Health benefits of UV by Marc Sorenson, Ed.D.
How important is UV? A transcendentally important scientific paper, by Dr. AT Slominski and colleagues, has added significant information about UV (sunlight) for skin. In addition, it explains the intricate connection between sunlight and the immune, endocrine and central nervous systems. The name of the research paper, published in the journal Endocrinology, is How ultraviolet light touches the brain and endocrine system through skin, and why. The authors begin the abstract by stating that “the skin is a self-regulating protective barrier organ that is empowered with sensory and computing capabilities to counteract the environmental stressors to maintain/restore disrupted cutaneous homeostasis.” In other words, the skin has the ability to take on what life deals it and maintain its equilibrium and balance. In addition, the skin communicates bidirectionally with the central nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Thus, it helps to maintain balance for all body systems.
How does UV work?
First of all, ultraviolet energy (UV and UVB light) triggers all of these marvelous processes. UV, of course is available from sunlight, sunbeds or sunlamps. Its electromagnetic energy, through the skin, converts to chemical, hormonal and neural signals. These signals promote positive effects on the immune system, the endocrine system and the brain. Furthermore, endorphins (opioid-like substances) are increased and immune-system proteins are mobilized; consequently, health improves with UV. And, sun exposure regulates the endocrine system, by way of exposure to the skin, to produce or diminish hormones as needed. Especially relevant is that these effects take place independently of vitamin D synthesis.
Health increases with UV due to the magnificent sun, and our magnificent skin. As a result of the above information, it seems like it would be a good idea to soak up some non-burning sun each day when available. And, when it is not, we should find another UV source. In our soon-to-be-published book, Embrace the Sun, we discuss many facts about the healthful effects sun exposure:
A few healthful effects of sun (UV) exposure
- prevents and reverses obesity
- Improves longevity by reducing the risk of death by 50% over 20 years
- reduces the risk of hip fracture by 90% when compared to sun avoidance
- prevents the risk of breast cancer by 90% when compared to sun avoidance
- reduces by 50% the risk of melanoma in outdoor workers compared with indoor workers
- increases heart and vascular strength
- dramatically improves mood
- reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis
- reduces risk of most internal cancers
- cures psoriasis and eczema
- reduces risk of nervous system disorders
- prevents memory loss
- prevents myopia
The above list is not surprising in view of this new research, nor is the list complete. UV has many more healthful effects, which I’m sure the authors of this research acknowledge. Hence, the scientists sum up their research in this manner: “Thus, UV touches the brain and central neuroendocrine system to reset body homeostasis. This invites multiple therapeutic applications of UV radiation, for example in the management of autoimmune and mood disorders, addiction, and obesity.”
In conclusion, this seem like more compelling evidence to safely embrace the sun, no?
 Slominski AT, Zmijewski MA, Plonka PM, Szaflarski JP, Paus R. How ultraviolet light touches the brain and endocrine system through skin, and why. Endocrinology. 2018 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print]
Benegits of sun exposure by Marc Sorenson, EdD…
For those who follow my writings, it should now be obvious that the risk of melanoma is decreased by regular sun exposure, and that the evidence for the health benefits of safe sun becomes clearer by the day. I opine that millions of lives could be saved yearly by regular, non-burning sun exposure for the entire population.
Another benefit of moderate sun exposure, or other ultraviolet radiation (UVR), is that it does not cause sufficient DNA damage to prevent efficient repair. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology reviewed the impact of repeated low level sunlight exposures on vitamin D status and DNA damage/repair in light and brown skinned individuals. The UVR doses were equivalent to 13-17 minutes of midday exposure in the UK. The study reported that no evidence existed for these low-level exposures leading to accumulated DNA-damage, indicating that any damage was quickly repaired. The research also showed that the exposures led to sufficient vitamin D levels in the participants. In addition, it has been shown that “Regular exposure to UV leads to an almost complete disappearance of DNA damage in the basal and suprabasal layers of the epidermis, where the initiating of skin cancer occurs. It is no wonder that regular sun exposure is associated with less melanoma! Soak up some moderate, non-burning sun!
