Tag Archives: cancer

How important is sun exposure for bone strength?

Sun exposure and health… by Dr. Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute…

Lack of vitamin D, which is produced by sun exposure, leads to rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia and other bone diseases. In addition, research well after the first discovery of vitamin D has shown that vitamin D deficiency and sunlight deprivation also lead to many cancers, heart disease and multiple additional maladies. Now, as the world has modernized, the population is moving indoors, and even in the areas that are sunny throughout the year, sunlight exposure and vitamin D deficiency is increasing, both in rural and urban populations. The bones become so weakened without regular sun exposure, that the slightest movement may cause a fracture. As an example, the mother of an acquaintance of mine—a woman who avoided the sun—turned over in bed one night and broke her hip. Osteoporosis often destroys all quality or life for those who suffer it.

 

shrinking woman sun exposure

The importance of the sun in maintaining and producing strong bones has been known since antiquity. Dr. Richard Hobday, author of The Healing Sun, writes the following comments along with a history in an online article.[1] “Traditionally, sunlight deprivation has been linked with weak or brittle bones. One of the earliest references to this was made more than two thousand years ago by the Greek historian Herodotus (480-425 BC), who noted a marked difference between the remains of the Egyptian and Persian casualties at the site of battle of Pelusium which took place in 525 BC:

‘At the place where this battle was fought I saw a very odd thing, which the natives had told me about. The bones still lay there, those of the Persian dead separate from those of the Egyptian, just as they were originally divided, and I noticed that the skulls of the Persians were so thin that the merest touch with a pebble will pierce them, but those of the Egyptians, on the other hand, are so tough that it is hardly possible to break them with a blow from a stone. I was told, very credibly, that the reason was that the Egyptians shave their heads from childhood, so that the bone of the skull is indurated by the action of the sun — this is why they hardly ever go bald, baldness being rarer in Egypt than anywhere else. This, then, explains the thickness of their skulls; and the thinness of the Persian’s skulls rests upon a similar principle: namely that they have always worn felt skull -caps, to guard their heads from the sun.’

Herodotus, ‘The Histories’”

 

And here is a perhaps the transcendent study on hip fracture and sun exposure: research in Spain showed that women who were sun seekers had only about one-eleventh the risk of hip fracture as those who stayed indoors[2] (See the chart below).

 

hip fracture sun exposure

That is very powerful evidence of the efficacy of sun in preventing weak bones. In stark contrast to this research are studies done on women who completely avoid the sun and suffer from osteomalacia. Osteomalacia is a soft-bone disease known as adult rickets, resulting from severe vitamin D deficiency, which deficiency prevents bone from properly mineralizing. Women who seldom go outdoors, or who are nearly always fully covered with clothing, have an extremely high incidence of osteomalacia at a very young age, even if they live in geographical areas with abundant sunlight.[3] [4] If one is never exposed to the available sun, the sun will not be able to produce its beneficial effects on the body, so one may as well live at the North Pole.

Sunbed use also is associated with stronger bones and higher vitamin D levels. An excellent study compared 50 people who used sunbeds regularly with 106 who did not.[5] The sunbed group had 90% higher vitamin D, significantly higher bone density and lower PTH levels (high PTH levels are associated with lower bone mass). The users had healthful vitamin D levels of 46 ng/ml [115 nmol/L] compared to only 24 ng/ml [60 nmol/L] for those who did not regularly use sunbeds.

Scientists at one time believed that sunlight and vitamin D were good only for preventing rickets, osteoporosis and other bone weaknesses. That belief has been supplanted by myriad research studies that show the efficacy of both sun exposure and vitamin D repletion on protection against numerous additional diseases. Nevertheless, we should never forget the extraordinary, never-changing value of sun exposure to maintaining a strong skeleton well into old age.

[1]Richard Hobday. The Healing sun: Sunlight, Brittle Bones, and Osteoporosis. http://sunlightenment.com/the-healing-sun-sunlight-brittle-bones-and-osteoporosis/. (accessed February 5, 2016)

[2] Larrosa M, Casado E, Gómez A, Moreno M, Berlanga E, Ramón J, Gratacós J. Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture.  Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

[3] Sahibzada AS, Khan MS, Javed M. Presentation of osteomalacia in Kohistani women.  J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad 2004;16:63-5

[4] Al-Jurayyan NA, El-Desouki ME, Al-Herbish AS, Al-Mazyad AS, Al-Qhtani MM. Nutritional rickets and osteomalacia in school children and adolescents. Saudi Med J 2002;23:182-85.

[5] 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 Dec;80(6):1645-9.

