Tag Archives: sun exposure

Ovarian Cancer: Does active sun exposure help to prevent it?

ovarian cancerOvarian cancer, like most cancers, is nothing to trifle with. There are 22,280 new cases of ovarian cancer and 14,240 deaths annually in the U.S.[1] Compare that death statistic to melanoma, which has a death rate of only 9,730.[2] (And I might mention that people who are regularly in the sun have a reduced risk of melanoma.) But are there any indications that ovarian cancer is reduced by sun exposure? Yes. The National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Mortality Map also shows that ovarian cancers are much less common in sunnier Southern and Southwestern States than in the North and Northeast,[3] indicating a protective effect of sun exposure.

Research has also demonstrated a relationship between high sun exposure and low risk of ovarian cancer. For example, an Australian investigation showed that women in the highest third of sun exposure, over a lifetime, had a 30% reduced risk of all endothelial ovarian cancers, a 53% reduced risk of borderline tumors and 22% reduced risk of invasive tumors.[4] And, in one piece of research using the Nurses’ Health Study ll, sun exposure was associated with a 33% reduced risk of ovarian cancer.[5] Ovarian cancer mortality rates were also found to be strongly inversely correlated with solar UVB doses in an ecological study by Drs. William Grant and Cedrick Garland.[6]

Sun avoidance is one of the most deadly practices ever perpetrated on the public. Women, carefully embrace the sun and reduce your risk of this potentially deadly disease.

[1] Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2016. CA Cancer J Clin. 2016 Jan;66(1):7-30.

[2] American Cancer society statistics, 2017.

[3] Grant, W B. Information available at SUNARC.org, and at the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Mortality Maps and Graphs.

[4] Tran B, Jordan SJ, Lucas R, Webb PM, Neale R; Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group. Association between ambient ultraviolet radiation and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Nov;5(11):1330-6.

[5] Prescott J, Bertrand K, Poole E, Rosner B, Tworoger S. Surrogates of Long-Term Vitamin D Exposure and Ovarian Cancer Risk in Two Prospective Cohort Studies. Cancers 2013, 5, 1577-1600;

[6] Grant WB, Garland CF. The association of solar ultraviolet B (UVB) with reducing risk of cancer: multifactorial ecologic analysis of geographic variation in age-adjusted cancer mortality rates. Anticancer Res. 2006 Jul-Aug;26(4A):2687-99.

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Hypertension (high blood pressure) a problem? Could sun exposure alleviate it?

Hypertension, or chronic high blood pressure, is determined by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries. The more blood the heart pumps and the tighter the arteries, the higher the blood pressure.[1] The top number on a blood-pressure measurement, stated in millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg), is called systolic pressure, and the lower number is called diastolic pressure. Hypertension is defined as having a blood pressure > 140/90 mm/Hg. sun exposure hypertensionThirty-one percent of US adults are hypertensive.[2] Hypertension can damage arterial walls and can eventually lead to an increased risk of death from heart disease, heart failure, and other arterial diseases. It is also associated to a higher risk of kidney disease, irregular heart rhythms, osteoporosis, cognitive dysfunction, painful intercourse and stroke.[3] Conventional textbook theory holds that blood pressure is regulated by the brain, blood vessels, or kidney, but recent evidence suggests it could be regulated in the skin, and sun exposure plays a role in controlling hypertension.[4] 

One of the earlier studies of hypertension and sun showed hypertension increased linearly at increasing distances from the equator.[5] One study of hypertensive subjects shows that blood pressure levels average 165/90 in winter but 134/74 in the summer, and both stroke and heart attack rates double in the winter.[6] Even in children, blood pressure is higher in winter than summer.[7] This, of course, is indicative of a protective role of sun exposure on hypertension.

