By Marc Sorenson, EdD, promoting sun exposure..
The world of science is waking up! New research states that 330,000 lives could be saved by optimizing vitamin D levels through sun exposure. That compares to 450,000 deaths linked to tobacco. This is to be expected, since a Swedish study demonstrated that over a 20- year period, women who avoided the sun were TWICE AS LIKELY TO DIE OF ANY CAUSE, as women who were sun-seekers,  and the researchers stated the following: “Nonsmokers who avoided sun exposure had a life expectancy similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking.”
It is no surprise that sun exposure saves lives. Here are a few facts that I have written about on the Sunlight Institute site. Go to news and search the fact you would like to read.
- As sun exposure in the U.S. has DECREASED by 90% during the last century, melanoma incidence has INCREASED BY 3,000%.
- A Spanish study shows that women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip fracture risk as those who avoid sun.
- Men who work outdoors have half the risk of melanoma as those who work indoors.
- Women who totally avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer as those who embrace the sun.
- Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which leads to a decrease in heart attack risk.
- Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is essential to human survival, and sun exposure is the only natural way to obtain it. Sunbathing can produce 20,000 units of vitamin D in 20 minutes of whole-body exposure.
- Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin and endorphin.
- Beyond vitamin D, sun exposure also stimulates the production of endorphin, nitric oxide and BDNF, all of which are vital to human health.
- Regular sun exposure also reduces high blood pressure, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis (MS).
- So enjoy your sunshine, but don’t burn.
 David G. Hoel, Marianne Berwick, Frank R. de Gruijl & Michael F. Holick
(2016) The risks and benefits of sun exposure 2016, Dermato-Endocrinology, 8:1, e1248325,
 Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Nielsen K, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Olsson H. Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort.
J Intern Med. 2016 Oct;280(4):375-87
 Lindqvist PG, 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. J Intern Med. 2014 Jul;276(1):77-86
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute..
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) include diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Like multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, they are autoimmune diseases that cause the immune system to attack its own tissue, in this case the tissues of the digestive system. This may cause extreme distress and damage.
Recent research shows that the IBD is associated with both sun exposure and vitamin D deficiency. In experimental IBD, vitamin D positively influences gut epithelial cells, innate immune cells, T cells, and the microscopic organisms that live in the gut. Separately from vitamin D, there is some scientific work that demonstrates that ultraviolet radiation (UVR), a component of sun exposure, can independently reduce IBD cells.
The authors of this research sum up their research with the following statement: “Together the data suggest that UVR suppression of T cells and potentially IBD are both vitamin D dependent and independent.”
Of course, we know that the natural way to obtain vitamin D is through sun exposure, so to me it appears that sun exposure, or sunlamp exposure, when available is the best method of suppressing the disease. Of course, proper nutrition is also imperative.
Many previous investigations have shown the remarkable positive influence of sun exposure on IBD. In a 12-year year investigation of hundreds of thousands of IBD patients, hospitalizations and prolonged hospitalizations were higher among those who had low sun exposure compared to those with very high sun exposure. The same relationship was shown between sun, bowel surgeries and deaths; more surgeries were needed for those patients who experienced the lowest sun exposure compared to those who had the highest sun exposure, and more deaths occurred among those with low exposure.
An interesting side note to this investigation was that a large number of non-IBD patients were also analyzed for sun exposure amounts. The same relationship existed as with the IBD patients; low sun exposure was associated with prolonged hospitalizations and more deaths when compared with high exposure. There is other research involving the association of Crohn’s disease to sun exposure, which, as above, found that surgery for the disease was significantly reduced among those patients who received more sun exposure.
It has also been shown that in the US, there is a north-south gradient for IBD,    meaning that the risk of developing IBD is significantly lower for the southern latitudes (where sun exposure is greater). So for a healthy gut, sun exposure plays a vital role. Be sure to get some sun exposure daily when available. That way, you will obtain your vitamin D, along with other photoproducts that may protect you from IBD as well as myriad other diseases.
 Bora S, Cantorna MT. The role of UVR and vitamin D on T cells and inflammatory bowel disease. Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2016 Sep 8. [Epub ahead of print].
