Tag Archives: breast cancer

Disrupted Circadian Rhythms predict Breast Cancer and other diseases. Can we reverse disrupted Rhythms by Camping regularly?

Benefits of sun exposure, by Marc Sorenson, EdD…

Interesting research regarding the critical necessity of sun exposure continues to mount.

There is no doubt that lack of sun exposure leads to disease, and a major factor in that scenario is a disrupted circadian rhythm. Researchers have stated that “Exposure to sunlight during the day, and darkness at night, optimally entrains biological rhythms to promote homeostasis and human health. Unfortunately, a major consequence of the modern lifestyle is increased exposure to sun-free environments during the day and artificial lighting at night.”[1] Night-shift work is one of the worst contributors to the disruption of our natural biological rhythms, also known as circadian rhythms, and it certainly defines the sun-free environment discussed. There is a strong association of night-shift work to many diseases, but one of the most prevalent of these is breast cancer.

So what is natural and good for the health? Researchers have shown that a disrupted circadian rhythm can be reprogrammed, or “entrained” by exposure to a natural summer, meaning a cycle of 14 hours, 40 minutes of summer light, to 9 hours, 20 minutes of darkness.[2]  The authors state that this “light-dark cycle programs the human circadian clock to solar time, such that the internal biological night begins near sunset and ends near sunrise.”

Such a cycle would certainly seems natural for humans who were raised on ranches or farms where the day’s activities begins early in the morning sunlight and usually end near sunset. I know, because that pattern described my youth. For primitive peoples, that cycle was probably a necessity to gather the food necessary for survival. It is now ingrained in to our DNA, and disruption leads to disease.

So how are circadian rhythms reset to help our health? According to the aforementioned research (footnote 2), it can be accomplished by either a week of natural light exposure, or a weekend spent camping in nature. I am a camper, and I know that when the sun goes down, I am ready to sleep, and when the sun rises the next morning, I’m ready to start my day’s adventures.

The message here is that daytime should be spent outside in natural light. This will probably reduce the risk of many diseases, including breast cancer. It is also imperative that our skin receives its sun exposure to produce vitamin D and other healthful photoproducts. In addition being outside in the sun will increase our production of serotonin and enhance our moods.

Safely embrace the sun and save your life! Be sure not to burn.

[1] Ball L, Palesh, O, Kriegsfeld L. The Pathophysiologic Role of Disrupted Circadian and Neuroendocrine Rhythms in Breast Carcinogenesis. Endocr Rev. 2016 Oct;37(5):450-466.

[2] Stothard ER, McHill AW, Depner CM, Birks BR, Moehlman TM, Ritchie HK, Guzzetti JR, et al.

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More Truth about Sun Exposure

By Marc Sorenson, EdD… Sun exposure benefits…

A very important paper regarding the necessity for sun exposure has recently been published by the journal Medical Hypothesis.[1] It is entitled Regular sun exposure benefits health, and it discusses the pros and cons of sun exposure. One of the salient statements in the paper is that intermittent sun exposure may increase the risk of skin cancer, whereas regular exposure to sunlight might benefit health. For those of us who have for years studied the beneficial effects of sun exposure, the use of the word “might” is the only drawback to the statement. There is no doubt that for the majority of the population, regular sun exposure absolutely protects and enhances health.

Among the diseases mentioned as being reduced or prevented by regular sun exposure are the following:

  1. Cancers: Colon, breast, prostate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  2. Multiple sclerosis
  3. Hypertension
  4. Diabetes

As the authors mention, most of these positive effects of sun exposure were previously ascribed to Vitamin D, but they point out that immune system function is enhanced by sun exposure beyond the effects of vitamin D, and list other non-vitamin D benefits of the sun, including:

  1. Production of nitric oxide
  2. Production of melatonin
  3. Production of serotonin
  4. Regulation of the circadian clock

I have discussed most of these items on the Sunlight Institute web site, but it was good to see new research that, in particular, separated the health benefits of sun exposure from vitamin D production. The idea that has become popularized during the past decade, that all benefits of sun exposure come from increased vitamin D production, is simply not true and can lead to the supplementation of vitamin D as a “cure” for diseases that may not be influenced by that hormone.

Of course, vitamin D is an exceptionally important photoproduct, and the only natural way to attain it is by exposure to the sun or to other sources of UVB light (such as a sunlamp or a tanning bed). The beauty of using these sources, rather than a vitamin-D capsule, is that all of the benefits of nitric oxide, melatonin, serotonin and circadian entrainment are included in the package.

Safely enjoy the sun, and you then will also safely enjoy better health. Remember not to burn, and to gradually develop a good tan.

[1]  van der Rhee H, de Vries, E, Coebergh, J. Regular sun exposure benefits health. Medical Hypotheses 97 (2016) 34–37

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Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC), other Cancers and Sun Exposure. What is the Truth?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…

A 2016 paper in the British Journal of Dermatology showed that NMSC (also known as common skin cancer) had a positive association with cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer and lymphoma.[1] Since NMSC is also associated with increased sun exposure, one might be inclined to say that these cancers are caused by such exposure. This is troubling, as many research papers have showed a reduced risk of most internal cancer with greater sun exposure. For example, breast cancer was the second type of cancer for which an inverse correlation between mortality rates and sun exposure was identified in the United States.[2] And, when assessing sun-exposure habits in a study of 5,000 women, scientists determined that those who lived in the sunniest areas, and who also had the highest sun exposure, had a 33% reduction in breast cancer rates compared to those who had the least exposure.[3] A subsequent study by the same group found “that a high sun exposure index was associated with reduced risk of advanced breast cancer among women with light skin pigmentation.”[4] The reduced risk was 47%. Numerous additional studies have demonstrated a reduction of the risk breast cancer among women who are regularly exposed to the sun. A discussion or these studies will me available in the book, Embrace the Sun, which should be available before the end of the 2016.

