Tag Archives: sunlight

Sunshine Weekends and Vitamin D May Save You from Melanoma

Sunlight, and plenty of it, may be the best method for reducing the risk of melanoma. An impressive piece of research on melanoma and sunlight appeared recently in the European Journal of Cancer.[1] Dr. Julia Newton Bishop and colleagues (thirteen scientists in all) researched sunlight exposure habits and compared those habits to the risk of melanoma in an English population. Among other notable findings was a considerable reduction in melanoma risk among those who received the highest summer sunlight exposure on weekends. Compared to those with the least exposure to sunlight on weekends, those who received 4-5 hours of sunlight during the weekends had a reduced risk of melanoma of 28%, and those who received more than 5 hours had a reduced risk of melanoma of 33%.

In general, the English have very light complexions—complexions that are known to be more susceptible to melanoma, a fact that makes the research even more interesting. One can only conclude from this information that regular sunlight exposure protects against melanoma. In reality, this result should come as no surprise; at least 16 studies have shown indoor workers are much more likely to contract melanoma than outdoor workers.[2] Other research points out that melanomas occur much more frequently on areas of the body that receive little or no exposure to sunlight.[3]

Finally, it is quite obvious that outdoor living has decreased dramatically since 1935. Based on materials furnished by the Department of Labor Statistics, I calculated that sunlight exposure has decreased by at least 83%..[4] Yet, the Melanoma International Foundation has stated, “Melanoma is epidemic: rising faster than any other cancer and projected to affect one person in 50 by 2010, currently it affects 1 in 75 . In 1935, only one in 1500 was struck by the disease.” In other words, as sunlight exposure has dropped profoundly, melanoma risk has increased by 3,000%! Based on those facts, the idea—that sunlight exposure is the cause of melanoma—is counterintuitive at best, and ludicrous at worst.

It is likely that vitamin D production in the skin, in response to sunlight, is a major player in reducing the risk of melanoma. Enzymes in melanoma cells form active vitamin D[5], which in turn can lead to melanoma cell death,[6] and in lab experiments, active vitamin D can destroy melanoma cells.[7] In fact, vitamin D works in many ways to reduce cancer. Here are just a few:

1. Vitamin D promotes apoptosis (normal cell death) so that cancer cells die normally.[8]

2. Vitamin D inhibits proliferation (out-of-control growth) of cancer cells.[9]

3. Vitamin D inhibits angiogenesis in cancerous tissue. Angiogenesis is the formation of blood vessels. It is a process that provides blood and nutrients to newly formed tissue. If angiogenesis in cancer cells can be stopped, the cells die. Vitamin D acts a selective angiogenesis inhibitor—it retards the growth of new, undesirable “feeder” blood vessels into cancer cells.[10]

4. Vitamin D inhibits metastasis (the spreading of cancer cells from the initial location of the disease to another location).[11]

The key to safe sunlight exposure is to avoid burning and to gradually develop a tan. Caution is always in order. To prevent melanoma, we need not to avoid the sunlight but safely embrace it!

 


[1] Newton-Bishop, J et. al. Relationship between sun exposure and melanoma risk for tumours in different body sites in a large case-control study in a temperate climate. European Journal of Cancer 2011; 4 7; 7 3 2 –7 4 1.

[2] Lee J. Melanoma and exposure to sunlight. Epidemiol Rev 1982;4:110–36.

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.

Kennedy C, Bajdik CD, Willemze R, De Gruijl FR, Bouwes Bavinck JN; Leiden Skin Cancer Study. The influence of painful sunburns and lifetime sun exposure on the risk of actinic keratoses, seborrheic warts, melanocytic nevi, atypical nevi, and skin cancer. Invest Dermatol 2003;120:1087–93.

Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.

Kaskel P, Sander S, Kron M, Kind P, Peter RU, Krähn G. Outdoor activities in childhood: a protective factor for cutaneous melanoma? Results of a case-control study in 271 matched pairs. Br J Dermatol 2001;145:602-09.

