Tag Archives: sun

Sunlight for Public Health. Common sense prevails!

Sunlight is essential for public healthSunlight improves public health. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

An excellent new paper by Dr. Hoel and Dr. de Gruijl is titled “Sun Exposure Public Health Directives.” It decries the vilification of sunlight and suggests people return to its healthful rays.[1] https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/12/2794/htm

So is dermatology awakening to the truth about sunlight?

And one of the authors, Dr. de Gruijl, works at a dermatology department in the Netherlands. He is also a photobiologist and melanoma skin cancer research specialist. It seems like the dermatology world is returning to common sense, since other dermatologists have lately suggested more sunlight exposure. And well they should suggest more sunlight! Sunlight can save millions of lives, yet much of the population is dying in the dark due to misinformation. Many dermatologists consider sunlight exposure to be a killer, and thus frighten their patients away from sun exposure. Why? Because they are fearful of skin damage from sunlight, something they need not fear if they advise their patients properly.

Sunlight and skin cancer: the truth

One of my pet peeves is the statement that “sunlight causes cancer.” First of all, there are about 18 major cancers that are reduced by sunlight. And in addition, there are also myriad non-cancer maladies that are reduced or eliminated by safe sun exposure. These disorders run the gamut from arthritis and heart disease to psoriasis, erectile dysfunction and osteoporosis.[2] Secondly, not even skin cancer is caused by sun exposure unless people burn themselves. Therefore, it is a lack of both caution and common sense that leads to skin damage. The authors state that the public has been taught that health benefits of sun exposure are limited to bone health. That is another egregious error (italics mine).

The aforementioned paper reads almost like a synopsis of Embrace the Sun, the book by Marc Sorenson and William Grant,

Here are the major points on sunlight that make the research in the paper so compelling:

  1. There is a public health message that “overexposure” to the sun causes skin cancer. Nevertheless, those who promote this message do not define overexposure. Therefore, due to the lack of a definition, the public is led to believe that sun exposure is an enemy. In addition, the public is not educated regarding the detriments of “sun avoidance,” or should we say “underexposure.” Due to this omission, the public is exposed to disability, destruction and death (italics mine).

Sunlight deprivation: the staggering cost to human health

Consequently, in Embrace the Sun, we calculated the number of deaths due to diseases associated with high sunlight exposure. And, we then calculated the number of deaths due to diseases associated with sunlight deprivation. As a result, we determined that approximately 1,684,677 yearly deaths are caused by diseases associated with sunlight deprivation. Also, there were about 5125 deaths from diseases associated with high sunlight exposure, producing a ratio of approximately 328.7:1. This is most noteworthy! 328 deaths were associated with diseases of sun deprivation for each death associated with diseases of sun exposure. So, what do you think?

So, is sunlight avoidance risk free?

  1. Furthermore, the paper states that people believe sun avoidance is risk free. That is a colossal error as previously stated,
  2. Another mistake is to believe vitamin D supplements are an adequate substitute for sunlight. That is simply not so. Sun exposure causes the production of serotonin, nitric oxide, endorphin, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), dopamine and urocanic acid. All of these substances are vital for human health and wellbeing.
  3. Another important point stated by the authors is as follows: “This public health message is potentially causing significant harm to public health and should be changed immediately.” And, based on the analysis from Embrace the Sun, mentioned above, that should be an easy conclusion.

Is there an inverse association between sunlight and melanoma?

  1. The authors also state that melanoma risk is reduced by non-burning sun exposure. And only severe sunburns increase risk. In addition, they mention that melanoma in the U.S. has steadily increased at an annual rate of 3–4%.  There was 1 case per 100,000 in 1935, when accurate records were established. Yet, there were 25.8 cases per 100,000 in 2015. [That is about a 2,600% increase!]

Our analysis of melanoma in Embrace the Sun was almost identical. It showed a 3,000% increase in melanoma risk accompanied by a 90% decrease in sunlight exposure from 1935 to 2015. And, Sunscreen use also increased dramatically during that period, meaning that more sunscreen use is associated with greater melanoma risk.