UVB light treatments with sun lamps have also been shown to substantially lower blood pressure in 24 hours, and over six weeks to raise serum 25(OH)D levels of vitamin D by 162%, while lowering both systolic and diastolic pressure by six points.[8]

However, it is important to again mention that there is another important player in the relationship between hypertension and sun. Ultraviolet A (UVA) light (part of sunlight) stimulation of the skin causes the release of nitric oxide (NO) from pre-formed stores of NO in the skin. NO is a potent vasodilator, and when released into the arteries by UVA stimulation, causes increased blood flow and lowered blood pressure.[9], [10]

Safe sun exposure, along with plenty of vegetable and fruit consumption, may enable you to say goodbye to blood-pressure problems.

[1] Mayo Clinic Diseases and Conditions: High blood pressure (hypertension). http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/basics/definition/con-20019580 (accessed January 5, 2016).

[2] Fields LE, Burt VL, Cutler JA, Hughes J, RoccellaEJ, Sorlie P. The burden of adult hypertension in the United States 1999–2000: a rising tide. Hypertension. 2004;44:398–404.

[3] Ann Pietrangelo. Healthline 2014 http://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/effect-on-body (accessed January 4, 2016).

[4] Johnson RS, Titze J, Weller R. Cutaneous control of blood pressure. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2016;Jan25(1):11-5.

[5] Rostand SG. Ultraviolet light may contribute to geographic and racial blood pressure differences. Hypertension. 1997 Aug;30(2 Pt 1):150-6.

[6] Charach G, Rabinovich PD, Weintraub M. Seasonal changes in blood pressure and frequency of related complications in elderly Israeli patients with essential hypertension. Gerontology. 2004 Sep-Oct;50(5):315-21

[7] Polat M, Akil I, Yuksel H, Coskun S, Yilmaz D, Erguder I, Onag A. The Effect of seasonal changes on blood pressure and urine specific gravity in children living in Mediterranean climate. Med Sci Monit2006;12:CR186-90.

[8] Krae R, Bühring M, Hopfenmüller W, Holick MF, Sharma AM. Ultraviolet B and blood pressure. Lancet 1998;352:709-10.

[9] Liu D, Fernandez BO, Hamilton A, Lang NN, Gallagher JM, Newby DE, Feelisch M, Weller RB. UVA irradiation of human skin vasodilates arterial vasculature and lowers blood pressure independently of nitric oxide synthase. J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Jul;134(7):1839-46.

[10] D Liu, BO Fernandez, NN Lang, JM Gallagher, DE Newby, M Feelisch and RB Weller. UVA lowers blood pressure and vasodilates the systemic arterial vasculature by mobilization of cutaneous nitric oxide stores. Photobiology Abstract # 1247 May 2013.

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Tomatoes, and many other fruits and veggies, protect against skin cancer

In an impressive mouse study,[1] it was shown that in animals that were exposed to high doses of radiation during a 35-week program, those that were fed a pre-radiation dose of tomato powder or tangerine powder had a higher level of the antioxidant lycopene than mice who were not fed the powders (control group). Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, tangerines, watermelon and other fruits and vegetables.tomatoes

Interestingly, the animals that consumed the tangerine powder had higher levels of lycopene than those consuming the tomato powder, but the results were not as impressive. The number of cancerous tumors that developed in the tomato-fed mice was about half the number that developed in the control group. Tomatoes obviously have anti-skin cancer attributes, but remember that lycopene may not be as effective as the whole tomato powder in reducing that disease. Whole foods are nearly always superior to the nutrients extracted from them, as all of the nutrients work in concert to help health whether for mice or men. There may be hundreds of nutrients besides lycopene in tomatoes, all having a positive effect in protecting against cancer. Why just take one nutrient from the tomato and put it in a pill? I’ll tell you why: It is a way to make money. In this case, the researchers discovered that important substances called glycoalkaloids were significantly higher in the skin after the ingestion of tomato powder, and seem to believe that these substances were responsible for the reduced risk of skin cancer.