As for lung cancer, a geographical study in China demonstrated that lung cancer mortality showed a strong inverse correlation of risk with sun exposure, with an estimated 12% fall per each 10 milliwatts per meter squared per nanometer (a measurement of sun intensity) increase in UVB irradiance (sun exposure) even if adjusted for smoking.[5]

Now let’s consider lymphoma. The most recent research shows that there is an inverse correlation between Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and the highest vs. lowest lifetime, childhood and adulthood factors: sun exposure, sun-lamp exposure, and sunburn. [1] The pooled analysis showed an odds ratio of .56, or in other words, a 44% reduced risk of contracting the disease.[6] Two items particularly stand out in this research: (1) Sun-lamp use correlated to a reduced risk of the disease—a positive result for the much maligned tanning industry—and (2) sunburn also correlated to a reduced risk. Of course, no one would recommend sun-burning—it simply serves a surrogate measurement for a high degree of sun exposure. Sun exposure can easily be used in high quantities—without burning—by moving out of the sun when the skin begins to redden, and then coming back later, after the skin has adjusted and started to tan.

Therefore, there is an interesting dichotomy between the idea that sun exposure may contribute to the three mentioned cancers, and the fact that all of these cancers have been shown to associate with low sun exposure, and be protected against by higher sun exposure.

So what is the answer? Dr. Bill Grant has found it. When people contract NMSC, they are advised to avoid the sun, thus setting themselves up for increased cancer risk.[7] Thanks again to Dr. Grant for his immediate solution to this dilemma.

There is more than sufficient research to show conclusively that most major cancers are prevented by plenty of sun exposure. Don’t be misled. Be sure to obtain some safe sun exposure whenever possible.

[1] Ransohoff KJ, Stefanick ML, Li S, et al. Association of non-melanoma skin cancer with second non-cutaneous malignancy in the Women’s Health Initiative. Br J Dermatol. 2016 May 26. [Epub ahead of print]

[2] Garland FC, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Young JF. Geographic variation in breast cancer mortality in the United States: a hypothesis involving exposure to solar radiation. Prev Med. 1990 Nov;19(6):614-22.

[3] John EM, Schwartz GG, Dreon DM, Koo J. Vitamin D and breast cancer risk: The HANES 1 epidemiologic follow-up study, 1971-1975 to 1992.  Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 1999;8:399-406.

[4] John EM, Schwartz GG, Koo J, Wang W, Ingles SA. Sun exposure, vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms, and breast cancer risk in a multiethnic population. Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Dec 15;166(12):1409-19.

[5] Chen W, Clements M, Rahman B, Zhang S, Qiao Y, Armstrong BK. Relationship between cancer mortality/incidence and ambient ultraviolet B irradiance in China. Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Oct;21(10):1701-9.

[6] Monnereau A, Glaser SL, Schupp CW, Ekström Smedby K, de Sanjosé S, Kane E, Melbye M, Forétova L, Maynadié M, Staines A, Becker N, Nieters et al. Exposure to UV radiation and risk of Hodgkin lymphoma: a pooled analysis. Blood 2013;122(20):3492-9.

[7] Grant WB. Increased risk of non-cutaneous malignancy after diagnosis of non-melanoma skin cancer may be due to sun avoidance. Br J Dermatol. 2016 Jul 15. [Epub ahead of print].

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Sunlight suppresses Cancer: We have known for a Long Time.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD.  Sunlight Institute….

While reading one of Dr. Michael Holick’s latest publications,[1] I was intrigued that he quoted from a book published in 1915 called The Mortality from Cancer throughout the World.[2] That book stated that indoor workers had 8 times the risk of dying of cancer compared to outdoor workers. Would this old study make you want to avoid sun exposure? Not unless you have a death wish!

Then, in 1937 Dr. Sigismund Peller determined that deadly internal cancers were 40% less common among people who spent long hours in the sun.[3] A few years later Dr. Frank Apperley did research that demonstrated the following: North American death rates for major cancers among the inhabitants of cities between 30˚ and 40˚ north latitude were 85% higher than death rates among inhabitants of cities between 10˚ and 30˚; inhabitants of cities between 40˚ and 50˚ north latitude had cancer death rates 118% higher than those between 10˚ and 30˚; inhabitants between 50˚ and 60˚ had death rates from internal cancers 150% higher than those between 10˚ and 30˚.[4]

There have been myriad studies in modern times, and one of the most compelling demonstrated that among women who totally covered themselves and thereby had no sun exposure, there was a more than a 10-times increase in the risk of the breast cancer.[5] Stated in another way, that is a 1,000% increase in risk due to sun deficiency.

Do you think it is about time that we decided that sunlight is good for us? Just be sure not to burn.

[1] Holick, M. Biological Effects of Sunlight, Ultraviolet Radiation, Visible Light, Infrared Radiation and Vitamin D for Health. Anticancer Research 36: 1345-1356 (2016).