 Felton SJ, Cooke MS, Kift R, Berry JL, Webb AR, Lam PMW, de Gruijl FR, Vail A, and Rhodes LE. Concurrent beneficial (vitamin D production) and hazardous (cutaneous DNA damage) impact of repeated low-level summer sunlight exposures. Br J Dermatol. 2016 Jul 14. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14863. [Epub ahead of print]
 van der Rhee H, de Vries E, Coomans C, van de Velde P, Jan Willem Coebergh JW. Sunlight: For Better or For Worse? A Review of Positive and Negative Effects of Sun Exposure. Cancer Research Frontiers. 2016 May; 2(2): 156-183.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, for sun exposure…
A new research paper on sun exposure and cancer has some interesting observations and some errors. It is entitled, Does Sunlight protect us from cancer? Here is the abstract of the article, verbatim.
“The Ultraviolet (UV) radiation contained in sunlight is a powerful mutagen and immune suppressant which partly explains why exposure to solar UV is the biggest risk factor for the development of cutaneous tumors. Evidence is building that sunlight may be protective against some internal malignancies. Because patients with these tumors are often vitamin D deficient, this has led some to propose that vitamin D supplementation will be beneficial in the treatment of these cancers. However, the results from already completed trials have been disappointing which has given weight to the argument that there must be something else about sunlight that explains its cancer-protecting properties.”
The first sentence, of course, is false. The idea, that sun exposure is the biggest risk factor for skin cancer, is erroneous. We have presented materials many times, proving that melanoma is not caused by sun exposure, and that sun exposure is protective against that disease. And as regards common skin cancers, we have shown that high-fat nutrition, lack of antioxidants, meat consumption and alcohol intake are all risk factors. Search the blogs on this site to read the different articles.
The statement is correct, of course, that sunlight is protective against many internal cancers. Dr. Bill Grant and I are finishing our book, Embrace the Sun, where we present nearly all of the research on the protective influence of sun exposure against cancer.
The statement that vitamin D research has been disappointing is both true and false. Randomized controlled studies (RCTs) have shown the vitamin D supplements do have a protective effect against internal cancers, contrary to the statement by the researchers.
Finally, let’s look at the statement that there is something beyond vitamin D that explains the cancer-protecting properties of sun exposure. That is partially true. Beyond vitamin D, the sun causes the production of nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin and BDNF, all of which are vital to human health, and may have their own cancer-protective properties.
The bottom line? Eat correctly (avoid junk), REGULARLY soak up some sun around midday and get plenty of exercise. That advice will be a boon to your health in myriad ways.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…
At a meeting of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a most interesting research report has emerged. The summary reads thusly: Exposure to bright light increases testosterone levels and leads to greater sexual satisfaction in men with low sexual desire. These are the results of a pilot randomised placebo-controlled trial.[i]
Men with low sexual desire were put in two groups; one group received bright light therapy from a light box; the other was treated with a light box that was not nearly so bright. Testosterone levels were measured in both groups. The experiment lasted two weeks, and the results were impressive. The men who had received the bright light therapy increased their sexual satisfaction scores increased by 300%. Testosterone levels also increased by 300% in the bright light group. The researchers believe that bright light therapy might have fewer side effects than drugs and offer at least equal results.
These results should not have been surprising. Long ago, light treatments were shown to remarkably increase testosterone levels. In 1939, Dr. Abraham Myerson measured initial levels of circulating testosterone in men and exposed their various body parts to UV.[ii] After five days of chest exposure sufficient to cause reddening, circulating testosterone increased by 120%. After eight days without additional UV exposure, testosterone returned to initial levels. When the genital area was exposed, testosterone levels increased by 200%! Considering our sex-obsessed society, it is surprising that no studies followed up on Myerson’s work. Testosterone, after all, is important in sexual behavior, since it is the “love” hormone for both sexes.
If this information reaches the public, the interest in sunbathing may increase. That would be terrific, because sun exposure would also profoundly enhance the health of those who were soaking up the sun.
Is there anything that sun exposure can’t do? Just be careful not to burn in the sun.
[ii] Myerson, A. Influence of ultraviolet radiation on excretion of sex hormones in the male. Endocrinology 1939;25:7-12.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…
In the previous blog, we noted that sun exposure was associated with a reduced risk of the deadly bacterial infection called sepsis. In reality, UV therapy was used to treat many kinds of infections decades ago, when sun exposure was widely known as a bactericide.
