Tag Archives: UVB

Health Benefits of Tanning Beds shown in new Study.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute, for sensible tanning bed use

The online magazine, Life Science Daily, just posted an article regarding the health benefits of UV light from tanning beds. Surprisingly, they were quoting from research published in the British Journal of Dermatology. I say “surprising,” because so many dermatologists and dermatological organizations are vehemently opposed to a single ray of sunlight touching the skin. And heaven forbid someone should use a tanning bed.

Three times weekly, adult subjects were exposed to a tanning bed that emitted 95% UVA rays and 5% UVB rays, which is approximately the amount of UVA and UVB that midday summer sunlight emits. Each exposure lasted six minutes. Here are some of the salient points reported in the article:

  • Any damage caused by the light exposure was repaired by the by the skin.
  • One of the positive benefits of the light was the production of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure.
  • Another positive benefit was the productions of beta-endorphins, which reduce depression.
  • A third benefit, of course, is the production of vitamin D, necessary for growth and bone strength, as well as asthma prevention.

Here is one of the important quotes from the article, from Dr. Michael Holick:  “What this study shows is that you can get a reasonable amount of sunlight that would make enough vitamin D in your skin living in the U.K. Yes, the DNA is somewhat damaged, but because the body has adapted to its environment, it has the ability to repair it.”  Dr. Holick also suggested that people become educated about the wide range of health benefits from modest sun exposure, which is superior to taking vitamin D supplements.

Step by step, the truth is overcoming the powers of darkness! Seek the sun, and let a tanning bed enhance your health in the winter.

Click here to read the article. https://lifesciencedaily.com/stories/19743-study-shows-health-benefits-non-burning-exposure-uv-light/

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UVB light prevents atherosclerosis by reducing inflammation.

UVB exposure benefits by Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…

UVB is a spectrum of sunlight that is responsible for stimulation of vitamin D production in the skin. It also has many other effects, including the suppression of inflammation in the skin, and thus has been used to very successfully treat skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema.[1] [2] [3] [4]

Since inflammation is also necessary to produce the condition of atherosclerosis (arterial plugging or occlusion) in arteries, it would be interesting to know whether UVB light might also have the same anti-inflammatory effects in those arteries. If so, the UVB effect could inhibit or eliminate atherosclerosis, and by so doing provide an entirely new treatment for heart disease and other vascular events such as stroke and intermittent claudication.

The idea that UVB could prevent atherosclerosis by reducing inflammation in arteries was recently studied by Japanese researchers.[5] [6] Using a mouse model, they demonstrated that UVB light irradiation, once weekly for 14 weeks, leads to an increase in the action of T-regulatory cells that inhibit inflammation. In addition, UVB exposure also reduced the production of another type of T-cell that is pro-inflammatory, and thereby proatherogenic (leading to the production of atherosclerosis). These two effects of UVB light reduce the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Or stated differently, the research shows that sun exposure is critically-important therapy to reduce and prevent heart and other vascular diseases.

Protect your heart by being sure to obtain sufficient non-burning UVB light from sun exposure or other sources such as the UVB lamps used by the researchers. It is important to note that neither skin cancer nor skin inflammation were observed following UVB exposure.

This is another breakthrough study that emphasizes the necessity of sun exposure for human health.

[1] National Psoriasis Foundation web site Oct. 2005.

[2] Yelverton CB, Kulkarni AS, Balkrishnan R, Feldman SR. Home ultraviolet B phototherapy: a cost-effective option for severe psoriasis. Manag Care Interface 2006;19:33-36, 39.

[3] Situm M, Bulat V, Majcen K, Dzapo A, Jezovita J. Benefits of controlled ultraviolet radiation in the treatment of dermatological diseases. Coll Antropol. 2014 Dec;38(4):1249-53.

[4] Gupta A, Arora TC, Jindal A, Bhadoria AS. Efficacy of narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy and levels of serum vitamin D3 in psoriasis: A prospective study. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016 Mar-Apr;7(2):87-92.

[5] Naoto Sasaki, Tomoya Yamashita, Kazuyuki Kasahara, Atsushi Fukunaga, Tomoyuki Yamaguchi, et al. UVB Exposure Prevents Atherosclerosis by Regulating Immunoinflammatory Responses. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016;36:00-00.

DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308063.)

[6] Hafid Ait-Oufella, Andrew P. Sage. Editorial. The Sunlight. A New Immunomodulatory Approach of Atherosclerosis. (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2017;37:7-9. DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308637.)