And should we use sunscreens to reduce sunlight damage?

The answer to that question is “of course not.”

I was surprised that nothing was said about sunscreens, while I was considering the authors’ comment on severe sunburns,  Why? Because recent research has shown that persons who use sunscreens have 4-6 times greater risk of sunburn.[3] In addition, the same research showed that the greatest protection against burning was to seek shade or cover up. Imagine that! Also, a recent meta-analysis showed that sunscreen use made absolutely no difference in the risk of skin cancer.[4].

  1. The authors also make it clear that the common assertion—that tanned skin affords insignificant protection against sunburn—is not correct.
  2. In conclusion, the commentary made this statement: “All persons in the world regardless of skin color or latitude of residence, other than those with extraordinary sensitivity to sunlight, should get enough sun exposure to maintain a serum 25(OH)D level well over 20 ng/mL (desirably at 30–60 ng/mL) while taking care to avoid sunburn.

I agree and would like to reiterate that vitamin D supplements are not an adequate substitute for sunlight. Consequently, these measurements should be used only among those who do not take supplements. That is, if we expect to really measure sunlight exposure.

Embrace the Sun is available here.  Sunlight for public health

Happy sunning!

[1] Hoel D, de Gruijl, F. Sun Exposure Public Health Directives. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018;15:2794

[2] Sorenson, Marc, Grant, WB. Embrace the Sun. Sorenson, Publisher 2018. Available at Amazon.

[3] Kasey L. Morris, PhD; Frank M. Perna, EdD, PhD. Decision Tree Model vs Traditional Measures to Identify Patterns of Sun-Protective Behaviors and Sun Sensitivity Associated With Sunburn. JAMA Dermatol. Published online June 27, 2018.

[4] Elizabet saes da SILVA, Roberto TAVARES, Felipe da silva PAULITSCH, Linjie ZHANG. Eur J Dermatol 2018; 28(2): 186-201.

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Holistic Sun. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

The term holistic, as used for this discussion

Enjoy the holistic sun.The term holistic (my definition) derives from the word “whole.” Hence, the term incorporates the idea that in nutrition, a whole food functions better than any of its parts. And, it means that when we treat diseases, we should treat the whole person. As an example of holistic nutrition, consuming whole-grains associates with better health than consuming refined grains.[1] Probably, the poor results associated with refined white bread are due to the removal of nutrients during processing. As a result, the bread is no longer holistic. Furthermore, we can state that it is no longer a whole food. Stay with this discussion. Holistic sun will be discussed to sum up.

Other examples: holistic foods and non-holistic supplements

Especially relevant is that whole rice strongly associates with protection against disease, whereas refined rice increases risk.[2] Another example is the case in which a nutrient from a plant is extracted and encapsulated. Since the nutrient is subtracted from a food, neither the nutrient nor the food remains holistic. And, such food manipulation is based on observations that high levels of the nutrient in the body is associated with better health. Therefore, we might expect this encapsulated product to produce healthful outcomes. And, in some cases it does produce positive results. However, the product may also be totally ineffective or counterproductive.

Holistic vegetables vs non-holistic beta carotene and vitamin E

An example of this is supplementation with beta carotene. Beta carotene is a nutrient found in carrots and other orange and yellow vegetables. Since people who consume large quantities of these vegetables seem to be healthier, a question emerges. Could concentrated beta carotene produce a health miracle?[3]

Testing the possibility: Can supplements beat holistic vegetables?

So to test that possibility, researchers gave one group of cancer patients beta carotene pills (not holistic). They gave other patients a placebo. Opposite from the researchers’ expectations, the cancer increased with beta carotene supplementation.[4] Consequently, these adverse results led to the discontinuation of the research. Furthermore, similar results have been shown with vitamin E supplementation.[5] While beta carotene and vitamin E are wonderful, they must work as part of the holistic team.

What about the health of those who eat holistic foods containing beta carotene?

