Region of birth was also related to risk, with prevalence of multiple sclerosis highest in Tasmania and lowest in Queensland, suggesting exposure to sunlight during childhood and early adulthood may also be important.
Sunlight exposure levels during early pregnancy were reflected in a month of birth pattern, with Australian children born in November and December having a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis than those born in May and June. This is consistent with previous research that found a reciprocal pattern in the northern hemisphere, where there were more cases of multiple sclerosis in people born in May and fewer in those born in November.
Study co-author Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby said the findings indicated a need to review guidelines for vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and childhood to help prevent multiple sclerosis.
“Low vitamin D levels can affect the development of the central nervous system or immune system,” Professor Ponsonby, of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, said.
“The higher risk of multiple sclerosis for people born in November and December is consistent with these infants having experienced lower levels of ultraviolet radiation during the first trimester.”
The study gathered data on the birth month, sex and region of birth of 1524 multiple sclerosis patients born in Australia between 1920 and 1950.
No association was found between daily ultraviolet radiation levels at the time of birth or in late pregnancy, and subsequent risk of multiple sclerosis. However, maternal exposure to low ultraviolet radiation levels during the first four months of pregnancy predicted a higher risk of multiple sclerosis. This effect persisted after adjustment for region of birth and appeared more important than the month of birth.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that affects an estimated 18,000 people in Australia.
Those who would frighten us away from the sun continue to propagandize that sunlight causes cancer. They sometimes have the decency to say “melanoma” rather than lump all cancers together, but they are dead wrong on that front also; most major cancers, including melanoma, are dramatically reduced by regular sunlight exposure (for references, see the cancer section in my book). There have been so many papers written on the protective effects of sunlight and vitamin D on cancer, that most of the newer papers serve primarily as reinforcement for what is already known. A recent study from Ontario, Canada is a case in point. The researchers determined the amount of time spent outdoors by 3,101 women with breast cancer and compared them with 3,471 women who were cancer-free. The ages of the women was also compared to the risk of cancer to determine the differences in breast-cancer risk during different periods of life. High sunlight exposure was considered to be greater than 21 hours outdoors per week; low exposure was considered to be six hours per week or less.
Among teenagers, high sunlight exposure correlated to reduced risk of breast cancer of 29% compared to those who had the lowest exposure; among those in their 20s and 30s, high sunlight exposure correlated to a reduced risk of 36%; among those in their 40s and 50s, a 26% reduced risk; and among those in their 60s and 70s, a 50% reduced risk.
Other researchers have made similar observations. One group demonstrated that girls who had the greatest exposure to sunlight during the ages of 10-19 had a 35% decreased risk of breast cancer as adults when compared to those who had the least exposure.
And what about prostate cancer? It has been established that men who are in the lowest forth of sunlight exposure have three times the risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those in the highest forth. And young boys who are exposed to lots of sunshine have only about one-fifth the risk of contracting prostate cancer—as adults—when compared to those who have had little sun exposure.
So, are the dermatologists doing us a favor by frightening us away from the sun? You may make your own conclusions. Just remember to avoid burning if you choose to enjoy the health benefits of your solar friend.
 Anderson LN, Cotterchio M, Kirsh VA, Knight JA. Ultraviolet Sunlight Exposure During Adolescence and Adulthood and Breast Cancer Risk: A Population-based Case-Control Study Among Ontario Women. Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun 9. [Epub ahead of print]
 Knight J. et al. Vitamin D and reduced risk of breast cancer: a population-based case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2007;16:422-29.
 Moon, S. et al. Ultraviolet radiation: effects on risks of prostate and other internal cancers. Mutat Res 2005; 571:207–219.
 Luscombe, C. et al. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation: association with susceptibility and age at presentation with prostate cancer. Lancet 2001;358:641–42.
Well THIS is refreshing…
After years of warning against the dangers of sunlight, at least one mainstream researcher has caught up to reality.