It has actually been known for some time that some of the best skin protectants are tomatoes. One investigation showed that among individuals who consumed forty grams of tomato paste daily for ten weeks, sunburn-resistance time increased by 40%,[2] and other research demonstrated that eating different tomato-based products correlated to significantly reduced risk of sunburn after exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlamps.[3] It is also known that individuals with the lowest intake of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and lycopene (all carotenoid antioxidants found in such vegetables such as carrots and tomato) had a 50% increased risk for melanoma.[4]

There are several other scientific investigations demonstrating that high fruit and vegetable consumption predict a lesser risk of skin cancer.[5],[6],[7], [8] 

There are few foods that taste better than a ripe, field-grown tomato. Eat your fill and enjoy some regular, non-burning sun.

[1] Cooperstone JL, Tober KL, Riedl KM, Teegarden MD, Cichon MJ, Francis DM, Schwartz SJ, Oberyszyn TM. Tomatoes protect against development of UV-induced keratinocyte carcinoma via metabolomic alterations. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 11;7(1):5106.

[2] Stahl W, Heinrich U, Wiseman S, Eichler O, Sies H, Tronnier H. Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light–Induced Erythema in Humans. J Nutr 2001;131:1449-51.

[3] Aust O, Stahl W, Sies H, Tronnier H, Heinrich U. Supplementation with tomato-based products increases lycopene, phytofluene, and phytoene levels in human serum and protects against UV-light-induced erythema. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2005;75:54-60.

[4] Millen AE, Tucker MA, Hartge P, Halpern A, Elder DE, Guerry D 4th, Holly EA, Sagebiel RW, Potischman N. Diet and melanoma in a case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1042-51

[5] Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Polyphenols: skin photoprotection and inhibition of photocarcinogenesis.Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011 Dec;11(14):1200-15.

[6] Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res 2010;302:71.

[7] Stahl W, Heinrich U, Wiseman S, Eichler O, Sies H, Tronnier H. Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light–Induced Erythema in Humans. J Nutr 2001;131:1449-51.

[8] Meyskens FL Jr, Farmer PJ, Anton-Culver H. Diet and melanoma in a case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1042-51.

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Sun Exposure and Rheumatoid Arthritis — an Interesting Result

Rheumatoid arthritisIn research on rheumatoid arthritis, involving studies done on nurses, an interesting result emerged.[1] It was found that among nurses 30-55 years of age who were assessed in 1976, and followed until 2008, there was an inverse association between sun exposure and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Those who were exposed to the greatest sun exposure had a 21% reduced risk of the disease. However, among nurses 25-42 years of age who were assessed in 1989 and followed until 2008, rheumatoid arthritis was not associated with greater sun exposure.

The authors of the researchers offered an explanation regarding the disparate results. They felt that the greater use of sunscreen among the younger subjects
may have made the difference.

I agree with that idea. Sunscreen would have decreased the availability of vitamin D production, which may have lead to the lack of a protective effect on rheumatoid arthritis among the younger nurses.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease which causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints and even in certain organs in the body.[2] It is an autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and seasonal vitamin D declines may trigger it.[3] Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory hormone and declines in vitamin D levels, of course, are a result of decreasing sun exposure in 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.[4] Those stroke risks remain elevated for 6-12 weeks. The term “ischemic” means producing a local deficiency of blood supply by obstructing blood flow.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the transcendent importance of anti-inflammatory nutrition program. Sunlight is important but what you eat is critical. I would suggest that you google “anti-inflammatory diet.” Learn which foods (primarily fruits and vegetables) will help to decrease or prevent the inflammation that leads to RA. In the meanwhile, enjoy some safe, non-burning sunbathing.

 

[1] Arkema EV, Hart JE, Bertrand KA, Laden F, Grodstein F, Rosner BA, Karlson EW, Costenbader KH. 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

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

[3] Cutolo M, 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.

