Tag Archives: sunlight

Sunlight and Type-1 Diabetes. Part 1: Great new Research

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

We have covered the affect to sunlight and diabetes several times, but most of the posts focused on type-2, which is the more common of the two and is becoming a pandemic. Type-2 results when the body produces plenty of insulin, but becomes resistant to its effects, leaving both blood sugar and insulin elevated. Type-1 diabetes is a totally different disease, although high blood sugar is still the result. Both of these diseases, however, correlate to low sunlight exposure. Type-2 is usually caused by atrocious eating habits and obesity, but sunlight deficiency associates with its risk.  Either way, these diseases can lead to blindness, erectile dysfunction, neuropathy, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, kidney disease, amputation of limbs and death. The side-effects of diabetes are usually much more harmful than the diseases themselves.

Type-1 is a disease that afflicts many babies and young people and is sometimes known as “juvenile diabetes.” It is an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, and is totally different in its cause from type-2, which is caused by atrocious eating habits and obesity. Type one usually happens when the body’s own immune system attacks the pancreas, rendering it useless insofar as insulin production is concerned. The consumption of cow’s milk correlates very closely to contracting the disease by babies and very young children.

Here are some facts regarding the relationship between sunlight and Type-1.  Australian research shows that the incidence of type-1 diabetes correlates closely with latitude; the southernmost part of the country, which has far less availability of sunlight, has about three times the incidence as the northernmost.[i] And in Newfoundland, Canada, an extremely strong inverse correlation exists between sunlight exposure and incidence.[ii] [iii] Similar results have been reported by Dr. Mohr and colleagues, who analyzed the correlation between type-one diabetes and sunlight exposure in 51 regions worldwide and drew the following conclusion: “An association was found between low UVB irradiance [sunlight exposure] and high incidence rates of type 1 childhood diabetes after controlling for per-capita health expenditure. Incidence rates of type 1 diabetes approached zero in regions worldwide with high UVB irradiance, adding new support to the concept of a role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of the disease.”[iv]

The latest study on type-1 and sunlight comes from Denmark, where researchers assessed the association between exposure to sunshine during gestation (pregnancy) and the risk of type 1 diabetes in Danish children at the age of 15 years.[v] The results were that more sunshine during the third gestational trimester was associated with a 40% reduced risk of contracting the disease at age 15.

Sunlight is so important for nearly every aspect of health. Be sure to take advantage of it, as it may be waiting right outside and beckoning you.

[i] Staples JA, Ponsonby AL, Lim LL, McMichael AJ.   Ecologic analysis of some immune-related disorders, including type-1 diabetes, in Australia: latitude, regional ultraviolet radiation, and disease prevalence.  Environmental Health Perspectives 2003;111:518-523.

[ii] Sloka S, Grant M, Newhook LA..   Time series analysis of ultraviolet B radiation and type-1 diabetes in Newfoundland.  Pediatr Diabetes 2008;9:81-6.

[iii] Sloka S, Grant M, Newhook LA.  The geospatial relation between UV solar radiation and type 1 diabetes in Newfoundland.  Acta Diabetol 2010 M;47:73-8.

[iv] Mohr SB, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Garland FC.  The association between ultraviolet B irradiance, vitamin D status and incidence rates of type 1 diabetes in 51 regions worldwide.  Diabetologia. 2008;51:1391-8.

[v] Ramune Jacobsen, Peder Frederiksen, Berit L. Heitmann. Exposure to sunshine early in life prevented development of type 1 diabetes in Danish boys. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. December 2015 ISSN (Online).

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Sunlight and Prostate Cancer, Part 1.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Sunlight exposure is said to cause melanoma, which is false, as we have said many times in this blog. However, other cancers are seldom mentioned by those who would frighten us away from the sun, because the facts don’t fit their agenda. Most major cancers are profoundly reduced by sunlight. Let’s first take the example of prostate cancer (PC) risk, which has been known for at least 15 years to be associated with low sunlight exposure.