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New and interesting research on cancer and sun exposure.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, for sun exposure…

A new research paper on sun exposure and cancer has some interesting observations and some errors.[1] It is entitled, Does Sunlight protect us from cancer? Here is the abstract of the article, verbatim.

“The Ultraviolet (UV) radiation contained in sunlight is a powerful mutagen and immune suppressant which partly explains why exposure to solar UV is the biggest risk factor for the development of cutaneous tumors. Evidence is building that sunlight may be protective against some internal malignancies. Because patients with these tumors are often vitamin D deficient, this has led some to propose that vitamin D supplementation will be beneficial in the treatment of these cancers. However, the results from already completed trials have been disappointing which has given weight to the argument that there must be something else about sunlight that explains its cancer-protecting properties.”

The first sentence, of course, is false. The idea, that sun exposure is the biggest risk factor for skin cancer, is erroneous. We have presented materials many times, proving that melanoma is not caused by sun exposure, and that sun exposure is protective against that disease. And as regards common skin cancers, we have shown that high-fat nutrition, lack of antioxidants, meat consumption and alcohol intake are all risk factors. Search the blogs on this site to read the different articles.

The statement is correct, of course, that sunlight is protective against many internal cancers. Dr. Bill Grant and I are finishing our book, Embrace the Sun, where we present nearly all of the research on the protective influence of sun exposure against cancer.

The statement that vitamin D research has been disappointing is both true and false. Randomized controlled studies (RCTs) have shown the vitamin D supplements do have a protective effect against internal cancers, contrary to the statement by the researchers.

Finally, let’s look at the statement that there is something beyond vitamin D that explains the cancer-protecting properties of sun exposure. That is partially true. Beyond vitamin D, the sun causes the production of nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin and BDNF, all of which are vital to human health, and may have their own cancer-protective properties.

The bottom line? Eat correctly (avoid junk), REGULARLY soak up some sun around midday and get plenty of exercise. That advice will be a boon to your health in myriad ways.

[1]Marshall JE, Byrne SN. Does sunlight protect us from cancer? Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2017 Jan 19. doi: 10.1039/c6pp00332j. [Epub ahead of print] 

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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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Vitamin D Society recommends Summer Sun to build up D Levels.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…

Canada has a long season each year in which vitamin D from sunlight is not available. Due to the northern latitude of Canada, May through October is the only period when vitamin D can be produced in response to sun exposure to the skin. Therefore, a new press release from the Vitamin D Society recommends to protect health by building up vitamin D during the summer. Vitamin D from the summer sun helps to prevent serious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and others.

Dr. Reinhold Vieth, the scientific advisor for the Society, states the following: We often assume that the health benefits of sunshine are solely due to vitamin D, but that is not proven yet.  In other words, it is likely that sunshine does more for our bodies than just produce vitamin D.”

Dr. Vieth is correct. Vitamin D is only one of several products of sun exposure. Others are nitric oxide, which helps prevent vascular problems, and serotonin and endorphins that enhance mood. It is likely that there are many more products of sun exposure that enhance human health.

The Society recommends 6 guidelines for safely enjoying the sun and its health benefits:

  1. Be moderate, and don’t burn.
  2. Sun exposure can produce vitamin D only during the mid-day hours, so be outside between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  3. Know your skin type and risk of burning. Red hair and very light skin predict a greater risk of burning. (Also remember that dark skin needs more sun exposure to produce vitamin D).
  4. A gradual build-up of a tan protects the skin from burning.
  5. When the skin begins to redden, it is time to stop the sun exposure.
  6. Frequent but shorter sun exposure times are better for producing vitamin D.

Since about 35% of all Canadians do not meet suggested vitamin D requirements, sun exposure is essential to reverse that statistic.

So Canadians, safely enjoy the sun this summer!

To read the entire press release, go to this link: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=44

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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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Lack of Sun Exposure increases Risk of Death from Lung Cancer and other Cancers in China.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

A study from China demonstrates that residents who have the lowest sun exposure also have the highest risk of death.[1] The study obtained overall death rates and incidence rates from cancers per se from a national database during the years from 1998 to 2002) They compared those death rates to the quantity of sun intensity in the areas (263 counties) in which the residents lived.

The results were telling: Overall death risk for all cancers combined, and specifically for cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, lung, breast and bladder were inversely correlated with increasing sun exposure. Lung cancer showed the greatest protection provided by sun exposure, with a 12% decrease in death risk for every 10 mW/(nm m2) increase in UVB irradiance (a measure of intensity of sun exposure).

Incidence rates of several cancers were also inversely correlated to sun exposure, namely cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum and cervix. Only nasopharyngeal cancer and cervical cancer increased with sun exposure. The authors suggested the possibility that vitamin D provided the mechanism by which the overall cancer rates were reduced.

