Tag Archives: sunlight

Parkinson’s disease and sunlight. A magnificent finding!

Parkinson's Embrace the SunParkinson’s disease prevented by sunlight. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Parkinson's prevented by sun exposureParkinson’s disease is a common nerve disease, and it is caused by deterioration of brain cells that produce dopamine. It is characterized by tremors, muscle rigidity, shuffling gait, slow speech, and a mask-like facial expression. In addition, even simple movements may become difficult for the person suffering from the disease. And, the disease is a killer that takes the lives of 14,593 per year.[1] So how do we prevent it? In this blog, I will explain the disease, show what the research says about sunlight, and make recommendations for prevention.

Research points out that Sun exposure is the key to prevention of Parkinson’s disease.

Several studies have shown that there is a close association between sunlight exposure, blood Parkinson's prevented by sun exposurevitamin D levels and Parkinson’s. First of all, one paper showed that when vitamin D levels are low, there is a tripling of the risk.[2] Another study from China demonstrated that persons with highest levels of blood vitamin D had a 48% decrease in risk. And, that same research demonstrated that those receiving the greatest sun exposure had about a 47% decrease in risk.[3] So, based on those findings, one might think that vitamin D supplements could prevent the disease. Yet, that thought is erroneous. Sun exposure is the direct key for preventing this debilitating disease.

Vitamin D supplements do not stop Parkinson’s, so how can that be?

Recent research, a systematic review and meta-analysis, is most noteworthy. And it explains this interesting paradox.[4] It showed that sun exposure was significantly associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s. Especially relevant is the fact that those persons with plenty of sun exposure had only 1/50 the risk of Parkinson’s. That is an astounding figure! However, although vitamin D supplements were effective in raising vitamin D levels, they had no significant benefits for Parkinson’s disease.

Vitamin D and sun exposure are not the same.

While sun exposure and supplements both raise vitamin D levels, supplements are no help to Parkinson’s sufferers. Hence, we must look beyond vitamin D for an answer. Sun exposure leads to the production of vitamin D, but it also leads to the production of dopamine. Dopamine, as previously mentioned, is a vital chemical for the brain as regards Parkinson’s. Vitamin D is a marvelous, vital photoproduct and is due to sun exposure. It is vital for human health. However, it appears that vitamin D does nothing for Parkinson’s. Most of all, we must remember that sun exposure produces many essential photoproducts beyond vitamin D.

Vitamin D blood levels, in the case of Parkinson’s and some other diseases, are simply surrogate measurements of sun exposure. We simply cannot substitute a vitamin D pill for sun exposure and expect to reap all the benefits of sunlight. The “holistic” sun will never be supplanted by a capsule. The sun stimulates the production of vitamin D, dopamine, nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphins, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and other photoproducts. And, all of these photoproducts play their roles in human health. For some diseases, vitamin D is vital for prevention. In others such as Parkinson’s, it is just along for the ride.

The takeaway regarding sun exposure and Parkinson’s.

To help prevent this disease, be sure to obtain plenty of non-burning sunlight. And In lieu of that, when there is no sunlight available, use a low-pressure sunbed (tanning bed) in a salon. Always remember not to burn. For more information, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X Parkinson's Embrace the Sun

Happy sunning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] ttps://www.rightdiagnosis.com/p/parkinsons_disease/deaths.htm

[2] Knekt P, Kilkkinen A, Rissanen H, Marniemi J, Sääksjärvi K, Heliövaara M. Serum vitamin D and the risk of Parkinson disease. Arch Neurol. 2010 Jul;67(7):808-11.

[3] Wang J, Yang D, Yu Y, Shao G. Wang Q. Vitamin D and Sunlight Exposure in Newly-Diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease. Nutrients 2016;8:142.

[4] Zhou Z, Zhou R, Zhang Z, Li K. The Association between Vitamin D Status, Vitamin D Supplementation, Sunlight Exposure, and Parkinson’s disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Med Sci Monit. 2019 Jan 23;25:666-674.

 

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Antioxidants: power against skin cancer?

Antioxidants: power against skin cancer. Marc Sorenson, EdD

Antioxidants can quench (eliminate) free radicals.

Antioxidants are popular as supplements, and they are found many foods, but especially in fruits and vegetables. Because they are critical to good nutrition, let’s first consider what they do to a prevent cancer. First of all, what are they? They are substances that eliminate free-radical atoms and molecules. These radicals are formed by combining oxygen with stable atoms, hence the term “oxidation.”  Therefore, we must also understand the free radical in order to understand the antioxidant’s importance.