Dr. Zane Kime, in his book, Sunlight could Save Your Life, reviewed the results of research conducted between 1886 and 1909 and showed that the following bacteria were killed by ultraviolet light: anthrax, plague, streptococci, tubercle bacillus, cholera, staphylococcus, colon bacillus and dysentery bacillus. Sun was virtually forgotten with the advent of antibiotic drugs, but now the interest has returned.
While watching a newscast, I noticed the news ticker along the bottom of the screen announcing, “Sunshine is the most effective anti-infection therapy.” But is this really news? Dr. Kime cites several early studies on sun and infectious diseases that were performed about the same time as the advent of antibiotics. Reports in the scientific literature in the 1940s showed that sun killed infectious bacteria or viruses. Kime states …“a number of patients, having such various infections and diseases as blood poisoning [septicemia], childbirth infections, peritonitis, viral pneumonia, mumps, and bronchial asthma were treated with ultraviolet light therapy to their blood.”          They were, in fact, treated very successfully.
Dr. Kime also cited research showing that UV therapy killed the flu virus outside the body and destroyed cancer-producing viruses. He reported good results in his own practice in treating fungal infections with sun therapy.
The ancients knew of the marvelous healing effects of sun exposure, and Dr. Kime knew even more in 1980 as he reviewed the literature. We need more people who are willing to promulgate the truth about our kindly friend, the sun.
 Kime, Z. Sunlight Could Save Your Life. World Health Publications, Penryn, CA 1980 pp 180-81.
 Miley, G. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation in acute pyogenic infections. New York J Med 1942;42:38.
 Miley, G. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation in acute pyogenic infections. New York J Med 1942;42:38.
 Rebbeck, E. Ultraviolet irradiation of auto-transfused blood in the treatment of puerperal sepsis. Amer J Surg 1941;54:691
 Rebbeck, E. Ultraviolet irradiation of autotransfused blood in the treatment of postabortal sepsis. Amer J Surg 1942;55:476.
 Rebbeck, E. Ultraviolet irradiation of the blood in the treatment of escherichia coli septicemia. Arch Phys Ther 1943;24:158.
 Rebbeck, E. The Knott technic of ultraviolet blood irradiation as a control of infection in peritonitis. Amer J Gastroenterol 1943;10:1-26
 Hancock, V. Irradiated blood transfusions in the treatment of infections. Northwest Med 1934;33:200.
 Barrett, H. Five years experience with hemo-irradiation according to the Knott technic. Am J Surg 1943;61:42
 Barrett, H. The irradiation of auto-transfused blood by ultraviolet spectral energy: results of therapy in 110 cases. Med Clin N Amer 1940;24:723
 Miley, G. The present status of ultraviolet blood irradiation. Arch Phys Ther 1944;25:357.
 Hollaender, A. The inactivating effect of monochromatic ultraviolet radiation on influenza virus. J Bact 1944;48:447.
 Heding LD, Schaller JP, Blakeslee JR, Olsen RG. Inactivation of tumor cell-associated feline oncornavirus for preparation of an infectious virus-free tumor cell immunogen. Cancer Res 1976;36:1647.
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. 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. 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!
 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.
 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]}
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…..
Before proceeding with the discussion on sunlight addiction, it is important to review the truth about sunlight and melanoma, to understand why sunlight addiction may be a good thing.
A recent report on ultraviolet light and addiction is obviously meant to be a hit piece regarding sunlight exposure and tanning, as seen in the opening statement: “Despite widespread awareness that UV exposure is a major risk factor for all common cutaneous malignancies, skin cancer incidence relentlessly increases by ~3% per year.”
The “all common cutaneous malignancies” portion of this statement, of course, is patently false. Whereas the relatively benign common skin cancers are increased by exposure to sunlight, melanoma is increased by avoiding the sun. If the dramatic increase in melanoma over the past century were due to sunlight exposure, then sunlight exposure must also have increased dramatically during that time. To determine whether that has happened, we analyzed data from the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) to determine if there was an increase or decrease in human sunlight exposure during the years from 1910 to 2,000. The statistics showed that indoor occupations such as “professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers grew from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment between 1910 and 2000.” BLS also stated that during the same period, the outdoor occupation of farming declined from 33% to 1.2% of total employment, a 96% reduction. The data also showed an approximately 66% decline in the occupation of farmers and 50% of the decline in the occupation of farm laborers.