He’s Angus Dalgleish, M.D., a medical oncologist and professor at St. George’s University of London. For most of his life he’s always avoided sunlight, covering up whenever he was outside and using plenty of sunblock.
As a “fair-haired Scot” (his own description), he always feared that too much sun might result in melanoma — the deadly form of skin cancer.
But his thinking began to change about 15 years ago. As part of a research team that tested vitamin D to treat breast cancer, he found that D could speed up the death of tumor cells and target tumors in many other ways.
Jump ahead a few years and Dr. Dalgleish was shocked when he started testing his cancer patients’ D levels. He expected 30 percent would be deficient. But his discovery that the percentage was closer to 90 “changed everything for me.”
Writing in a recent edition of the Daily Mail, he says he now believes that avoiding sun exposure increases rather than reduces skin cancer risk.
Welcome to the light side, Dr. Dalgleish. We have room for your colleagues, too.
“Yes! A dose of sun CAN protect you against skin cancer” Professor Angus Dalgleish, Daily Mail, 5/24/11, dailymail.co.uk
By Kiyan Rajabi–
A new study in Australia suggests that obtaining Vitamin D through sun exposure may help prevent the onset of multiple sclerosis as well as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), which currently afflicts roughly 2.5 million people worldwide, is an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord and causes damage to the protective layer surrounding an individual’s nerve cells. As a consequence, the brain becomes less effective at communicating with the body as nerve impulses are slowed or, in severe cases, stopped entirely. Although very little is known about what causes MS, medical professionals believe environmental precursors, genetics, a virus or a combination of all three are factors in the onset of the disease.
In a recent study led by the University of Oxford, scientists monitored the vitamin D receptor binding sites in humans and observed a connection between the lipid-soluble vitamin and the activity of 229 genes. In explaining the significance of this finding, lead researcher Dr. Andreas Heger said, “Our study shows quite dramatically the wide-ranging influence that vitamin D exerts over our health.”
Similar studies in Scotland have correlated the country’s dreary weather with disease incidence as well as the population’s general vitamin D deficiency. One study by writer and scientist Oliver Gillie revealed that, on average, Scottish people were twice as likely to be vitamin D-deficient, and had vitamin D levels four times lower than those of their English neighbors, who receive approximately 400 more hours a year of sunlight than the Scottish. Accordingly, Scotland also ranks one of the highest countries in reported cases of MS. These findings have prompted a number of campaigns countrywide to encourage and educate citizens on the benefits of receiving adequate vitamin D.
The evidence linking vitamin D obtained through sun exposure and general health, including the prevention of MS, is so compelling that many scientists are claiming it is one of the most, if not the most, important nutrients for humans.
According to UCSB molecular, cellular and developmental biology professor Seng Hui Low, “The evidence is quite compelling that vitamin D could prevent multiple sclerosis or even prevent relapses in patients.”
While tanning salons may seem like a viable source for the fat-soluble vitamin in areas other than sunny Santa Barbara, they may actually be counterproductive for those trying to get healthier because of the beds’ other associated health risks.
“It is not advisable to frequently visit tanning salons as an effort to increase vitamin D synthesis because of the risk of skin cancer,” Low said.
Although the studies do not necessarily prove that sufficient vitamin D eliminates the risk of developing MS, medical practitioners will likely begin to prescribe it as a preventative measure to reduce the incidence of MS in light of the recent findings.
For all of those interested in skipping lecture for the beach to reap all the health-promoting benefits, here is some cautionary information: The body only needs five to 15 minutes to promote the internal vitamin D production needed daily. Consequently, sunbathing for longer is not necessarily advantageous, especially for fair-skinned people. Still, my fellow Gauchos, summer is just around the corner and I encourage you all to get outside, get your vitamins and look good doing it.