Antioxidants and the notorious free radical Free radical needs antioxidants

A free radical is a highly unstable atom capable of independent existence and having at least one unpaired electron in its outer shell.[1] So, when an atom loses an electron, it becomes unstable in an attempt to reestablish balance. Because this atom “craves” to have its balance restored, it will “steal” an electron from another atom to achieve stability. Therefore, the atom from which the electron is stolen becomes another free radical. The first atom now becomes stable because it has snatched an electron. Consequently, however, the atom from which the electron is snatched becomes another free radical.

So this process repeats innumerable times.[2] And this chain reaction cannot cease until another substance, with an extra electron to “give away,” steps in. That substance finally furnishes the electron that produces stability. That substance, of course, is an antioxidant. Antioxidant furnishes an electornThus, antioxidants can furnish electrons to stabilize free radicals without causing damage. Hence, they are like the hero who gives his life for the team and then passes on.

Oxygen in free-radical formation

As mentioned, the process of free-radical formation is known as oxidation, because free radicals are usually formed due to oxygen molecules, which are unstable.  This is possible because oxygen easily combines with other substances.  Oxygen gives us life, but its byproducts, if not controlled, can quickly end life.  As an iron pipe rusts, it is because it succumbing to the free-radical attack of oxidation.  When anything burns, free radicals form.  Due to oxidation, a single cigarette creates about one quadrillion free-radical attacks.[3] Cooking creates massive quantities of free radicals. Breathing, heart beat and exercise also create oxidation. It is most noteworthy to understand that without antioxidants, our metabolic processes would shortly kill us because of oxidation.

Antioxidants and skin cancer

Oxidation damages DNA, and unchecked, it causes cancer. Therefore, the fact that smoking kills so many people attests to an obvious reality. Because smokers have insufficient levels of antioxidants to handle the free-radical load, they succumb to cancer.  In fact, smoking is a major cause of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC); the greater the number of cigarettes smoked, the greater is the risk of skin cancer.[4] So, how important are antioxidants to cancer prevention, especially non-melanoma skin cancer? The research on antioxidants and skin cancer expatiates on this subject.[5]

More important research on antioxidants and Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

The research just mentioned tells us that NMSC accounts for more that half of all diagnoses of cancer. And basal cell skin cancer (BCC) accounts for 70-80% of skin tumors. So, the researchers set out to determine the influence of antioxidants on NMSC. They tested 84 individuals and divided them into two groups: 1. a control group of healthy people, and 2. a case group of those who were undergoing surgery for BCC. In addition, they measured the blood of each group for free-radical markers, and then they compared the two groups. Also, they assessed the usual dietary intake of the subjects. As a result they discovered that the case group had significantly higher markers of oxidative stress compared with controls. While these results were impressive, there were other interesting results:

Other results regarding antioxidants

  1. Especially relevant was that antioxidants from foods were more pronounced in the control group. It seems like antioxidants from food must have been protective against BCC. Why? Because the intake of foods containing antioxidants showed their influence in reducing oxidative stress. Most of all, vitamins A and E were more prevalent among the non-diseased subjects.
  2. Also, the dietary concentrations of antioxidants minerals such as zinc, copper and selenium in the case group were significantly lower than healthy controls.

The power of fruits and veggies. Antioxidants are contained in fruits and vegetables.

Vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants are protective against various diseases. We know this due to a plethora of research and observations. This research adds more information indicating that we should stop blaming the sun for skin cancer and clean up our diets. See sunlightinstitute.org for more information on skin cancer and nutrition, And to learn more about the benefits of sunlight, read my book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X  make the sun safe with antioxidants

Also, search sunlightinstitute.org:  http://sunlightinstitute.org/protect-skin-nutrition-sun-exposure/

Happy sunning!

[1] Karlsson, J. Introduction to nutraology and radical formation. In: Antioxidants and Exercise. Illinois: Human Kinetics Press 1997:1-143. Goldfarb, A. et al.  Nutritional antioxidants as therapeutic and preventive modalities in exercise-induced muscle damage. Can. J. Appl. Physiol 1999;24:249-266.

[2] Goldfarb, A. et al. Nutritional antioxidants as therapeutic and preventive modalities in exercise-induced muscle damage. Can. J. Appl. Physiol 1999;24:249-266.

[3] Rahman, I. et al.  Role of antioxidants in smoking- induced lung disease. Free Rad Biol Med 1996;21:669-681.

[4] De Hertog, S. et al.  Relation between smoking and skin cancer.  J  Clin Oncol 2001;19:231-238.

[5] Freitas Be, de Castro LL, Aguiar JR, de Araújo CG, Visacri MB, Tuan BT, Pincinato Ede C, Moriel P. Antioxidant capacity total in non melanoma skin cancer and its relationship with food consumption of antioxidant nutrients. Nutr Hosp. 2015 Apr 1;31(4):1682-8.

 

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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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Blue light—a sunny miracle. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Blue light in morningWhat is blue light?