Researchers reporting their findings in the British medical journal, Lancet, compared sunlight-exposure history to the risk of contracting the disease, and they found that children who sunburned had about an 82% reduced risk of contracting PC as adults.[1] Of course, no one is recommending sunburn as a preventive measure against prostate cancer. In this case, sunburn served as a surrogate measure for a lot of sunlight exposure. Other measures of sunlight exposure similarly showed protective effects. Regular holidays in warm areas were associated with a 51% reduced risk; a high sunbathing score was associated to a 17% reduced risk, and very low sunlight exposure was associated to a tripling of risk. The researchers stated the following: “These findings are compatible with UVR having a protective role against prostate cancer.”

So why do the anti-sun groups such as the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation mention only skin cancer and neglect to give life-saving information regarding other cancers such as PC? That is an easy answer. Both organizations make big dollars by keeping us in the dark. Follow the money to the sunscreen manufacturers, who have a cozy financial relationship with these supposedly “clean” cancer organizations.

So men, safely sunbathe and get outdoors as much as possible. Your prostate will love you for it.

[1] Luscombe CJ, Fryer AA, French ME, Liu S, Saxby MF, Jones PW, Strange RC. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation: association with susceptibility and age at presentation with prostate cancer. Lancet. 2001 Aug 25;358(9282):641-2.

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It’s a SAD Time of Year in Canada and the U.S. Can we cure it with Vitamin D?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

A recent press release from the Vitamin D Society of Canada discusses the need for vitamin D in the winter, in order to reduce the risk and intensity of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is a feeling of low motivation, depressed mood, decreased concentration, anxiety and despair.

Dr. Samantha Kimball, the scientific advisor for the Society, has found that increasing vitamin D intake can help reduce the symptoms of SAD. She mentions that vitamin D, which is generated in the body by sunlight exposure, can modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of depression.

Dr. Kimball is correct; the change can be absolutely dramatic based on serum vitamin D levels. One remarkable piece of research showed that those persons who had the lowest levels of D had almost 12 times as likely to be depressed as those who had the highest levels.[1]

Although I fully agree with Dr. Kimball, I can’t help but wish she had mentioned more on the benefits of the sunlight or even sunlamps, which are the most natural ways to increase vitamin D, but are also marvelously effective in improving mood beyond vitamin D.

In addition to vitamin D, there is a chemical produced by the brain in response to sunlight exposure to the eyes. It is called serotonin and is a natural “upper” or mood enhancer. It is also a neurotransmitter and is available to us from bright light entering the eyes. Even is Canada in winter, when there is no vitamin-D stimulating potential in sunlight, just being outdoors when there is sunshine will work to improve or prevent SAD.  Sunlight can dramatically increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Dr. Gavin Lambert and his colleagues in Australia measured serotonin levels in response to varying degrees of bright light.[2] To do this, they drew blood samples from the internal jugular veins of 101 men and compared the serotonin concentration of the blood to weather conditions and seasons. The results were remarkable: Men who were measured on a very bright day produced eight times more serotonin than those who were measured on a cloudy, dismal day. They also observed that the effect of bright light was immediate, and that there was no holdover from day to day. Serotonin levels were also seven times higher in summer than winter. There we have another answer to SAD. When the sun is shining, wherever you are, take advantage of it. It will elevate your mood and make you feel more alive. And remember that tanning beds and other types of sunlight do a great job of increasing your vitamin D when the sun doesn’t shine. Finally, bright, full-spectrum lighting will also enhance your mood. Merry Christmas and HAPPY Holidays!

Click this link to read the Vitamin D Society press release: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=39

 

[1] Wilkins CH, Sheline YI, Roe CM, Birge SJ, Morris JC. Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated With Low Mood and Worse Cognitive Performance in Older Adults.  Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2006;14:1032–1040).

[2] Lambert GW, Reid C, Kaye DM, Jennings GL, Esler MD. Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. Lancet. 2002 Dec 7;360(9348):1840-2.

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Fascinating Research “reveals” the Reason that Summer is the healthful Season.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD…

Although most of the readers of this blog probably know why people are healthier and happier during summer, new research show that at least part of the reason in that human immunity is stronger during that season.[i] An interesting anti-inflammatory transcription factor, called ARNTL, has about 50% greater gene activity levels in the summer than in the winter. This would mean that infectious diseases would be more likely to be squelched in the summer, and it could provide a reason for the excess of inflammatory diseases like influenza in the winter. Of course, vitamin D levels and sunlight exposure are also lower in winter, and it is likely that these factors work in concert.