By Jeanne D’Brant–
The long, hot summer is here and the sandy beaches of Long Island await our pleasure. An afternoon spent challenging the salt and spray of the south shore or quietly sitting by a north shore beach do more than relax us and put us in touch with nature.
Did you know that the amount of sunlight that you get is a major factor influencing your risk for developing diabetes? Convincing research has shown that the further you live from the equator, the greater your chances are of developing diabetes. In Finland, the risk is elevated 400 times! In 2010, a study in Germany concluded that providing adequate levels of Vitamin D for the German population could save that country a whopping 40 billion in health care costs. The good news for Long Island, by the way, is that we are not at similar latitude to most of Europe. At 41 degrees north, we are on the same latitude above the equator as Istanbul!
Vitamin D is an essential hormone that the body makes when skin is exposed to sunlight. It is created in as little as 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your age, skin color and the time of year. Long known to be essential for calcium absorption and bone health, Vitamin D is now known to play an important role in protecting not only against diabetes but also cancer, tuberculosis, autoimmune diseases and even the common cold. Sunlight on the skin has also been shown to reduce inflammation levels in both healthy people and those afflicted with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
One way that Vitamin D lowers diabetes risk is by protecting the insulin-making beta cells of the pancreas, dampening inflammatory immune signals and boosting antioxidant protection. When the skin makes vitamin D, it produces antioxidants within it to deactivate the free radicals formed by the sun’s UV radiation. This is a natural defense mechanism, a built in sunscreen. Cells also use vitamin D to directly regulate genes, including longevity genes, making it one of the most powerful compounds known in human health. Fortunately, 20 minutes of whole-body exposure to the sun can produce thousands of IUs of vitamin D, and other compounds called FIRS which have important health benefits. One study of 2100 female twins showed that having adequate vitamin D slowed the aging process, improved chronic stress levels, and extended life by five years.
* The skin of anyone 40 or older has lost much of its ability for vitamin D activation. From the point of view of evolutionary biology, by 40 we’ve pretty much had our opportunity to reproduce and make our contribution to the species: we’ve exhausted our reproductive usefulness. Vitamin D turns on genes such as the SIRT and CLOCK genes associated with longevity. Sunscreens, unfortunately, inhibit 98 percent of vitamin D production. Anticonvulsants, steroids and cholesterol-lowering medications all interfere with vitamin D metabolism. Supplementation is recommended for the aging and those taking these medications. In a very large Finnish study, infants and children who consistently took 2000 IU of vitamin D per day had a 78% reduced risk of type I diabetes.
How can you tell if you have enough Vitamin D? Your doctor can order a simple blood test called 25-OH that will show your level. Levels in the 20s are frighteningly low, numbers above 40 are more desirable, but some researchers think our levels should be 65 or more for maximum impact on the genes. If you choose to supplement, what is the recommended dose? We’ll look at supplementation facts in a future post.
Medical treatment of Vitamin D deficiency involves megadosing (50,000 units or more) once a week for six or more weeks, but many clinical nutritionists consider this strategy ill-advised. Vitamin D is known to increase absorption of heavy metals such as strontium in addition to calcium. A more prudent approach might be supplementing in the colder months and enjoying more time outdoors in the spring and summer. Remember, the human gene pool changes very slowly. While human life emerged 5 to 7 million years ago, we started living indoors less than forty thousand years ago, the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms! Current teens and twenty somethings, who spend a majority of their time indoors, are the first generation since the early 1900s to be shortening their lifespan because of their diabetes-creating lifestyle.
So turn it on in the sun this summer! Move around when outdoors, take a hike on the beach, practice safe sun, and soak up some rays as nature intended. Whether you’re spending the day at Jones Beach or Robert Moses, when the waves and the light are working their magic on you, remember that you’re helping your health in numerous ways. Not only are you allowing the relaxation response, which lowers your blood pressure and quells the raging flow of stress hormones, you are also lowering your risk for the blood sugar disorder which is a leading cause of strokes and heart attacks, the #1 killer of the Americans today.