 

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Research again shows sun exposure reduces myopia.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. For sun exposure…

It should be well-known by now, but the relationship between sun exposure and myopia (nearsightedness) is still being studied. And as before, the answer is the same: sun deprivation is associated to a greater myopia risk. The difference in this research was the study population, which was a random sample of participants 65 years and older from Europe.[1] Among the factors that the researchers considered important, were vitamin D blood levels, vitamin D polymorphisms, ultraviolet B radiation (UVB), and years in education. Of these factors, only ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) was associated with reduced odds for myopia, especially if higher UVB exposure occurred during adolescence and early adulthood. This is another research paper that shows sun exposure to be protective against a disease, independent of vitamin D.

The authors of the study made this conclusion: “This study, while not designed to determine cause and effect relationships, suggests that increased ultraviolet B exposure, a marker of sunlight exposure, is associated with reduced myopia.

This is one in a long line of studies that show the relationship of sun exposure to myopia, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that myopia is caused by lack of sun exposure. The evidence has been building for years. For example, one of the studies showed that the lowest risk of myopia among 12-year-old students was found among those who reported the highest levels of outdoor activity.[2] Some might surmise that the key ingredient was exercise, but that idea was refuted by the fact that there was no association between indoor activity and myopia. Something besides exercise had to be leading to the lower risk of myopia among children who were actively outdoors; it had to be sun. The lower risk of myopia persisted after adjusting for genetic factors, ethnicity and the amount of near work. This is important, because for many years there was an assumption that long hours of study indoors, staring closely at books (near work) and never focusing on distant objects, led to myopia. This study belied that error.

This same research showed that the prevalence of myopia among Chinese children living in Singapore was 29.1%, whereas Chinese children living in Sydney, Australia, had a prevalence rate of only 3.3%. The children in Sydney spent about 13.8 hours per week outdoors compared to 3.05 hours in Singapore. In other words, the children who spent most or their lives indoors had 9.5 times the risk of developing myopia!

Depriving either adults or children of their time in the sunlight leads to myriad illnesses, only one of which is myopia. When will we learn?

[1] Katie M. Williams, FRCOphth; Graham C. G. Bentham, MA; Ian S. Young, MD; et al Association Between Myopia, Ultraviolet B Radiation Exposure, Serum Vitamin D Concentrations, and Genetic Polymorphisms in Vitamin D Metabolic Pathways in a Multicountry European Study. Published Online: December 1, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.4752

[2] Rose KA, Morgan IG, J, Kifley A, Huynh S, Smith W, Mitchell P. Outdoor activity reduces the prevalence of myopia in children. Ophthalmology 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.

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Defending the Sun from the Lies, Damn Lies, Duplicity, Deception, Death and Disease of the Anti-Sun Business. Part 3: Balancing the Messages about Tanning Beds

By Marc Sorenson, EdD.  Sunlight Institute…

This Blog is meant neither to promote the use of tanning beds nor to discourage such use; rather, it is designed to balance the message. Seldom is anything positive said about tanning beds, although there is research that shows many positive benefits; such research is usually ignored because it does not conform to a preconceived notion. We therefore want to present some of that research to demonstrate that there are other opinions that provide some balance to the messages. You, the reader, can then make up your mind based on the research. Knowing the entire truth about any subject is important prior to making up one’s mind regarding that subject.

Sun exposure and tanning have been vilified by many (but not all) dermatologists. Tanning beds have been demonized to an even greater degree and are called “cancer machines” by many in the medical profession and in the popular press.  There are movements afoot to make it illegal for those under the age of 18 to even use them, which is woefully misguided and ill-advised.  Every beneficial effect of vitamin D that is produced by sun exposure is also produced by the use of high-quality tanning beds, and endorphins and nitric oxide are also produced, just as with the sun. The following is a list and discussion of tanning-bed benefits.

  1. Many so-called experts have said that tanning beds do not create higher vitamin D levels, but the research belies that falsehood. In a study that compared 50 subjects who used a tanning bed at least once weekly to 106 control subjects who did not use tanning beds, it was shown that tanning-bed users had 90% higher vitamin D levels than non-users, and they also had significantly higher bone-mineral density, indicative of stronger bones.[1] Parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were also taken and were 18% lower among the tanners. High PTH levels are often associated with weak bones and low vitamin D levels. The researchers compared dark-skinned people with Caucasians and found that tanning-bed sessions increased vitamin D levels almost identically in both ethnic groups.[2]

I am part of an email list of scientists and researchers who are intensely interested in sun research, and who share articles on sun and vitamin D. I received a most interesting email from Rufus Greenbaum, who lives in the UK and who organizes vitamin D symposiums. He recounted how he had met a man who had used tanning beds twice weekly since 1970, and who had just completed a bone densitometer test, known as a DEXA scan.  His doctor stated, “You have the strongest bones that I have ever seen.”  That news certainly came as no shock.  Conventional tanning beds produce large quantities of vitamin D in short periods of time,[3] and vitamin D is absolutely essential for optimal absorption of calcium in the gut.[4] [5]  Without calcium absorption, consuming vast quantities of calcium makes little difference to bone strength; much of the calcium will be flushed down the toilet.