Blue light is a light spectrum, emitted by the sun. It also emitted by technology devices and therefore has fallen into disrepute. First of all, blue light in the evening (typical with TV/Computer/Cellular phones) is not healthful. It is especially relevant that it inhibits melatonin, which is needed for sound sleep.[1] [2] Hence, we are warned about the deleterious effects of using our phone, tablets, TVs and computer late at night.

Is blue light both good and bad?

In addition, melatonin has anti-cancer properties.[3] However, while blue light exposure reduces evening melatonin (bad), it also inhibits melatonin production during the day (good). Why? Because melatonin lets the body relax and sleep. That is the last thing we want by day, because we should be alert and working. Blue light, while reducing melatonin at night, is wonderful by day. Another positive effect is its ability to call T-cells (important immune-system cells) into play.[4] And of course, T-cells are soldiers that can destroy noxious, invading microorganisms.

What more can blue light do?

In addition, full–body exposure to blue light decreases blood pressure, lessens arterial stiffness, and improves endothelial function.[5]

Another attribute is its ability to cause subdermal fat tissue to decrease in size.[6] In other words, it can cause fat loss. Thus, the action of sunlight may help one to stay slim or become slim. The researchers showed that daily exposure of fat cells to blue light resulted in decreased lipid droplet size and increased fat breakdown rate. The researchers had been doing research on light and diabetes, and they serendipitously found that the light could be an asset in maintaining (or producing) a slim body.

Set your circadian rhythm.

Blue light also helps to reset the circadian rhythm of the body.[7] In conclusion, remember that blue light, which is particularly beneficial during the daytime, is disruptive at night and inhibits melatonin, needed for sleep. Therefore, get out in the early morning and get your share of blue light throughout the day.  And when it becomes dark, go to bed early and avoid blue light. Avoid sunburn when you are soaking up the sun. Simply cover up when you have had enough, and avoid sunscreens, which have been shown to actually increase sunburning.

Learn more!

To learn all the facts about the healthful effects of sunlight, read my book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X Embrace the Sun for blue light

[1] Vandewalle G, Collignon O, Hull J.T, Daneault V, Albouy G, Lepore F, et al. Blue light stimulates cognitive brain activity in visually blind individuals. J Cogn Neurosci. 2013 Dec;25(12):2072.

[2] Knufinke M, Fittkau-Koch L, Møst EIS, Kompier MAJ, Nieuwenhuys A. Restricting short-wavelength light in the evening to improve sleep in recreational athletes – A pilot study. Eur J Sport Sci. 2018 Nov 14:1-8. [Epub ahead of print].

[3] de Almeida Chuffa LG, Seiva FRF, Cucielo MS, Silveira HS, Reiter RJ, Lupi LA. Mitochondrial functions and melatonin: a tour of the reproductive cancers. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2018 Nov 14 [Epub ahead of print].

[4] Phan TX, Jaruga B, Pingle SC, Bandyopadhyay BC, Ahern GP. Intrinsic Photosensitivity Enhances Motility of T Lymphocytes. Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 20;6:39479.

[5] Stern M, Broja M, Sansone R, Gröne M, Skene SS, Liebmann J. et al.

[6] Ondrusova K, Fatehi M, Barr A, Czarnecka Z, Long W, et al.. Subcutaneous white adipocytes express a light sensitive signaling pathway mediated via a melanopsin/TRPC channel axis. Scientific Reports 2017 November 27;7:16332.

[7] Bonmati-Carrion MA, Arguelles-Prieto R, Martinez-Madrid MJ, Reiter R, Hardeland R, Rol MA, Madrid JA. Protecting the melatonin rhythm through circadian healthy light exposure. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Dec 17;15(12):23448-500.

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Innate need for sunlight: New York and Shanghai. Marc Sorenson, EdD

Buildings inhibit innate need for sunlightAn innate need for sunlight exists within the human body and soul.

First of all, consider the opening line of a recent article in the New York Times: “Let there be light. Please.” And, the article states that people in New York City (NYC) love to seek apartments with sunlight. It is also especially relevant that such apartments demand premium prices.  But sun seekers have a problem because of the continuous building of new high rises. Consequently, they must look at the city’s future building plans before they fulfill their innate need for sunlight. This is because new buildings may be built that block whatever sunlight is available.

Problems encountered in fulfilling the innate need for sunlight in NYC.

Therefore, it is a difficult situation to satisfy the innate need for sunlight in NYC. And no wonder people in the southern states have lower cancer rates, despite their atrocious eating habits.[1] Why? Because they have one of the best cancer fighters: sunlight.

An example of the rather impressive anti-cancer power of sunlight: Iranian research demonstrated the innate need for sunlight.  Women who avoided sun exposure had 10 times the breast cancer risk.[2] That is, of course, when they were compared to women who were able to obtain regular sunlight. This is because the innate need for sunlight was being ignored among women forced to avoid sun.