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

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Sunshine deficiency, vitamin D deficiency and mental health in the UK

A recent sunshine article in the UK online newspaper, The Mail, led with the headline, “Sunshine breaks could mean better mental health.” It then went on to describe how many shift workers, as well as other residents of the UK, are deficient in vitamin D.[1] Quoting from research published in the Journal BMC Public Health,[2] the article stated that about 91% of residents are at least insufficient in vitamin D.Sunshine and mental health

Vitamin D deficiency of that extent is a health crisis, of that there is no doubt. It is also a surety that the way to combat vitamin D deficiency is by taking “sunshine breaks.” However, it is misleading to assume it is vitamin D deficiency that is responsible for the entire problem with mental health and other diseases as they relate to sun exposure. Consider the fact that lack of sunshine deficiency also causes problems beyond vitamin D deficiency. For example, the natural 24-hour cycles, called circadian rhythms, are desynchronized by lack of sunshine in the morning. This causes us to feel out of synch and to be more susceptible to many diseases including cancer.

Remember that sun exposure also leads to the production of serotonin,[3] endorphin,[4] dopamine,[5] and BDNF,[6] all of which have a positive effect on mood and mental health.

Sunshine is vital to mental and physical health, and that health is not due to vitamin D alone. Take a holistic view of the importance of sunshine.

[1] http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/Sunshine-breaks-could-mean-better-mental-health-88b00574-032c-4467-846c-1eff0514d4e8-ds

[2] Sowah D, Fan X, Dennett L, Hagtvedt R, Straube S. Vitamin D levels and deficiency with different occupations: a systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2017 Jun 22;17(1):519.

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

[4] Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan. Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production: Dermato-End Holick, M. The UV Advantage 2. Ibooks 2003, New York. Ocrinology 2012;4(2):109–117.

[5] Holick, M. The UV Advantage 2. Ibooks 2003, New York.

[6] Molendijk ML, Haffmans JP, Bus BA, Spinhoven P, Penninx BW, Prickaerts J, Oude Voshaar RC, Elzinga BM. Serum BDNF concentrations show strong seasonal variation and correlations with the amount of ambient sun. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48046.

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Sun Exposure in Youth Helps Prevent Multiple Sclerosis

preventing Multiple SclerosisSun exposure is crucial to preventing multiple sclerosis (MS), the terrible, debilitating autoimmune disease in which T-cells initiate an inflammatory response against myelin, the protective cover of nerves.[1],[2] This leaves the nerves bare and susceptible to “short circuiting,” a process known as demyelination. This attack prevents proper functioning within the brain and body, which leads to a variety of symptoms like vision changes, muscle spasms, and numbness. These symptoms profoundly decrease the ability to function and destroy the quality of life.

We have known for decades that people who live in areas of low sun exposure, such as far-northern or far southern countries, have a far greater risk of contracting MS than those who live in countries closer to the equator. In fact, there is more than 100 times the risk of MS in far northern as in equatorial areas, where sun is intense, and the rate of MS approaches zero.[3],[4],[5]

I ran across an interesting study demonstrating that the age at which the low sun exposure occurs is also a predictive factor in the risk of MS.[6]  It showed that in Norway, the amount of sun exposure in the period of life between 16-18 years of age was critical in predicting the disease. Those youngsters who experienced the lowest sun exposure during those ages were 83% more likely to develop MS. The same research showed that in Italy the critical period was between birth and age 5 years, with those receiving the lowest sun exposure being 56% more likely to develop MS.

I spite of incontrovertible research that proves regular, non-burning sun exposure is critical for human health, the sunscare movement continues to promote the idea that we should avoid the sun. The blood is on their hands.

[1] Racke, M.  Immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis.  Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2009 Oct–Dec; 12(4): 215–220.

[2] Markovic-Plese S, McFarland HF.  Immunopathogenesis of the multiple sclerosis lesion.  Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2001;1:257-62

[3] Alter M, Yamoor M, Harshe M.  Multiple sclerosis and nutrition.  Arch Neuroll974;31:267-72.

[4] Kurtkze, J. Geography in multiple sclerosis.  J Neurol1977;215:1-26.

[5] Hayes CE, Cantorna MT, DeLuca HF.  Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis.  Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1997;216:21-27

[6] Bjørnevik K, Riise T, Casetta I, Drulovic J, Granieri E. et al. Sun exposure and multiple sclerosis risk in Norway and Italy: The EnvIMS study. Mult Scler. 2014 Jul;20(8):1042-9.