  1. Tanning beds can cure psoriasis and eczema and are often recommended by dermatologists as a way to overcome these diseases. Some common-sense scientists understand that UV light is nearly 100% effective for many dermatologic conditions, and that tanning beds are very convenient sources of UV for patients who cannot otherwise afford the rigorous travel and time commitments necessary to visit the dermatologist.[6] Their investigation involved an arduous search of PubMed and Google Scholar for papers that reported on tanning beds and their salutary effects on different skin diseases.

The searches showed convincingly that tanning beds were a valid use for psoriasis, but also indicated tanning beds could be useful “as a treatment option for atopic dermatitis [eczema], mycosis fungoides, acne, scleroderma, vitiligo, and pruritus, as well as other UV sensitive dermatoses.”

The conclusion they reached was amazing, considering negative reports that are regularly touted by the press. They stated: “Unsupervised sun exposure is a standard recommendation for some patients to obtain phototherapy. Selected use of commercial tanning beds in the treatment of dermatologic conditions may be another useful and effective treatment for those patients with an inability to access office-based or home-based phototherapy.”[Italics mine]

One of the dermatologists who recommends unsupervised sun exposure as stated above is Dr. Julie Moore of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. She says that sun is one of the best ways to treat psoriasis, so she recommends that her patients “sit out on the deck and give their affected areas a good sun bath.[7]” Hallelujah! Common sense is beginning to penetrate the dermatology profession, as more dermatologists are climbing on the sun bandwagon each year.

  1. Whereas a daily 400 IU vitamin D supplement does not maintain healthful levels, tanning bed use increases vitamin D levels by 150% in only seven weeks.
  2. Tanning-bed use reduces chronic pain.[9] [10] In a study by dermatologists, using persons with fibromyalgia symptoms including pain, those who used UV-producing tanning beds experienced a decrease of .44 points on a scale of pain score when compared to those who did not receive UV light. Feelings of well-being and relaxation were also reported among the tanners.[11]
  3. Sun lamps are now being recommended for use by pregnant women who will give birth in a winter month. The recommendation is being made to protect the unborn child from osteoporosis during adulthood.[12]
  4. Research from Sweden demonstrated that women who use tanning beds more than three times yearly, had a reduced risk of endometrial cancer of 40- 50%.[13] The authors surmised that the effects observed were likely due to stimulating higher vitamin D levels in winter.
  5. Tanning-bed use reduces the risk of clots.[14] In an eleven-year study of the sun-exposure habits venous thrombotic (clotting) events of 40,000 women, it was found that women who sunbathed during the summer, on winter vacations, or when abroad, or used a tanning bed, were at 30% reduced risk of venous thrombotic events compared to those who did not. The authors again speculated that increased vitamin D, which has anticoagulant properties, resulted in these positive results.
  6. Tanning-bed use is associated to lower breast-cancer risk.[15]
  7. High quality tanning beds, because they provide UVB to both sides of the body simultaneously, stimulate the production of up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D in less than ten minutes. Ten minutes of tanning bed exposure can be done on a lunch break. That means they are more efficient than summer sun. Of course, those with darker skin will require a longer time to produce the same amount of vitamin D.
  8. It is likely that all benefits of sun can be provided by tanning beds, including increased resistance to cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, periodontitis, arthritis, infection and other maladies.
  9. Tanning beds may be used regardless of outside weather.
  10. Tanning beds may be used during “vitamin D winter.” This is especially important at higher latitudes that lack sufficient UVB from winter sun to stimulate adequate vitamin D production by the skin.    

The truth about tanning beds and melanoma

As we have shown, it is impossible to establish sun as the cause of melanoma; yet through chicanery and dishonesty, as established by Dr. Ackerman, we continue to see that the desire for profit produces chicanery, dishonesty and hypocrisy, which leads to the continuing mantra of the anti-sun movement—that melanoma is caused by our friend, the sun. That mantra is ludicrous, and the purveyors of the message are beginning to sound silly. We expect that due to the worry that the sun/melanoma message is ready to crash and burn, these same people are now attacking the tanning industry. One of the claims is that since the advent of tanning beds—in about 1970—melanoma has increased dramatically. While that is true, it has nothing to do with tanning beds. Melanoma was increasing steadily and exponentially long before tanning beds hit the scene and that rate of increase was not influenced by tanning beds. Dr. Diane Godar has produced a graph showing that tanning beds made no difference at all in the increase in melanoma. You will note that the rate of increase in melanoma is exactly the same now as it was since 1940. Dr. Godar’s graph is presented below.