Garsaud P, Boisseau-Garsaud AM, Ossondo M, Azaloux H, Escanmant P, Le Mab G. Epidemiology of cutaneous melanoma in the French West Indies (Martinique). Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:66-8.

Le Marchand l, Saltzman S, Hankin JH, Wilkens LR, Franke SJM, Kolonel N. Sun exposure, diet and melanoma in Hawaii Caucasians. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:232-45.

Armstong K, Kricker A. The epidemiology of UV induced skin cancer. J Photochem Biol 2001;63:8-18

Crombie IK. Distribution of malignant melanoma on the body surface. Br J Cancer 1981;43:842-9.

Crombie IK. Variation of melanoma incidence with latitude in North America and Europe. Br J Cancer 1979;40:774-81.

Weinstock MA, Colditz,BA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. Bronstein, BR, Speizer FE. Nonfamilial cutaneous melanoma incidence in women associated with sun exposure before 20 years of age. Pediatrics 1989;84:199-204.

Tucker MA, Goldstein AM. Melanoma etiology: where are we? Oncogene 20f03;22:3042-52.

Berwick M, Armstrong BK, Ben-Porat L, Fine J, Kricker A, Eberle C. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Nat Cancer Inst 2005;97:95-199.

Veierød MB, Weiderpass E, Thörn M, Hansson J, Lund E, Armstrong B. A prospective study of pigmentation, sun exposure, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1530-8.

Oliveria SA, Saraiya M, Geller AC, Heneghan MK, Jorgensen C. Sun exposure and risk of melanoma. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:131-8.

Elwood JM, Gallagher RP, Hill GB, Pearson JCG. Cutaneous melanoma in relation to intermittent and constant sun exposure—the western Canada melanoma study. Int J Cancer 2006;35:427-33

[3] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.

Rivers, J. Is there more than one road to melanoma? Lancet 2004;363:728-30.

Crombie, I. Racial differences in melanoma incidence. Br J Cancer 1979;40:185-93.

[4] Ian D. Wyatt and Daniel E. Hecker. Occupational changes in the 20th century. Monthly Labor Review, March 2006 pp 35-57: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[5] Chida K, Hashiba H, Fukushima M, Suda T, Kuroki T. Inhibition of tumor promotion in mouse skin by 1 alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. J Cancer Res 1985;45:5426–30.

[6] Evans SR, Houghton AM, Schumaker L, Brenner RV, Buras RR, Davoodi F, et al. Vitamin D receptor and growth inhibition by 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in human malignant melanoma cell lines. J Surg Res 1996;61:127–33.

[7] Seifert M, Diesel B, Meese E, Tilgen W, Reichrath J. Expression of 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1alpha-hydroxylase in malignant melanoma: implications for growth control via local synthesis of 1,25(OH)D and detection of multiple splice variants. Exp Dermatol 2005;14:153–4.

[8] Diaz, G. et al. Apoptosis is induced by the active metabolite of vitamin D3 and its analogue EB1089 in colorectal adenoma and carcinoma cells: possible implications for prevention and therapy. Cancer Res 2000;60:2304-12.

Swamy, N. et al. Inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis by 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-3beta-(2)-Bromoacetate, a nontoxic and vitamin D receptor-alkylating analog of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in prostate cancer cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2004;10:8018-27.

Miller, E. et l. Calcium, vitamin D, and apoptosis in the rectal epithelium. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2005;14: 525-28.

[9] Swamy, N. et al. Inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis by 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-3beta-(2)-Bromoacetate, a nontoxic and vitamin D receptor-alkylating analog of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in prostate cancer cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2004;10:8018-27.

[10] Mantell, D. et al. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibits angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Circulation Research. 2000;87:214.

[11] Nakagawa K. et al. 1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) is a preventive factor in the metastasis of lung cancer. Carcinogenesis 2005;26:429-40.

El Abdaimi, K. et al. The vitamin D analogue EB 1089 prevents skeletal metastasis and prolongs survival time in nude mice transplanted with human breast cancer cells. Cancer Research 2000;60:4412-4418.