And what about those who have high beta carotene levels due to a high intake of colorful vegetables? It is most noteworthy to again mention that high carotene levels still predict better health. These vegetables contain innumerable, healthful chemical compounds, only one of which is beta carotene. Hence, when beta carotene is part of the magnificent, holistic orchestra of nutrients, it helps to produce a beautiful health concert. In conclusion, whole foods—or holistic foods—will be better for human health than a single, isolated nutrient. And remember this. Junk foods are never holistic.

Is the sun holistic, or do we need only to take a vitamin D pill?

Learn to love non-burning sunlight and prevent breast cancerSo, can the sun be holistic? Yes! First of all, the idea of a holistic sun was the reason I wrote my latest book, Embrace the Sun. I had noted numerous studies where vitamin D, the major photoproduct of sun exposure, sometimes failed as a supplement. In other cases it seemed to work quite well. Yet, when sun exposure was tested for the expected result, that result was almost invariably positive. At this point, I must make it clear that there are many studies showing that vitamin D supplementation can produce terrific, healthful outcomes. This is especially true when vitamin D deficiency is present. But since sun exposure produces many other healthful photoproducts, why should we settle for just one? Beyond vitamin D, here are few additional photoproducts produced by sun exposure.

Photoproducts that are part of the holistic sun’s health arsenal:

  1. Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which immediately lowers blood pressure and leads to a decrease in heart disease risk.[6] Taking a D pill does not produce this result.
  2. Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin.[7] This result is nearly immediate and not triggered by vitamin D.
  3. Sun exposure increases the production of BDNF, part of a cascade of proteins promoting growth of neurons and preventing nerve death.[8] This result is not triggered by vitamin D. BDNF is a major player on the holistic sun’s team.

More holistic photoproducts:

  1. Sun exposure increases the production of endorphin, another mood enhancer.[9] This is a non-vitamin D response.
  2. UVB light from sun, sunlamps or sunbeds directly helps heal psoriasis.[10] This is not a vitamin D response.
  3. Sun exposure also leads to the production of several additional natural chemicals that enhance human health. Here are a few: Alpha melanocyte-stimulating hormone, Calcitonin gene-related peptide and Neuropeptide substance P. A full discussion of them here would become too cumbersome for this blog.

Summary: the importance of holistic sun

So, suffice it to say that the holistic sun has many benefits beyond the production of vitamin D. And remember, sunbeds and sunlamps can furnish the holistic effects of sun exposure when sunlight is not available. These include the production vitamin D, which, when combined with the other photoproducts, enhances health to a far greater extent than vitamin D alone. Hence, we might say that the photoproducts of sun exposure are synergistic—the holistic sun being far more effective than any of its individual parts. When major players are taken away from the orchestra, the concert is not as good. Don’t let that happen with your holistic sun. Be sure that all of the sun’s remarkable photoproducts are working for you, including vitamin D.

In conclusion, Embrace the Holistic Sun safely and reap the health benefits. Don’t burn and don’t use sunscreens, which take away one of the major players in your orchestra: vitamin D. Have a sunny week!

 

 

 

[1] Tayyem RF, Bawadi HA, Shehadah I, Agraib LM, Al-Awwad NJ, Heath DD, Bani-Hani KE. Consumption of Whole Grains, Refined Cereals, and Legumes and Its Association With Colorectal Cancer Among Jordanians. Integr Cancer Ther. 2016 Sep;15(3):318-25.

[2] Musa-Veloso K, Poon T, Harkness LS, O’Shea M, Chu Y. The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Oct 1;108(4):759-774

[3] Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med. 1994 Apr 14;330(15):1029-35.

[4] Tanvetyanon T, Bepler G. Beta-carotene in multivitamins and the possible risk of lung cancer among smokers versus former smokers: a meta-analysis and evaluation of national brands. Cancer. 2008 Jul 1;113(1):150-7

[5] Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med. 1994 Apr 14;330(15):1029-35.

[6] 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.

[7] 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.

[8] http://scicurious.scientopia.org/2010/12/13/bdnf-and-depression/

[9] Aubert PM, Seibyl JP, Price JL, Harris TS, Filbey FM, Jacobe H, Devous MD Sr Adinoff B. Dopamine efflux in response to ultraviolet radiation in addicted sunbed users. Psychiatry Res. 2016  30;251:7-14.