                   Tanning bed and melanoma

Those who oppose the use of tanning beds can conveniently ignore the rate of increase prior to the first tanning beds to make it appear that the tanning bed is the culprit. This is intellectual dishonesty, and it reminds me of the old saying, “There are lies and damn lies, and then there are statistics.” Twisting or ignoring the facts should be criminal.

Several studies have investigated the relationship of tanning-bed use to melanoma and a review of  22 investigations done from 1979 through 2002 showed that only four indicated tanning beds increased melanoma risk; eighteen showed no association.[16] One that showed an increased melanoma risk was conducted by Dr. Philippe Autier and colleagues in Belgium in 1991.[17] However, in 2002 Dr. Autier conducted another study in which no association between tanning bed use and melanoma was found.[18]  This report stated, “No result suggested a dose-response curve, and no association was even present for subjects who reported more than 35 hours  of cumulated tanning-bed use at least 19 yrs. before the interview. Our study doesn’t support the possibility that tanning bed use could increase melanoma risk.”

I looked for other studies that might have come to contrary conclusions and found one from 2007.[19] It was a meta-analysis of 19 studies that concluded tanning beds do increase the melanoma risk.  However, when Dr. Grant assessed the meta-analysis, he noted that the studies failed to take skin type into consideration.[20]  He re-analyzed the data and determined: “These results indicate that when studies largely influenced by inclusion of people with skin phenotype 1 [light-skinned non-tanners] without adjustment for skin phenotype are removed from the meta-analysis, no significant relation is found between tanning bed use and risk of CMM [cutaneous malignant melanoma].”

Several studies between 2003 and 2008 showed mixed results. One showed no significant increase in melanoma with tanning bed use.[21]   Another study of five European countries showed that in France, where 20% of the population used tanning beds, their use was associated with a 19% increase in risk of melanoma.[22]  In Sweden, where 83% of the population used tanning beds, there was a 38% decrease in melanoma. Overall, the risk of melanoma was reduced by 10% in tanning-bed users, although individuals with fair skin and a high number of moles were at increased risk. Clearly, studies that indict tanning beds, without taking into consideration skin type are flawed, and if they do not also differentiate between tanning and burning, they are doubly flawed.

Remember that excessive ultraviolet light exposure, whether it comes from sun or tanning lamps, causes burning.  We have clearly established that burning may correlate to an increased risk of melanoma.  Unfortunately, most of the studies that associated tanning beds with increased melanoma did not control for burning.  Use of either sun exposure or tanning beds must be done prudently, so it is best to use professional tanning salons with trained personnel who assess skin type and make recommendations for the maximum time clients should tan.

Dr. Grant also reminds us that UVB is the most beneficial wavelength. UVA does have health benefits, including stimulating the production of nitric oxide, but excessive UVA is harmful in that it penetrates more deeply and generates free radicals that can lead to skin aging and DNA damage, as several studies have shown.[23] [24] [25] However, the tan produced by UVA serves as a protection against damage by further UVA. It is important to use tanning beds with outputs that mimic the midday, mid-latitude spring-and-summer UVB portion of total UV—roughly 3.5-5%. European countries limit UVB emitted from tanning beds to 1.5% of total UV radiation[26] [27]—a huge mistake. Tanning beds in the USA emit a much higher percentage of UVB, about 5% on average.[28] Prior to 1983, tanning beds used in Norway and Sweden were rich in UVB and there was no association between tanning-bed use and melanoma. Both the lamps and the acrylic sheet between the lamps and the person affect the UVB/UVA ratio; the acrylic, as it ages, decreases the UVB transmission more than UVA.

Personally, I have no qualms about using tanning beds, but I am not telling you to do the same. Read all the facts and then make up your own mind. Considering the numerous health benefits from high serum vitamin D levels and the production of endorphins, nitric oxide and other photoproducts, the slightly increased chance of rarely-fatal common skin cancer does not concern me.

A very light skin that does not tan, or a skin condition that is sensitive to UV may preclude tanning-bed use by some individuals. Those with freckles and red hair do not generally tan well, and should avoid tanning beds or limit themselves to very short exposures. In addition, it is a good idea to cover the face and genitals as those areas may be excessively sensitive to ultraviolet light. Others who may have adverse effects to tanning bed exposure are organ transplant recipients, those with many nevi (moles) or those taking photosensitive prescription drugs.[29]  If you do not know if your drug is photosensitive, ask a pharmacist. Avoid even the least amount of burning.