Limketkai BN, Bayless TM, Brant SR, Hutfless SM. Lower regional and temporal ultraviolet exposure is associated with increased rates and severity of inflammatory bowel disease hospitalization. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Sep;40(5):508-17.
Govani SM, Higgins PD, StidhamRW,Montain SJ, Waljee AK.Increased ultraviolet light exposure is associated with reduced risk of inpatient surgery among patients with Crohn’s disease.J Crohns Colitis. 2015 Jan;9(1):77-81
 Schultz M1, Butt AG. Is the north to south gradient in inflammatory bowel disease a global phenomenon? Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Aug;6(4):445-7.
Kappelman MD, Rifas-Shiman SL, Kleinman K, Ollendorf D, Bousvaros A, Grand RJ, Finkelstein JA. The prevalence and geographic distribution of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the United States. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Dec;5(12):1424-9.
Sonnenberg A. Similar geographic variations of mortality and hospitalization associated with IBD and Clostridium difficile colitis. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2010 Mar;16(3):487-93.
Holmes EA, Xiang F, Lucas RM. Variation in incidence of pediatric Crohn’s disease in relation to latitude and ambient ultraviolet radiation: a systematic review and analysis.Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2015 Apr;21(4):809-17
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: Note: all references for the following list are found in the blog under footnote 1.
- Tanning-bed use is associated with a reduced risk of clots.
- Tanning-bed use is associated with increased vitamin D levels.
- Tanning-bed use is associated with stronger bones
- Tanning-bed use can cure psoriasis and eczema and tanning beds are often recommended by dermatologists.
- Tanning-bed use more than three times yearly is associated with a 40-50% reduced risk of endometrial cancer.
- 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. 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.
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.
 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
 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.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD Sunlight Institute
Those of us that understand the importance on regular sun exposure on human health were not surprised by the most recent research by Dr. Pelle Lindqvist and colleagues. It showed that women who had active sun-exposure habits lived longer than those who did not. Over a 20-year period, the study demonstrated that compared to the highest sun-exposure group, life expectancy of sun avoiders was reduced significantly. Much of the reduction in death among the sun-exposed group was due to a lessened risk of cardiovascular disease and non-cancer, non-cardiovascular death. The risk of skin cancer was slightly increased among the sun exposed group, primarily because they lived longer and had more time to contract cancer.
Perhaps the most impressive statement to come out of the research was this: “Nonsmokers who avoided sun exposure had a life expectancy similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking.”
This newest research is just one of several important contributions by Lindqvist and his group. Other assessments of the 20-year study revealed that the subjects who avoided sun exposure were twice as likely to die of any cause compared to those who had the highest sun exposure, and the researchers made this statement: “In both models the summary sun exposure variables showed a ‘dose-dependent’ inverse relation between sun exposure and all-cause death.”
The research also showed that women with “normal” sun exposure habits were not at significantly increased risk of either melanoma or melanoma-related death. The publication seemed to give vitamin D most of the credit for increased life spans among those who had high sun exposures, but also mentioned the possibility that nitric-oxide production by sun-exposed skin may have been a factor.
If avoiding the sun is as dangerous as smoking cigarettes, why do many dermatologists still try to frighten us to death about soaking up some rays? Will they never learn?
 Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Nielsen K, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Olsson H. Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. J Intern Med. 2016 Mar 16. doi: 10.1111/joim.12496. [Epub ahead of print].
 Pelle G. Lindqvist, Elisabeth Epstein, Mona Landin-Olsson, Christian Ingvar, Kari Nielsen, Magnus Stenbeck & Håkan Olsson. Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. J Intern Med. 2014 Jul;276(1):77-86.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute
Let’s revisit the need for appropriate nutrition in preventing melanoma death.
It has been well-established that melanoma is not caused by sunlight exposure, despite the sunphobes’ protestations to the contrary. There are numerous research papers that indicate melanoma is considerably less frequent among those who are regularly exposed to sunlight than among those who avoid it.     (The references cited here are only a few of the many papers that corroborate the fact that melanoma is less common among those who embrace the sun.)