[2] Hoffman F The mortality from cancer throughout the world, Newark, N.J., The Prudential Press, 1915.

[3] Peller S. Carcinogenesis as a means of reducing cancer mortality. Lancet 1936; 2:552-56.

[4] Apperley, F.  The relation of solar radiation to cancer mortality in North America. Cancer Res 1941;1:191-95.

[5] 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.

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Two more Pieces of Research that are positive for Tanning Beds

By Marc Sorenson, EdD.   Sunlight Institute

Although I occasionally try to balance the messages about tanning beds, this blog is meant neither to discourage nor promote their use. The readers should make up their minds after weighing the evidence. In a recent blog, I mentioned some positive messages about tanning-bed use, which included the following:[1] Note: all references for the following list are found in the blog under footnote 1.

  1. Tanning-bed use is associated with a reduced risk of clots.
  2. Tanning-bed use is associated with increased vitamin D levels.
  3. Tanning-bed use is associated with stronger bones
  4. Tanning-bed use can cure psoriasis and eczema and tanning beds are often recommended by dermatologists.
  5. Tanning-bed use more than three times yearly is associated with a 40-50% reduced risk of endometrial cancer.
  6. Tanning-bed use is associated to lower breast-cancer risk.

After I posted the above information, a friend from Canada reminded me of research by Dr. Pelle Lindqvist and his colleagues, which demonstrated that both sun exposure and tanning-bed exposure reduced the risk of death during a 20-year study.[2] Women who used tanning beds were 23% less likely to die of any cause than women who did not use them.

In addition, I remembered an older study that showed that tanning beds were able to take winter vitamin D levels up to summer levels in a period of five weeks.[3]

So, along with the bad rap tanning beds are receiving, there is some good news. Who wouldn’t want to live longer in better health? Still, as with all decisions, weigh the evidence and then decide.

[1] http://sunlightinstitute.org/defending-the-sun-from-the-lies-damn-lies-duplicity-deception-death-and-disease-of-the-anti-sun-business-part-3/

[2] Lindqvist P. Epstein E, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Nielsen K, Stenbeck M, Olsson H. Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: Results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort

[3] Moan J, Lagunova Z, Cicarma E, Aksnes L, Dahlback A, Grant WB, Porojnicu AC. Sunbeds as vitamin D sources. Photochem Photobiol. 2009 Nov-Dec;85(6):1474-9.

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A Letter to a Vegan Friend with a triple compression Fracture

By Marc Sorenson, EdD.   Sunlight Institute….

I sent this letter to a good friend who just suffered a triple compression fracture while doing yoga. She is a dynamic and accomplished person who has been a competitive athlete for much of her life, and has helped many people to save their lives from various diseases through her books and lectures. Many would think her vegan lifestyle would have protected her against weak bones. However, after having a common skin cancer appear on her body, her dermatologist told her to avoid the sun. She stopped most of her sun exposure and didn’t take vitamin D. Her bones had previously been exceptionally strong for her age. Obviously, the change in sun habits had very deleterious effects, as I explained in the letter. Her name has been changed for the purpose of this blog.

Dear Barbara,
It is great to hear from you! I only wish the circumstances were better for you.
Unless you are  sunbathing regularly, the recommendation for 1,000 IU of vitamin D is woefully inadequate. For someone with weak bones, 5,000 IU would be my suggestion. Does my memory serve me right about your having a skin cancer? If you started avoiding sun exposure after that time, then that is the reason for your bone weakness. Sun exposure is the best way to obtain vitamin D and many other photoproducts such as nitric oxide and serotonin. Endorphins are also produced by sun exposure.
Women in Spain who actively seek the sun have about 9% of the risk of a fracture as women who stay indoors. Or stated another way, women who avoid the sun have 11 times the risk of fracture. And of course, the few fractures experienced by sun seekers are probably due to some traumatic incident, not weak bones. Sunning per se is far more effective than vitamin D supplementation per se for producing and maintaining strong bones. Sun exposure is also far more effective that a vegan diet, although the diet certainly reduces the risk. Nonetheless, vegans who avoid the sun, because they believe their alkaline diet will totally protect them, are setting themselves up for fractures. Athletes who believe that exercise will protect them are also making a mistake. Sun is the great bone protector.
For light-skinned Caucasians, 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure at midday, on each side of the body, will produce about 20,000 IU of vitamin D. Naked at noon is the best, if you can find a place to be private. Don’t burn as your skin becomes used to it. Remember also that melanoma, the deadly skin cancer, is about twice as common among indoor workers as outdoor workers who are habitually in the sun. Occasional blasts of sun that burn you, however, may increase the risk. Don’t burn. “Habitually” is the operative word for sunbathing.
The non-melanoma skin cancers(NMSC), aka common skin cancers, are a different story; sun exposure does increase the risk. However, these cancers are almost never fatal, and if caught early can be removed immediately. People who have high numbers of these cancers have far fewer melanomas. Also, your diet of dark greens and colorful fruits such as blackberries, raspberries, pomegranates, is protective against developing these cancers.
Remember also that sunscreens are deadly and their use is associated with an increase in melanoma. They will halt vitamin D production by about 99% in the area that is covered with them.
I would suggest that you go to my blog site, http://sunlightinstitute.org/ and search osteoporosis, bone and fracture. I wrote a short article last week on osteoporosis in sunny areas (reason: too much indoor living, and too much clothing). There are many more blogs on the site that talk about bone strength. Go to News and then use the search bar there.
Another suggestion. If you still have my book Vitamin D3 and Solar Power, read the section on bone health. There is much more information now, but the information in the book will serve as a guide.
My new book, Embrace the Sun should be available sometime this summer.
One last thought, women who totally avoid the sun are at 1,000% increased risk for breast cancer compared to women who are regularly exposed.
Sunshine and blessings,
Marc
Don’t make Barbara’s mistake. Safely soak up some midday sun and preserve your bones.