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

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Sun exposure is good for sound sleep and health in infants and adults.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD: friend of the Sun.sun exposure and sleep

Babies who cry at night rather than sleep can wreak havoc on the health, wellbeing and work performance of their parents, so any natural method of helping the baby to sleep well would be welcomed in most families. One of the best natural methods is to expose the baby to outdoor light, and research showed that infants who slept well were exposed to significantly more early-afternoon light than their counterparts who did not sleep well.[1] We have discussed previously in this blog that circadian rhythms are controlled to a great extent by sun or the lack thereof, and these researchers stated, “These data suggest that light in the normal domestic setting influences the development of the circadian system.” Proper circadian rhythms are also vitally important for adults, and when disrupted predict an increase in illness and death from many maladies, particularly from our number-one killer, cardiovascular disease.[2]

Melatonin, which should exhibit high levels at night, is a sleep inducer, and its production is enhanced when the lights go out at night. But, for that to happen, there must be sufficient bright light earlier in the day.

For babies or adults, here is how the system should work: When we awake to sunshine, light enters the eye and stimulates serotonin production; we then quickly become awake and invigorated, and melatonin is suppressed. At day’s end, however, the bright light disappears (or at least that is how nature intended it), melatonin levels rise, and serotonin levels diminish. We begin to feel sleepy and ideally go to bed for a good night’s rest. It is a perfect system for our needs—that is until we stay up far beyond biologically natural hours by using artificial lighting.

Is there and answer to a disrupted circadian rhythm and poor sleep quality? Yes! A paper entitled Circadian clocks optimally adapt to sun for reliable synchronization has the answer.[3] In it, the authors explain that circadian rhythms are best synchronized by sun. It therefore occurs that to escape the ravages of electric lighting, it would be a good idea to reset our biological clocks daily by being out in the morning sun and at other times, when possible, and to avoid long hours of light exposure at night. This could be one of the best therapies possible when we feel “out of synch.” And, catching some sun throughout the day would also keep serotonin levels higher and keep our moodiness in check. All of us know that we feel better when we are in the sun. This, coupled with enhancement of health, demonstrates that our friend, the sun, is an essential companion for optimal living.

So take care of your babies as nature intends, and also take care of yourself with non-burning daily sun exposure.

[1] Harrison Y. The relationship between daytime exposure to light and night-time sleep in 6-12-week-old infants. J Sleep Res. 2004 Dec;13(4):345-52.

[2] Jason Brainard, Merit Gobel, Benjamin Scott, Michael Koeppen  and Tobias Eckle. Health implications of disrupted circadian rhythms and the potential for daylight as therapy. Anesthesiology. 2015 May ; 122(5): 1170–1175.

[3] Hasegawa Y, Arita M. Circadian clocks optimally adapt to sun for reliable synchronization. J R Soc Interface. 2013 Dec 18;11(92):20131018.

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To avoid allergies, be sure to be born in sunny seasons!

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…

I suppose that it’s asking a bit much to tell someone to be born in the right season. But if it were possible, it would probably help a person to avoid some allergies. A most interesting scientific study from Korea explored the relationship among birth season, sunlight exposure during infancy, and allergic disease. It came to some very intriguing conclusions that indicate that sun exposure during pregnancy, and during the first two years of life, is exceptionally important. [1] The researchers explored relationships between birth season, sunlight exposure, and several allergic diseases.

They introduced their research by stating that “The recent increase in the prevalence of allergic diseases is hypothetically attributed to immune dysregulation in turn caused by a reduction in exposure to sunlight.”

Here are their findings:

  1. The prevalence of atopic dermatitis, a skin allergy, was 24% higher in children born in winter than those born in summer.
  2. Birth in winter was associated with a 56% increase in the prevalence of food allergy (FA).
  3. In addition, the lifetime prevalence of allergic diseases except food allergy (FA) was higher in children who had experienced inadequate sunlight in the first two years of life, compared to those children who had adequate exposure. In those whose sunlight exposure was inadequate, the following increases in risk were noted:
  4. Asthma 40% increased risk
  5. Allergic rhinitis (AR) 40%
  6. Atopic dermatitis (AD) 26%

The researchers concluded that “Birth in winter may be associated with development of AD and FA. Inadequate sunlight exposure before the age of 24 months might possibly increase the risks of development of asthma, AR, and AD.”