Lokeshwar B. et al. Inhibition of prostate cancer metastasis in vivo: a comparison of 1,23-dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol) and EB1089. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Rev. 1999;8:241-48. –

Read More

Skin Cancer Group Ridiculously Says Don’t Show Your Skin to Natural Sunlight

By: Jonathan Benson–
Exposing skin to natural sunlight every day is the best way for the body to receive adequate levels of health-promoting and disease-preventing vitamin D. But in what can only be described as carrying on a legacy of pseudo-scientific stupidity, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP) — whose members include the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) — has recently come out urging people to avoid sunlight exposure at all costs, and instead take vitamin D supplements.

While vitamin D supplements can be helpful in treating cases of vitamin D deficiency, or during the winter months when sunlight exposure is limited, it is sheer lunacy to suggest that the sun is dangerous and must be avoided, as did NCSCP. Henry W. Lim, MD, co-chair of NCSCP and chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital, actually stated that he believes it is “not appropriate” to expose skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight.

UV radiation, however, is precisely what skin needs to be exposed to in order to produce vitamin D. And numerous recent studies have confirmed that not only is natural sunlight beneficial for skin, but avoiding it is responsible for all kinds of diseases, including the reemergence of rickets.

In other words, the NCSCP recommendations are a public health hazard, as not getting enough UV radiation from natural sunlight will destroy health. Even the supplementation recommendations from NCSCP are dismally low, constituting a mere 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Anticancer Research explains that the average adult needs around 8,000 IU of vitamin D a day to protect against serious diseases like diabetes and cancer.

To put it bluntly, avoiding the sun out of fear is pure stupidity. With proper antioxidant intake and a gradual conditioning of your skin to accept sunlight without burning, virtually everyone can benefit from regular sunlight exposure without having to accept the fear mongering and lies that have for too long kept people lathering themselves in toxic sunscreens and avoiding the sun at all costs.

To learn more about the many benefits of vitamin D, visit:
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

Link: http://bit.ly/fae4zn

Read More

Avoiding Summer Sun Linked to Depression

By: Amelia Naidoo–

Research by Zayed University and Shaikh Khalifa Medical City hospital shows emirati university students are vitamin D deficient and depressed due to avoiding the sun.

A vision of sun-deprived individuals isn’t something you’d associate with the UAE, which experiences year-round sunshine.

However, research by Zayed University (ZU) and Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) Hospital indicates that a large segment of the population is avoiding the sun — especially in the summer — to their detriment.

After conducting a study with almost 200 students at ZU, researchers found more than a quarter of the students were severely vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D levels, shown in the blood, for those students who participated in the summer were significantly lower than those in the winter.

Though the results were conducted with a sample group that was all female, student and Emirati, the findings are representative of the UAE population as about 50 per cent is under the age of 25, principal investigator and ZU Biochemist and Microbiologist Dr Fatme Al Anouti said.

The next step is a Dh200,000 larger scale study, funded by the Emirates Foundation, that looks at vitamin D deficiency among the general population of Abu Dhabi but with a focus on Emiratis, she said.

Also part of the study is Dr Justin Thomas at ZU’s Department of Natural Science and Public Health who explored the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and depression among the female university students at ZU.

He found that the summer students in the study also showed the most depression symptoms.

Over the years more attention has focused on vitamin D’s role in mental health problems, particularly schizophrenia and mood disorders such as major depressive and seasonal affective disorder. When it comes to vitamin D deficiency and mood disorders, studies have shown there is a higher incidence among women.

Dr Thomas said several studies have described the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the Gulf Arab populations and focused on the health consequences. However “no work to date has explored the psychological consequences of vitamin D deficiency or the issue of seasonal variations in deficiency and symptom severity”.

Dr Al Anouti was told of the problem when she spoke with doctors at SKMC Hospital who noticed that patients were severely deficient in vitamin D when lab tests were run. “It’s really prevalent but no one has documented this public health problem because people think this is the country of the sun. They think it’s normal for people who live in Canada to have vitamin D deficiency.”

