Tag Archives: inflammation

Embrace Sun exposure and prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. For sun exposure…

Can sun exposure reduce rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

RA is a terrible, crippling disease, which causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, and certain organs in the body.[1] Like most diseases, it is one to be avoided and prevented when possible, and sun exposure may indeed help. At our former health resort in Southern Utah, we observed that many people were able to reduce the swelling and inflammation of this disease through adherence to a mostly plant-based nutrition program, or so we thought. Sun exposure in our very sunlit climate may have also played a critically-important part. One of our attendees was a former writer and piano player whose fingers had lost their ability to use the keyboards on either the computer or the piano. In less than two weeks she had gained sufficient range of motion in her hands to resume her two important activities. In addition, the swelling of her knuckles was profoundly reduced. And whereas the nutrition we used was doubtlessly responsible for much of her success, sun exposure was likely responsible for the remainder.

One paper demonstrated that at high latitudes, where sun exposure is considerably less available, the rate of RA is much higher than at lower latitudes.[2]  RA is also more severe in winter,[3] a time of less sun exposure.  In another report from researchers in Ireland (a northern country with little sun exposure due to overcast conditions), it was shown that 70% of patients had low vitamin D levels and that 26% were severely deficient.[4] And in an investigation using data from the nurses health study, those women who were in the highest versus the lowest category of UVB (ultraviolet light exposure from sun or other sources), had a 21% decreased RA risk.[5]

RA is an autoimmune rheumatic disease (ARD), and seasonal vitamin D declines may trigger flares in (ARD).[6] Such declines, of course, are a result of decreasing sun exposure in the colder seasons.

Arthritic joints carry another devastating side effect. Hip replacement surgery is often prescribed for arthritic conditions, and those people who go through total-hip-replacement procedures are 4.7 times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, and 4.4 times as likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke in the first two weeks post surgery.[7] Those stroke risks remain elevated for 6-12 weeks.

Eat correctly and safely soak up the sun. It’s a better option than hip replacement and potential stroke!

[1] Medicinenet.com. Definition of rheumatoid arthritis.  http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5354.

[2]Vieira VM, Hart JE, Webster TF, Weinberg J, Puett R, Laden F, CostenbaderKH, Karlson EW. Association between Residences in U.S. Northern Latitudes and Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Spatial Analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print]

[3]Cutolo M, Otsa K, Uprus M, Paolino S, Seriolo B.  Vitamin D in rheumatoid arthritis.  Autoimmun Rev 2007;7:59-64

[4]Haroon, M.  Report to European Union League Against Rheumatism, June 13,  2008.

[5]Arkema EV, Hart JE, Bertrand KA, Laden F, Grodstein F, Rosner BA, Karlson EW, CostenbaderKH. Exposure to ultraviolet-B and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis among women in the Nurses’ Health Study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2013 Apr;72(4):506-11

[6]CutoloM1, Paolino S, Sulli A, Smith V, Pizzorni C, Seriolo B. Vitamin D, steroid hormones, and autoimmunity. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 May;1317:39-46.

[7]Lalmohamed A, Vestergaard P, Cooper C, de Boer A, Leufkens HG, van StaaTP, de Vries F. Hip replacement surgery and stroke. Stroke 2012;43(12):3225-9.

 

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UVB light prevents atherosclerosis by reducing inflammation.

UVB exposure benefits by Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…

UVB is a spectrum of sunlight that is responsible for stimulation of vitamin D production in the skin. It also has many other effects, including the suppression of inflammation in the skin, and thus has been used to very successfully treat skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema.[1] [2] [3] [4]

Since inflammation is also necessary to produce the condition of atherosclerosis (arterial plugging or occlusion) in arteries, it would be interesting to know whether UVB light might also have the same anti-inflammatory effects in those arteries. If so, the UVB effect could inhibit or eliminate atherosclerosis, and by so doing provide an entirely new treatment for heart disease and other vascular events such as stroke and intermittent claudication.

The idea that UVB could prevent atherosclerosis by reducing inflammation in arteries was recently studied by Japanese researchers.[5] [6] Using a mouse model, they demonstrated that UVB light irradiation, once weekly for 14 weeks, leads to an increase in the action of T-regulatory cells that inhibit inflammation. In addition, UVB exposure also reduced the production of another type of T-cell that is pro-inflammatory, and thereby proatherogenic (leading to the production of atherosclerosis). These two effects of UVB light reduce the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Or stated differently, the research shows that sun exposure is critically-important therapy to reduce and prevent heart and other vascular diseases.

Protect your heart by being sure to obtain sufficient non-burning UVB light from sun exposure or other sources such as the UVB lamps used by the researchers. It is important to note that neither skin cancer nor skin inflammation were observed following UVB exposure.

This is another breakthrough study that emphasizes the necessity of sun exposure for human health.

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

[2] Yelverton CB, Kulkarni AS, Balkrishnan R, Feldman SR. Home ultraviolet B phototherapy: a cost-effective option for severe psoriasis. Manag Care Interface 2006;19:33-36, 39.

[3] Situm M, Bulat V, Majcen K, Dzapo A, Jezovita J. Benefits of controlled ultraviolet radiation in the treatment of dermatological diseases. Coll Antropol. 2014 Dec;38(4):1249-53.

[4] Gupta A, Arora TC, Jindal A, Bhadoria AS. Efficacy of narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy and levels of serum vitamin D3 in psoriasis: A prospective study. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016 Mar-Apr;7(2):87-92.

