Tag Archives: fracture

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.

 

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).

 

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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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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Sun Exposure, bone strength and shaved heads.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

After coming across some research having to do with sun exposure and the seasonality of fractures, I thought it wise to share it with my readers.

In high latitude areas, which have far less sun availability than lower latitude areas, we would expect rates of hip fracture to be high, and such is the case. Sweden is a country that has large differences in latitude, and in research performed there it was shown that the higher the latitude and the lesser the sun exposure, the greater was the risk of hip fracture.[1] In other words, significantly more hip fractures occurred in the northern part of the country compared to the middle and southern parts. Another Swedish investigation demonstrated that in men, hip fracture risk was 37.5% lower in summer than winter. Women had a 23.5% reduced risk in summer.[2]

Research from Norway showed similar results. Hip fracture risk in men was 40% higher in winter than summer, and in women the risk was 25% higher.[3]These fluctuations in seasonal hip fractures indicate a loss of bone mass during periods of low sun exposure (winter) and an increase in bone mass during periods of high sun exposure (summer). In other words, sun exposure is able to reverse bone loss, or osteoporosis. Other studies show similar patterns of bone strength based on sun exposure or lack thereof.[4]

The importance of sunlight in maintaining and producing strong bones has been known since antiquity. Dr. Richard Hobday, author of The Healing Sun, writes the following comments and a history in an online article.[5] “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’

The message is this: Don’t hide yourself from the sun; rather, embrace it in a safe manner, and that will protect your bones.

[1] Nilson F, Moniruzzaman S, Andersson R. A comparison of hip fracture incidence rates among elderly in Sweden by latitude and sun exposure. Scand J Public Health. 2014 Mar;42(2):201-6.

[2] Odén A, Kanis JA, McCloskey EV, Johansson H. The effect of latitude on the risk and seasonal variation in hip fracture in Sweden. J Bone Miner Res. 2014 Oct;29(10):2217-23.

[3] Solbakken SM1, Magnus JH, Meyer HE, Emaus N, Tell GS, Holvik K, Grimnes G, Forsmo S, Schei B, Søgaard AJ, Omsland TK.

[4] Grønskag AB1, Forsmo S, Romundstad P, Langhammer A, Schei B. Incidence and seasonal variation in hip fracture incidence among elderly women in Norway. The HUNT Study. Bone. 2010 May;46(5):1294-8.

[5] 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)

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Sunlight Reduces the Risk of Hip Fracture by 77% in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Stroke Patients.

.Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

While perusing the medical and scientific literature for research that would be pertinent for my upcoming book on the value of sunlight exposure, I found a most interesting paper on sunlight exposure and bone strength.[i] The researchers searched the literature on three groups of patients, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Stroke which correlated to very high fracture rates among patients suffering from those diseases. They then found three randomized, controlled studies that determined the efficacy of sunlight exposure for reducing the risk of hip fractures in patients with these diseases.

In each study, there was a control group that did not receive the exposure and an experimental group that received regular sunlight exposure to a small part of the body daily for a year. The results were impressive: For Alzheimer’s patients, the reduction in hip fractures was 78% compared to the controls who stayed inside; for Parkinson’s patients, 73%; for stroke patients, 83%. Overall, the risk of the hip fracture was reduced by 77% in the sunlight exposed groups. Bone mass also increased in each sunlight-exposed group, so osteoporosis was obviously reversed. Did you even realize that such a thing was possible? You probably knew it only if you have been reading the Sunlight Institute blogs. There is an even more impressive study that I always mention when writing about sunlight and osteoporosis. For example, an investigation from Spain in 2008 concluded that women who actively participated in sun exposure had one-eleventh the chance of a hip fracture as those who stayed indoors.[ii] It appears from the materials on the different disease groups mentioned above, that reversibility is a reality, but how much more important is it to prevent the disease in the first place? The women in Spain did exactly that.  

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that osteoporosis was responsible for more than 2 million fractures in 2005, including 297,000 hip fractures, 547,000 vertebral fractures, 397,000 wrist fractures, 135,000 pelvic fractures and 675,000 fractures at other sites. The foundation also estimates that the number of osteoporotic fractures is expected to rise to more than 3,000,000 by 2025, and that an average 24 % of hip-fracture patients aged 50 and over die within one year following the occurrence of their fracture.[iii]  If we take 24% of just the hip fractures that cause death we see that osteoporosis kills at least 71,280 people per year. Larrosa, M.  Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture.  Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

Do you believe that it might be worth a daily sunbath to save the lives of 70,000 people per year? Do you believe that it would be worth daily exposure (unprotected by sunscreen) to the sun (when possible) to reduce your own risk of fracture? Then why don’t we know about these statistics and the marvelous prophylactic effects of sunlight? That answers are simple: (1) it doesn’t sell any Fosamax or Boniva. (2) It doesn’t sell any noxious, deadly sunscreens. (3) It would be unthinkable for most dermatologists to admit that soaking up a little sun each day might be good for us. It has been said, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”[iv] Now you have boned up on bone strength and sunlight, and you know the truth.  

My fervent hope is that all may be free from the deceptions of those who would ignore the truth in favor of making another dollar.

[i] Iwamoto J, Takeda T, Matsumoto H. Sunlight exposure is important for preventing hip fractures in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke. Acta Neurol Scand. 2012 Apr;125(4):279-84

[ii] Larrosa, M.  Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture.  Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

[iii] National Osteoporosis Foundation, Fast Facts on Osteoporosis.  Accessed Nov. 20, 2009 at http://www.nof.org/osteoporosis/diseasefacts.htm

[iv] John 8:32 (KJV)

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