What other diseases are manifest when we ignore our innate need for sunlight?fulfill innate need for sunlight

Lack of sun exposure increases the risk of 16 other cancers, heart disease, vitamin D deficiency, multiple sclerosis, hip fractures, depression and myriad others. (See my book, Embrace the Sun, for a full discussion.) The innate need for sunlight manifests itself in higher rates of these “killer” diseases worldwide.

According to the NYT article, “there are those who view light as an elemental need, one that trumps everything else, including location, closets, level floors, an elevator, a doorman and proximity to Trader Joe’s.” Obviously, the people recognize, at a visceral level, their innate need for sunlight.

Do the Chinese have an innate need for sunlight?Shanghai works to fulfill the innate need for sunlight

Another article also emphasized the innate need for sunlight.[3] And, this one came from halfway around the world, in Shanghai. It seems like the Chinese should know about sun healing, since their experience in healing goes back thousands of years. Hence, they would not need to read this article to appreciate the innate need for sunlight. A real-estate developer there had to pay a family the equivalent of $15,650.00 for robbing them of their sun. One of the developer’s skyscrapers exceeded the legal height, and partially blocked the sun to their apartment. Consequently, this prevented the family from obtaining their government-mandated sun allotment. The allotment was two hours per day, and the skyscraper allowed only 1-2 hours of sun.

A judge who understands the innate need for sunlight

The judge in the case said, “We can’t live without sunshine” and told the developers they had to respect the rights of the people to enjoy the sun. Due to this judge’s understanding of the innate need for sunlight, justice was done.

Why is the innate need for sunlight not recognized in the U.S? Good question!

The Chinese experience is in stark contrast with the US. First of all, in the 1990s, a president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) made this statement. “In some vision as I grow older I see us moving to more shelters and perhaps underground living because of these hazards” (meaning sun exposure).[4]  Also, she stated that melanoma would cause more cancer deaths than any other cancer by about 2010. Since it is now 2018, and we are not yet living underground, she was ridiculously wrong. In addition, melanoma is nowhere near the top of the cancer-deaths charts. It kills far less people than most major cancers like lung, breast, colon and prostate. However, it will probably increase in incidence as more people are convinced by the ADD to avoid their innate need for sunlight.

When it comes to the innate need for sunlight, the Chinese have more smarts!

It appears that the Chinese are a whole lot smarter than the AAD regarding the innate need for sunlight! Therefore, the AAD’s insistence on sun avoidance is likely to destroy public health. And, soaking up some safe, unobstructed, regular sunlight will enhance health. The AAD’s insistence on sun avoidance is much more likely to destroy the health of the American public than soaking up some unobstructed sunshine. So please, PLEASE enjoy some safe, non-burning sun, winter and summer, while you improve your health! And remember that sunscreens inhibit 95% of vitamin D production. Therefore, when you have had enough sun exposure, cover up with clothing or seek shade. Those who use sunscreens have far more sunburns than those who do not use it.[5] Think about it, and read my book, Embrace the Sun so that you can be comfortable while attending to your innate need for sunlight. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X Embrace the Sun and fulfill the innate need for sunlight.

[1] Sorenson, M. Vitamin D3 and Solar Power. Chapter 8. 2008.

[2] Bidgoli SA, Azarshab H. Role of vitamin D deficiency and lack of sun exposure in the incidence of premenopausal breast cancer: a case control study in Sabzevar, Iran. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(8):3391-6.

[3] http://www.shanghaidaily.com/national/Sun-suit-Family-wins-payout/shdaily.shtml

[4] Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, then-president of the American Academy of Dermatology at Derm Update, the AAD’s 1996 annual media day, Nov. 13, 1996.

[5] Silva ESD, Tavares R, Paulitsch FDS, Zhang L. Use of sunscreen and risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Dermatol. 2018 Apr 1;28(2):186-201.

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Vitamin D Levels Press Release. Remember Sun!

Vitamin D levels: sufficient for winter? By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Sunbeds good in winter for vitamin D.Vitamin D levels and sunshine are exceptionally important to human health, and therefore we should be aware of vitamin D science. The Vitamin D Society of Canada is always at the forefront of the research on vitamin D levels and sunlight. And, they deliver press releases to keep people from Canada (and the world) apprised of new and important findings. Hence, I would like to comment on the salient points of their latest release. As I do so, it is especially relevant to note that vitamin D levels are surrogate measures for sun exposure.

The relationship of vitamin D to sun exposure

Ninety percent of vitamin D levels in the blood is due to sun exposure.[1] The UVB portion of sunlight stimulates vitamin D production in skin. Therefore, a UVB light source, which produces vitamin D levels, is the best source in winter. Remember also that the press release information is true for the world, not just Canada.

