing thickness of the ozone layer (allowing more intense sunlight exposure) is responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. However, research by Moan and Dahlback in Norway reported that yearly melanoma incidence increased 350% in men and 440% in women between 1957 and 1984—a period when there was absolutely no thinning of the ozone layer.[4] 2. If melanoma is increasing due to increased exposure to sunlight, it is clear that outdoor workers, being exposed to far more sunlight, would also have far more melanoma. Nevertheless, Godar, et al.[5] present evidence that outdoor workers, while receiving 3-9 times the UVR exposure as indoor workers,[6] [7] have had no increase in melanoma since before 1940, whereas melanoma incidence in indoor workers has increased steadily and exponentially. Many other studies corroborate the Godar findings that outdoor workers have fewer melanomas than indoor workers.[8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23]

I repeat: the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma. 3. If sunlight exposure is the reason for the increase in melanoma, we would expect that areas of the body that receive the most exposure would also be the areas of greatest occurrence of the disease. This is not the case. Research by Garland, et al.,[24] assessing the incidence of melanoma occurring at various body sites, found higher rates on the trunk (seldom exposed to sunlight) than on the head and arms (commonly exposed to sunlight). Others have shown that melanoma in women occur primarily on the upper legs, and in men more frequently on the back—areas of little sunlight exposure.[25] In African Americans, melanoma is more common on the soles of the feet and on the lower legs, where exposure to sunlight is almost non-existent.[26]

Again: the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma. How, then can sunlight cause melanoma? Keep in mind that sunscreen use has increased dramatically in the last four decades, paralleling the increase in melanoma. Sunscreens are meant to block sunlight, no? This is one more indication that melanoma risk is increased by sunlight deficiency. 4. A question: If melanoma is caused by sunlight exposure, why do melanomas occur on areas that seldom or never receive sunlight exposure—areas such as inside the mouth,[27] on sexual organs[28] and armpits?[29]

Mull over this information and you will see that the promoting of sunlight as the cause of melanoma is the promoting of a fraud—a fraud that is creating death and destruction due to vitamin D deficiency, which correlates to more than 100 serious diseases and disorders (see my book for documentation). The Powers of Darkness will continue spreading falsehoods about sunlight and melanoma until the truth is brought forth. Join the sunshine movement and help to spread truth and light. And remember: when you enjoy the sunlight, be sure never to burn. Be sure to look for Part 2 in my next blog. Perhaps the biggest fraud of all is that some dermatologists are diagnosing harmless skin spots as melanoma–a means to defraud insurance companies and increase profits. We will also show that melanoma incidence may not be increasing at all. Stay tuned. The next blog will provide information from enlightened dermatologists who believe that their own profession is misleading the public!

 


