By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–
It has been known for decades that those who live closer to the equator have a lower risk of multiple sclerosis (MS). In various pieces of research, Vitamin D produced by sunlight, has been suggested as the factor responsible for the decreasing risk of MS based on proximity to the equator. However, a recent study shows that sunlight, while obviously being critical in the production of vitamin D, has its own profound influence in lessening the degeneration of nerves (neurodegeneration) in those with MS.
By measuring whole brain volume (WBV) and grey-matter volume (GMV) by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the scientists determined that greater summer sunlight exposure predicted greater WBV and GMV in MS patients. Interestingly though, when vitamin D levels were measured, they had no influence on the positive effects of sunlight exposure with WBV or GMV. The researchers concluded: “Sun exposure may have direct effects on MRI measures of neurodegeneration in MS, independently of vitamin D.”
This research opens the door to a whole new area of research on vitamin D. The idea that brain volume is correlated to sunlight exposure independently of vitamin D blood levels causes one to wonder how many other research papers, touting the benefits of vitamin D, might be reassessed to determine if sunlight exposure had its own benefits beyond its ability to cause the production of vitamin D in skin.
The idea that WBV and GMV are greater in those exposed to sunlight also brings up the possibility that IQ could be influenced positively by sunlight exposure. It has also been shown that autism is more prevalent in areas of less sunlight exposure and more common to occur in children with wintertime births. Could the pregnant mother’s sunlight exposure have an influence on fetal-brain development beyond the level of vitamin D produced in her body? Could that influence improve IQ? Could factors such as nitric-oxide production by the UVA portion of sunlight play a role? And, beyond brain and nerve protection and development, could there be independent protective influences of sunlight on the myriad diseases correlated to vitamin D deficiency—diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and cancer?
As Dr. Bernard Ackerman once stated, “the sun, now incriminated as the major culprit responsible for an “epidemic” of melanoma, will be rehabilitated from its status current of pariah, our worst enemy, to its place rightful, all things considered, namely, humankind’s best friend.”
The fact—that research is proving sunlight has beneficial effects beyond vitamin D production—shows that the rehabilitation has begun.
 Acheson ED. Some comments on the relationship of the distribution of multiple sclerosis to latitude, solar radiation, and other variables. Acta Neurol Scand 1960;35:132-47.
 Zivadinov R, Treu CN, Weinstock-Guttman B, Turner C, Bergsland N, O’Connor K, Dwyer MG, Carl E, Ramasamy DP, Qu J, Ramanathan M. Interdependence and contributions of sun exposure and vitamin D to MRI measures in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Feb 5. [Epub ahead of print]<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
 A Bernard Ackerman, dermatologist. The Sun and the “Epidemic” of Melanoma: Myth on Myth! 2008.
By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–
In 1997, Dr. Y Sato and colleagues showed that sunlight deprivation (due to being hospitalized) in Parkinson’s patients resulted in compensatory hyperparathyroidism, which in turn led to reduced bone mass and excessive hip fractures. In 1998, he made the same observation regarding elderly women with Alzheimer’s disease. Then, in 2003, he reported that sunlight deprivation was also a cause of hip fractures in elderly women who suffered from stroke. This time, however, he studied the effects of sunlight—or the lack thereof—on the bone mass of elderly women who were either exposed to sunlight or were kept inside a care facility. Over twelve months, 129 women were exposed to regular sunlight and another 129 received no sunlight exposure. The results were startling: in these sedentary women, the sunlight group increased bone mass by an average 3.1%; in the non-sunlight-exposed group, it decreased by 3.3%, a swing of 6.4%.
Of course, one might ask why a small increase in bone density in one group and a loss of bone density in the other makes any difference; the real question is whether it prevented hip fractures. Now consider this: as proof of the efficacy of improving bone mass, the women who had the benefit of sunlight had only one bone fracture in their group. The sunlight-deprived group had six fractures! This is obviously a reversal of osteoporosis and a reversal of fracture risk.
Sato was not through with his research; in 2005, he and his colleagues exposed a group of Alzheimer’s patients to sunlight for one year, and another was kept in a typical indoor hospital setting. In the sunlight group a 220% increase in vitamin D levels was found, and bone mass increased by 2.7%. In the indoor group, bone mass decreased by 5.6%. That is a difference of 7.3% in only one year! The final proof, of course, is with fractures. In the sunlight group, there were three fractures; in the sunlight-deprived group there were eleven, or 3.7 times more.