Emiratis are particularly at risk because traditional dress does not allow the body to be exposed, Dr Al Anouti said. Complexion is also a problem as it takes longer for darker skinned people to absorb UVB rays when exposed to the sun. UVB rays from the sun convert cholesterol in skin to vitamin D.

Dr Thomas said there was a misconception that people could get their vitamin D dose while behind windows or in the car. “You need a fair amount of exposure… people can go weeks and even months in a sun rich country without substantial sun on the skin.”

He added that factors such as high levels of obesity, relatively dark skin pigmentation and the presence of dust in the atmosphere play a role in reducing the skin’s ability to synthesise vitamin D. Cultural issues such as the desire to be light skinned is also a factor in sun avoidance. Dr Thomas said some of the female students want to be light skinned while others go to tanning salons and have a modern approach.

Majority do not seek treatment

University students are not free from depression but the majority of them do not seek treatment for a number of reasons, University of Wollongong in Dubai students counsellor Talien Huisman said.

American University of Sharjah’s director of health services Dr Lubna A. Yousuf acknowledges the link between vitamin D deficiency and depression but says the most common reason for depression is homesickness, adjusting to university life and dealing with the pressures of examinations and studies.

Saleema Al Harbi, a student at Dubai Women’s College, says weather is the main reason that students avoid the sun. “I’ve heard about this from people and newspapers and I think it’s a problem if people are depressed like this.”

Although Saleema admits that she avoids the sun because she doesn’t want to be darker and it is traditional. However, not all her friends share this view and regularly visit tanning salons. Munira Mohammad, also a DWC student, says Emirati women are not avoiding the sun and it’s not because of traditional clothing either. “We do our best to take the sunlight, especially in the morning and we sit outside and open the windows.”

Facts:

Doctors recommend about 10-15 minutes of direct sun exposure between 10am and 3pm every day is needed to synthesise vitamin D.

In darker skinned individuals vitamin D is produced more slowly and longer sun exposure is needed.

Obese and older people also synthesise vitamin D more slowly and require more sunlight.

Apart from sun exposure, foods such as egg, certain fish and liver will provide your vitamin D requirements. Supplements help but sunlight is best.

Depression is associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and low bone mineral density, all illnesses thought to be linked to vitamin D deficiency.

Urbanisation, working indoors, living in tall buildings, driving tinted cars, clothing all body parts, applying sun blocking creams on face all contribute to vitamin D deficiency.

Symptoms and signs for vitamin D deficiency include muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities.

Link: http://bit.ly/hFkZaI

Read More

MS Patients ‘Should Lie in Sun’

By: Geoff Maynard–

New research shows that patients with higher levels of vitamin D – mainly derived from exposure to sunlight – have fewer attacks and develop the disease at a slower rate.

More than 85,000 people in the UK are thought to have the auto-immune condition which is caused by the loss of nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord.

There is evidence that people from parts of Northern Europe which get little sunshine are at greater risk of developing MS.

Dr Colleen Hayes and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, believe vitamin D3 helps to control cells known as T lymphocytes which are responsible for MS.

Dr Hayes said: “MS is currently incurable but environmental factors, such as vitamin D3, may hold the key to preventing MS and reducing its impact.”

Link: http://bit.ly/iieUYP

Read More

The Healing Power of the Sun

Before antibiotics, sunlight was used to speed up the healing of wounds because it is an efficient germ killer, writes Dr Marga Boyani

All nature including humanity is solar-powered. Deprived of sunlight, man loses physical vigour and strength. Take away sunlight and all life on earth would soon perish.

Since before the time of ancient Egypt, doctors and natural healers relied on sunlight to mend wounds, treat bone diseases like rickets or lung infections like tuberculosis.

Before antibiotics, sunlight was used to speed up the healing of wounds because sunlight is an efficient germ killer.

Sunlight is man’s primary source of vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’. You get only a quarter of the vitamin D you need from your diet with the rest coming from the sun.