Dr. William Grant has confirmed that there are many cancers that correlate to low sun exposure and/or low vitamin D levels,[2] and there are dozens more diseases beyond cancer that have an inverse relationship with sun exposure. Dr. Grant and I will soon release a book that will delve into all of the diseases that sun exposure helps to prevent. Please world, let us back in the sun without making us feel guilty!

[1] 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.

[2] William B. Grant. Role of solar UVB irradiance and smoking in cancer as inferred from cancer incidence rates by occupation in Nordic countries. Dermato-Endocrinology 4:2, 203–211; April/May/June 2012.

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A Blast from the Past. It has been known for Decades that Sun or UV protects against Sepsis.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

In the previous blog, we noted that sun exposure was associated with a reduced risk of the deadly bacterial infection called sepsis. In reality, UV therapy was used to treat many kinds of infections decades ago, when sun exposure was widely known as a bactericide.

Dr. Zane Kime, in his book, Sunlight could Save Your Life, reviewed the results of research conducted between 1886 and 1909 and showed that the following bacteria were killed by ultraviolet light: anthrax, plague, streptococci, tubercle bacillus, cholera, staphylococcus, colon bacillus and dysentery bacillus.[1] Sun was virtually forgotten with the advent of antibiotic drugs, but now the interest has returned.

While watching a newscast, I noticed the news ticker along the bottom of the screen announcing, “Sunshine is the most effective anti-infection therapy.” But is this really news?  Dr. Kime cites several early studies on sun and infectious diseases that were performed about the same time as the advent of antibiotics. Reports in the scientific literature in the 1940s showed that sun killed infectious bacteria or viruses. Kime states …“a number of patients, having such various infections and diseases as blood poisoning [septicemia], childbirth infections, peritonitis, viral pneumonia, mumps, and bronchial asthma were treated with ultraviolet light therapy to their blood.”[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] They were, in fact, treated very successfully.

Dr. Kime also cited research showing that UV therapy killed the flu virus outside the body[12] and destroyed cancer-producing viruses.[13] He reported good results in his own practice in treating fungal infections with sun therapy.

The ancients knew of the marvelous healing effects of sun exposure, and Dr. Kime knew even more in 1980 as he reviewed the literature. We need more people who are willing to promulgate the truth about our kindly friend, the sun.

[1] Kime, Z. Sunlight Could Save Your Life. World Health Publications, Penryn, CA 1980 pp 180-81.

[2] Miley, G. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation in acute pyogenic infections.  New York J Med 1942;42:38.

[3] Miley, G. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation in acute pyogenic infections.  New York J Med 1942;42:38.

[4] Rebbeck, E. Ultraviolet irradiation of auto-transfused blood in the treatment of puerperal sepsis.  Amer J Surg 1941;54:691

[5] Rebbeck, E.  Ultraviolet irradiation of autotransfused blood in the treatment of postabortal sepsis. Amer J Surg 1942;55:476.

[6] Rebbeck, E.  Ultraviolet irradiation of the blood in the treatment of escherichia coli septicemia.  Arch Phys Ther 1943;24:158.

[7] Rebbeck, E. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation as a control of infection in peritonitis.  Amer J Gastroenterol 1943;10:1-26

[8] Hancock, V.  Irradiated blood transfusions in the treatment of infections.  Northwest Med 1934;33:200.

[9] Barrett, H.   Five years experience with hemo-irradiation according to the Knott technic.  Am J Surg 1943;61:42

[10] Barrett, H.  The irradiation of auto-transfused blood by ultraviolet spectral energy: results of therapy in 110 cases.  Med Clin N Amer 1940;24:723

[11] Miley, G.  The present status of ultraviolet blood irradiation.  Arch Phys Ther 1944;25:357.

[12] Hollaender, A.  The inactivating effect of monochromatic ultraviolet radiation on influenza virus. J Bact 1944;48:447.

[13] Heding LD, Schaller JP, Blakeslee JR, Olsen RG. Inactivation of tumor cell-associated feline oncornavirus for preparation of an infectious virus-free tumor cell immunogen.  Cancer Res 1976;36:1647.

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Does Lack of Sun Exposure contribute to deadly Sepsis?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

Sepsis is a deadly disease, defined as infection of the tissues by bacteria. It can spread throughout the body and blood, where it is known as septicemia.  Sepsis accounts for 500,000 emergency-room hospital visits per year in the USA, and the typical stay is nearly five hours.[1] It is one of the most deadly of medical conditions and often results in multiple organ failure.[2] It is, in fact, one of the top-ten causes of death. It is more common than heart attack, and claims more lives than any cancer.[3] Yet, much of the population has never heard of it.