The Environmental Protection Agency also determined that as of 1986, about 5 percent of adult men worked mostly outside, and that about 10 percent worked outside part of the time. The proportion of women who worked outside was thought to be even lower. These data demonstrate a dramatic shift from outdoor, sun-exposed activity to indoor, non-sun-exposed activity during the mid-to-late 20th Century.
Despite these facts, the Melanoma International Foundation (MIF) has stated that melanoma has increased by 30 times (3,000%) just since 1935! Here is the statement by the MIF: “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 1,500 was struck by the disease.” Indeed, the American Cancer Society in 2014 reported that one in 50 now contracts the disease. That exponential increase in melanoma has been accompanied by a profound decrease in sunlight exposure, yet sunlight or other UV exposure is blamed for the melanoma increase—a totally counterintuitive argument! I submit that not only is sunlight not responsible for the exponential increase in melanoma, but that the decrease in sun exposure may be a major cause of that increase.
Here are other facts that belie the idea that melanoma is caused by sunlight exposure:
- Outdoor workers, while receiving 3-9 times the UVR exposure as indoor workers,  have had no increase in melanoma since before 1940, whereas melanoma incidence in indoor workers has increased steadily and exponentially.
- Most melanomas occur on areas of the body that are seldom or never exposed to the sunlight.  
- The use of sunscreen, which has increased steadily, has not resulted in a decrease in melanoma. In fact, melanoma has increased as sunscreen use has become more widespread. Since sunscreens block sunlight, it is evident that at best they are a waste of money and at worst may be contributing to the increase in melanoma.
Now, let’s discuss the research on the aforementioned addiction to sunlight. The researchers conducted various experiments on mice that showed behavior choices, such as desiring lighter rather than darker environments, were increased by regular exposure. These behavior choices were mediated by β-endorphins, peptide hormones which are similar to opiates. So is this all bad? This marvelous product, β-endorphin, is one of the feel-good hormones that decreases pain and increases a sense of well-being. The case the researchers make regarding addiction to sunlight is compelling, and why not? Sunlight exposure causes vitamin D production in the skin, which is essential to human health; it also stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes our vessels and lowers our blood pressure; it stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain, which is another feel-good hormone necessary for a happy mood and wellbeing. And considering the myriad additional effects of sunlight on health, including the prevention of cancer, the prevention and reversal of bone diseases and the reduction of heart disease, could it not be part of God’s (or Nature’s) master plan to develop a positive addiction to sunlight so than our health could be enhanced? I am a sunlight addict, and expose myself to it regularly for two reasons: (1) It marvelously improves my mood and (2) it protects me from disease and weakness. I am a light-skinned, blue-eyed Caucasian who has spent much of my seven decades on this earth seeking the sun. Yet, there have been no melanomas or even common skin cancer.
Nevertheless, the researchers summarize their paper on sun addiction with the following: “While primordial UV addiction, mediated by the hedonic [pertaining to pleasure] action of β-endorphin and anhedonic effects of withdrawal, may theoretically have enhanced evolutionary vitamin D biosynthesis, it now may contribute to the relentless rise in skin cancer incidence in man.”
That summary statement is claptrap, as can be seen by the research on melanoma and sunlight presented above. If sunlight is addictive and helps me to avoid melanoma, heart disease, bone loss and other maladies, I can only say, “hooray for the addiction!”
 Gillian L. Fell, Kathleen C. Robinson, Jianren Mao, Clifford J. Woolf, and David E.
Fisher. Skin β-endorphin mediates addiction to ultraviolet light. Cell. 2014 June 19; 157(7): 1527–1534.
 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
 U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Catching Our Breath: Next Steps for Reducing Urban Ozone, OTA-O-412 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 1989).
 Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. Sources: National Cancer Institute 2007 SEER Database, American Cancer Society’s 2007 Facts and Figures, The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Academy of Dermatology.
 American Cancer Society. Melanoma Skin Cancer Overview 9/16/2014. Accessed on 9/23/2014 at http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/overviewguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-overview-key-statistics
 Godar D. UV doses worldwide. Photochem Photobiol 2005;81:736–49.