The body is better able to use the vitamin D it makes itself than that which it gets from the diet. Your skin makes vitamin D from casual sun exposure from as little as five to 15 minutes of sunshine per day, two to three times per week on the face and hands.

Calcium

Being a fat-soluble vitamin, it is stored in your body fat. Vitamin D is perhaps the most underrated nutrient probably because it is free — no prescription required, yet it has numerous health benefits.

You need a good supply of vitamin D to help you absorb calcium from your intestines. Calcium is required in the body for strong bones and teeth.

In the West, there are more hip fractures in winter when there is no sunlight. Almost half the elderly population who have suffered a broken hip have been shown to be vitamin D deficient, yet safe sunbathing, which is simple and free, can reduce the risk.

Sunlight triggers release of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin, which other than controlling your sleep pattern, body temperature and sex drive, lifts your mood and helps ward off depression.

Vitamin D increases the amount of oxygen your blood can transport around the body, which in turn, will boost your energy levels, sharpen your mental faculties and give you an improved feeling of wellbeing.

Sunlight can help lower blood cholesterol levels and so is a powerful ally in the fight against heart disease. Both cholesterol and vitamin D, are derived from the same substance in the body, which is also found in the skin.

Blood pressure

In the presence of sunlight, this substance is converted to vitamin D but in the absence of sunlight, it is converted to cholesterol, raising its levels. Sunlight can also affect blood pressure because blood pressure levels are higher during winter and lowest in the summer.

It is thought that without enough vitamin D, the body increases levels of parathyroid hormones, which causes calcium to leach from the bones and also raise blood pressure.

Taking a daily ten to 15 minutes walk in the sun not only clears your head, relieves stress and increases circulation; but it could also cut your risk of cancers according to scientists.

How does this work? The vitamin D produced in the skin by the sun’s rays improves the function of your immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells, the body’s primary defence against disease. Vitamin D also controls cell growth, slows the growth of cancer cells and stops new blood vessels from being formed, curbing the spread of the cancer.

Food sources

You can reap the sun’s health benefits with as little as 20 minutes of sun exposure. Darker skinned people need longer exposure to benefit.

Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to get vitamin D in your own body because there are only a few naturally occurring food sources of vitamin D, most of which are high in fat.

These include fatty fish and eggs. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D like cow milk, soymilk, rice milk, breakfast cereals and breakfast bars. Vitamin D can also be obtained from multi-vitamins.

Your body is not able to overdose on vitamin D from the sun, because it will self-regulate and only generate what it needs, but your skin can suffer damaging effects from too much sun.

Link: http://bit.ly/ev48qL

Read More

Is Sunlight Your Greatest Protection Against Breast Cancer?

By: Marc Sorenson–

 

A 2010 study from France has shown that women who were exposed to a combination of sunlight and dietary vitamin D had up to a 45 percent reduced risk of contracting breast cancer, according to Cancer Epidemiol, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The researchers noted that high dietary vitamin D by itself did not correlate to a reduced risk of breast cancer, whereas sunlight exposure alone did correlate to a lowered risk.

This research should come as no surprise, as there is miniscule vitamin D in the typical diet. For example, the typical 3½-ounce piece of farmed salmon contains about 175 International Units of vitamin D; 8 ounces of fortified milk 100 IU; and 8 ounces fortified orange juice 100 IU. The amounts typically derived from eggs, oils and margarine is negligible.

It is now believed by many experts in the vitamin D field that 4,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D supplementation is necessary for optimal health, so it can be seen that trying to optimize breast health with the paltry 400-500 IU from diet is like trying to color the ocean with a cup of tomato paste.

Conversely, 20 minutes of full-body exposure to summer sunlight at noon can produce as much as 20,000 IU, according to a 2005 Journal of Nutrition article, showing that sunlight correlates far better to lowered breast cancer risk than does dietary vitamin D.

However, most people are not actively seeking the sunlight and are not even close to producing 20,000 IU. In the French breast cancer study, it was probably the combination of both sunlight-produced vitamin D and dietary vitamin D that sufficiently increased blood levels to a threshold that triggered vitamin D’s cancer protection mechanisms, which are numerous.