Great research, and the results are what we would have expected. There is almost no limit to the disease-preventing power of the Sun.

[1] Hwang JM, Oh SH, Shin MY. The relationships among birth season, sunlight exposure during infancy, and allergic disease. Korean J Pediatr. 2016 May;59(5):218-25. doi: 10.3345/kjp.2016.59.5.218. Epub 2016 May 31.

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New Research sheds more Light on Parkinson’s Disease

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

A new investigation from Chinese researchers demonstrates that sun exposure is dramatically protective against Parkinson’s disease (PD).[1] The paper reported a study in which 201 newly diagnosed patients were compared with 199 controls who were free of PD. Data on vitamin D intake, blood vitamin D levels and sun exposure were obtained in both groups by using a self-report questionnaire.

For blood vitamin D levels, those who had the highest levels had a 48% lowered risk of PD; for sun exposure, those receiving the greatest exposure had about 47% reduced risk of PD.

Whereas a significant positive correlation existed between blood levels of vitamin D and sun exposure, vitamin D intake from supplements, food, etc. did not correlate to blood levels of vitamin D.

This is a particularly interesting study in that it demonstrates that vitamin D should be raised by exposure to the sun when possible rather than dietary intake. It appears that dietary intake the amounts most people receive is not effective for raising those levels.

The evidence for a protective effect of sun exposure against PD has been building for some time. In 1988, it was observed that when four northern census regions of the U.S. were compared with three southern regions, death rates for PD were significantly higher in the northern regions,[2] indicating a possible protective effect of sun exposure. Later research corroborated those findings, demonstrating a strong north-south decreasing gradient for PD among whites.[3]

There are several more studies indicative of a positive effect of sun on PD, and these will be included in the book on sunlight that Dr. William Grant and I are writing, and which we hope to have published in May. Stay tuned, and safely embrace the sun!

[1] Juan Wang, Deyu Yang, Yu Yu, Gaohai Shao and Qunbo Wang 2. Vitamin D and Sunlight Exposure in Newly-Diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease. Nutrients 2016;8:142.

[2] Kurtzke JF, Goldberg ID. Parkinsonism death rates by race, sex, and geography. Neurology. 1988 Oct;38(10):1558-61.

[3] Lanska DJ. The geographic distribution of Parkinson’s disease mortality in the United States. J Neurol Sci. 1997 Sep 1;150(1):63-70.

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A Blast from the Past. It has been known for Decades that Sun or UV protects against Sepsis.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

In the previous blog, we noted that sun exposure was associated with a reduced risk of the deadly bacterial infection called sepsis. In reality, UV therapy was used to treat many kinds of infections decades ago, when sun exposure was widely known as a bactericide.

Dr. Zane Kime, in his book, Sunlight could Save Your Life, reviewed the results of research conducted between 1886 and 1909 and showed that the following bacteria were killed by ultraviolet light: anthrax, plague, streptococci, tubercle bacillus, cholera, staphylococcus, colon bacillus and dysentery bacillus.[1] Sun was virtually forgotten with the advent of antibiotic drugs, but now the interest has returned.

While watching a newscast, I noticed the news ticker along the bottom of the screen announcing, “Sunshine is the most effective anti-infection therapy.” But is this really news?  Dr. Kime cites several early studies on sun and infectious diseases that were performed about the same time as the advent of antibiotics. Reports in the scientific literature in the 1940s showed that sun killed infectious bacteria or viruses. Kime states …“a number of patients, having such various infections and diseases as blood poisoning [septicemia], childbirth infections, peritonitis, viral pneumonia, mumps, and bronchial asthma were treated with ultraviolet light therapy to their blood.”[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] They were, in fact, treated very successfully.