[1] Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma.
[2] Ian D. Wyatt and Daniel E. Hecker. Occupational changes in the 20th century. Monthly Labor Review, March 2006 pp 35-57: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics
[3] U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Catching Our Breath: Next Steps for Reducing Urban Ozone, OTA-O-412 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 1989).
[4] J. Moan and A. Dahlback. The relationship between skin cancers, solar radiation and ozone depletion. Br J Cancer 1992; 65: 916–21
[5] Godar DE, Landry RJ, Lucas AD. Increased UVA exposures and decreased cutaneous Vitamin D3 levels may be responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. Med hypothesis (2009), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2008.09.056
[6] Godar D. UV doses worldwide. Photochem Photobiol 2005;81:736–49.
[7] Thieden E, Philipsen PA, Sandby-Møller J, Wulf HC. UV radiation exposure related to age, sex, occupation, and sun behavior based on time-stamped personal dosimeter readings. Arch Dermatol 2004;140:197–203.
[8] Lee J. Melanoma and exposure to sunlight. Epidemiol Rev 1982;4:110–36.
[9] Vågero D, Ringbäck G, Kiviranta H. Melanoma and other tumors of the skin among office, other indoor and outdoor workers in Sweden 1961–1979 Brit J Cancer 1986;53:507–12.
[10] Kennedy C, Bajdik CD, Willemze R, De Gruijl FR, Bouwes Bavinck JN; Leiden Skin Cancer Study. The influence of painful sunburns and lifetime sun exposure on the risk of actinic keratoses, seborrheic warts, melanocytic nevi, atypical nevi, and skin cancer. Invest Dermatol 2003;120:1087–93.
[11] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.
[12] Kaskel P, Sander S, Kron M, Kind P, Peter RU, Krähn G. Outdoor activities in childhood: a protective factor for cutaneous melanoma? Results of a case-control study in 271 matched pairs. Br J Dermatol 2001;145:602-09.
[13] Garsaud P, Boisseau-Garsaud AM, Ossondo M, Azaloux H, Escanmant P, Le Mab G. Epidemiology of cutaneous melanoma in the French West Indies (Martinique). Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:66-8.
[14] Le Marchand l, Saltzman S, Hankin JH, Wilkens LR, Franke SJM, Kolonel N. Sun exposure, diet and melanoma in Hawaii Caucasians. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:232-45.
[15] Armstong K, Kricker A. The epidemiology of UV induced skin cancer. J Photochem Biol 2001;63:8-18
[16] Crombie IK. Distribution of malignant melanoma on the body surface. Br J Cancer 1981;43:842-9.
[17] Crombie IK. Variation of melanoma incidence with latitude in North America and Europe. Br J Cancer 1979;40:774-81.
[18]Weinstock MA, Colditz,BA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. Bronstein, BR, Speizer FE. Nonfamilial cutaneous melanoma incidence in women associated with sun exposure before 20 years of age. Pediatrics 1989;84:199-204.
[19] Tucker MA, Goldstein AM. Melanoma etiology: where are we? Oncogene 20f03;22:3042-52.
[20] Berwick M, Armstrong BK, Ben-Porat L, Fine J, Kricker A, Eberle C. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Nat Cancer Inst 2005;97:95-199.
[21] Veierød MB, Weiderpass E, Thörn M, Hansson J, Lund E, Armstrong B. A prospective study of pigmentation, sun exposure, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1530-8.
[22] Oliveria SA, Saraiya M, Geller AC, Heneghan MK, Jorgensen C. Sun exposure and risk of melanoma. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:131-8.
[23] Elwood JM, Gallagher RP, Hill GB, Pearson JCG. Cutaneous melanoma in relation to intermittent and constant sun exposure—the western Canada melanoma study. Int J Cancer 2006;35:427-33
[24] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.
[25] Rivers, J. Is there more than one road to melanoma? Lancet 2004;363:728-30.
[26] Crombie, I. Racial differences in melanoma incidence. Br J Cancer 1979;40:185-93.
[27] Burgess, A. et al. Parotidectomy: preoperative investigations and outcomes in a single surgeon practice. ANZ J Surg 2008 Sep;78(9):791-3.
[28] Ribé, A Melanocytic lesions of the genital area with attention given to atypical genital nevi. J Cutan Pathol. 2008 Nov;35 Suppl 2:24-7.
[29] Rhodes, A. Melanoma’s Public Message. Guest editorial, Skin and Allergy News 2003;34 – See more at: http://www.sunlightinstitute.org/exposing-sunlightmelanoma-fraud-part-1#sthash.tMzz9z1n.dpuf

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Low Vitamin D Levels ‘Linked to Parkinson’s Disease’

Their study of 3,000 people, published in Archives of Neurology, found people with the lowest levels of the sunshine vitamin had a three-fold higher risk.

Vitamin D could be helping to protect the nerve cells gradually lost by people with the disease, experts say.

The charity Parkinson’s UK said further research was required.

Parkinson’s disease affects several parts of the brain, leading to symptoms like tremor and slow movements.

30-year study

The researchers from Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare measured vitamin D levels from the study group between 1978 and 1980, using blood samples.

They then followed these people over 30 years to see whether they developed Parkinson’s disease.

They found that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s, compared with the group with the highest levels of vitamin D.

Most vitamin D is made by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, although some comes from foods like oily fish, milk or cereals.

As people age, however, their skin becomes less able to produce vitamin D.

Doctors have known for many years that vitamin D helps calcium uptake and bone formation.

But research is now showing that it also plays a role in regulating the immune system, as well as in the development of the nervous system.

Vitamin target

Writing in an editorial in the US journal Archives of Neurology, Marian Evatt, assistant professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, says that health authorities should consider raising the target vitamin D level.

“At this point, 30 nanograms per millilitre of blood or more appears optimal for bone health in humans.

“However, researchers don’t yet know what level is optimal for brain health or at what point vitamin D becomes toxic for humans, and this is a topic that deserves close examination.”

Dr Kieran Breen, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “The study provides further clues about the potential environmental factors that may influence or protect against the progression of Parkinson’s.

“A balanced healthy diet should provide the recommended levels of vitamin D.