Now that I have your undivided attention, let’s look at the evidence.
Sperm quality and number is superior in men with high vitamin D levels compared with men who are deficient,[i] and other research shows that FEMALE RATS MATED TO DEFICIENT MALES HAVE 73% FEWER SUCCESSFUL PREGNANCIES THAN THOSE MATED TO VITAMIN D-SUFFICIENT MALES.[ii] The ovaries and testes of rats that lack vitamin D receptors (VDR) do not function properly,[iii] and vitamin D deficiency profoundly reduces sperm production;[iv] but that condition is reversible when vitamin D is optimized,[v]–an important fact—since human sperm also contains VDR.[vi]
Dr. Anne Clark assessed the vitamin D levels of about 800 men who were unable to produce a pregnancy in their wives.[vii] About a third had low D levels. After lifestyle changes and vitamin D supplementation, 40% of the men were able to impregnate their wives.
If vitamin D increases fertility, we would expect conception rates to be higher in summer than in winter—and, so it is. Conception rates are highest in late summer.54 For those who are having difficulty producing a pregnancy, conception may be as simple as a sunny vacation.
And what about sexuality? There is a direct correlation between high D levels and high testosterone levels in men.[viii] Since testosterone is the “love hormone” in both sexes, libido might be increased by sunlight exposure. Also, D supplementation in testosterone-deficient men increases testosterone by 25% in one year.[ix]
This has been known for decades; in 1939, Dr. Myerson measured circulating testosterone in men and exposed their various body parts to UV.[x] AFTER FIVE DAYS OF CHEST EXPOSURE, TESTOSTERONE INCREASED 120%. WHEN GENITALS WERE EXPOSED, TESTOSTERONE INCREASED BY 200%! Considering the current cultural obsession with sex, I’m surprised that no one has followed up on Myerson’s work. The light emitted from tanning beds is the same type of light used by Dr. Myerson. I expect that many people may have a totally new concept of the much-maligned tanning bed if this information is widely promulgated.
[i] Bjerrum, Poul et al. Vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa. Human Reproduction 2011;26:1307-1317.
[ii] Kwiecinski, G. et al. Vitamin D is necessary for reproductive functions of the male rat. J Nutr 1989;119:741-44.
[iii] Kinuta, K. et al. Vitamin D is an important factor in estrogen biosynthesis in both female and male gonads. Endocrinology 2000;141:1317.
[iv] Sood, S. et al. Effect of vitamin D deficiency on testicular function in the rat. Ann Nutr Metab 1992;36:203-8.
[v] Sood, S. et al. Effect of vitamin D repletion on testicular function in vitamin-D deficient rats. Ann Nutr Metab 1995;95-98
vi] Corbett, S. et al. Vitamin d receptor found in human sperm. Urology 2006;68:1345-49
[vii] Clark, Anne. Fertility Society of Australia conference in Brisbane – paper presented by D. Clark – research was part of a doctoral study by University of Sydney student Laura Thomson. News.com.au Oct 19 2008
[viii] Wehr, E et al. Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2010;73(2):243-8
[ix] Pilz, S. et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res 2011;43(3):223-5
[x] Myerson, A. Influence of ultraviolet radiation on excretion of sex hormones in the male. Endocrinology 1939;25:7-12
According to the Centers for Disease Control in May 2011, “about one in 12 people in the United States now has asthma—a total of 24.6 million people and an increase of 4.3 million since 2001.”
Researchers in Boston have hypothesized that the decrease in sunlight exposure and resultant vitamin D deficiency is responsible for the asthma epidemic. Others show the same facts: the increase in asthma has paralleled the decline in sunlight exposure, and asthma risk is 40% lower in children of women who have the highest vitamin D consumption during pregnancy. Is it time to return to the sun?