One of the researchers, John Todd, stated the following regarding sunlight exposure, inflammation, and vitamin D. “Given that our immune systems appear to put us at greater risk of disease related to excessive inflammation in colder, darker months, and given the benefits we already understand from vitamin D, it is perhaps understandable that people want to head off for some ‘winter sun’ to improve their health and well-being.”[ii]

Dr. Todd’s advice sounds great to me. Let’s all head to Cabo to catch some life-saving sunlight!

[i] Xaquin Castro Dopico, Marina Evangelou, Ricardo C. Ferreira, Hui Guo, Marcin L. Pekalski, Deborah J. Smyth, Nicholas Cooper,                Oliver S. Burren, Anthony J. Fulford, Branwen J. Hennig, Andrew M. Prentice, Anette-G. Ziegler, Ezio Bonifacio, Chris Wallace & John A. Todd. Widespread seasonal gene expression reveals annual differences in human immunity and physiology. May 2015.

[ii] Agata Blaszczak-Boxe. People Are Healthier in the Summer (and Here’s Why).  http://www.livescience.com/50806-seasonal-variation-human-genes-immune-inflammation.html

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Birth Season and Vitamin D Levels as Adults

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

We all know that high sunlight exposure in adults leads to higher vitamin D levels. However, a most interesting piece of research also shows that your birth month has a considerable influence on vitamin D levels. In an Italian study, it was found that those who were born in winter, rather than spring and summer, were 11% more likely to develop vitamin D deficiency later in life.[i] This is an important finding, since many diseases are related in one way or another to season of birth. For example, a greater risk of obesity risk is observed in Canadians born in winter. Nevertheless, other factors such as inactivity are more important than season of birth.[ii]

This is another study that ties sunlight to vitamin D. But the question may still be asked: Is the relationship of birth seasonality to disease due to vitamin D or sunlight, or both? Whatever the answer, sunlight is the factor that makes vitamin D, so safely soak up the sun whenever you have the opportunity, and when it is too cold or overcast, safely use a sun lamp or tanning bed.

[i] Lippi G, Bonelli P, Buonocore R, Aloe R. Birth season and vitamin D concentration in adulthood. Ann Transl Med. 2015 Sep;3(16):231.

[ii] Wattie N1, Ardern CI, Baker J. Season of birth and prevalence of overweight and obesity in Canada. Early Hum Dev. 2008 Aug;84(8):539-47.

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Are they Sun Smart in China?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Perhaps the Chinese people are smarter about sunlight than people in the U.S.  A real-estate developer there had to pay a family the equivalent of $15,650.00 for robbing them of their sunlight. One of the developer’s skyscrapers exceeded legal height and partially blocked the sun that enabled the family to obtain their government-mandated sunlight allotment during the coldest time of the year. The allotment was two hours per day, but the skyscraper reduced that allotment. The skyscraper allowed only 1-2 hours of sunlight.

The Judge in the case said, “We can’t live without sunshine” and told the developers that they had to respect the rights of the people to enjoy the sun. We need more judges like that in the U.S.!

What a contrast to the Dermatologists’ societies in the U.S.! In the 1990s, a president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) stated that she lived for the day when everyone would move underground! She also said that melanoma would cause more cancer deaths than any other cancer by about 2010. Fortunately, we are not yet living underground, and melanoma is nowhere near the top of the cancer-deaths charts.

It appears that the Chinese are a whole lot smarter than the AAD! The AAD’s insistence that people avoid the sunlight is much more likely to destroy the health of the American public than soaking up some unobstructed sunshine. So enjoy some safe, non-burning sunlight, winter and summer while you improve your health!

To read the article, click here: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/national/Sunlight-suit-Family-wins-payout/shdaily.shtml

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Erectile Dysfunction (ED), Vitamin D, Sunlight and Nitric Oxide

By Marc Sorenson, EdD

A new article on November 30, 2015, from the Daily Mail, discusses breaking research on the association between ED and vitamin D.[1] The research from Johns Hopkins University, by Dr. Erin Michos and her colleagues, was conducted on 3,400 men over age 20, 30% of whom were vitamin D deficient, and 16% of whom reported symptoms of ED. Men with Vitamin D deficiency were 32% more likely to suffer ED than those whose levels were sufficient.