“Further research is required to find out whether taking a dietary supplement, or increased exposure to sunlight, may have an effect on Parkinson’s, and at what stage these would be most beneficial.”

Link: http://bbc.in/amEuoQ

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The Sunlight-Avoidance Insanity is Causing Severe Vitamin D Deficiency

Due to fear of melanoma, a deadly disease that has been erroneously attributed to sunlight exposure, the people are leaving the sunlight and becoming more like cave dwellers. For those of you who believe in evolution, can you imagine that after millions of years under the sun, human beings have been frightened away from their heritage?

There is an inconvenient truth about melanoma that the Powers of Darkness (those who would take away our sunlight) would prefer you not know: people who work regularly outdoors have a lower risk of melanoma than those who work indoors.

Godar, et al.[1] present evidence that outdoor workers, while receiving 3-9 times the UVR exposure as indoor workers,[2] [3] have had no increase in melanoma since before 1940, whereas melanoma incidence in indoor workers has increased steadily and exponentially. Other research corroborates the idea that outdoor workers have fewer melanomas than indoor workers.[4] Vagero, et al.[5] showed that melanomas were less common among indoor office workers and other indoor workers than among outdoor workers, and Kennedy, et al.[6] showed that a lifetime of sunlight exposure correlated to a reduced risk of melanoma. Garland, et al.[7] showed that those who worked indoors had a 50% greater risk of melanoma than those who worked both indoors and outdoors, and Kaskel, et al.[8] demonstrated that children who engage in outdoor activities are less likely to develop melanoma than those who do not. Many other papers in the scientific literature show that both incidence and death rate from melanoma are reduced with increasing exposure to sunlight.[9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

This is not to say that sunburn does not contribute to melanoma, but it certainly shows that habitual, non-burning sun exposure correlates to a reduced risk of this deadly disease. In addition, there are approximately 105 additional diseases that are reduced among those who have higher sunlight exposure and therefore have higher levels of vitamin D (see my book for a discussion on each disease). We cannot live without vitamin D, which is not a vitamin at all, but in its most active form is a potent steroid hormone that controls at least 1,000 genes.[20] It is also important to understand that 90% of all vitamin D is produced in the skin by the action of sunlight on skin.[21]

However, blood levels of this important hormone are dropping precipitously in the American population, with a near doubling of the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency that existed 10 years ago, and with 90% of Blacks, Hispanics and Asians, and 75% of the white population now suffering from the disorder.[22]

So what does this mean to the health of US citizens? I have calculated in a manuscript currently in preparation, that the diseases that correlate to sunlight deprivation/vitamin D deficiency kill approximately 1.42 million people per year in the US. Diseases that correlate to sunlight exposure kill approximately 1,500 people per year. That produces a ratio of about 948:1. I will continue with my mid-day sunbathing, thank you!

Remember that no one is advising the injudicious use of sunlight; baking in the sun for hours is neither necessary nor desirable, but regular sunlight exposure is a sine qua non for vibrant health. To say that we should avoid sunlight is like saying we should avoid water. Water correlates to drowning, but no one asks us to avoid water; if we did the results would be catastrophic, as are the results of vitamin D deficiency due to sunlight deprivation.

Of course, there are some extremely rare conditions that may preclude sunlight exposure. Check with your (enlightened) physician.

Is it time to return to reasonable, habitual, non-burning sunlight exposure? It could save your life!