Finally, it is a good idea to be checked regularly by a dermatologist to assess any changes that may occur to your skin.  That advice, however, is even more important for those who do not use tanning beds or get regular sun, since more melanomas occur among those who receive little or no UVB, or in those irregularly exposed. In some cases, tanning beds may help the physical and mental health of people residing in the far north.

In one instance, tanning beds for Canadian military personnel may be essential to survival. The Canadian armed forces most remote outpost is also the northernmost community on Earth, and its purpose is to gather radio signals and other electronic intercepts from Russia and pass them to military analysts in the South.[30] The sun disappears on October 14 and does no reappear until February 28. During that time, temperatures drop to 5+ degrees below zero, and if the wind blow, the chill factor is incredibly low. The facility is build with most of the comforts of home, including gym facilities, and tanning machines that increase vitamin D levels are considered essential to life. We expect that if anyone were to try to take away those machines, it would cause an insurrection. In the previous blog, it was also mentioned that scientists have suggested the use of tanning beds for psoriasis when they were too far away from the dermatologists’ offices for a convenient visit.[31]

Tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet light can be of great value to human health if they are used safely; the same can be said about the sun.

Are phototherapy sessions in a dermatologist’s office safe?

As we have indicated, dermatologists and their organizations, with certain refreshing exceptions, promote the idea that both tanning beds and natural sun exposure are detrimental to health. Yet, thousands of dermatologists use UVR light to reduce the risk of many skin diseases. They claim that their UVR exposure is totally safe. That is an blatant example of duplicity at its worst. Recently, Dr. Anne Haas, President of the California Dermatology Society, made an egregiously false statement at a regulatory hearing regarding UVR devices, saying that whereas tanning beds were cancer causers, the UVR devices used in dermatologists’ offices had never been shown to cause any cancer problems. Watch this short video to hear her statement:

Her statement, that there is no evidence UV devices in the dermatologist’s office cause cancer, is deceitful. Here is the truth:

  1. The light used by dermatologists is the same type of light used in tanning beds.[32] [33]
  2. The use of phototherapy in the dermatologist offices definitely do lead to an increase in skin cancer.[34] And some of that skin cancer was sufficiently noteworthy that the researchers concluded their study with this warning: “A noteworthy number of NMSC were diagnosed in this Mediterranean population of patients exposed to high-dose UV treatment. A thorough risk-benefit evaluation should always be done before UV treatment and patients should be carefully monitored for skin cancer during and after treatment discontinuation.”[35]
  3. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends brief, frequent exposures of sunlight as a therapy and report that 80% of those who do it improve or totally clear psoriasis.[36]
  4. Many honest dermatologists recommend tanning-bed use to their patients to clear psoriasis. Obviously it is effective for that disease, and if phototherapy in the dermatologist’s office causes skin cancer, what seems to be the problem? Both therapies work. Why deny someone with psoriasis the benefits of a lower cost and possibly easier accessibility to treatment?[37]

So why the deception? The answer lies in money. When scientists such as those in the last quoted paper advocate tanning beds for therapy, it could cost the dermatology industry a fortune.

Your will note in the graph below that melanoma incidence has increased nearly in lockstep with the increase in the number of dermatologists. What a business! Is there any doubt why they don’t want the tanning industry absorbing the money made from their lucrative and expensive office treatments? Think about it.

Derms increasing

Now you know a few more facts about sunlight, tanning beds, health and the deception of the anti-sun groups. Let it sink in and then make your own decision abut sun or tanning bed exposure. And while you decide, please consider the calculation I’ve made in my new book to be released soon: For every death caused by diseases that associate with sun exposure, there are about 350 deaths associated with sun deprivation. Which way would you like to bet?

[1] Tangpricha V, Turner A, Spina C, Decastro S, Chen TC, Holick MF. Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher bone mineral density.  Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:1645-49.

[2] Hakim OA, Hart K, McCabe P, Berry J, Francesca R, Rhodes LE, Spyrou N, Alfuraih A, Lanham-New S. VITAMIN D PRODUCTION IN UK CAUCASIAN AND SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN FOLLOWING UVR EXPOSURE. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016 Mar 22. pii: S0960-0760(16)30072-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2016.03.025. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

[3] Grant, W.  Personal communication with the author, June, 2006

[4] Heaney RP, Dowell MS, Hale CA, Bendich A. Calcium Absorption Varies within the Reference Range for Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2003; 22: 142–146.

[5] Heaney, R.  Vitamin D and calcium interactions: functional outcomes.  Am J Clin Nutr 2008;88(suppl):541S–4S

[6] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

[7] Science News, August 6, 2013. Summer sun good for psoriasis sufferers says Gottlieb dermatologist.