 

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Defending the Sun from the Lies, Damn Lies, Duplicity, Deception, Death and Disease of the Anti-Sun Business. Part 3: Balancing the Messages about Tanning Beds

By Marc Sorenson, EdD.  Sunlight Institute…

This Blog is meant neither to promote the use of tanning beds nor to discourage such use; rather, it is designed to balance the message. Seldom is anything positive said about tanning beds, although there is research that shows many positive benefits; such research is usually ignored because it does not conform to a preconceived notion. We therefore want to present some of that research to demonstrate that there are other opinions that provide some balance to the messages. You, the reader, can then make up your mind based on the research. Knowing the entire truth about any subject is important prior to making up one’s mind regarding that subject.

Sun exposure and tanning have been vilified by many (but not all) dermatologists. Tanning beds have been demonized to an even greater degree and are called “cancer machines” by many in the medical profession and in the popular press.  There are movements afoot to make it illegal for those under the age of 18 to even use them, which is woefully misguided and ill-advised.  Every beneficial effect of vitamin D that is produced by sun exposure is also produced by the use of high-quality tanning beds, and endorphins and nitric oxide are also produced, just as with the sun. The following is a list and discussion of tanning-bed benefits.

  1. Many so-called experts have said that tanning beds do not create higher vitamin D levels, but the research belies that falsehood. In a study that compared 50 subjects who used a tanning bed at least once weekly to 106 control subjects who did not use tanning beds, it was shown that tanning-bed users had 90% higher vitamin D levels than non-users, and they also had significantly higher bone-mineral density, indicative of stronger bones.[1] Parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were also taken and were 18% lower among the tanners. High PTH levels are often associated with weak bones and low vitamin D levels. The researchers compared dark-skinned people with Caucasians and found that tanning-bed sessions increased vitamin D levels almost identically in both ethnic groups.[2]

I am part of an email list of scientists and researchers who are intensely interested in sun research, and who share articles on sun and vitamin D. I received a most interesting email from Rufus Greenbaum, who lives in the UK and who organizes vitamin D symposiums. He recounted how he had met a man who had used tanning beds twice weekly since 1970, and who had just completed a bone densitometer test, known as a DEXA scan.  His doctor stated, “You have the strongest bones that I have ever seen.”  That news certainly came as no shock.  Conventional tanning beds produce large quantities of vitamin D in short periods of time,[3] and vitamin D is absolutely essential for optimal absorption of calcium in the gut.[4] [5]  Without calcium absorption, consuming vast quantities of calcium makes little difference to bone strength; much of the calcium will be flushed down the toilet.

  1. Tanning beds can cure psoriasis and eczema and are often recommended by dermatologists as a way to overcome these diseases. Some common-sense scientists understand that UV light is nearly 100% effective for many dermatologic conditions, and that tanning beds are very convenient sources of UV for patients who cannot otherwise afford the rigorous travel and time commitments necessary to visit the dermatologist.[6] Their investigation involved an arduous search of PubMed and Google Scholar for papers that reported on tanning beds and their salutary effects on different skin diseases.

The searches showed convincingly that tanning beds were a valid use for psoriasis, but also indicated tanning beds could be useful “as a treatment option for atopic dermatitis [eczema], mycosis fungoides, acne, scleroderma, vitiligo, and pruritus, as well as other UV sensitive dermatoses.”

The conclusion they reached was amazing, considering negative reports that are regularly touted by the press. They stated: “Unsupervised sun exposure is a standard recommendation for some patients to obtain phototherapy. Selected use of commercial tanning beds in the treatment of dermatologic conditions may be another useful and effective treatment for those patients with an inability to access office-based or home-based phototherapy.”[Italics mine]

One of the dermatologists who recommends unsupervised sun exposure as stated above is Dr. Julie Moore of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. She says that sun is one of the best ways to treat psoriasis, so she recommends that her patients “sit out on the deck and give their affected areas a good sun bath.[7]” Hallelujah! Common sense is beginning to penetrate the dermatology profession, as more dermatologists are climbing on the sun bandwagon each year.