Antibiotics have not been effective against severe sepsis and in some cases may exacerbate the disease.1 Sepsis is also the most common cause of death in critical-care patients in non-coronary intensive care units.[4]

Does regular time in the sun act to protect against this deadly disease? The research indicates that it does. In both the USA and UK, the disease is more common in winter than summer and higher in the Northeast than in the Southwest.

It is likely that vitamin D, produced by sun exposure, is the mechanism by which sepsis risk is decreased in summer.[5] According to Dr. William Grant, reports have shown that vitamin D upregulates human cathelicidin, LL-37, which has antimicrobial as well as anti-endotoxin activity.[6] However, we must never lose sight of the other benefits of sun exposure beyond vitamin D, which is only one of the sun’s beneficial photoproducts. Staying out of the sun—and using deadly chemical sunscreens to block life-giving sun exposure—are two of the biggest blunders ever made in the history of health disasters.

It is also interesting to note that in Australia, melanoma rates skyrocketed between 1980 and 2000.[7] 1980 was the year when a massive anti-sun campaign, called “Slip, Slop, Slap” began. Sepsis rates jumped simultaneously with melanoma and coincided with the widespread use of sunscreens. During this campaign, there was also an increase in viral respiratory infections, most cancers, and congestive heart failure.[8]

Remember that hospitals are not sterile environments. Try to stay away from them except in cases of dire need. Get some moderate, non-burning midday sun exposure instead—without using sunscreens.

[1] Wang, H. et al.  National estimates of severe sepsis in United States emergency departments.  Crit Care Med 2007;35:2461-2.

[2] Mookherjee, N. et al.  Cathelicidins and functional analogues as antisepsis molecules. Expert Opinions on Therapeutic Targets 2007;11:993-1004.

[3] World Sepsis Day web page. September 13, 2015. http://world-sepsis-day.org/?MET=SHOWCONTAINER&vCONTAINERID=11. Accessed February 25, 2016.

[4] Florian B Mayr, Sachin Yende, and Derek C Angus. Epidemiology of severe sepsis. Virulence 2014, 5:1, 4-11.

[5] Karin Amrein, Paul Zajic, Christian Schnedl, Andreas Waltensdorfer, Sonja Fruhwald, Alexander Holl,

Tadeja Urbanic Purkart, Gerit Wünsch, Thomas Valentin, Andrea Grisold, Tatjana Stojakovic, Steven Amrein, Thomas R Pieber and Harald Dobnig. Vitamin D status and its association with season, hospital and sepsis mortality in critical illness. Critical Care 2014, 18:R47

[6] Grant WB Solar ultraviolet-B irradiance and vitamin D may reduce risk of septicemia. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Jan;1(1):37-42.

[7] Montague M, et al. Slip! Slop! Slap! and SunSmart, 1980-2000: Skin cancer control and 20 years of population-based campaigning. Health Educ Behav. 2001;28:290–305

[8] Grant WB Solar ultraviolet-B irradiance and vitamin D may reduce risk of septicemia. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Jan;1(1):37-42.

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Nitric Oxide can have positive Effects on Cancer. Another Reason to seek the Sun.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…

Dr. Richard Weller has promoted sun exposure as a method of increasing nitric oxide (NO) in the vascular system, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.[1] NO is a potent vasodilator that lowers blood pressure, which according to the World Health Organization, is the leading cause of premature death and disease worldwide.1 But NO may have other beneficial effects.

There is also research showing that NO, which is also an oxidant, has the ability to retard or reverse tumor growth, making it a potential anti-cancer therapy.[2] The problem with this of course, is that if it is used as an anticancer treatment, the oxidation has the potential to harm other systems of the body; After all, that is why we use antioxidants. However, the body beautifully controls the natural use of oxidants to specifically target tumors and leave healthy tissue untouched. As one group of researchers states: “…there is considerable controversy and confusion in understanding its role [NO) in cancer biology. It is said to have both tumoricidal as well as tumor promoting effects which depend on its timing, location, and concentration.[3]

The best way to use NO, in my opinion, is to let nature take its course and use sun exposure to produce NO. Then, the body’s natural physical process will use oxidation to destroy tumors and simultaneously reduce the risk of cancer.

Safely enjoy the sun.

[1] Richard B. Weller.  Sunlight Has Cardiovascular Benefits Independently of Vitamin D. Blood Purif 2016;41:130–134.

[2] Jordi Muntané and Manuel De la Mata. Nitric oxide and cancer. Nitric Oxide and Cancer. Journal List. World J Hepatolv.2(9); 2010 Sep 27.

