By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…
Sun exposure determines vitamin D levels. A recent study used pregnant Arab women as subjects and compared vitamin D deficiency to adverse outcomes. In the women studied, 48.4% were vitamin D deficient. The outcomes measured were gestational diabetes, anemia, iron deficiency, and preeclampsia.
In D-deficient women, sun exposure and daily physical activity were considerably lower that those who were not deficient, and D deficiency predicted a higher risk of gestational diabetes, anemia, iron deficiency and preeclampsia when compared to women who did not experience the these disorders. The authors of the research stated, “The study findings revealed that maternal vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy is significantly associated with elevated risk for GDM, anemia, and preeclampsia.”
Despite a predominately sunny environment, Mideast women are often covered with clothing that impedes contact with the sun’s rays, and they and their newborns consequently suffer from various maladies related to vitamin D deficiency, and in Saudi Arabia, recommendations to increase sunlight exposure are being considered.
This research is not the first to implicate lack of sun exposure to preeclampsia, a disorder in pregnant women that is characterized by edema (fluid accumulation), high blood pressure and excessive urine protein. Preeclampsia can progress to eclampsia, which can cause convulsions, coma and death. The prevalence of preeclampsia is highest in winter and early spring, indicating a sun deficiency. Another investigation found a dose-response relationship—the lower the D levels, the higher the risk of pre-eclampsia. Vitamin D levels are a proxy for sun exposure, and with a decline of 20 ng/ml, there was a doubling of the risk. Additionally, newborn children of women at risk for pre-eclampsia were twice as likely as other children to be vitamin D-deficient. This is important, because vitamin D-deficient newborns are likely to develop rickets and suffer from convulsions. Pregnant women, obviously, should be sun-seekers.
Women should safely seek the sun for their own health and that of their infants. Who would have thought?
 Bener A, Al-Hamaq AO, Saleh NM. Association between vitamin D insufficiency and adverse pregnancy outcome: global comparisons. Int J Women’s Health. 2013 Sep 4;5:523-31.
 Abbasian M, Chaman R, Amiri M, Ajami ME, Jafari-Koshki T, Rohani H, Taghavi-Shahri SM, Sadeghi E, Raei M. Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnant Women and Their Neonates. Glob J Health Sci. 2016 Jan 4;8(9):54008.
 Al-Faris NA. High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency among Pregnant Saudi Women. Nutrients. 2016 Feb 4;8(2):77.
 Morikawa M, Yamada T, Yamada T, Cho K, Sato S, Minakami H. Seasonal variation in the prevalence of pregnancy-induced hypertension in Japanese women. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2014 Apr;40(4):926-31.
 Bodnar LM, Catov JM, Simhan HN, Holick MF, Powers RW, Roberts JM. Maternal vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of preeclampsia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007;92:3517-22.
 Camadoo L, Tibbott R, Isaza F. Maternal vitamin D deficiency associated with neonatal hypocalcaemic convulsions. Nutr J 2007;6:23
By Marc Sorenson,, EdD. Sunlight Institute…
The medical properties are terrific! A new study from the University of Kansas demonstrates that children born to women who receive more sun exposure during the second trimester of pregnancy, have a considerably lowered risk of asthma later in life. The researchers did not look at sunny geographical areas vs. areas of little sun to make their assessments, but rather looked at different amounts of sunlight occurring in the same areas in different years. They found that in areas that had experienced high quantities of sun in a given year, the risk of asthmatic children being born in that year was reduced, that is, if their mothers experienced that sun exposure during the second trimester of pregnancy.
The researchers theorized that higher levels of vitamin D during sunny times accounted for the protective effects of sunlight. That may be true, but the protection may have occurred from sun exposure per se, independent of vitamin D. One of the most recent studies on factors that contribute to asthma showed that living in a room without windows was associated with an increased the risk of asthma of 930%, and living in an area without adequate sun was associated with an increased the risk of 220%. Considering that windows filter out the UVB light that stimulates the production of vitamin D, having windows could not have reduced asthma by vitamin D production—it had to be some other factor—something that entered the room through that window glass–protected the people with windows from the remarkable increase in asthma they would have otherwise had. We know that UVA light, which does pass through windows, stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which is a potent vasodilator. Could it also be a bronchodilator? This explanation, of course, is theory.
Whatever the reason, the study on sunlight and pregnancy is just one of many that have indicated a protective effect of sun exposure against asthma. Safely embrace the sun, and tell pregnant mothers to do the same. It could enhance the quality of life for their children later on, and reduce the cost of health care for all of us.
 Kamran A, Hanif S, Murtaza G. Risk factors of childhood asthma in children attending Lyari General Hospital. J Pak Med Assoc 2015 Jun;65(6):647-50.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…
We have covered the affect to sunlight and diabetes several times, but most of the posts focused on type-2, which is the more common of the two and is becoming a pandemic. Type-2 results when the body produces plenty of insulin, but becomes resistant to its effects, leaving both blood sugar and insulin elevated. Type-1 diabetes is a totally different disease, although high blood sugar is still the result. Both of these diseases, however, correlate to low sunlight exposure. Type-2 is usually caused by atrocious eating habits and obesity, but sunlight deficiency associates with its risk. Either way, these diseases can lead to blindness, erectile dysfunction, neuropathy, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, kidney disease, amputation of limbs and death. The side-effects of diabetes are usually much more harmful than the diseases themselves.
Type-1 is a disease that afflicts many babies and young people and is sometimes known as “juvenile diabetes.” It is an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, and is totally different in its cause from type-2, which is caused by atrocious eating habits and obesity. Type one usually happens when the body’s own immune system attacks the pancreas, rendering it useless insofar as insulin production is concerned. The consumption of cow’s milk correlates very closely to contracting the disease by babies and very young children.