 Thieden E, Philipsen PA, Sandby-Møller J, Wulf HC. UV radiation exposure related to age, sex, occupation, and sun behavior based on time-stamped personal dosimeter readings. Arch Dermatol 2004;140:197–203.
 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.
 Phillippe Autier. Do high factor Sunscreens offer protection from melanoma? West J Med. 2000 Jul; 173(1): 58.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD
Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin characterized by redness, itching, and oozing vesicular lesions which become scaly, crusted, or hardened.[i] Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of the many types of eczema, and UV radiation has been used successfully for decades in its treatment.[ii] An excellent paper by Dr. DJ Palmer mentioned the following regarding the use of UV light as a treatment:
- UV therapy was first used in the 1970s, when UVA radiation was used to treat atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions.[iii] The results were considered poor to fair, but created optimism going forward.
- In the 1980s, a combination of UVA and UVB therapy was used to treat atopic dermatitis, and in one investigation, it was shown that of 107 patients, 93% had good results, and the need for steroidal skin treatments (a typical treatment for the disease) decreased in half of the patients. A second experiment followed, in which 94% of the patients had good results and 85% of them had a decreased need for the steroid treatments.[iv]
- A 12-county European study reported in 2004, found the prevalence of eczema symptoms increased with latitude (indicative of less sunlight exposure).[v]
- In 2009, Italian research showed that seaside holidays led to complete resolution of atopic dermatitis in 91% of patients,[vi] which indicated positive effects of sunlight on the disease. The study also showed that the condition improved during summertime and deteriorated in the other seasons.
- A U.S. study of more than 91,000 children, reported in 2013 found significantly increased prevalence of eczema associated with several measures of lower solar UVB dose.
An investigation in children aged 0-17 years also established that sunlight exposure was associated with lessened prevalence of eczema.[vii] Children in the highest quartile (fourth) of exposure were about 20% less likely to experience eczema. Other research on young people directly assessed sunlight exposure in the first 16 years of life and compared it to the risk of atopic allergic diseases. It demonstrated that high sunlight exposure during summer holidays or weekends was significantly associated with reduced eczema.[viii] However, as the researchers stated, “Increased sun exposure during summer holidays in adolescence was associated with reduced eczema and rhinitis risk, independently of measured vitamin D levels. This is another of the studies that indicates sunlight produces salubrious effects beyond its ability to stimulate vitamin D production.
[i] Palmer DJ. Vitamin D and the Development of Atopic Eczema. J Clin Med. 2015 May 20;4(5):1036-50.
[ii] Palmer DJ. Vitamin D and the Development of Atopic Eczema. J Clin Med. 2015 May 20;4(5):1036-50.
[iii] Lynch WS, Martin JS, Roenigk HH Jr. Clinical results of photochemotherapy. The Cleveland Clinic experience. Cutis. 1977 Oct;20(4):477-80
[iv] Hannuksela M, Karvonen J, Husa M, Jokela R, Katajamäki L, Leppisaari M. Ultraviolet light therapy in atopic dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol Suppl (Stockh). 1985;114:137-9.
[v] Weiland SK, Husing A, Strachan DP, Rzehak P, Pearce N. Climate and the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic eczema in children. Occup Environ Med 2004;61:609-15.
[vi] Patrizi A, Savoia F, Giacomini F, Tabanelli M, Gurioli C. The effect of summer holidays and sun exposure on atopic dermatitis. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2009 Aug;144(4):463-6
[vii] Silverberg JI, Hanifin J, Simpson EL. Climatic factors are associated with childhood eczema prevalence in the United States. J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Jul;133(7):1752-9
[viii] Kemp AS, Ponsonby AL, Pezic A, Cochrane JA, Dwyer T, Jones G. The influence of sun exposure in childhood and adolescence on atopic disease at adolescence. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2013 Aug;24(5):493-500.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute
SUNLIGHT EXPOSURE CORRELATES TO A LOWER RISK OF MELANOMA.
I’ve been writing on this FACT for some time, and an impressive 2015 paper corroborates it. Published in the scientific journal Dermato-Endocrinology, the paper makes some very interesting comments, all based on excellent research: