Tag Archives: sun

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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Go Ahead and Soak up some Sun! So says Dr. Holick.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Go ahead and soak up some sun! So says Dr. Holick.

It is great to have Dr. Michael Holick appearing in news articles occasionally, because he helps to stop the pervasive lies that frighten the public from partaking of life-saving sun exposure. A recent article appearing in the Washington Post, and written by Dr. Holick, makes some good points that all of us should have at our fingertips when being confronted by the anti-sun militants:

  1. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends never exposing bare skin to the sun, or even on a cloudy day, without sunscreen. [How about that for insanity!]
  2. The FDA calls ultraviolet radiation a carcinogen. [ridiculous]
  3. These messages cause widespread paranoia
  4. SPF 30 sunscreens reduce vitamin D production by 97%.
  5. A lack of vitamin D is associated with increased risk for Type 1 and 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, colon and breast cancer, influenza and tuberculosis.

Much of the rest of the article concentrates on putting the lie to the nonsense about hiding ourselves from the sun, as he talks about how vital vitamin D is for cancer, diabetes and other diseases. He then discusses the best way to get sunlight exposure. This is a must read!

This is the link to the article:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/go-ahead-soak-up-some-sun/2015/07/24/00ea8a84-3189-11e5-97ae-30a30cca95d7_story.html.

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I Feel it in my Gut: Sunlight Exposure is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Marc Sorenson, EdD

IBD consists of two primary diseases, ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). UC is a chronic inflammatory condition characterized by relapsing and remitting episodes of inflammation limited to the mucosal layer of the colon. [1] Crohn’s however, can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus but most commonly affects the small intestine or the colon or both.[2] The most common symptoms of IBD are abdominal pain, weight loss, fever, rectal bleeding, skin and eye irritations and diarrhea.

In a 12-year year investigation of hundreds of thousands of IBD patients, measuring both UC and CD, hospitalizations and prolonged hospitalizations for both diseases were higher among those who had low sunlight exposure compared to those with very high sunlight exposure.[3] The same relationship was shown between sunlight, bowel surgeries and deaths; more surgeries were needed for those patients who experienced the lowest sunlight exposure compared to those who had the highest sunlight exposure, and more deaths occurred among those with low exposure.

An interesting side note to this investigation was that a large number of non-IBD patients were also analyzed for sunlight exposure amounts. As with the IBD patients, low sunlight exposure was associated with prolonged hospitalizations and more deaths when compared with high exposure.

French research has shown that high residential sun exposure is associated with a low risk of CD,[4] but not UC. Women who were in the highest third of sunlight exposure had only half the risk of CD compared to those in the lowest third, but UC was increased 21% by high sunlight exposure. This study was the only one I have seen—other than studies on non-melanoma skin cancer—that indicated a positive association of sunlight exposure with disease risk. None of the other studies mentioned here showed that relationship with UC.  Another interesting side note to this research was that vitamin D intake was not associated with decreased risk of CD.

It has also been shown that in both Europe and the US, there is a north-south gradient for IBD,[5] meaning that the risk of developing IBD is significantly lower for the southern latitudes (where sunlight exposure is greater). And finally, another French study has demonstrated that low sunlight exposure is associated with an increased incidence of Crohn’s disease.[6]

So for a healthy gut, sunlight exposure plays a vital role.

[1] Mark A Peppercorn, Adam S Cheifetz, Paul Rutgeerts, Shilpa Grover. Definition, epidemiology, and risk factors in inflammatory bowel disease. Uptodate http://www.uptodate.com/contents/definition-epidemiology-and-risk-factors-in-inflammatory-bowel-disease. Accessed July 1, 2015.

[2] Web MD http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/crohns-disease/inflammatory-bowel-syndrome. Accessed July 1, 2015.

[3] Limketkai BN1, Bayless TM, Brant SR, Hutfless SM. Lower regional and temporal ultraviolet exposure is associated with increased rates and severity of inflammatory bowel disease hospitalization. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Sep;40(5):508-17.

[4] Jantchou P1, Clavel-Chapelon F, Racine A, Kvaskoff M, Carbonnel F, Boutron-Ruault MC. High residential sun exposure is associated with a low risk of incident Crohn’s disease in the prospective E3N cohort. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2014 Jan;20(1):75-81.

[5] Schultz M1, Butt AG. Is the north to south gradient in inflammatory bowel disease a global phenomenon? Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Aug;6(4):445-7.

[6] Nerich V1, Jantchou P, Boutron-Ruault MC, Monnet E, Weill A, Vanbockstael V, Auleley GR, Balaire C, Dubost P, Rican S, Allemand H, Carbonnel F. Low exposure to sunlight is a risk factor for Crohn’s disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Apr;33(8):940-5.

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Want to get Pregnant? Look to the Sun. Sunlight Exposure Increases Success Rate with IVF and may help with Problems of ED.

Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

The Daily Mail, from the UK, recently posted an article regarding sunlight and fertility that should catch some interest.[1]

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%.[2] 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.[3] Drs. Elisabeth Lerchbaum and Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, in 2012, conducted a review of articles on vitamin D and fertility and came to these conclusions:[4] “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.[5] Viagra, Cialis and other such ED drugs work through a Nitric Oxide pathway[6] 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.[7] 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!

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3130616/Sunbathing-help-pregnant-Increased-exposure-raise-odds-mother-third.html

[2]Vandekerckhove, F. Presentation at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual conference in Lisbon, Portugal, from June 14 to 17.

[3] http://www.emaxhealth.com/8782/sex-sun-may-increase-your-fertility

[4] Lerchbaum E1, Obermayer-Pietsch B. Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 May;166(5):765-7.

[5] 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.

[6] http://drliesa.com/neo-40-lozenges/

[7] http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/erectile-dysfunction-medications-common-side-effects?stickyLb=true

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