Finally, in 2011, Dr. Sato and his group did a similar study on elderly patients with Parkinson’s disease. A two-year program of sunlight exposure was compared to a two-year program of continued sunlight deprivation. This time, the sunlight group experienced an increase of 3.8% bone mass, whereas the sunlight-deprived group lost 2.6% bone mass. The sunlight group experienced three fractures and the sunlight deprived group, eleven fractures, as in the aforementioned study.
One more thought: An investigation in Spain concluded that women who actively participated in sun exposure had one-eleventh the chance of a hip fracture as those who stayed indoors.
The conclusion: sunlight exposure not only prevents, but can also reverse osteoporosis and fractures. Every physician who treats this disease should have sunlight exposure as his number-one treatment protocol. But is anyone listening?
 Sato Y, Kikuyama M, Oizumi K. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and reduced bone mass in Parkinson’s disease. Neurology. 1997 Nov;49(5):1273-8.<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
 Sato Y, Asoh T, Oizumi K. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and reduced bone mass in elderly women with Alzheimer’s disease. Bone. 1998 Dec;23(6):555-7.
 Sato, Y. Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in stroke patients. Neurology 2003;61:338-42.
 Sato Y, Iwamoto J, Kanoko T, Satoh K. Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis d by sunlight exposure in hospitalized, elderly women with Alzheimer’s disease: a randomized controlled trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2005;20:1327-33.
 Sato Y, Iwamoto J, Honda Y. Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2011;17(1):22-6.
 Larrosa, M. Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture. Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.
This is the latest of several studies indicating that women who receive less sunlight exposure are at greater risk for breast cancer. This time the research comes from Australia, and shows that women living in the southern part of the country, which is colder and has less sunlight, are more likely to contract the cancer. The research keeps coming, but is anyone in medical circles or government agencies paying any attention?
A study by Dr. Wanquing Chen and colleagues in China demonstrates that lack of sunlight leads to increasing rates of several cancers, including those of the cervix, rectum, colon, stomach and esophagus. It is good to see that sunlight and vitamin D deficiencies are now being recognized throughout the world as detriments to optimal human health.
This article from India is generally a good explanation of the benefits of sunlight and vitamin D, but its most interesting point is that Indian physicians are recommending sunlight exposure for babies. Congratulations to these brave doctors!
Another study has just been released that adds more evidence that sunlight exposure, far from being a carcinogen, reduces the risk of cancer. This time, sunlight exposure is shown to associate with a lowered risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly. Bit by bit, the falsehoods being promulgated by the sunscare movement are exposed to the public. This is an excellent read!
By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–
A recent study in the journal Blood, shows a remarkable reduction of the risk of a group of cancers known as lymphoid malignancies, i.e. non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, multiple myeloma and classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Researchers in California measured exposure to sunlight among residents in different geographic areas and compared the different categories of exposure to the risk of contracting these cancers.[i] Those residents living in the areas with the highest quartile (fourth) of sunlight exposure, when compared with those in the lowest quartile, showed a 43% reduced risk of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and a 64% reduction of risk of one of its subcategories known as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The risk of another subcategory, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, showed a 54% reduced risk. Multiple myeloma was also associated with a reduced risk of 43% among those living in areas with the highest quartile of sunlight exposure. Interestingly, dietary vitamin D was not associated with the risk of these cancers. The researchers stated, “These results support a protective effect of routine residential UVR exposure against lymphomagenesis through mechanisms possibly independent of vitamin D
This last finding is doubly important, since it indicates that sunlight exposure may have protective effects against cancers independent of its stimulation of vitamin D production by skin, or that the type of vitamin D produced by sunlight stimulation of skin is superior to that obtained through food or supplements. It appears that Mother nature know best, and that sunlight, one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind, should not be ignored a as preventive therapy.
[i] Chang ET, Canchola AJ, Cockburn M, Lu Y, Wang SS, Bernstein L, Clarke CA, Horn-Ross PL. Adulthood residential ultraviolet radiation, sun sensitivity, dietary vitamin D, and risk of lymphoid malignancies in the California Teachers Study. Blood 2011;118:1591-9.