[8] Holick, M. Boston University. “Effects Of Vitamin D And Skin’s Physiology Examined.” Science Daily 21 February 2008 <http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2008/02/080220161707.htm>.

[9] Kaur M, Feldman SR, Liguori A, Fleischer AB Jr. Indoor tanning relieves pain. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2005 Oct;21(5):278.

[10] Taylor SL, Kaur M, LoSicco K, Willard J, Camacho F, O’Rourke KS, Feldman SR. Pilot study of the effect of ultraviolet light on pain and mood in fibromyalgia syndrome. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Jan;15(1):15-23.

[11] No authors listed. Tanning Beds Provide Potential Pain Relief for Fibromyalgia Patients. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Press release, 2009.

[12] Bukhari, M. Quoted in London Times April 27, 2008.

[13] Epstein E, Lindqvist PG, Geppert B, Olsson H. A population-based cohort study on sun habits and endometrial cancer.  Br J Cancer. 2009 Aug 4;101(3):537-40.

[14] Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Olsson H. Does an active sun exposure habit lower the risk of venous thrombotic events? A D-lightful hypothesis. J Thromb Haemost. 2009 Apr;7(4):605-10.

[15] Yang L, Veierød MB, Löf M, Sandin S, Adami HO, Weiderpass E. Prospective study of UV exposure and cancer incidence among Swedish women. J Intern Med. 2014 Jul;276(1):77-86

[16] International Smart Tan Network 2006.  Research shows no connection between tanning and melanoma: Why this is misunderstood.

[17] Autier P1, Joarlette M, Lejeune F, Liénard D, André J, Achten G. Cutaneous malignant melanoma and exposure to sunlamps and sunbeds: a descriptive study in Belgium. Melanoma Res. 1991 Apr-May;1(1):69-74.

[18] Autier P, Tanning bed use and risk of melanoma: results from a large multicentric European study.  Poster at the XVIII International Pigment Cell conference held 9-13 September 2002 at Egmond The Netherlands.

[19] International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group on artificial ultraviolet light (UV) and skin cancer.  The association of use of tanning beds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancer: a systematic review.  Int J Cancer 2007;120:1116-22.

[20] Grant, W.  Insufficient evidence exists to link tanning bed use to risk of melanoma for other than those with skin phenotype 1. Sun, Nutrition and Health Research Center ( SUNARC).  March 9, 2007.  www. SUNARC org.

[21] Clough-Gorr KM1, Titus-Ernstoff L, Perry AE, Spencer SK, Ernstoff MS. Exposure to sunlamps, tanning beds and melanoma risk.  Cancer Causes Control. 2008 Sep;19(7):659-69.

[22] Bataille V, Boniol M, De Vries E, Severi G, Brandberg Y, Sasieni P A multicentreepidemiological study on sunbed use and cutaneous melanoma in Europe. Eur J Cancer 2005;41:2141-49.

[23]Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED. Epidemiologic evidence for different roles of ultraviolet A and B radiation in melanoma mortality rates. Ann Epidemiol. 2003;13:395-404.

[24] Moan J, Dahlback A, Setlow RB. Epidemiological support for an hypothesis for melanoma induction indicating a role for UVA radiation. Photochem Photobiol. 1999;70):243-7.

[25] Moan J, Porojnicu AC, Dahlback A, Setlow RB. Addressing the health benefits and risks, involving vitamin D or skin cancer, of increased sun exposure. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008;15;105(2):668-73.

[26] Grant, W. Insufficient evidence exists to link tanning bed use to risk of melanoma for other than those with skin phenotype 1. Sun, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC).  March 9, 2007.  www. SUNARC org.

[27] Autier P.  Perspectives in melanoma prevention: the case of tanning beds.  Eur J Cancer 2004;40:2367-76.

[28] Grant W.  Insufficient evidence exists to link tanning bed use to risk of melanoma for other than those with skin phenotype 1. Sun, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC).  March 9, 2007.  www. SUNARC org.

[29] Grant, WB.  Personal communication with author.

[30] Matthew Fisher at CFS Alert: Canada’s “frozen Chosen” at top of the world have been in the dark since Oct 14. National Post February 2, 2013.

[31] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

[32] Archier E1, Devaux S, Castela E, Gallini A, Aubin F, Le Maître M, Aractingi S, Bachelez H, Cribier B, Joly P, Jullien D, Misery L, Paul C, Ortonne JP, Richard MA. Carcinogenic risks of psoralen UV-A therapy and narrowband UV-B therapy in chronic plaque psoriasis: a systematic literature review. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2012 May;26 Suppl 3:22-31.