Other research including a 2007 study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has shown that when vitamin D supplementation is more than 1,100 IU daily, there is a profound correlation to a lowered risk — from 60-77 percent — of all cancers in women.

As to sunlight, Dr. Esther John and colleagues conducted research on the sun-exposure habits of women and correlated those habits to the risk of developing breast cancer. Those women who had the greatest exposure to sunlight were 65 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.

Should we then shun the sunlight? This newest study is another in a long series of vitamin D/cancer research that has shown a striking lowering of breast cancer incidence with higher sunlight exposure and greater vitamin D levels in the blood. The sunlight is one of St. George’s greatest assets and should be embraced, not shunned.

After the Institute of Medicine made their inanely low recommendations for vitamin D supplementation — 600 IU daily for all ages — it is good to see that research belying that foolishness continues to surface.

Sunlight exposure is the most natural way to produce vitamin D and if supplements are going to be used when sunlight is not available, a minimum of 2,000-4000 IU daily is necessary to optimize blood levels for best health. Check with your physician before making changes in sunlight exposure or vitamin D intake.

Marc Sorenson is a resident of St. George. He and his wife, Vicki, founded National Institute of Fitness, in Ivins. They helped thousands of people from all over the world with fitness, weight issues and degenerative diseases. Marc Sorenson received his doctorate from Brigham Young University. He is an author, speaker and founder of the Sunlight Institute, as well as executive director of the Vitamin D Health Initiative.

Log onto vitaminddoc.com or e-mail megamarc1@aol.com for more information.

Link: http://bit.ly/fMoQP8

Read More

Life in the Sun Lowers Multiple Sclerosis Risk

By: Amanda Chan–

People who have had lifelong exposure to high levels of sunlight are less likely than people with less exposure to develop multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

The risk of having a preliminary symptom of multiple sclerosis decreased by 30 percent for every 1,000 kilojoules of exposure to ultraviolet light, the study said.

These levels of sun exposure were accumulated over a lifetime (you might be exposed to 6 kilojoules of UV light on a summer day), so people shouldn’t sit in the sun for extended periods of time without sunscreen and expect to lower their multiple sclerosis risk, said study researcher Dr. Robyn Lucas, a fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at Australian National University.

“There is strong evidence that the risks of high doses of UV radiation in a single exposure greatly outweigh any possible benefits,” Lucas told MyHealthNewsDaily.

The benefits coming from higher vitamin D levels were already known, but because it was sun exposure that this study linked to decreased multiple sclerosis risk, it’s possible that only sun-generated vitamin D — and not that provided by food sources or vitamin D supplements — provides those benefits, Lucas said.

The findings of the study appear tomorrow (Feb. 8) in the journal Neurology.

The importance of sun exposure

Researchers looked at the sun exposure histories of 216 Australians, ages 18 to 59, who had an early sign of multiple sclerosis but were not diagnosed with the disease, as well as 395 people who did not have any MS symptoms. The participants reported how much sunlight they were typically exposed to, and the researchers also measured their skin damage from sun exposure and their melanin levels. The participants’ vitamin D levels were measured by blood tests.

Over their lifetimes, people in the study had been exposed to 500 to 6,000 kilojoules of UV light. Researchers found that those with the most skin damage from sun exposure were 60 percent less likely to have had a first sign of multiple sclerosis than people who had the least damage.

And people with the highest vitamin D levels were less likely to have a first sign of multiple sclerosis than people with the lowest vitamin D levels, the study said.

The researchers also found that multiple sclerosis was 32 percent more common in the Australian regions farthest from the equator than the regions closest to the equator — a difference they attributed to differences in sun exposure, vitamin D levels and skin type.

The secret to vitamin D’s effects

This study’s findings revealed the relationship between the first sign of multiple sclerosis, called the first demyelinating event, and sunlight, said study researcher Anne-Louise Ponsonby, an epidemiologist at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia.