  1. Whereas a daily 400 IU vitamin D supplement does not maintain healthful levels, tanning bed use increases vitamin D levels by 150% in only seven weeks.
  2. Tanning-bed use reduces chronic pain.[9] [10] In a study by dermatologists, using persons with fibromyalgia symptoms including pain, those who used UV-producing tanning beds experienced a decrease of .44 points on a scale of pain score when compared to those who did not receive UV light. Feelings of well-being and relaxation were also reported among the tanners.[11]
  3. Sun lamps are now being recommended for use by pregnant women who will give birth in a winter month. The recommendation is being made to protect the unborn child from osteoporosis during adulthood.[12]
  4. Research from Sweden demonstrated that women who use tanning beds more than three times yearly, had a reduced risk of endometrial cancer of 40- 50%.[13] The authors surmised that the effects observed were likely due to stimulating higher vitamin D levels in winter.
  5. Tanning-bed use reduces the risk of clots.[14] In an eleven-year study of the sun-exposure habits venous thrombotic (clotting) events of 40,000 women, it was found that women who sunbathed during the summer, on winter vacations, or when abroad, or used a tanning bed, were at 30% reduced risk of venous thrombotic events compared to those who did not. The authors again speculated that increased vitamin D, which has anticoagulant properties, resulted in these positive results.
  6. Tanning-bed use is associated to lower breast-cancer risk.[15]
  7. High quality tanning beds, because they provide UVB to both sides of the body simultaneously, stimulate the production of up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D in less than ten minutes. Ten minutes of tanning bed exposure can be done on a lunch break. That means they are more efficient than summer sun. Of course, those with darker skin will require a longer time to produce the same amount of vitamin D.
  8. It is likely that all benefits of sun can be provided by tanning beds, including increased resistance to cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, periodontitis, arthritis, infection and other maladies.
  9. Tanning beds may be used regardless of outside weather.
  10. Tanning beds may be used during “vitamin D winter.” This is especially important at higher latitudes that lack sufficient UVB from winter sun to stimulate adequate vitamin D production by the skin.    

The truth about tanning beds and melanoma

As we have shown, it is impossible to establish sun as the cause of melanoma; yet through chicanery and dishonesty, as established by Dr. Ackerman, we continue to see that the desire for profit produces chicanery, dishonesty and hypocrisy, which leads to the continuing mantra of the anti-sun movement—that melanoma is caused by our friend, the sun. That mantra is ludicrous, and the purveyors of the message are beginning to sound silly. We expect that due to the worry that the sun/melanoma message is ready to crash and burn, these same people are now attacking the tanning industry. One of the claims is that since the advent of tanning beds—in about 1970—melanoma has increased dramatically. While that is true, it has nothing to do with tanning beds. Melanoma was increasing steadily and exponentially long before tanning beds hit the scene and that rate of increase was not influenced by tanning beds. Dr. Diane Godar has produced a graph showing that tanning beds made no difference at all in the increase in melanoma. You will note that the rate of increase in melanoma is exactly the same now as it was since 1940. Dr. Godar’s graph is presented below.

                   Tanning bed and melanoma

Those who oppose the use of tanning beds can conveniently ignore the rate of increase prior to the first tanning beds to make it appear that the tanning bed is the culprit. This is intellectual dishonesty, and it reminds me of the old saying, “There are lies and damn lies, and then there are statistics.” Twisting or ignoring the facts should be criminal.

Several studies have investigated the relationship of tanning-bed use to melanoma and a review of  22 investigations done from 1979 through 2002 showed that only four indicated tanning beds increased melanoma risk; eighteen showed no association.[16] One that showed an increased melanoma risk was conducted by Dr. Philippe Autier and colleagues in Belgium in 1991.[17] However, in 2002 Dr. Autier conducted another study in which no association between tanning bed use and melanoma was found.[18]  This report stated, “No result suggested a dose-response curve, and no association was even present for subjects who reported more than 35 hours  of cumulated tanning-bed use at least 19 yrs. before the interview. Our study doesn’t support the possibility that tanning bed use could increase melanoma risk.”

I looked for other studies that might have come to contrary conclusions and found one from 2007.[19] It was a meta-analysis of 19 studies that concluded tanning beds do increase the melanoma risk.  However, when Dr. Grant assessed the meta-analysis, he noted that the studies failed to take skin type into consideration.[20]  He re-analyzed the data and determined: “These results indicate that when studies largely influenced by inclusion of people with skin phenotype 1 [light-skinned non-tanners] without adjustment for skin phenotype are removed from the meta-analysis, no significant relation is found between tanning bed use and risk of CMM [cutaneous malignant melanoma].”

Several studies between 2003 and 2008 showed mixed results. One showed no significant increase in melanoma with tanning bed use.[21]   Another study of five European countries showed that in France, where 20% of the population used tanning beds, their use was associated with a 19% increase in risk of melanoma.[22]  In Sweden, where 83% of the population used tanning beds, there was a 38% decrease in melanoma. Overall, the risk of melanoma was reduced by 10% in tanning-bed users, although individuals with fair skin and a high number of moles were at increased risk. Clearly, studies that indict tanning beds, without taking into consideration skin type are flawed, and if they do not also differentiate between tanning and burning, they are doubly flawed.

Remember that excessive ultraviolet light exposure, whether it comes from sun or tanning lamps, causes burning.  We have clearly established that burning may correlate to an increased risk of melanoma.  Unfortunately, most of the studies that associated tanning beds with increased melanoma did not control for burning.  Use of either sun exposure or tanning beds must be done prudently, so it is best to use professional tanning salons with trained personnel who assess skin type and make recommendations for the maximum time clients should tan.

Dr. Grant also reminds us that UVB is the most beneficial wavelength. UVA does have health benefits, including stimulating the production of nitric oxide, but excessive UVA is harmful in that it penetrates more deeply and generates free radicals that can lead to skin aging and DNA damage, as several studies have shown.[23] [24] [25] However, the tan produced by UVA serves as a protection against damage by further UVA. It is important to use tanning beds with outputs that mimic the midday, mid-latitude spring-and-summer UVB portion of total UV—roughly 3.5-5%. European countries limit UVB emitted from tanning beds to 1.5% of total UV radiation[26] [27]—a huge mistake. Tanning beds in the USA emit a much higher percentage of UVB, about 5% on average.[28] Prior to 1983, tanning beds used in Norway and Sweden were rich in UVB and there was no association between tanning-bed use and melanoma. Both the lamps and the acrylic sheet between the lamps and the person affect the UVB/UVA ratio; the acrylic, as it ages, decreases the UVB transmission more than UVA.