Although I, along with Dr. Grant, were the first to hypothesize that vitamin D deficiency could lead to ED,[2] I have moderated my opinion somewhat. It is entirely possible that higher vitamin D levels are really a surrogate measurement for sunlight exposure. Although vitamin D probably has a positive affect on ED, the UVA portion of sunlight has a nearly immediate effect in dilating the blood vessels[3] through the production of nitric oxide (NO), which is absolutely necessary for producing an erection.[4] Viagra and other ED drugs work by inhibiting the breakdown of NO, which keeps NO in circulation for a longer period.[5] But, they don’t always work and can have many deleterious side effects.[6]

My hope is that research will be done to determine the effectiveness of sunlight exposure in alleviating the condition. Of course, the underlying cause of ED is consuming foods that occlude the arteries. Sunlight and/or vitamin D serve as palliatives to that occlusion, as do the ED drugs. A nutrition program filled with colorful fruits and vegetables,[i] along with ample sunlight exposure, would, in my opinion, produce the very best results in mitigating or perhaps reversing the disease.

[i] Esposito K, Giugliano F, Maiorino MI, Giugliano D. Dietary factors, Mediterranean diet and erectile dysfunction. J Sex Med. 2010 Jul;7(7):2338-45.

To read the Daily Mail article, please click this link. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3321000/Could-daily-dose-vitamin-D-cure-erectile-dysfunction-Deficiency-means-man-32-likely-impotent.html

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3321000/Could-daily-dose-vitamin-D-cure-erectile-dysfunction-Deficiency-means-man-32-likely-impotent.html

[2] Sorenson M, Grant WB. Does vitamin D deficiency contribute to erectile dysfunction? Dermato-Endocrinology 4;2:128–136.

[3] Opländer C, Volkmar CM, Paunel-Görgülü A, van Faassen EE, et al. Whole body UVA irradiation lowers systemic blood pressure by release of nitric oxide from intracutaneous photolabile nitric oxide derivates. Circ Res. 2009;105:1031–40.

[4] Burnett AL. The role of nitric oxide in erectile dysfunction: implications for medical therapy. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2006 Dec;8(12 Suppl 4):53-62

[5] Nitric Oxide and Viagra (no authors listed) Concepts in Biochemistry (accessed on November 30, 2015) at   http://www.wiley.com/college/boyer/0470003790/cutting_edge/viagra/viagra.htm.

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

 

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A vitally important Study on Sunlight and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Drs. Robyn Lucas and Prue Hart are researchers from Australia whom I have followed for years. They speak the truth about the benefits of sunlight and present their research in a cogent and easily understandable manner. Their recent paper, written with other colleagues, is no exception.[i] They show evidence that beyond vitamin D, other photoproducts such as regulatory cells, dendritic cells, chemokines and cytokines,
released from the skin following exposure to ultraviolet radiation, may have protective and ameliorating affects against MS.

Here are the salient points in their report called Ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D and multiple sclerosis:

  • There is strong evidence from observational studies that low past sun exposure is associated with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Lower sun exposure or lower vitamin D status have been linked to more severe MS, that is, more frequent relapses and more rapid progression to disability.
  • Vitamin D supplementation trials for people with MS have shown improvement in immunological and MRI parameters, but with little convincing evidence of clinical benefit.
  • Higher levels of sun exposure may have benefits for MS-related immune parameters through both vitamin D and non-vitamin D pathways. (emphasis mine)
  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation may result in immune tolerance that is beneficial for MS through upregulation of T and B regulatory cells, enhanced levels of cis-urocanic acid, alterations in dendritic cell trafficking as well as release of a range of other cytokines and chemokines.

This research is important because it shows that sunlight exposure works on MS in several different ways, one of which may be the stimulation of vitamin D production.

As the authors state: Recognition of multiple pathways whereby exposure to UVR may affect the development of MS could mark the beginning of prevention activities through modulation of an environment risk factor and the development of new therapeutic compounds. The vitamin D star seems to be waning, despite considerable genetic evidence that vitamin D has a role in MS risk. Perhaps it is only one part of a more complex picture. New intervention trials, undertaken in parallel, of vitamin D supplementation and UV-B phototherapy, should provide more definitive evidence – at least for the risk of MS following CIS. A finding that sun exposure, through the entirety of its effects, does have clinical significance as an immunomodulator for the development of MS, offers one of the few opportunities to modify disease risk for MS.”