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Sun Exposure and Vitamin D Reduce Cholesterol levels

Sun exposure reduces risk of heart disease. High cholesterol levels are associated with vascular diseases such as heart disease, ischemic stroke and intermittent claudication (an occlusion of the arteries of the legs that leads to pain and disability). The authors of a recent study compared the effects of vitamin D supplementation with sun exposure to determine which was more effective in reducing risk factors.[1] A group of individuals with insufficient serum vitamin D levels was divided into two groups with different experimental protocols: one was treated with sun exposure to the arms and face between 11 AM and 3 PM and the other was treated with 1,000 IU of vitamin D. A third group had “normal” vitamin D levels and served as a control (no treatment group). Total cholesterol levels and its components of cholesterol, HDL and LDL, were also measured to determine the positive (or negative) effects of the two treatment protocols.

The results were enlightening. Both experimental groups had significant increases in vitamin D. However, the results with cholesterol varied. A significant decrease in total cholesterol was noted in the sun exposure group, and HDL and LDL also decreased in the sun-exposure group. However, in the vitamin D-supplement group, a significant increase was noted in in total cholesterol. HDL also increased significantly, and LDL increased non-significantly.sun exposure

In other words, vitamin D supplementation could actually lead to an increased risk of vascular diseases by raising total cholesterol, whereas sun exposure is protective against those diseases. So the takeaway is that there is no substitute for the sun when it comes to providing some protection against vascular diseases.

There are those people who worry that melanoma risk may be increased by regular sun exposure. However, we have mentioned many time in this blog that melanoma is much more common among those who work indoors than those who work outdoors. It should also be mentioned that vascular diseases kill far more people than skin cancer. Dr. Richard perhaps said it best:

“Sunlight may have beneficial cardiovascular effects, independently of Vitamin D production. Vitamin D could, in these circumstances, act as a marker for sunlight exposure and its postulated beneficial effects. These recent human data show the physiological relevance of photorelaxation. High blood pressure is the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years lost worldwide and as a risk factor underlies 18% of all deaths.”  Weller further noted: “The action spectrum of nitrite release shows ultraviolet B is also involved in nitrite reduction to Nitric Oxide, and thus sunlight may be more effective than a pure UVA source.” He concluded: “the prevalence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular deaths is around 100 times higher than those from skin cancer. Interventions leading to small changes in the incidence of cardiovascular disease are thus of greater benefit to the health of the public even than large changes in skin cancer incidence.”[2]

Safely embrace the sun and your heart, brain and blood vessels will love you for it!

[1] Patwardhan VG, Mughal ZM, Padidela R, Chiplonkar SA, Khadilkar VV, Khadilkar AV. Randomized Control Trial Assessing Impact of Increased Sunlight Exposure versus Vitamin D Supplementation on Lipid Profile in Indian Vitamin D Deficient Men. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2017 May-Jun;21(3):393-398.

[2] Weller R. The health benefits of UV radiation exposure through vitamin D production or non-vitamin D

Pathways. Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci. 2016.

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Vitamin D deficiency – An 83-times increased risk in children since 2000

A major research paper report in the medical journal, Pediatrics, has shown an alarming increase in vitamin D deficiency among children aged 0-17 years of age. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28159871 [1] The researchers use the word “exponential,” and indeed it is, increasing from 3.14 deficient children per 100,000 in the year 2000 to 261 per 100,000 in 2014. We can state that as an 83-times increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, or an 8,300% increase. Either way one states it, it is an alarming increase, and will lead to an overwhelming number of bone diseases and other maladies in the future. 

vitamin D deficiency

Why would such an increase take place?  