Personally, I have no qualms about using tanning beds, but I am not telling you to do the same. Read all the facts and then make up your own mind. Considering the numerous health benefits from high serum vitamin D levels and the production of endorphins, nitric oxide and other photoproducts, the slightly increased chance of rarely-fatal common skin cancer does not concern me.

A very light skin that does not tan, or a skin condition that is sensitive to UV may preclude tanning-bed use by some individuals. Those with freckles and red hair do not generally tan well, and should avoid tanning beds or limit themselves to very short exposures. In addition, it is a good idea to cover the face and genitals as those areas may be excessively sensitive to ultraviolet light. Others who may have adverse effects to tanning bed exposure are organ transplant recipients, those with many nevi (moles) or those taking photosensitive prescription drugs.[29]  If you do not know if your drug is photosensitive, ask a pharmacist. Avoid even the least amount of burning.

Finally, it is a good idea to be checked regularly by a dermatologist to assess any changes that may occur to your skin.  That advice, however, is even more important for those who do not use tanning beds or get regular sun, since more melanomas occur among those who receive little or no UVB, or in those irregularly exposed. In some cases, tanning beds may help the physical and mental health of people residing in the far north.

In one instance, tanning beds for Canadian military personnel may be essential to survival. The Canadian armed forces most remote outpost is also the northernmost community on Earth, and its purpose is to gather radio signals and other electronic intercepts from Russia and pass them to military analysts in the South.[30] The sun disappears on October 14 and does no reappear until February 28. During that time, temperatures drop to 5+ degrees below zero, and if the wind blow, the chill factor is incredibly low. The facility is build with most of the comforts of home, including gym facilities, and tanning machines that increase vitamin D levels are considered essential to life. We expect that if anyone were to try to take away those machines, it would cause an insurrection. In the previous blog, it was also mentioned that scientists have suggested the use of tanning beds for psoriasis when they were too far away from the dermatologists’ offices for a convenient visit.[31]

Tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet light can be of great value to human health if they are used safely; the same can be said about the sun.

Are phototherapy sessions in a dermatologist’s office safe?

As we have indicated, dermatologists and their organizations, with certain refreshing exceptions, promote the idea that both tanning beds and natural sun exposure are detrimental to health. Yet, thousands of dermatologists use UVR light to reduce the risk of many skin diseases. They claim that their UVR exposure is totally safe. That is an blatant example of duplicity at its worst. Recently, Dr. Anne Haas, President of the California Dermatology Society, made an egregiously false statement at a regulatory hearing regarding UVR devices, saying that whereas tanning beds were cancer causers, the UVR devices used in dermatologists’ offices had never been shown to cause any cancer problems. Watch this short video to hear her statement:

Her statement, that there is no evidence UV devices in the dermatologist’s office cause cancer, is deceitful. Here is the truth:

  1. The light used by dermatologists is the same type of light used in tanning beds.[32] [33]
  2. The use of phototherapy in the dermatologist offices definitely do lead to an increase in skin cancer.[34] And some of that skin cancer was sufficiently noteworthy that the researchers concluded their study with this warning: “A noteworthy number of NMSC were diagnosed in this Mediterranean population of patients exposed to high-dose UV treatment. A thorough risk-benefit evaluation should always be done before UV treatment and patients should be carefully monitored for skin cancer during and after treatment discontinuation.”[35]
  3. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends brief, frequent exposures of sunlight as a therapy and report that 80% of those who do it improve or totally clear psoriasis.[36]
  4. Many honest dermatologists recommend tanning-bed use to their patients to clear psoriasis. Obviously it is effective for that disease, and if phototherapy in the dermatologist’s office causes skin cancer, what seems to be the problem? Both therapies work. Why deny someone with psoriasis the benefits of a lower cost and possibly easier accessibility to treatment?[37]

So why the deception? The answer lies in money. When scientists such as those in the last quoted paper advocate tanning beds for therapy, it could cost the dermatology industry a fortune.

Your will note in the graph below that melanoma incidence has increased nearly in lockstep with the increase in the number of dermatologists. What a business! Is there any doubt why they don’t want the tanning industry absorbing the money made from their lucrative and expensive office treatments? Think about it.

Derms increasing

Now you know a few more facts about sunlight, tanning beds, health and the deception of the anti-sun groups. Let it sink in and then make your own decision abut sun or tanning bed exposure. And while you decide, please consider the calculation I’ve made in my new book to be released soon: For every death caused by diseases that associate with sun exposure, there are about 350 deaths associated with sun deprivation. Which way would you like to bet?

[1] Tangpricha V, Turner A, Spina C, Decastro S, Chen TC, Holick MF. Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher bone mineral density.  Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:1645-49.

[2] Hakim OA, Hart K, McCabe P, Berry J, Francesca R, Rhodes LE, Spyrou N, Alfuraih A, Lanham-New S. VITAMIN D PRODUCTION IN UK CAUCASIAN AND SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN FOLLOWING UVR EXPOSURE. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016 Mar 22. pii: S0960-0760(16)30072-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2016.03.025. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

[3] Grant, W.  Personal communication with the author, June, 2006

[4] Heaney RP, Dowell MS, Hale CA, Bendich A. Calcium Absorption Varies within the Reference Range for Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2003; 22: 142–146.