 Salient points about vitamin D levels and sunlight: breast cancer

  • First of all, consider a breast-cancer study published in the scientific journal, Plos One.[2] It showed that women with the highest vitamin D levels had a reduced breast-cancer risk. Most noteworthy, women with levels > 60 ng/ml had 82% reduced risk, compared to those with levels < 20 ng/ml. Furthermore, there was a dose-response decrease. For each increase in vitamin D levels, there was a concomitant decrease is breast-cancer risk.

Vitamin D levels and Breast Cancer

  • Since we mentioned that vitamin D is produced by sun exposure, we should mention an Iranian sunlight-breast cancer study. In Iran, among women who totally avoid sun exposure, there is a 10-fold increase breast cancer risk.[3] That is an especially relevant fact for women who believe they should avoid the sun! And remember, melanoma is also reduced in those who are regularly exposed to sunlight.[4]

Another Vitamin D levels- and sunlight-deficiency cancer

  • It seems like if breast cancer is reduced by high vitamin D levels, the same relationship could exist for other cancers. Hence, the press release mentioned colorectal cancer as the second disease associated to low vitamin D levels or low sun exposure. And, it mentioned another important piece of research.[5] Participants with vitamin D levels below 12 ng/ml had a 31% higher risk of colorectal cancer. Those with levels above 30 ng/ml had a 27% reduced risk.

Other disorders associated with vitamin D levels

In addition, the press release mentions four other disorders where higher vitamin D levels reduce risk or improve the condition. The disorders: diabetes (81% reduced risk), multiple sclerosis (45% reduced risk), preterm birth (62% reduced risk) and poor cognitive function. As to cognitive function, those who spent the most time outdoors with the least sun protection, had better cognitive function.

Finally, this is an excellent press release regarding vitamin D levels and sunlight. I strongly suggest you read it. http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=60 Also, see the previous blog regarding the vitamin D Society and vitamin D levels: http://sunlightinstitute.org/vitamin-d-canada-warning/

Vitamin D and sunlight are sine qua nons for health, and so are proper nutritional habits. Happy health! Be sure to read my book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. Best book on sunlight and vitamin D

 

 

[1] Reichrath J. The challenge resulting from positive and negative effects of sun: how much solar UV exposure is appropriate to balance between risks of vitamin D deficiency and skin cancer? Prog Biophys Mol Biol 2006;92(1):9-16

[2] McDonnell SL, Baggerly CA, French CB, Baggerly LL, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Hollis BW, Trump DL, Lappe JM. Breast cancer risk markedly lower with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≥60 vs <20 ng/ml (150 vs 50 nmol/L): Pooled analysis of two randomized trials and a prospective cohort. PLoS One. 2018 Jun 15;13(6).

[3] Bidgoli SA, Azarshab H. Role of vitamin D deficiency and lack of sun exposure in the incidence of premenopausal breast cancer: a case control study in Sabzevar, Iran. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(8):3391-6.

[4] Vågero D, Ringbäck G, Kiviranta H. Melanoma and other tumors of the skin among office, other indoor and outdoor workers in Sweden 1961–1979. Brit J Cancer 1986;53:507–12.

[5] McCullough ML, Zoltick ES, Weinstein SJ, Fedirko V, Wang M, et al. Circulating Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer Risk: An International Pooling Project of 17 Cohorts. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Jun 14.

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Vitamin D in Canada and Ely, A Vitamin D Society warning

 

vitamin D from lightVitamin D is essential in Canada (and Ely). By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

I just received an excellent press release from my friend Perry Holman, who is touting the Canadian Vitamin D Day. Perry is the Executive Director of the Vitamin D Society. The Society is alarmed about the lack of sunlight and vitamin D production during the long Canadian winter. The points made in the press release, however, are also relevant for all areas of the U.S. that have long, cold winters.  This would include Ely, Nevada, my high-school hangout. Therefore, this blog contains a couple of editorial comments regarding Ely and other points in the U.S. [Ely, Minnesota would certainly need this advice too.]

The current lack of vitamin D is due to of the position of the sun in the winter sky. All of the UVB light that stimulates vitamin D production (and many other essential photoproducts) is filtered out when the sun drops too close to the southern horizon.