[5] Naoto Sasaki, Tomoya Yamashita, Kazuyuki Kasahara, Atsushi Fukunaga, Tomoyuki Yamaguchi, et al. UVB Exposure Prevents Atherosclerosis by Regulating Immunoinflammatory Responses. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016;36:00-00.

DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308063.)

[6] Hafid Ait-Oufella, Andrew P. Sage. Editorial. The Sunlight. A New Immunomodulatory Approach of Atherosclerosis. (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2017;37:7-9. DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308637.)

 

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Does Sun Exposure help to prevent Acne?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…

Acne is a plague among teenagers, and many who are older also suffer. Can sunlight and vitamin D play a role in preventing it?  Perhaps so. A new (August 25) study shows that vitamin D deficiency was detected in 48% of patients with acne, but in only 22.5% of healthy controls (no acne).[1] This would indicate that sun exposure has a prophylactic effect on acne. The level of vitamin D was also inversely associated with the severity of the disease, meaning that it was probably the mechanism, perhaps by strengthening the immune system, by which the disease was thwarted. Improvement in the inflammatory lesions caused by the acne was also noted with a vitamin D supplementation program.

This reminds me of a young man, with terrible acne, who attended our health institute in Sunny Southern Utah. Our area is blessed with about 300 days per year of sunlight. After three months, his acne disappeared. Sunlight is known to cure psoriasis, eczema and other skin diseases. Why not acne? Of course, our nutrition program may also have helped him.

One more reason to safely embrace the sun.

[1] Lim SK, Ha JM, Lee YH, Lee Y, Seo YJ, Kim CD, Lee JH, Im M. Comparison of Vitamin D Levels in Patients with and without Acne: A Case-Control Study Combined with a Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS One. 2016 Aug 25;11(8):e0161162.

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It’s a SAD Time of Year in Canada and the U.S. Can we cure it with Vitamin D?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

A recent press release from the Vitamin D Society of Canada discusses the need for vitamin D in the winter, in order to reduce the risk and intensity of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is a feeling of low motivation, depressed mood, decreased concentration, anxiety and despair.

Dr. Samantha Kimball, the scientific advisor for the Society, has found that increasing vitamin D intake can help reduce the symptoms of SAD. She mentions that vitamin D, which is generated in the body by sunlight exposure, can modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of depression.

Dr. Kimball is correct; the change can be absolutely dramatic based on serum vitamin D levels. One remarkable piece of research showed that those persons who had the lowest levels of D had almost 12 times as likely to be depressed as those who had the highest levels.[1]

Although I fully agree with Dr. Kimball, I can’t help but wish she had mentioned more on the benefits of the sunlight or even sunlamps, which are the most natural ways to increase vitamin D, but are also marvelously effective in improving mood beyond vitamin D.

In addition to vitamin D, there is a chemical produced by the brain in response to sunlight exposure to the eyes. It is called serotonin and is a natural “upper” or mood enhancer. It is also a neurotransmitter and is available to us from bright light entering the eyes. Even is Canada in winter, when there is no vitamin-D stimulating potential in sunlight, just being outdoors when there is sunshine will work to improve or prevent SAD.  Sunlight can dramatically increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Dr. Gavin Lambert and his colleagues in Australia measured serotonin levels in response to varying degrees of bright light.[2] To do this, they drew blood samples from the internal jugular veins of 101 men and compared the serotonin concentration of the blood to weather conditions and seasons. The results were remarkable: Men who were measured on a very bright day produced eight times more serotonin than those who were measured on a cloudy, dismal day. They also observed that the effect of bright light was immediate, and that there was no holdover from day to day. Serotonin levels were also seven times higher in summer than winter. There we have another answer to SAD. When the sun is shining, wherever you are, take advantage of it. It will elevate your mood and make you feel more alive. And remember that tanning beds and other types of sunlight do a great job of increasing your vitamin D when the sun doesn’t shine. Finally, bright, full-spectrum lighting will also enhance your mood. Merry Christmas and HAPPY Holidays!

Click this link to read the Vitamin D Society press release: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=39

 

[1] Wilkins CH, Sheline YI, Roe CM, Birge SJ, Morris JC. Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated With Low Mood and Worse Cognitive Performance in Older Adults.  Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2006;14:1032–1040).

[2] Lambert GW, Reid C, Kaye DM, Jennings GL, Esler MD. Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. Lancet. 2002 Dec 7;360(9348):1840-2.

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Sunlight and Your Liver: is Nitric Oxide at work again?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD Sunlight Institute

Recent research, again involving Dr. Richard Weller, demonstrates that Sunlight exposure may prevent liver inflammation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is the most prevalent liver disorder in western countries.[1] The authors of this research state then state the following possible mechanism: “Following exposure to sunlight-derived ultraviolet radiation (UVR), the skin releases anti-inflammatory mediators such as vitamin D and nitric oxide.”

Though there has been no proof that sunlight works for humans (no research yet), the authors indicate that animal studies suggest that exposure to sunlight (UVR), can prevent the development of NAFLD.

They also note that most of the credit for these positive results has focused on vitamin D, yet clinical trials have yet to demonstrate a clear, beneficial effect of supplementation; therefore, they suggest that other mediators such as nitric oxide may be important. This is another of those studies that demonstrates the possibility that sunlight has positive affects on a disease independently of vitamin D. Future research may clarify that idea.

Until then, regular sun exposure may be good insurance for a healthy liver.

[1] Gorman S, Black LJ, Feelisch M, Hart PH, Weller R. Can skin exposure to sunlight prevent liver inflammation? Nutrients 2015 May 5;7(5):3219-39.

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