[5] Heaney, R.  Vitamin D and calcium interactions: functional outcomes.  Am J Clin Nutr 2008;88(suppl):541S–4S

[6] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

[7] Science News, August 6, 2013. Summer sun good for psoriasis sufferers says Gottlieb dermatologist.

[8] Holick, M. Boston University. “Effects Of Vitamin D And Skin’s Physiology Examined.” Science Daily 21 February 2008 <http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2008/02/080220161707.htm>.

[9] Kaur M, Feldman SR, Liguori A, Fleischer AB Jr. Indoor tanning relieves pain. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2005 Oct;21(5):278.

[10] Taylor SL, Kaur M, LoSicco K, Willard J, Camacho F, O’Rourke KS, Feldman SR. Pilot study of the effect of ultraviolet light on pain and mood in fibromyalgia syndrome. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Jan;15(1):15-23.

[11] No authors listed. Tanning Beds Provide Potential Pain Relief for Fibromyalgia Patients. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Press release, 2009.

[12] Bukhari, M. Quoted in London Times April 27, 2008.

[13] Epstein E, Lindqvist PG, Geppert B, Olsson H. A population-based cohort study on sun habits and endometrial cancer.  Br J Cancer. 2009 Aug 4;101(3):537-40.

[14] Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Olsson H. Does an active sun exposure habit lower the risk of venous thrombotic events? A D-lightful hypothesis. J Thromb Haemost. 2009 Apr;7(4):605-10.

[15] Yang L, Veierød MB, Löf M, Sandin S, Adami HO, Weiderpass E. Prospective study of UV exposure and cancer incidence among Swedish women. J Intern Med. 2014 Jul;276(1):77-86

[16] International Smart Tan Network 2006.  Research shows no connection between tanning and melanoma: Why this is misunderstood.

[17] Autier P1, Joarlette M, Lejeune F, Liénard D, André J, Achten G. Cutaneous malignant melanoma and exposure to sunlamps and sunbeds: a descriptive study in Belgium. Melanoma Res. 1991 Apr-May;1(1):69-74.

[18] Autier P, Tanning bed use and risk of melanoma: results from a large multicentric European study.  Poster at the XVIII International Pigment Cell conference held 9-13 September 2002 at Egmond The Netherlands.

[19] International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group on artificial ultraviolet light (UV) and skin cancer.  The association of use of tanning beds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancer: a systematic review.  Int J Cancer 2007;120:1116-22.

[20] Grant, W.  Insufficient evidence exists to link tanning bed use to risk of melanoma for other than those with skin phenotype 1. Sun, Nutrition and Health Research Center ( SUNARC).  March 9, 2007.  www. SUNARC org.

[21] Clough-Gorr KM1, Titus-Ernstoff L, Perry AE, Spencer SK, Ernstoff MS. Exposure to sunlamps, tanning beds and melanoma risk.  Cancer Causes Control. 2008 Sep;19(7):659-69.

[22] Bataille V, Boniol M, De Vries E, Severi G, Brandberg Y, Sasieni P A multicentreepidemiological study on sunbed use and cutaneous melanoma in Europe. Eur J Cancer 2005;41:2141-49.

[23]Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED. Epidemiologic evidence for different roles of ultraviolet A and B radiation in melanoma mortality rates. Ann Epidemiol. 2003;13:395-404.

[24] Moan J, Dahlback A, Setlow RB. Epidemiological support for an hypothesis for melanoma induction indicating a role for UVA radiation. Photochem Photobiol. 1999;70):243-7.

[25] Moan J, Porojnicu AC, Dahlback A, Setlow RB. Addressing the health benefits and risks, involving vitamin D or skin cancer, of increased sun exposure. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008;15;105(2):668-73.

[26] Grant, W. Insufficient evidence exists to link tanning bed use to risk of melanoma for other than those with skin phenotype 1. Sun, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC).  March 9, 2007.  www. SUNARC org.

[27] Autier P.  Perspectives in melanoma prevention: the case of tanning beds.  Eur J Cancer 2004;40:2367-76.

[28] Grant W.  Insufficient evidence exists to link tanning bed use to risk of melanoma for other than those with skin phenotype 1. Sun, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC).  March 9, 2007.  www. SUNARC org.

[29] Grant, WB.  Personal communication with author.

[30] Matthew Fisher at CFS Alert: Canada’s “frozen Chosen” at top of the world have been in the dark since Oct 14. National Post February 2, 2013.

[31] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

[32] Archier E1, Devaux S, Castela E, Gallini A, Aubin F, Le Maître M, Aractingi S, Bachelez H, Cribier B, Joly P, Jullien D, Misery L, Paul C, Ortonne JP, Richard MA. Carcinogenic risks of psoralen UV-A therapy and narrowband UV-B therapy in chronic plaque psoriasis: a systematic literature review. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2012 May;26 Suppl 3:22-31.

[33] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

[34] Egeberg A, Thyssen JP, Gislason GH, Skov L. Skin cancer in patients with psoriasis.  J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2016 Mar 2. doi: 10.1111/jdv.13619. [Epub ahead of print].