[33] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

[34] Egeberg A, Thyssen JP, Gislason GH, Skov L. Skin cancer in patients with psoriasis.  J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2016 Mar 2. doi: 10.1111/jdv.13619. [Epub ahead of print].

[35] Maiorino A, De Simone C, Perino F, Caldarola G, Peris K. Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in psoriatic patients treated with high-dose phototherapy. J Dermatolog Treat. 2016 Jan 28:1-5. [Epub ahead of print].

[36] National Psoriasis Foundation web site Oct. 2005.

[37] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

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A Positive Addiction: More on the Feel-Good Influence of Sun Exposure.

Nearly every article written on the addictive influences of sun exposure or other UV exposure takes a negative tack. We need to realize that some addictions are very good for us. Some runners are addicted to getting up every morning and going on the morning run. If one wants to be slim and fit, that is certainly a positive addiction. Hugging my wife is also a positive addiction; her touch helps to heal me and fills me with an addictive love. I’m also addicted to hiking in the pines and aspens near my Nevada ranch. There is little more exhilarating than being at 11,000 feet elevation and breathing the clear mountain air during a hike. You probably have your own positive addictions.

Sun exposure can certainly become an addiction, but is that all bad? In my opinion, no. When done habitually, sunning reduces the risk of melanoma and reduced the risk of myriad harmful diseases. It is therefore a positive and salubrious addiction.

A recent study, somewhat negative in tone, demonstrates that UVB light, contained in both sun lamp radiation and sun radiation, triggers the production of beta endorphins, one of the feel-good chemicals, sometimes called a “reward” chemical, that makes us want more.[i] The researchers used 12 healthy volunteers and used a UVB lamp to deliver a dose of narrow-band UVB light. Skin samples were taken before and after the exposure. After 24 hours, the skin samples showed an increase in endorphin levels in 11 of the twelve subjects.

Sun exposure enhances health. A twenty-year study demonstrated that the risk of death among people who were sun-seekers was only half that of those who received little sun.[ii] The researchers made this statement: “In both models the summary sun exposure variables showed a ‘dose-dependent’ inverse relation between sun exposure and all-cause death.”

Obviously, habitual sun exposure produces a positive addiction, and that is good! God (or nature if you prefer) has programmed our bodies to seek the sunlight in order to help provide a healthful and rewarding life. “Habitual” is the operative word here. An occasional blast of sun that causes burning is definitely not recommended. Be careful and enjoy your positive addictions.

[i] Jussila A, Huotari-Orava R, Ylianttila L, Partonen T, Snellman E. Narrow-band ultraviolet B radiation induces the expression of β-endorphin in human skin in vivo. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2016 Feb;155:104-8.

[ii] Pelle G. Lindqvist, Elisabeth Epstein, Mona Landin-Olsson, Christian Ingvar, Kari Nielsen, Magnus Stenbeck & Håkan Olsson. Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. J Intern Med. 2014 Jul;276(1):77-86.

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A new Mechanism of UVB is discovered; it may help Weight-Control and Health.

A most interesting (and very complex) research paper has discovered another way in which sun exposure may contribute to health and also demonstrates a mechanism by which the skin communicates with the brain.[i]

The researchers’ experiment involved using UVB radiation from a sunlamp on the skin of mice and then measuring, among other things, the influence of a signaling mechanism from the skin to the hypothalamus, which increased the quantity of a peptide hormone, known as alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (a-MSH). The hormone is important in stimulating pigmentation (melanin) production in the skin. It also has a role in energy balance, feeding behavior and energy homeostasis.[ii]

When the mice were radiated with UVB, their hypothalami received a neural signal which caused them to produce both a-MSH and b-Endorphin, which we all know to be one of the feel-good hormones, also called a reward hormone or natural “upper.” The researchers described this effect as being anorexigenic, meaning that it caused a loss of appetite. It seems that a loss of appetite combined with a natural “upper,” would be a good recipe for effective weight-control. Keeping the metabolism high is important to controlling weight, and the writers made an interesting statement regarding metabolism to end their paper:

“In conclusion, we have established a new paradigm of UVB induced activation of POMC signaling in the hypothalamus with attendant increases of a-MSH and b-END in the plasma which opens up exciting areas of research on the communication between skin and brain and that suggests a role for UVB in regulation of body metabolism.”

This was a recondite paper that took a lot of digging to get through. This would be my translation: “Get some sun exposure or sun lamp exposure; it will increase endorphin levels, rev up the metabolism and help you stay slim and healthy.”

Be safe while you sun, and remember that most sunscreens will stop UVB from doing its job.

There seems to be no end to the positive influence of sunlight on human health and well-being.