Another study shows an asthma reduction of 52-67%. In that study, THREE-YEAR- OLD CHILDREN WHOSE MOTHERS WERE IN THE HIGHEST QUARTILE OF VITAMIN D CONSUMPTION DURING PREGNANCY HAVE A 61% REDUCED RISK OF A “RECURRENT WHEEZE,” A SYMPTOM OF ASTHMA, WHEN COMPARED TO THOSE WHOSE MOTHERS WERE IN THE LOWEST QUARTILE. The researchers believed that inadequate D levels in the fetus leads to improper development of the lungs and immune system, and they demonstrated that each 100-IU increase in vitamin D consumption resulted in a 19% risk reduction.
A scientific experiment from Australia also demonstrated that when asthmatic mice were exposed to ultraviolet light, before being exposed to an asthma-causing allergen, asthma symptoms were reduced. Considering the yearly $700-million expenditure for Australian asthma-treatment, regular sunlight exposure seems a small price to pay. Tanning beds, like the sun, put forth ultraviolet light to produce vitamin D. These researchers were really using tanning beds for mice! Finally, another recent study from Spain has shown that children exposed to the most sunlight have lower risks of asthma.
Steroids are used as an asthma therapy, but in some individuals, asthma is resistant to steroids. However, when vitamin D3 is added to the steroid treatment, symptoms are greatly reduced. Perhaps sufficient supplementation or sunlight exposure could eliminate steroid need completely. This is the bottom line: children and adults are meant to play outdoors or otherwise be exposed to non-burning ultraviolet B (UVB) light—the most natural way to produce vitamin D. Every child should have a natural life playing outdoors, and both children and adults should regularly have sunlight exposure. It is critical for human health. What a travesty to deprive our children of healthy, normal lives because the Powers of Darkness need to make money selling sunscreens. Be careful not to burn, and enjoy the sun!
Vital Signs: Asthma Prevalence, Disease Characteristics, and Self-Management Education — United States, 2001–2009 MMWR, 2011; 60(17);547-552
Litonjua, A. et al. Is vitamin D deficiency to blame for the asthma epidemic? J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;120:1031-35
 Camargo, C. et al. Maternal intake of vitamin D during pregnancy and risk of recurrent wheeze in children at 3 y. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:788-95.
 Devereux, G. et al. Maternal vitamin D intake and early childhood wheezing. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:853-59
Hart, P. et al. Sunlight may protect against asthma. Perth (Australia) Telethon institute for child health research. Quoted in Australian AP Oct 24, 2006.
 Arnedo-Pena, A et al. Sunny hours and variations in the prevalence of asthma in schoolchildren according to the International Study of Asthma and Allergies (ISAAC) Phase III in Spain. Int J Biometeorol 2011;55:423-434.
Xystrakis, E. et al. Treatment of Steroid-Resistant Asthma. J Clin Invest 2006;116:146-55
By Dr Singh (Meerut)–
A study has found that vitamin D, which is produced by the body when exposed to the sun, boosts the quality of sperm in men.
They become better at swimming towards the egg, have greater speed and are more penetrative.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen tested the quality of sperm from 340 men and found that almost half had an insufficient amount – linked to lack of exposure to natural sunlight or time in a solarium.
“Vitamin D levels were positively associated with sperm motility, suggesting a role for vitamin D in human sperm function,” the Daily Mail quoted Dr Martin Blomberg Jensen as saying.
1. Those admitted to the Waikato, New Zealand hospital with severe vitamin D deficiency were more likely to die within a month compared to those who had normal or only slightly low levels.
2. The overall death rate was 29% for those with severe D deficiency, and only 4% for those with higher levels. This could indicate that vitamin D deficiency causes a 700% increase in the risk of death by pneumonia. Follow this link to read more about the research: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2011-05/13/c_13873372.htm
The authors noted that sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, and that winters in Hamilton, New Zealand area, like most temperate areas of the world, do not allow sufficient sunlight to stimulate vitamin D production. They also state that pneumonia is the single largest cause of death in children worldwide, killing about 1.6 million children under the age of five each year.