Here are a few of the salient points made in the release:

  • Vitamin D levels plummet this time of year, since the sun can no longer make vitamin D. [This is also true of Ely, NV, where most vitamin D production ceases on about October 1. It starts up again about March 1.]
  • 93% of Canadians are vitamin D deficient. [For Ely, the number is probably closer to 50%, but for the Northern states in the U.S., the number is probably closer to 80%.
  • This deficiency leads to 23,000 premature deaths yearly in Canada. See this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5129897/pdf/kder-08-01-1248324.pdf
  • There are two primary sources of vitamin D Canadians should consider during the winter – artificial UVB exposure and vitamin D3 supplements.
  • Artificial UVB exposure can be a surrogate for summer sunshine and is obtained from most sunbeds or through special UVB lamps designed for home use.
  • A recent Canadian study found that regular use of sunbeds with UVB similar to outdoor summer sun significantly raised participants’ vitamin D levels to the optimal range. See this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5821157/
  • Perry Holman states: “The current health policy limiting sun exposure may be causing more deaths and disease than its preventing. Vitamin D levels have been dropping and more people are becoming vitamin D deficient in Canada. We need a change in direction to encourage people to get moderate non-burning sun exposure to prevent vitamin D deficiency and reduce the risk of serious diseases.” [My comment here is that the research in my book shows the following: for every single death caused by diseases associated with sun exposure, there are approximately 328 deaths caused by diseases associated with sun deprivation.]

Whether you live in Canada, Ely, Nevada, or anywhere else where you either avoid the sun or have no availability of vitamin D-producing sunlight during the colder seasons, you should read this press release. http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=59

Happy sunning, and as another of my Canadian friends says, “Have a D-lightful day!” And, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540903899&sr=8-1&keywords=embrace+the+sun+sorenson

Embrace the Sun

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Mood and sunlight, safely soak it up.

Mood is essential to a happy life and wellbeing. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Mood (a good mood) is critical to optimal living, and those who work in natural light experience improvement. In addition, a good mood leads to better performance, behavior and psychological health. Sun exposure. great moodFurthermore, very few things improve wellbeing like arising early in the morning and walking outside on a sunny day: Our attitude improves too, and our serotonin and endorphin levels increase. Consequently, there is an almost immediate feeling of exhilaration. So, we become happier and less confrontational, and our minds seem to click on all cylinders. This mood change is all due to the morning sun exposure. Does midday sun exposure also help?

Mood and midday sunlight

Later on, around midday, we produce large quantities of vitamin D, and our nitric oxide levels increase. That is, of course, if we are fortunate enough to safely sunbathe (with a lot of skin exposed).  As a result, we experience a delicious feeling of relaxation and a lowering of blood pressure as the cares of the day melt away. Therefore, mood is again enhanced.

Mood and sun robbery

Regrettably, due to various factors, most of us live in a society robbed of the sun.  We are confined to artificially lighted buildings and poor little cubicles and our mood is crushed. These little cubicles, of course, seem like prison cells that won’t allow our happiness to manifest itself.

Consequently, concerned scientists are recognizing that modern humans suffer from artificial, insufficient light in their lives. So these scientists are advocating a return to natural light. One of their studies on the subject of light and mood is most noteworthy. They, due to their concern about light availability measured the impact of windows and daylight on mood. They studied the physiological, psychological and behavioral health of working nurses.[1] First of all, they used biological measurements, behavioral mapping and data analysis in a nursing unit of two wards. While both wards exhibited similar conditions, one ward had more windows and more natural lighting than the other.

Impressive mood results:

As a result, in the ward with more windows and natural light, the nurses had better health. They had lower blood pressure and higher body temperature, less sleepiness and a better mood. Communication and laughter also increased. Heart rates were shown to be lower with greater exposure to light, and caffeine intake was reduced as well. In conclusion, mood was improved, as was performance. Rana Zedeh, the lead researcher of that study, made the following statement:[2] “Research has shown a range of different outcomes are impacted by sun, including regulation of the circadian rhythm, shorter length of stay for patients, reduced perception of pain for patients, and reduced anxiety and agitation among elderly patients with dementia. Improved outcomes for patients also help staff manage their patients better.”

Change the environment, change the mood.

Finally, one can only imagine the potential benefits that could be realized if unencumbered sun rays are allowed. Vitamin D production would increase, and it is likely that patients as well as nurses would improve their health.

Hence, Dr. Zadeh also made this declaration: “Intelligently designed clinical workspaces could lead to higher safety and quality levels… By default, when we think of a healthcare workspace, we may think of a large, deep building with no windows for staff, little access to greenery or outdoors, an institutional feel, complex way-finding, and monotonous color and lighting. Knowing how the human brain receives stimuli from the environment and constantly changes neural hormonal responses controlling cognitive performance and alertness, we might be able to improve outcomes by creating more vigilant and restorative elements in environments.”[3] The translation is, “elevate your mood by getting out of the little dark boxes and back into the sun.”

Sunshine improves the mood.How does the sun work to improve mood?

First of all, what does the sun do to relieve “the blues?” The answer lies in a chemical responsible for transmitting impulses between nerve cells. This “neurotransmitter,” serotonin, is a natural “upper,” working in synchronization with the natural “downer,” melatonin. So, when we awake to sunshine, light enters the eye and stimulates serotonin production. Because of this reaction, sunlight can dramatically increase serotonin levels in the brain and immediately improve mood.