That is an easy question to answer. Parents are “protecting” their children from sun exposure by keeping them away from direct sunlight—either by neglecting to take them outside (or demanding they stay indoors)—or slathering them with sunscreens, which can reduce the skin’s production of vitamin D by as much as 99%.[2] In the 1930s, when the medical community had not yet bought into today’s sun phobia, the Department of Labor printed a pamphlet called Sun for Babies in which they made this statement: “Every mother who wishes her baby to have robust health should give him regular sun baths from early infancy until he is old enough to play in the sun himself. If the sun’s rays are to help the baby grow properly and to prevent rickets, they must fall directly on the skin and tan it.” That would not be popular advice today, and it is likely any parent practicing “baby tanning” would be arrested for child abuse. Since the 1930’s the dermatological profession has come a long way… in the wrong direction. This is not to say that all dermatologists are sending the wrong messages. In my new book, Embrace the Sun (scheduled for publication shortly), I draw from the research from several “enlightened” dermatologists who have given stern warnings to their colleagues who are spreading their destructive, anti-sun messages. In fact, the person who is writing the foreword is a dermatologist, and one of the top sunlight/vitamin D scientists in the world.

Another chilling result of robbing our children of sunlight is the dramatic increase in myopia. There are several studies proving this point, but I will mention only one here: This research showed the prevalence of myopia among Chinese children living in Singapore was 29.1%, whereas Chinese children living in Sydney, Australia, had a prevalence rate of only 3.3%. The children in Sydney spent about 13.8 hours per week outdoors compared to 3.05 hours in Singapore. In other words, the children who spent most of their lives indoors, had 9.5 times the risk of developing myopia![3] In addition, rickets is now making a comeback. After a century of knowing how to prevent this disastrous children’s disease, it is returning, and cases of rickets are reported as far south as Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.[4] If children are not allowed to play outside, their vitamin D levels will be no better than if they lived at the North Pole.

But what about future risk of melanoma? Melanoma risk has increased by 3000% since 1935 while outdoor activity has decreased by about 90%.[5] The advice to halt the increase in melanoma, which is given by the melanoma foundations of course, is stay out of the sun and use more sunscreen. That is about as counterintuitive as it gets.

vitamin D deficiency

Protect your children from excessive sun exposure by using clothing and shade when they have had enough. Also be sure that the kids gradually and safely develop a protective tan. Never burn!

By Marc Sorenson, Ed.D. An advocate for the sun…Fighting vitamin D deficiency.

[1] Basatemur E, Horsfall L, Marston L, Rait G, Sutcliffe A.  Trends in the Diagnosis of Vitamin D Deficiency. Pediatrics. 2017 Mar;139(3).

[2] Matsuoka LY, Ide L, Wortsman J, MacLaughlin JA, Holick MF. Sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1987; 64:1165-68.

[3] Rose KA, Morgan IG, J, Kifley A, Huynh S, Smith W, Mitchell P. Outdoor activity reduces the prevalence of myopia in children. Ophthalmology 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.

[4]Weisberg P, Scanlon KS, Li R, Cogswell ME. Nutritional rickets among children in the United States: review of cases reported between 1986 and 2003. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80(6 Suppl):1697S-705S.

[5] Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. Sources: National Cancer Institute 2007 SEER Database, American Cancer Society’s 2007 Facts and Figures, The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Academy of Dermatology.

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New research says sunscreen use is leading to vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency is increasing rapidly in spite of the fact more people are taking supplements than ever before. According to an article in the Daily Mail (UK), 75% or the U.S. population are deficient in Vitamin D, and among African Americans, 95% are deficient.[1] Recent research in the Journal of the American Osteopath Association places the blame for this deficiency squarely on two factors:  (1) sun deprivation through sunscreen use, and (2) chronic diseases.[2]sunscreen

The paper makes perfect sense. It is known sunscreen use can inhibit up to 99% of the production of vitamin D by the skin.[3] And of course, chronic diseases themselves may be the effect of sunlight/vitamin D deficiency. So, in trying to prevent sunburn and skin damage, we set ourselves up for a spate of illnesses.