What a horror that so many countries, by means of their health departments and dermatological societies, are frightening children and their parents away from the sunlight during the seasons of the year when it is available. This ensures that vitamin D deficiency will ensue in winter. Also, at the very least, supplementation of vitamin D3 should be recommended during winter—supplementation of about 1,000 IU for every 25 pounds of bodyweight.
This is not the first time the relationship between pneumonia and sunlight has been observed. In 2003, Dr. Dowell and his colleagues showed that the disease is seasonal, with the lowest rates in summer, an increase in fall and a peak in winter. This relationship exactly mimics the quantity of sunlight exposure available in different seasons. Other research has pointed out the same relationship, and still other studies have shown the importance of vitamin D in prevention of pneumonia and related infections to it,
A popular fitness guru used to scream the slogan, “Stop the insanity!” I agree with her advice as it relates to sunlight exposure and would like to scream that it is insane for medical and governmental organizations to frighten their citizens out of the sunlight. Sunshine has become one of our most critical health needs, and those who would have us avoid it at all costs have blood on their hands.
 Dowell, S. et al. Seasonal patterns of invasive pneumococcal disease. Emerg Infect Dis 2003;9:573-9.
 Leow L, Simpson T, Cursons R, Karalus N, Hancox RJ. Vitamin D, innate immunity and outcomes in community acquired pneumonia. Respirology. 2011;16(4):611-6
 White AN, Ng V, Spain CV, Johnson CC, Kinlin LM, Fisman DN. Let the sun shine in: effects of ultraviolet radiation on invasive pneumococcal disease risk in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. BMC Infect Dis. 2009 Dec 4;9:196.
 Oduwole AO, Renner JK, Disu E, Ibitoye E, Emokpae E. Relationship between Vitamin D Levels and Outcome of Pneumonia in Children. West Afr J Med 2010;29(6):373-8.
Crohn’s Disease is a nasty autoimmune bowel disease that causes abdominal pain, inflammation and fibrous tissue buildup. It is increasing in incidence, particularly among people younger than 20, a group that spends less time outdoors each passing year. Unfortunately and unnaturally, young people spend their time in indoor activities, and when venturing outdoors are advised by their parents and medical “experts” to dutifully apply sunscreen, which can reduce the production of vitamin D in the skin by up to 99%.
Crohn’s is closely correlated to vitamin D deficiency, and moderate sunlight exposure coupled with winter supplementation has been recommended in the past to reduce its severity. Fifty percent of Crohn’s patients have levels of vitamin D below 20 ng/ml (very deficient) in winter and 19% in summer.
Suffice it to say (without reviewing the copious research indicating that sunlight and vitamin D correlate to lower risk of many autoimmune diseases), it appears that sunlight exposure may help to reduce the risk of Crohn’s. The latest indication is a study from France, demonstrating that people living in geographic areas of lowest sunlight exposure have a substantially higher risk of Crohn’s disease. This disease is just one of more than 100 that correlate closely to deficiency of sunlight and vitamin D, yet we continue to see warnings by dermatologists to avoid the sun. When will they ever learn?
Non-burning sunlight exposure is a boon to mankind, and it does not cause melanoma. Read my book for more information or see my earlier blogs on the subject of melanoma and sunlight.
 Chouraki V, et al “The changing pattern of Crohn’s disease incidence according to age in northern France: a constant increase in the 0-19 years age group (1988-2005)” DDW 2009; Abstract 114.
 Matsuoka, L. et al. sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1987; 64:1165-68
 Gilman, J. et al. Determinants of vitamin D status in adult Crohn’s disease patients, with particular emphasis on supplemental vitamin D use. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60(7):889-96
 Nerich, V. et al. Low exposure to sunlight is a risk factor for Crohn’s disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2011;33(8):940-945.