Here are some facts regarding the relationship between sunlight and Type-1. Australian research shows that the incidence of type-1 diabetes correlates closely with latitude; the southernmost part of the country, which has far less availability of sunlight, has about three times the incidence as the northernmost.[i] And in Newfoundland, Canada, an extremely strong inverse correlation exists between sunlight exposure and incidence.[ii] [iii] Similar results have been reported by Dr. Mohr and colleagues, who analyzed the correlation between type-one diabetes and sunlight exposure in 51 regions worldwide and drew the following conclusion: “An association was found between low UVB irradiance [sunlight exposure] and high incidence rates of type 1 childhood diabetes after controlling for per-capita health expenditure. Incidence rates of type 1 diabetes approached zero in regions worldwide with high UVB irradiance, adding new support to the concept of a role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of the disease.”[iv]
The latest study on type-1 and sunlight comes from Denmark, where researchers assessed the association between exposure to sunshine during gestation (pregnancy) and the risk of type 1 diabetes in Danish children at the age of 15 years.[v] The results were that more sunshine during the third gestational trimester was associated with a 40% reduced risk of contracting the disease at age 15.
Sunlight is so important for nearly every aspect of health. Be sure to take advantage of it, as it may be waiting right outside and beckoning you.
[i] Staples JA, Ponsonby AL, Lim LL, McMichael AJ. Ecologic analysis of some immune-related disorders, including type-1 diabetes, in Australia: latitude, regional ultraviolet radiation, and disease prevalence. Environmental Health Perspectives 2003;111:518-523.
[ii] Sloka S, Grant M, Newhook LA.. Time series analysis of ultraviolet B radiation and type-1 diabetes in Newfoundland. Pediatr Diabetes 2008;9:81-6.
[iii] Sloka S, Grant M, Newhook LA. The geospatial relation between UV solar radiation and type 1 diabetes in Newfoundland. Acta Diabetol 2010 M;47:73-8.
[iv] Mohr SB, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Garland FC. The association between ultraviolet B irradiance, vitamin D status and incidence rates of type 1 diabetes in 51 regions worldwide. Diabetologia. 2008;51:1391-8.
[v] Ramune Jacobsen, Peder Frederiksen, Berit L. Heitmann. Exposure to sunshine early in life prevented development of type 1 diabetes in Danish boys. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. December 2015 ISSN (Online).
Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute
The Daily Mail, from the UK, recently posted an article regarding sunlight and fertility that should catch some interest.
Infertility is a problem that causes some couples to seek help from in vitro fertilization (IVF). New research shows that sunlight exposure for a month prior to the procedure increase the odds of success by 35%. Dr. Frank Vandekerckhove, who reported the research, looked at the IVF results of about 6,000 women and compared the dates of their treatment with weather conditions. The more sunshine, the greater likelihood of becoming pregnant. Dr. Vandekerckhove said that sunshine a month before conception probably helped a woman’s eggs to mature. He also mentioned that there is no reason to think that a burst of sunshine won’t also help women trying to get pregnant naturally.
There is nothing really new about the effects of sunlight on fertility, and this work by Vandekerckhove is not the first to establish the link of sunlight to IVF. Much has also been studied regarding natural, non- laboratory fertility. Low vitamin D, which is primarily a result of low sunlight exposure, is closely related to the ability to conceive in both women and men. Couples spend thousands of dollars on fertility clinics and IVF when perhaps all they need is some time in the sun.
In an article posted on Emax health, entitled Sex in the Sun May Increase Your Fertility it is pointed out that approximately 15% of couples who want to conceive are plagued by problems of fertility. Drs. Elisabeth Lerchbaum and Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, in 2012, conducted a review of articles on vitamin D and fertility and came to these conclusions: “VDR knockout mice [mice whose vitamin D doesn’t work due to inability to link to receptors at the cellular level] have significant gonadal insufficiency, decreased sperm count and motility, and histological abnormalities of testis, ovary and uterus.” They also point out that vitamin D is involved in female reproduction—including IVF outcome, so it is a bit surprising that the article in the Daily Mail gave the impression that the research by Vandekerckhove was a totally new concept.
The review also stated that in men, higher vitamin D levels are positively associated with semen quality and androgen (male hormone) status, and that vitamin D treatment might increase testosterone levels.
One thing that is missing in these excellent studies is any discussion of the production of nitric oxide (NO) by sunlight exposure. NO is a potent vasodilator that is essential for proper erection in men, meaning it relaxes the blood vessels, allowing the blood to pass more easily through the vessels. Without it erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs. Viagra, Cialis and other such ED drugs work through a Nitric Oxide pathway and act by keeping NO in circulation for a longer period. But they don’t work in about one-third of the cases, and the effect diminishes over time, not to mention the side effects such as headaches, body aches and pains, gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, vision changes, flushing, congestion and runny nose. Since sunlight exposure increases NO, it is probably a better choice. For those who wish to produce a pregnancy, ED could be a devastating problem, and sunlight may be the answer.
Sunlight exposure has so many positive properties that we may never know them all. Use non-burning sunlight safely. Here’s to a successful pregnancy and a sunny family life!
Vandekerckhove, F. Presentation at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual conference in Lisbon, Portugal, from June 14 to 17.
 Lerchbaum E1, Obermayer-Pietsch B. Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 May;166(5):765-7.
 Burnett AL. The role of nitric oxide in erectile dysfunction: implications for medical therapy. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2006 Dec;8(12 Suppl 4):53-62.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute
In the medical journal Pediatrics, an interesting report discussed the plight of two young girls who suffered from severe tooth decay related to Rickets,[i] a horrific disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. This illness is characterized by defective bone growth and horribly deformed bodies, and, as we will see, it may also be characterized by teeth without enamel.