I have posted other blogs regarding sunlight and MS, indicative that sunlight has protective effects against that malady, beyond its ability to stimulate vitamin D production in the skin. This research by Lucas and her colleagues is important in that it defines some of the other mechanisms of sunlight exposure that could lead to the prevention and potential cure of the disease.

[i] Robyn M Lucas, Scott N Byrne, Jorge Correale, Susanne Ilschner & Prue H Hart. Ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Neurodegener. Dis. Manag 2015 (epub ahead of print).

 

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Lack of Sunlight may cause Females to become aggressive!

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Serotonin is one of the most potent natural mood enhancers produced in the body. As previously mentioned in one of my blogs, men whose levels of serotonin were measured on a very bright day produced eight times more serotonin than those who were measured on a cloudy, dismal day. Serotonin levels were also seven times higher in summer than winter.[1] Serotonin works in concert with melatonin; serotonin keeps keeps us bright and happy during the sunny day and melatonin lets lets us sleep during the dark night. Unfortunately, lack of sunlight in winter may also lead to too much daytime melatonin production, which may lead to aggressive behavior.

A 2015 report from Proceedings of the Royal Academy B, demonstrated that female rats who had the least sunlight exposure per day displayed the most aggression.[2] A similar increase in aggression was not observed in male rats.

An increase in melatonin was given as the reason for the aggression, since when winter approaches, sunlight decreases and melatonin increases. (Of course, serotonin also decreases, as stated in the aforementioned research.) Melatonin increases aggression, according to this study, by acting on the adrenal glands, causing a release of a hormone called DHEA, which has been consistently been linked to aggression in both mammals and birds.

I’m not entirely convinced that that aggression was not caused more by the drop in serotonin than the increase in melatonin. Either way, you boyfriends and husbands should be sure that your lady love gets plenty of sunlight or other form of UV light every day of the year, or you may be in trouble!

[1] Lambert GW, Reid C, Kaye DM, Jennings GL, Esler MD. Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. Lancet. 2002 Dec 7;360(9348):1840-2.

[2] Proceedings of the Royal Academy B 2015. Reported by Carly St. James, Empire State News. http://www.empirestatenews.net/2015/11/19/a-spike-in-female-aggression-can-be-linked-to-this-seasonal-change/ [accessed November 19, 2015]}

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Lack of Sunlight may cause Females to become aggressive!

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Serotonin is one of the most potent natural mood enhancers produced in the body. As previously mentioned in one of my blogs, men whose levels of serotonin were measured on a very bright day produced eight times more serotonin than those who were measured on a cloudy, dismal day. Serotonin levels were also seven times higher in summer than winter.[1] Serotonin works in concert with melatonin; serotonin keeps keeps us bright and happy during the sunny day and melatonin lets lets us sleep during the dark night. Unfortunately, lack of sunlight in winter may also lead to too much daytime melatonin production, which may lead to aggressive behavior.

A 2015 report from Proceedings of the Royal Academy B, demonstrated that female rats who had the least sunlight exposure per day displayed the most aggression.[2] A similar increase in aggression was not observed in male rats.

An increase in melatonin was given as the reason for the aggression, since when winter approaches, sunlight decreases and melatonin increases. (Of course, serotonin also decreases, as stated in the aforementioned research.) Melatonin increases aggression, according to this study, by acting on the adrenal glands, causing a release of a hormone called DHEA, which has been consistently been linked to aggression in both mammals and birds.

I’m not entirely convinced that that aggression was not caused more by the drop in serotonin than the increase in melatonin. Either way, you boyfriends and husbands should be sure that your lady love gets plenty of sunlight or other form of UV light every day of the year, or you may be in trouble!

[1] Lambert GW, Reid C, Kaye DM, Jennings GL, Esler MD. Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. Lancet. 2002 Dec 7;360(9348):1840-2.

[2] Proceedings of the Royal Academy B 2015. Reported by Carly St. James, Empire State News. http://www.empirestatenews.net/2015/11/19/a-spike-in-female-aggression-can-be-linked-to-this-seasonal-change/ [accessed November 19, 2015]}

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