The first demyelinating event can appear as a loss of sensation in a limb, blindness in one eye, or weakness in one limb that lasts more than 24 hours, Ponsonby said. Most people who have such an event will go on to develop multiple sclerosis in 10 years. The disease is diagnosed after a second event.

Vitamin D is known to affect immune cells, and the immune system plays a significant role in spurring multiple sclerosis, said Dr. Tom D. Thacher, an associate professor of family medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, N.Y., who was not involved with the study.

While the study showed that increased sun exposure is linked with a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis, it does not prove that vitamin D prevents the disease, said Thacher, who wrote an article on vitamin D insufficiency published last month in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“Other factors besides vitamin D that are related to sun exposure could be responsible for protection from multiple sclerosis,” such as melanin production from getting a suntan, Thacher told MyHealthNewsDaily.

A study published last month in the journal Multiple Sclerosis found that people who had sufficient levels of vitamin D had higher levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus, which is linked to increased risk of multiple sclerosis.

“Low vitamin D may predispose people to certain viral infections,” said Dr. Ellen M. Mowry, author of that study and an assistant neurology professor at University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved with the new study. “Since some viral infections have been associated with MS risk, low vitamin D could also influence MS by this mechanism.”

Link: http://bit.ly/gRbqOr

Read More

Don’t Screen Your Little One from the Sun

No-sunshine lifestyles are putting an increasing number of Indian infants at the risk of bone deformities, seizures and poor growth, a significant new study of Vitamin-D prevalence among newborns and their mothers has shown.

Conducted by paediatricians from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the research, for the first time, provides evidence to the government on the urgency of Vitamin-D supplements for pregnant women being covered under the national health programmes across the country. The study reveals acute Vitamin D deficiencies in exclusively breastfed babies and even greater shortages of the vitamin in their mothers.

Of the 98 healthy infants (aged 2.5 to 3.5 months) and their mothers studied for the purpose (47 enrolled in winter and 51 in summer to determine seasonal variations in Vitamin D prevalence, if any), the researchers found shockingly high combined prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in 86.5 per cent infants and 92.6 per cent mothers. Among those with severely deficient levels, the paediatricians found hyperparathyroidism (a condition wherein the thyroid glands secrete large quantities of parathormone to maintain low calcium levels in the body) in 90.3 per cent infants and 73.1 per cent mothers. They further found evidence of radiological rickets (babies wrists were X-rayed to find if they had rickets due to low Vitamin D and calcium levels) in 30.3 per cent infants.

“The presence of hyperparathyroidism among infants and mothers with low Vitamin D levels proves low calcium levels in their bodies and is clear evidence of Vitamin D shortage. It is to make up for calcium loss that thyroid glands secrete parathormone in greater quantities resulting in a condition called hyperparathyroidism. The parathormone maintains calcium levels in the body by mobilising calcium from bones to the blood. Long-term effects of such a mobilisation include bowing of legs among children, seizures marked by cramps of hands and feet and their abnormal posturing, or even abnormally square-shaped heads,” Dr Vandana Jain, assistant professor, paediatrics, AIIMS and lead author of the study told The Tribune. She said the newly found high prevalence of Vitamin D among Indian infants and their mothers was higher than that in the US but consistent with that in Greece, the UAE and Pakistan. The deficiency of Vitamin D in India is even lower for girls, starting from adolescence, with a recent study finding 90.3 per cent schoolgirls reporting such deficiency.

“Vitamin D deficiency among infants and mothers in both summers and winters can be attributed to decreased cutaneous synthesis of Vitamin D due to higher skin pigmentation in India. But the primary reason appears to be less exposure to the sun, lack of participation in outdoor activities and excessive use of sunscreens by women, who block UV rays essential for the skin to synthesise Vitamin D,” Jain added, recommending 15 minute exposure of arms and legs to the sun from 10 am to 3 pm daily.

The most important takeaway from the report is Vitamin D supplement for pregnant and lactating women in India, as is recommended by the American and European Academies of Paediatrics. The AIIMS study argues for the Indian Association of Paediatrics to make a similar recommendation to the government, which could consider providing supplements in the national programme.