Dr. Kime also cited research showing that UV therapy killed the flu virus outside the body[12] and destroyed cancer-producing viruses.[13] He reported good results in his own practice in treating fungal infections with sun therapy.

The ancients knew of the marvelous healing effects of sun exposure, and Dr. Kime knew even more in 1980 as he reviewed the literature. We need more people who are willing to promulgate the truth about our kindly friend, the sun.

[1] Kime, Z. Sunlight Could Save Your Life. World Health Publications, Penryn, CA 1980 pp 180-81.

[2] Miley, G. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation in acute pyogenic infections.  New York J Med 1942;42:38.

[3] Miley, G. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation in acute pyogenic infections.  New York J Med 1942;42:38.

[4] Rebbeck, E. Ultraviolet irradiation of auto-transfused blood in the treatment of puerperal sepsis.  Amer J Surg 1941;54:691

[5] Rebbeck, E.  Ultraviolet irradiation of autotransfused blood in the treatment of postabortal sepsis. Amer J Surg 1942;55:476.

[6] Rebbeck, E.  Ultraviolet irradiation of the blood in the treatment of escherichia coli septicemia.  Arch Phys Ther 1943;24:158.

[7] Rebbeck, E. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation as a control of infection in peritonitis.  Amer J Gastroenterol 1943;10:1-26

[8] Hancock, V.  Irradiated blood transfusions in the treatment of infections.  Northwest Med 1934;33:200.

[9] Barrett, H.   Five years experience with hemo-irradiation according to the Knott technic.  Am J Surg 1943;61:42

[10] Barrett, H.  The irradiation of auto-transfused blood by ultraviolet spectral energy: results of therapy in 110 cases.  Med Clin N Amer 1940;24:723

[11] Miley, G.  The present status of ultraviolet blood irradiation.  Arch Phys Ther 1944;25:357.

[12] Hollaender, A.  The inactivating effect of monochromatic ultraviolet radiation on influenza virus. J Bact 1944;48:447.

[13] Heding LD, Schaller JP, Blakeslee JR, Olsen RG. Inactivation of tumor cell-associated feline oncornavirus for preparation of an infectious virus-free tumor cell immunogen.  Cancer Res 1976;36:1647.

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Sun Exposure and Athletic Performance, Part 2

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Almost no one realizes the dramatic improvement that sun exposure can make on athletic performance. I helped Dr. John Cannell obtain translations of many esoteric and decades-old studies that had been forgotten, probably due to the fact that sun lamps were used to create some of the improvements in athletics, and have fallen out of favor due to the sunscare movement. I co-authored a paper with Cannell, called Athletic Performance and Vitamin D.[1] That paper is the source of much of the material covered here, and it demonstrates the remarkable, positive effect of sun or other ultraviolet (UV) exposure on human performance. I would also strongly suggest that the readers avail themselves of Dr. Cannell’s book on the subject, called The Athlete’s Edge, which discusses in far greater detail the materials introduced here.

One of the salient studies on UV exposure took place in 1957 and assessed the influence of sun exposure on strength and performance over a two-year period.[2] During that time six subjects were able to increase athletic performance and muscle trainability through systematic UV exposure. But when vitamin D3 was used, it not only did not work, it inhibited the performance-enhancing effect of the UV. I sometimes fear the public is beginning to believe that if sun exposure is proven to enhance human health, one needs only to take a vitamin D pill. Don’t get pulled into that idea. Sun exposure will always be more important than any of the photoproducts whose production it stimulates.

Here are some of the other salient studies on sun exposure and performance. In 1938, Russian researchers demonstrated that a series of four UV treatments improved speed in the 100-meter dash compared to four non-irradiated students, when both groups were undergoing daily physical training.[3] The times improved from 13.51 seconds to 13.28 seconds in the non-irradiated group and from 13.63 to 12.62 seconds in the irradiated group. In other words, the UV-treated group improved by three-fourths of a second more than the non-UV group. That may seem like a relatively small improvement, but three-fourths of a second better time in a 100-meter dash could be the difference between first and last place!