Dr. Gavin Lambert and his colleagues in Australia measured serotonin levels in response to varying degrees of bright light. [4]  To do so, they drew blood samples from the internal jugular veins of 101 men and compared the serotonin concentrations of the blood to weather conditions and seasons. The remarkable results: Men who were measured on a bright day produced eight times more serotonin. That is, compared to those who were measured on a dismal day. Of course, the mood was improved due to sunlight.

Get your regular, non-burning sun exposure and enhance your good mood!

 

[1] Zadeh RS, Shepley MM, Williams G, Chung SS. The impact of windows and daylight on acute-care nurses’ physiological, psychological, and behavioral health. HERD 2014 Summer;7(4):35-61.

[2] Katy Mena-Berkley. Mood: the Science of Letting the Sunshine In. MD News

[3] Katy Mena-Berkley. Mood: the Science of Letting the Sunshine In. MD News

[4] 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.

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Multiple sclerosis (MS): tame it with sunshine.

Multiple sclerosis is a sunlight-deficiency disease. Another reason to embrace the sun. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Photo of multiple sclerosis First of all, multiple sclerosis is a terrible autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack myelin, the protective nerve cover.[1], [2]  Hence, this process, known as demyelination, leaves the nerves bare and susceptible to “short circuiting.” This results in a debilitating disease which is often characterized by severe neural and muscular impairments. It may also result in sensory losses, bladder dysfunction, pain and visual problems due to nerve damage.

MS is a big problem!

And recent findings, from National MS Society, estimate 1 million people in the United States have multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, this is more double the last reported number, and the first national research on multiple sclerosis prevalence since 1975. Consequently, it is estimated that about 200 new cases are diagnosed each week in the United States.[3]

Multiple sclerosis and sun exposure: What does new research say?

While no one disputes the horror of an increasing MS rate, a new study reiterates the vital need for sun exposure to prevent MS. Also, we are not surprised about the latest research. Why? Because the new study is simply a reiteration of myriad research papers and opinions showing that more sunlight reduces the risk.

In this research, 151 MS patients defined their previous lifetime sun exposure in the different seasons by questionnaire. In addition, they were compared to 235 non-patients who answered identical questionnaires.[1]  As a result, those living in high-UVB areas experienced a 45% lower risk of multiple sclerosis. Living in those areas at ages 5 to 15 years also was associated with a reduced risk of 51-52%. UVB, of course, is a spectrum of light that emanates from the sun and causes tanning. In addition, it is used in sunbeds and sun lamps.

The conclusion regarding MS and sunlight.

In conclusion to their research, the authors stated, “Living in high ambient UVB areas during childhood and the years leading up to MS onset was associated with a lower MS risk. High summer sun exposure in high ambient UVB areas was also associated with a reduced risk.”

While this research is impressive, there is a plethora of additional science. Most noteworthy are the studies that follow. And, all show the association of sun exposure to lowered risk of MS.

Multiple sclerosis and the Davenport study

Probably, the most important early study was from 1922 by Dr. Charles Davenport. He wrote a paper entitled, “Multiple Sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race.”[2] He analyzed the multiple sclerosis rates of military draftees and compared it to their states of origin. As a result, he showed that the highest rates were found in men who grew up in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the extreme northwest. These areas, of course, have very low sun availability. There were only a few cases of MS among those who grew up in southern states, where sun availability is abundant. In addition, Dr. Davenport also noted that draftees from urban areas, and where sun availability is low, had 50% higher MS rates than those who came from rural areas. Similar studies confirm that relationship. [3],[4] In 1979, assessments of the MS rates of USA military personnel Produced nearly identical results.[5]

Reducing relapse of multiple sclerosis through sunlight and/or vitamin D.

Mowry and colleagues, in correlating serum vitamin D to the rate of disease relapse, have reported the following: For every increase in serum levels of 10 ng/ml [25 nmol/L], there is a 34% decrease in the risk of relapse in young people.[6] Especially relevant, however, is that 90% of serum levels is derived from sun exposure. And, we also know that sun exposure has protective effects on MS beyond vitamin D.[7] Also, in the aforementioned research on vitamin D, high levels may really be surrogate measures for sun exposure. Sunlight and vitamin D are not the same.

More hours of sun equal lower risk of multiple sclerosis.

Most noteworthy, among people living in geographical locations, where there are 3,000 hours of available sun yearly, multiple sclerosis rates are quite low. [8] The same relationship exists when latitudes are correlated with rates of MS: And, The risk of MS in far northern areas is more than 100 times greater than it is in equatorial areas, where sunlight is intense, and the rate of MS approaches zero.[9], [10] 

Therefore, for all who would like to prevent MS or reduce its exacerbation, soak up some regular, non-burning, safe sunlight. In conclusion, this is another of the wonderful benefits of our magnificent sun. It seems like a good time to indulge before the winter comes.