Caution is the best prevention for sunburn. One should never stay out until the skin turns red, and in the beginning stages of sun exposure, one should gradually increase it until a tan develops. A tan is a sign the skin is protecting itself against burning. In a landmark paper published in 1993 in the journal Preventive Medicine, Dr. Gordon Ainsleigh stated, “As melanoma research has demonstrated, the best prevention is regular exposure, thereby maintaining a protective tan and high vitamin D blood and tissue levels.”[4] And we now know that sun exposure produces photoproducts beyond vitamin D, such as nitric oxide, endorphins, and serotonin. Staying out of the sun, or blocking its rays, are recipes for health disasters. Queensland, Australia has vigorously promoted sunscreen for decades, and Queensland now has one of highest rates of melanoma in the world,[5] along with a rate of vitamin D deficiency which is becoming critical.[6]  The answer from the dermatologists, of course, is to prescribe more sunscreen and frighten more people out of the sun. Is that not the most counterintuitive decision of the century?

A much better choice than sunscreen is to simply leave the sun when it becomes too intense, or cover up with light, reflective clothing. Enjoy the sun, but do it carefully and never burn. And don’t destroy all the salubrious effects of the sun by using a noxious sunblock.

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4462730/Too-sunscreen-making-vitamin-D-deficient.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

[2] Pfotenhauer KM, Shubrook JH. Vitamin D deficiency, its role in heath and disease, and current supplementation recommendations. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2017; 117(5):301 – See more at: http://www.ajmc.com/newsroom/sunscreen-use-chronic-disease-linked-to-vitamin-d-deficiency#sthash.Yfx4Rbny.dpuf

[3] Matsuoka LY, Ide L, Wortsman J, MacLaughlin JA, Holick MF. Sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1987; 64:1165-68.

[4] Ainsleigh G.  Beneficial effects of sun exposure on cancer mortality.  Preventive Medicine 1993;22:132-140.

[5] Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED. Could sunscreens increase melanoma risk? American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 82, No. 4, April 1992, pp. 614-15.

[6]Van der Mei IA, Ponsonby AL, Engelsen O, Pasco JA, McGrath JJ, Eyles DW, Blizzard L, Dwyer T, Lucas R, Jones G. A high vitamin D insufficiency across Australian populations and latitude.  Environmental Health Perspect 2007;115:1132-39.

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Sun exposure of pregnant mothers decreases risk of child cancer

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, for sun exposure and children’s health…

sun exposure

It is well-known that sun exposure is associated with a reduced risk of many major cancers in adults. But what about children? A California study has shown that sun exposure during pregnancies also influences the childhood cancer risk of children who are a result of those pregnancies.[1] In this research, sun exposure, based on the geographical area where the women lived while pregnant, was measured. Then their children were compared in terms of childhood cancer risk, based on high or low sun exposure. Those children whose mothers experienced more sun exposure were less likely to develop acute lymphoblastic leukemia, hepatoblastoma, and non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. The authors of the study make this summary statement: “Our findings suggest that UVR during pregnancy may decrease the odds of some childhood cancers. Future studies should explore additional factors that may be correlated with UVR exposure and possibly include biomarkers of immune function and vitamin D.”

We have discussed in previous blogs the association of sunlight deficiency during women’s pregnancies and the subsequent risk of profoundly increased autism in their children. Therefore, similar results with cancer are not surprising. Safe, non-burning sun exposure has positive effects on at least 100 of the most frightening diseases, many of which will be discussed in my upcoming book that is coauthored by Dr. William B. Grant, and entitled Embrace the Sun. Children, even babies, need at least some sun exposure. And children, if they do not get outdoors in the sun are also subject to a remarkable increase in the risk of myopia.[2]

Take care of your children. Be sure that they play in the sunlight each day, without sunscreen. If any reddening occurs, put them in the shade or cover them up. But don’t deny them their share of sunshine; if you do, their risk of childhood cancers may increase.

[1] Lombardi C, Heck JE, Cockburn M, Ritz B. Solar UV radiation and cancer in young children. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Jun;22(6):1118-28.

[2] Rose KA, Morgan IG, J, Kifley A, Huynh S, Smith W, Mitchell P. Outdoor activity reduces the prevalence of myopia in children. Ophthalmology 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.

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