German research from 1944 showed that the exposure of 32 medical students to UV, twice weekly during for six weeks, associated with a 13% improvement in endurance, whereas performance of a control group was unchanged.[4]

Other German research shows that the ability of a muscle to gain strength (trainability) is much better in summer than winter, and peaks in September.[5] In fact the trainability was 2½ higher that the average monthly trainability for the entire year.

Reaction time has also been shown to improve significantly in the sunnier months.[6] [7]

When we consider reaction time, muscle and bone strength, speed and endurance, we should realize that these measurements are not only important for athletes; they are important for all aspects of living for all people. Everyone wants to be stronger, quicker, and faster, as well as have more endurance in daily activities. So embrace the sun, but do it safely and do not burn.

[1] Cannell JJ, Hollis BW, Sorenson MB, Taft TN, Anderson JJ. Athletic performance and vitamin D. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 May;41(5):1102-10.

[2] E. Seidl and Th. Hettinger. The Effect of Vitamin D3 on the Strength and Performance of a Healthy Adult. International Journal Physiology, including Industrial Physiology, Vol. 16, Pages 365-372 (1957).

[3] Gorkin Z, Gorkin MJ, Teslenko NE. [The effect of ultraviolet irradiation upon training for 100m sprint.] Fiziol Zh USSR. 1938;25:695-701.

[4] Lehmann G, Mueller EA. [Ultraviolet irradiation and altitude fitness.] Luftfahrtmedizin. 1944;9:37-43. [Article in German].

[5] Hettinger T, Muller EA.  Seasonal course of trainability of musculature.  Int Z Angew Physiol. 1956;16(2):90-4.

[6] Sigmund, R. The effect of ultra-violet rays on the human reaction time.  Strahlentherapie.1956;101(4):623-9.

[7] Seidl E. [The effect of ultraviolet irradiation on reaction time.] Int Z Angew Physiol. 1958;17(4):333-40.

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Sunshine and Anaphylaxis—another Reason to Embrace the Sun.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD…

Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is an extreme allergic reaction to a protein to which a person has been previously exposed.  It is characterized by a profound drop in blood pressure, severe itching and hives, and breathing difficulties. Untreated, it can be lethal.  A common cause is bee sting, although many drugs and foods trigger reactions in individuals.

Although anaphylaxis has many causes, one of the major associations with the reaction is sunlight, being much more prevalent in areas with less sunlight.[1] [2] [3] Interestingly, the frequency of hospital admissions for the condition has increased 5-7 fold in the last 10-15 years, although death from anaphylaxis has not increased.[4] That could be due to increasingly fast response to the condition by medical personnel.

Other research indicative of an association of sunlight deficiency to anaphylaxis involves the use of the anti-anaphylaxis drug, Epipen. When geographical location in the USA is compared to the number of prescriptions for the drug, a strong north-south gradient is apparent, [5] with the highest rates in Massachusetts and the lowest in Hawaii. People residing in southern states have about 25-30% of the risk of those residing in the New England. The same relationship is observed in Australia, where there EpiPen prescriptions are more frequent in the south than the north[6] as are hypoallergenic formula prescriptions.[7] (In Australia, the south is colder and has less sunlight, due to being in the southern hemisphere).

A similar relationship in the U.S. is shown with visits to the emergency room for acute allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, especially food-induced anaphylaxis.[8] The northeast region had more visits than the South. These studies establish that sunlight is protective against this potent reaction. Other research shows a similar geographic gradient with higher frequencies recorded in areas of little sun exposure,[9] such as those in children residing in northern countries.[10]

Regular, non-burning sunlight is an essential ingredient in the vibrant-health recipe for ourselves and our children. Embrace the sun!

[1] Tejedor-Alonso M A, Moro-Moro M, Múgica-García MV. Epidemiology of Anaphylaxis: Contributions from the Last 10 Years. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2015;25(3):163-75.

[2] Mullins RJ, Camargo CA. Latitude, sunlight, vitamin D, and childhood food allergy/anaphylaxis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2012 Feb;12(1):64-71.