Finally, for more information on multiple sclerosis, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon.

References and footnotesLearn to love non-burning sunlight and prevent breast cancer

[1] Helen Tremlett, PhD, Feng Zhu, MSc, Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH, and Kassandra L. Munger, ScD.

[2] Davenport, C. Multiple Sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1922;8:

[3] Acheson ED, Bachrach CA, Wright FM. Some comments on the relationship of the distribution of multiple sclerosis to altitude, solar radiation and other variables. Acta Psychiat (Scand) 1960;35 (suppl 147):132-47.51-58

[4] Norman JE Jr, Kurtzke JF, Beebe GW. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in USA veterans: 2. Latitude, climate, and risk of multiple sclerosis. J Chron Dis 1983;36:551-59

[5] Kurtzke JF, Beebe GW, Norman JE Jr. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in USA veterans: 1. Race, sex, and geographic distribution. Neurology 1979;29:1228-35.

[6] Mowry EM, Krupp LB, Milazzo M, Chabas D, Strober JB, Belman AL, McDonald JC, Oksenberg JR, Bacchetti P, Waubant E. Vitamin D status is associated with relapse rate in pediatric-onset MS. Annals of Neurology 2010;10.1002.

[7] Pantazou V, Schluep M, Du Pasquier R. Environmental factors in multiple sclerosis. Presse Med. 2015 ;44(4 Pt 2):e113-20.

[8] Goldberg, P. Multiple sclerosis: vitamin D and calcium as environmental determinants of prevalence (a viewpoint). Part I: sun, dietary factors and epidemiology. Int J Environ Studies 1974;6:19–27.

[9] Alter M, Yamoor M, Harshe M. Multiple sclerosis and nutrition. Arch Neurol l974;31:267-72.

[10] Kurtkze, J. Geography in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol 1977;215:1-26.

[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] https://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/facts-statistics-infographic#2

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Bone strength is enhanced by “sun supplementation,” without harming skin. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

bone disease caused by sun deprivationBone needs vitamin D

Bone is deteriorating in our society. Why? Since the year 2000, there has been an 8,300% increase in vitamin D deficiency in children. Insufficient time playing outdoors and/or sunscreen use are the causes of this disaster.[1] It is especially relevant to know that the skin produces vitamin D when it is touched by ultraviolet light (UV). (UV, of course, is a spectrum of sunlight, and of tanning beds and sunlamps.) And, the artificially-lighted environments that most children (and adults) live in, produce no vitamin D for bones. Vitamin D is critical for preventing osteoporosis, a fact that is most noteworthy for this discussion. Without vitamin D, weak bones develop in adults and rickets can develop in children.

Bone strength in children: Rickets is making a comeback.

Rickets is a horrible, disfiguring children’s bone disease. And, before the population became terrified of sun exposure, rickets was at one time considered to be eradicated. Hence, people are surprised to find out that the bones of children are deteriorating. Hence, rickets is making a frightening comeback,[2] it is rearing its ugly head even in sun drenched southern states. That is probably because the children are inside, avoiding the sun and concentrating on their technology. Of course, disuse of the body  during this sedentary state also causes loss of calcium, thus causing weakness.

Can “sun supplementation” stop or reverse bone loss?

Therefore, the latest research on UV supplementation is exceptionally important in this world of indoor artificial light. First of all, rats exposed to long–term low-dose ultraviolet irradiation showed an increase in bone formation rate. Furthermore, there was a decrease in resorption (bone breakdown). And, there was an improvement in bone mass content and bone mineral density without any adverse effects on skin.[3] Consequently, this research shows that the concept of ultraviolet light causing skin cancer is incorrect. Also, it corroborates how effective ultraviolet light is in maintaining and increasing bone mass. For example, a Spanish study shows that women who are sun-seekers are protected from bone loss. They have only one/11 the risk of hip fracture as those who avoid the sun.[4]

Bring the UV light inside to protect bone and enhance wellbeing.

In conclusion, this research demonstrated a concept that had never occurred to me. If we can’t bring the children (or adults) out into the sunlight, perhaps we can bring the sunlight inside to them. Also, it seems like a great idea to use low-intensity ultraviolet light indoors for northern climes where sunlight is scarce in the winter. I guarantee that it will also improve moods, reduce seasonal affective disorder and otherwise enhance the health. So remember regular, non-burning sun exposure when you consider a healthful lifestyle.

[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] 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.

[3] Guo R, Du Y, Zhang S, Liu H, Fu Y. The effects of ultraviolet supplementation to the artificial lighting on rats’ bone metabolism, bone mineral density, and skin. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2018 Aug 27;188:12-18.

[4] Larrosa M, Casado E, Gómez A, Moreno M, Berlanga E, Ramón J, Gratacós J. Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture. Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

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