[35] Maiorino A, De Simone C, Perino F, Caldarola G, Peris K. Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in psoriatic patients treated with high-dose phototherapy. J Dermatolog Treat. 2016 Jan 28:1-5. [Epub ahead of print].

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

[37] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

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Tanning Beds stimulate the Production of Vitamin D.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD.  Sunlight Institute…

A new study indicates that tanning beds stimulate the production of vitamin D by the skin.[1] The researchers compared dark-skinned people with Caucasians and found that tanning-bed sessions increased vitamin D levels almost identically in both ethnic groups. This may not seem like news to those who have known about tanning beds and vitamin D for years, but unfortunately, there are organizations that make a concerted effort to destroy the tanning industry by spreading lies–lies that need to be exposed. One of those lies is that tanning beds do not cause an increase in vitamin D production. The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), for example, is one group that blatantly makes statements that contradict the actual research. They call the idea that tanning beds are a healthy option for boosting vitamin D levels a “myth.”[2]

The SCF must have missed an excellent study that compared 50 people, who used tanning beds regularly, with 106 who did not.  The tanning-bed group had 90% higher vitamin D levels and significantly higher bone density.[3] And, whether from vitamin D production or from some other photoproduct of UV exposure, research has shown that (a) women who use tanning beds have a reduced risk of endometrial cancer of 40-50%.[4] (b) There is a significantly lowered risk of venous thrombotic events among women who use tanning beds when compared with those who do not.[5] (c) Tanning-bed use is inversely correlated to breast-cancer risk.[6]

You can make up your own mind regarding tanning beds, but before you do, please be apprised of the truth based on research. That truth will set you free.

[1] Hakim OA, Hart K, McCabe P, Berry J, Francesca R, Rhodes LE, Spyrou N, Alfuraih A, Lanham-New S. VITAMIN D PRODUCTION IN UK CAUCASIAN AND SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN FOLLOWING UVR EXPOSURE. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016 Mar 22. pii: S0960-0760(16)30072-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2016.03.025. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

[2] http://www.skincancer.org/media-and-press/press-release-2013/vitamin-d.

[3] Tangpricha V, Turner A, Spina C, Decastro S, Chen TC, Holick MF.Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher vitamin D levels. Am J Clin Nutr 2004:80:1645-49.

[4] Epstein E, Lindqvist PG, Geppert B, Olsson H. A population-based cohort study on sun habits and endometrial cancer. Br J Cancer. 2009 Aug 4;101(3):537-40.

[5] Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Olsson H. Does an active sun exposure habit lower the risk of venous thrombotic events? A D-lightful hypothesis. J Thromb Haemost 2009;7:605-10.

[6] Yang L, Veierød MB, Löf M, Sandin S, Adami HO, Weiderpass E. Prospective study of UV exposure and cancer incidence among Swedish women.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev Published Online May 6, 2011.

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Lack of Sun Exposure is an important Factor in Premenopausal Breast Cancer

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

Case-control research from Iran indicates that lack of sun exposure is a major risk factor for breast cancer.[1] Two groups of women, one that had breast cancer (cases) and another that was normal (controls), were assessed by questionnaire regarding lifestyle choices and the risk for breast cancer. When assessing sun exposure habits, those who had the lowest level of sun exposure had nearly three times the risk of being a cancer victim as those who had the highest level.

This is the second Iranian study I am aware of that showed a remarkable difference in breast-cancer risk based on sun exposure. Another case-control study showed that women who covered themselves completely had more than 10 times the risk breast cancer compared to those who were not totally covered.[2] Of transcendent importance was the unexpected finding that vitamin D levels were nearly identical in cases as controls, meaning that the protective mechanism could not have been vitamin D. Some other factor must have protected them from the disease. We have mentioned on this blog many times that sun exposure leads to higher levels of serotonin, endorphin, nitric oxide and other potentially helpful products.

Whatever the mechanism, it seem wise to get plenty of non-burning sunlight.

[1] Salarabadi A, Bidgoli SA, Madani SH. Roles of Kermanshahi Oil, Animal Fat, Dietary and Non- Dietary Vitamin D and other Nutrients in Increased Risk of Premenopausal Breast Cancer: A Case Control Study in Kermanshah, Iran. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015;16(17):7473-8.

[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.

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Go Ahead and Soak up some Sun! So says Dr. Holick.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Go ahead and soak up some sun! So says Dr. Holick.

It is great to have Dr. Michael Holick appearing in news articles occasionally, because he helps to stop the pervasive lies that frighten the public from partaking of life-saving sun exposure. A recent article appearing in the Washington Post, and written by Dr. Holick, makes some good points that all of us should have at our fingertips when being confronted by the anti-sun militants:

  1. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends never exposing bare skin to the sun, or even on a cloudy day, without sunscreen. [How about that for insanity!]
  2. The FDA calls ultraviolet radiation a carcinogen. [ridiculous]
  3. These messages cause widespread paranoia
  4. SPF 30 sunscreens reduce vitamin D production by 97%.
  5. A lack of vitamin D is associated with increased risk for Type 1 and 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, colon and breast cancer, influenza and tuberculosis.

Much of the rest of the article concentrates on putting the lie to the nonsense about hiding ourselves from the sun, as he talks about how vital vitamin D is for cancer, diabetes and other diseases. He then discusses the best way to get sunlight exposure. This is a must read!

This is the link to the article:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/go-ahead-soak-up-some-sun/2015/07/24/00ea8a84-3189-11e5-97ae-30a30cca95d7_story.html.

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