[1] Godar DE, Landry RJ, Lucas AD. Increased UVA exposures and decreased cutaneous Vitamin D3 levels may be responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. Med hypothesis (2009), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2008.09.056
[2] Godar D. UV doses worldwide. Photochem Photobiol 2005;81:736–49.
[3] Thieden E, Philipsen PA, Sandby-Møller J, Wulf HC. UV radiation exposure related to age, sex, occupation, and sun behavior based on time-stamped personal dosimeter readings. Arch Dermatol 2004;140:197–203.
[4] Lee J. Melanoma and exposure to sunlight. Epidemiol Rev 1982;4:110–36.
[5] Vågero D, Ringbäck G, Kiviranta H. Melanoma and other tumors of the skin among office, other indoor and outdoor workers in Sweden 1961–1979 Brit J Cancer 1986;53:507–12.
[6] Kennedy C, Bajdik CD, Willemze R, De Gruijl FR, Bouwes Bavinck JN; Leiden Skin Cancer Study. The influence of painful sunburns and lifetime sun exposure on the risk of actinic keratoses, seborrheic warts, melanocytic nevi, atypical nevi, and skin cancer. Invest Dermatol 2003;120:1087–93.
[7] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.
[8] Kaskel P, Sander S, Kron M, Kind P, Peter RU, Krähn G. Outdoor activities in childhood: a protective factor for cutaneous melanoma? Results of a case-control study in 271 matched pairs. Br J Dermatol 2001;145:602-09.
[9] Garsaud P, Boisseau-Garsaud AM, Ossondo M, Azaloux H, Escanmant P, Le Mab G. Epidemiology of cutaneous melanoma in the French West Indies (Martinique). Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:66-8.
[10] Le Marchand l, Saltzman S, Hankin JH, Wilkens LR, Franke SJM, Kolonel N. Sun exposure, diet and melanoma in Hawaii Caucasians. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:232-45.
[11] Armstong K, Kricker A. The epidemiology of UV induced skin cancer. J Photochem Biol 2001;63:8-18
[12] Crombie IK. Distribution of malignant melanoma on the body surface. Br J Cancer 1981;43:842-9.
[13] Crombie IK. Variation of melanoma incidence with latitude in North America and Europe. Br J Cancer 1979;40:774-81.
[14]Weinstock MA, Colditz,BA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. Bronstein, BR, Speizer FE. Nonfamilial cutaneous melanoma incidence in women associated with sun exposure before 20 years of age. Pediatrics 1989;84:199-204.
[15] Tucker MA, Goldstein AM. Melanoma etiology: where are we? Oncogene 20f03;22:3042-52.
[16] Berwick M, Armstrong BK, Ben-Porat L, Fine J, Kricker A, Eberle C. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Nat Cancer Inst 2005;97:95-199.
[17] Veierød MB, Weiderpass E, Thörn M, Hansson J, Lund E, Armstrong B. A prospective study of pigmentation, sun exposure, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1530-8.
[18] Oliveria SA, Saraiya M, Geller AC, Heneghan MK, Jorgensen C. Sun exposure and risk of melanoma. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:131-8.
[19] Elwood JM, Gallagher RP, Hill GB, Pearson JCG. Cutaneous melanoma in relation to intermittent and constant sun exposure—the western Canada melanoma study. Int J Cancer 2006;35:427-33
[20] Luz E. Tavera-Mendoza and John H. White. Cell Defenses and the Sunshine Vitamin. Scientific American 2007;November, p.42.
[21] Reichrath J. The challenge resulting from positive and negative effects of sunlight: 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.
[22] Adams, J and Hewison, M. Update in Vitamin D. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2010;95: 471–478.

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About The Sunlight Institute

Sunshine is free. No one sells it. It has neither a marketing team nor an advocate to defend it against the lies and the all-out assault by those who make billions of dollars annually preaching an over-the-top message of “Sun Scare” instead of teaching a balanced message of proper sun care.

There is no doubt that the benefits of regular sun exposure — highlighted by, but not limited to, vitamin D production — are among the most under-appreciated of all preventive health measures available to us today. And yet, 3 out of 4 Americans are Vitamin D deficient. This misguided epidemic is not only harming us physically and mentally, it’s costing the very health care system that sustains us billions of dollars each year.

That’s why I’ve started the Sunlight Institute —to shed some light on what should be blatantly obvious to us all. Sunshine is natural and intended. Neither our planet nor we could live without it. That message needs to get out. But it’s not enough, we also need to bring to light the issues, organizations, and individuals who are keeping us in the dark, while we advocate for change.

The mission of the Sunlight Institute is fourfold:

Enlighten the public on the benefits of sunlight.

Expose those who promote academic omissions about UV light, the financial motivations of those who block the right message and the real costs of sunlight deprivation to society.

Advocate for the sun and consumer health through public outreach, letters to lawmakers, and requests for additional vital research on vitamin D.

Unite our communities to “spread the sunshine” and the truth about the critical health benefits of sunlight, and celebrate those who at the forefront of the fight.

Consider: if a pharmaceutical company could patent sunshine, the marketing of UV science as we know it would be completely different. It’s time for us to step back into the light, instead of cowering from the sun as we and the public have so often been told.

I’m asking you to join me in the Sunlight Institute as we strive to enlighten our fellow colleagues, researchers, legislators, the media, and health consumers everywhere about the positive benefits of sunlight. With your help, I know we can save hundreds of thousands of lives each year as we strive to eradicate vitamin D deficiency.

I look forward to your ongoing support.

Sincerely,

Marc Sorenson, EdD.
Founder, Sunlight Institute

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