Read the article here: http://bit.ly/gGTXC6

Read More

Experts Advise Going Out in Midday Sun to Keep Up Vitamin D Levels

By: Mike Swain December 17, 2010–

 

Braving the midday sun is not such a crazy thing to do after all – in Britain.

In fact, it could be the best time to soak up the rays so that your body gets enough vitamin D for healthy bones.

Contrary to the cover-up message in Noel Coward’s famous song, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, experts reckon that some unprotected sun exposure around noon is vital to health.

Seven leading health groups and charities recommend up to 15 minutes of bare skin exposure three times a week in summer. And midday is best.

Before 10am and after 4pm the rays are too weak in the UK even in summer to stimulate vitamin D synthesis in the skin.

But they stress that people should “never be red” at the end of the day as sunburn could lead to skin cancer. After 15 minutes it is time to go in, cover up or slap on sunscreen.

The guidance hopes to make it clear that “little and frequent” sun exposure is a good thing and that it is important to strike a balance between adequate vitamin D and avoiding skin cancer.

Professor Rona Mackie, of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: “Some of the messages about sunbathing have been a bit too negative. UK sunshine is not desperately strong.

“Exposing your face, arms and legs three times a week will do no harm.

“But your skin should not look as if it has been in the sun all day.”

And in the dark days of winter she advises keeping up vitamin D levels with “a holiday to the Canaries”.

Link: http://bit.ly/g8FfPx

Read More

Sunlight Avoidance Leads to Rickets

The Front page of a British newspaper, The Telegraph, leads with this headline: Middle Class Children Suffering Rickets. It continues by saying that rickets is a 17th Century disease that is now caused by covering children in sunscreen and limiting time outside in the sunshine. Rickets is a horrible, crippling disease of children that causes malformation of bones and can totally ruin the child’s opportunity.

Dr. Nicholas Clarke, who is alarmed about the dramatic increase in the disease in just 24 months, states, “We are facing the daunting prospect of an area like Southampton, where it is high income, middle class and leafy in its surroundings, seeing increasing numbers of children with rickets, which would have been inconceivable only a year or so ago.” Every physician in the world knows that rickets is a vitamin D-deficiency disease caused by a lack of sunlight, which is the most natural source of vitamin D. The fear of developing melanoma has driven us to slather ourselves with sunscreens that block up to 99% of vitamin D production. It has also caused us to otherwise avoid the sun like the plague, which ironically, brings on a plague of rickets, other bone diseases, cancer and heart disease, as well as myriad other maladies I discuss in my book.

The advice by the Powers of Darkness to avoid sunlight is one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the public, whether in England or America. We know from an impressive analysis by Dr. Robyn Lucas and colleagues that if those who would have us avoid the sunlight were totally successful, the outcome would be disastrous: for every case of death and disability prevented by sunlight avoidance, there would be 2,000 cases of death and disability (caused by bone diseases alone) due to sunlight avoidance! Of course, one of those diseases is rickets. Rickets, originally thought to be a disease of poor children who didn’t get enough sunlight due to working indoors, was thought to have been eradicated 80 years ago. It is now increasing rapidly. The blame can be placed squarely on the shoulders of those who profit from frightening us out of the sunlight. Non-burning sunlight, when available, can easily prevent or reverse this disease, and vitamin D supplements or tanning lamps can help raise vitamin D levels in pregnant mothers and their offspring-to-be. It is time to return to the sunlight! Just be sure not to burn.

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8128781/Middle-class-childr…
[2] Robyn M Lucas, Anthony J McMichael, Bruce K Armstrong and Wayne T Smith. Estimating the global disease burden due to ultraviolet radiation exposure. International Journal of Epidemiology ;37(3):667-8. – See more at: http://www.sunlightinstitute.org/sunlight-avoidance-leads-rickets#sthash.ZJpIhSF5.dpuf

Read More
1 13 14 15 16