[3] Rudders SA, Camargo CA Jr. Sunlight, vitamin D and food allergy. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Aug;15(4):350-7.

[4] Tejedor Alonso MA, Moro Moro M, Múgica García MV. Epidemiology of anaphylaxis. Clin Exp Allergy. 2015 Jun;45(6):1027-39.

[5] Camargo, C. et al. Regional differences in EpiPen prescriptions in the United States: the potential role of vitamin D. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;120:128-30

[6] Mullins RJ, Clark S, Camargo CA Jr. Regional variation in epinephrine autoinjector prescriptions in Australia: more evidence for the vitamin D-anaphylaxis hypothesis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2009 Dec;103(6):488-95.

[7] Mullins RJ, Clark S, Camargo CA Jr. Regional variation in infant hypoallergenic formula prescriptions in Australia. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2010 Mar;21(2 Pt 2):e413-20.

[8] Rudders SA, Espinola JA, Camargo CA Jr. North-south differences in US emergency department visits for acute allergic reactions. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010 May;104(5):413-6.

[9] Tejedor Alonso MA, Moro M, Múgica García MV. Epidemiology of anaphylaxis. Clin Exp Allergy. 2015 Jun;45(6):1027-39.

[10] Mullins RJ, Camargo CA. Latitude, sunlight, vitamin D, and childhood food allergy/anaphylaxis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2012 Feb;12(1):64-71.

 

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More on the Effects of Sunlight beyond Vitamin D

By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Drs. Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan wrote a paper in 2012 that beautifully summarizes the effects of sunlight beyond the production of vitamin D.[1] Here are the highlights of their paper, as stated in the abstract. They discuss the separate affects of Ultraviolet B light (UVB) and ultraviolet A light (UVA), which are, of course, components of sunlight.

  1. UVB induces cosmetic tanning (immediate pigment darkening, persistent pigment darkening and delayed tanning).
  2. UVB-induced, delayed tanning acts as a sunscreen.
  3. Several human skin diseases, like psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis and localized scleroderma, can be treated with sunlight or artificial UV radiation (phototherapy).
  4. UV exposure can suppresses multiple sclerosis independently of vitamin D synthesis.
  5. UVA generates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and generally improve cardiovascular health.
  6. UVA induced NO may also have antimicrobial effects.
  7. UVA induced NO may act as a neurotransmitter.
  8. UV exposure may improve mood through the release of endorphin.

It wasn’t mentioned in the paper, but we now know that sunlight also helps generate serotonin in the brain, which improves mood, and outside the body it is a potent disinfectant (see my recent blogs on those subjects). So those who claim that sunlight is harmful in any amount, must be living on a different planet. Embrace the Sun, but never burn.

[1] Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan. Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production. Dermato-Endocrinology 4:2, 109–117; April/May/June 2012.

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Sunlight and Cognition

By Marc Sorenson, EdD Sunlight Institute

We have previously discussed information indicating that people who received more sunlight had better brain function, and noted the relationship between Alzheimer’s, autism and other mental disorders and lack of sun. A recent study compared cognitive impairment and sunlight in a 15-year residential history of varying degrees of sunlight exposure. It showed that cognitive impairment in persons who were below the median exposure to sunlight was 88% greater than those who were above the median.[1]

The researchers mentioned vitamin D as a possible mechanism by which sunlight positively influenced cognition, but also remarked that regulation of the circadian rhythm by sunlight could be a factor. These same investigators had previously shown that lower levels of sunlight exposure resulted in a 2.58-times higher incidence of cognitive impairment.[2]

So, if you would like to maintain your cognitive abilities, soak up a little non-burning sunlight!

[1] Kent ST, Kabagambe EK, Wadley VG, Howard VJ, Crosson WL, Al-Hamdan MZ, Judd SE, Peace F, McClure LA. The relationship between long-term sunlight radiation and cognitive decline in the REGARDS cohort study. Int J Biometeorol. 2014 Apr;58(3):361-70.

[2] Kent ST, McClure LA, Crosson WL, Arnett DK, Wadley VG, Sathiakumar N. Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study. Environ Health. 2009 Jul 28;8:34

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