[3] Sheetal Korde Choudhari, Minal Chaudhary, Sachin Bagde, Amol R Gadbail, and Vaishali Joshi. Nitric oxide and cancer: a review. World J Surg Oncol. 2013; 11: 118.

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Understanding Proper Circadian Rhythms and the Critical Importance of Light in maintaining them.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Sunlight, through regulation of the proper circadian rhythms, influences the health of nearly the entire the human body.

Circadian rhythms are variations in physiology and behavior that persist with a cycle length close to, but not exactly, 24 hours. It is necessary to synchronize the rhythms on a regular basis to maintain them, and such synchronization is achieved through regular exposure to light and darkness.[i] This is also known as “resetting the biological clock.”

Circadian rhythms include sleeping and waking in animals, flower closing and opening in angiosperms, and tissue growth and differentiation in fungi.[ii] There are other factors besides light and darkness that have an influence on either synchronization or desynchronization of the clock, but they play a small part. For the purpose of this book, we will consider the influence of light in maintaining proper circadian rhythms, and by so doing, enhance human health.  Researchers have stated that “Mammalian circadian rhythms form an integral physiological system allowing for the synchronization of all metabolic processes [emphasis mine] to daily light/dark cycles, thereby optimizing their efficacy.”[iii] Anything that has a profound effect on all metabolic processes is obviously important to the proper functioning of the human organism.

When circadian rhythms are disrupted (or de-synchronized), it upsets the physiology of the human body. People who take long flights across many time zones often feel “out of sorts” and many have a difficult time in adjusting to time zones to which they are not accustomed. We call this “jet lag,” and it is a common manifestation of a desynchronized rhythm. Another is night-shift work. When the body is expecting bright light and instead is exposed to dimness or darkness, its attempts to resynchronize can cause cloudy thinking, fatigue, and even more destructive damage to the psyche and physiology.

There are innumerable research papers that demonstrate the health detriments of a desynchronized circadian rhythm. For example, research on rats shows that desynchronization leads to premature cellular aging,[iv] as measured by telomere length (a DNA marker for life span); the shorter the telomeres, the shorter the life span. Young rats that were “jet-lagged” had aging characteristics of middle-aged rats.

It also appears that circadian disruptions change the structure of important proteins that play a protective role in cancer, thereby increasing the risk of breast cancer.[v] Other research has demonstrated that disruption of circadian rhythms may lead to a profound increase in the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and other cancers;[vi] [vii] even the risk of poor dental hygiene and dental caries may be increased by desynchronized circadian rhythms.[viii]

One might ask why I am making such an emphasis on circadian rhythms. Here is the answer: Sunlight can, and should, reset the circadian clock daily; it is the timing cue, also called a zeitgeber, which entrains the physiologies of humans and thereby helps to prevent critical illness.[ix] [x]

This is another positive benefit of sunlight that occurs apart from vitamin D production.

[i] Duffy J, Cziesler C, Effect of Light on Human Circadian Physiology. Sleep Med Clin. 2009 June; 4(2): 165–177.

[ii] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/circadian%20rhythm?s=t

[iii] Mitchell MI, Engelbrecht AM. Circadian Rhythms and Breast Cancer: The Role of Per2 in Doxorubicin-Induced Cell Death. J Toxicol. 2015;2015:392360.

[iv] Grosbellet E, Zahn S, Arrivé M, Dumont S, Gourmelen S, Pévet P, Challet E, Criscuolo F. Circadian desynchronization triggers premature cellular aging in a diurnal rodent. FASEB J. 2015 Aug 10. pii: fj.14-266817. [Epub ahead of print]

[v] Mitchell MI, Engelbrecht AM. Circadian Rhythms and Breast Cancer: The Role of Per2 in Doxorubicin-Induced Cell Death. J Toxicol. 2015;2015:392360.

[vi] Vignesh Shanmugam, Amro Wafi, Nawaf Al-Taweel and Dietrich Büsselberg. Disruptions of circadian rhythm

Increase the risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.  Journal of Local and Global Health Science, 2013:3.

[vii] Bratsun DA, Merkuriev DV, Zakharov AP, Pismen LM. Multiscale modeling of tumor growth induced by circadian rhythm disruption in epithelial tissue. J Biol Phys. 2015 Aug 21. [Epub ahead of print]

[viii] Lundgren AM, Öhrn K, Jönsson B. Do adolescents who are night owls have a higher risk of dental caries? – a case-control study. Int J Dent Hyg. 2015 Jul 22. doi: 10.1111/idh.12165. [Epub ahead of print]

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