[i] Cezary Skobowiat and Andrzej T. Slominski. Ultraviolet B stimulates proopiomelanocortin signaling in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus in mice. Experimental Dermatology, 2016, 25, 120–123.

[ii] Wikipedia. Alpha-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha-Melanocyte-stimulating_hormone. (accessed February 12, 2016)

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The Latest on Sunlight and Asthma. Lack of Windows profoundly increases Risk.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

Asthma is a disorder characterized by inflammation of the air passages, which cause narrowing of the airways that transport air from the nose and mouth to the lungs.[i]  The mechanism by which sunlight may reduce asthma and its symptoms could be the anti-inflammatory properties of the vitamin D production that it stimulates in the skin.  Inflammation is often caused by proteins called cytokines that are either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory elements of the immune system.[ii]  Vitamin D has the ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine production while stimulating the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.[iii] However, there are likely other attributes of sunlight, beyond stimulating vitamin D production in the skin, that have beneficial affects.

One of the most recent studies on factors that contribute to asthma showed that living in a room without windows was associated with an increased the risk of asthma of 930%,  and living in an area without adequate sunlight was associated with an increased the risk of 220%.[iv] Considering that windows filter out the UVB light that stimulates the production of vitamin D, having windows could not have reduced asthma by vitamin D production—it had to be some other factor—something that entered the room through that window glass protected the people with windows from the remarkable increase in asthma they would have otherwise had. We know that UVA light, which does pass through windows, stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which is a potent vasodilator. Could it also be a bronchodilator? This explanation, of course, is theory.

Other research that indicates a direct influence of sunlight on asthma, is one by Hart and her colleagues, which showed that controlled exposure to ultraviolet light (UVR) in mice markedly limited the development, incidence and severity of asthma symptoms such as inflamed airways and lungs.[v] These researchers exposed mice to allergens that generally brought on asthma attacks and then exposed them to sun lamps for 30 minutes.   After the exposure, the allergens caused no attacks.  The researchers also stated that sunlamp exposure produced a cell type in mice, that when transferred into other mice, suppressed the immune reactions and halted symptoms. This is another indication that sunlight has a healthful effect on asthma beyond vitamin D production.

Dr. Litonjua and Dr. Weiss, noting that the prevalence of asthma and allergic diseases began to increase worldwide in 1960, hypothesized that since people have increasingly spent more time indoors, there has been less exposure to sunlight, which has led to decreased cutaneous vitamin D production.[vi] This could have further led to vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women, resulting in more asthma in their offspring. But was vitamin D deficiency the cause or was it simply sunlight deficiency? Or could it have been both?

At the health resort owned by the Sorensons, we often noticed that asthmatics ceased using their inhalers after a week or two of hiking in the sunshine. One of them decreased the dosage from 6 inhalers per day to zero in about a week. Could it have been sunlight? We believe that the combination of mostly plant-based nutrition, combined with sunlight, made the difference, and the aforementioned research provides reasonable support for that opinion.

[i] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Asthma Facts and Figures.  Accessed 3-6-2010 http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=42

[ii] Kurtzke J. On the fine structure of the distribution of multiple sclerosis 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibits cytokine production by human blood monocytes at the post-transcriptional level. Cytokine 1992;4:506-12.

[iii] Canning MO, Grotenhuis K, de Wit H, Ruwhof C, Drexhage HA.  I-alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (l,25(OH)(2)D(3)) hampers the maturation of fully active immature dendritic cells from monocytes. Eur J Endocrinol 2001;145:351-57.

[iv] Kamran A, Hanif S, Murtaza G. Risk factors of childhood asthma in children attending Lyari General Hospital. J Pak Med Assoc 2015 Jun;65(6):647-50.

[v] Hart, P.  Exposure to sunlight could reduce asthma.  Newsletter of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research 2006;3:2

[vi] Litonjua AA, Weiss ST.  Is vitamin D deficiency to blame for the asthma epidemic?  J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;120:1031-35.

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Vitamin D Society says That Humans are Vitamin D Factories.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

In a new media release from Toronto, the Vitamin D Society asserts that “The importance of natural sunlight to human life cannot be understated.” It goes on to quote Dr. Reinhold Vieth, a scientist and professor at the University of Toronto. “There really is no substitute for natural sunlight in human health. Your skin is like a solar receptor and has the amazing capacity to manufacture all of the vitamin D your body needs. Everyone has the capability to generate vitamin D.”

There is a problem, however, as I posted recently. About a third of Canadians, about 12 million people, do not meet the minimum Health Canada guidelines for vitamin D levels. The reason? Sunlight deficiency.

Perry Holman, executive director of the Society, states that “This is not a call for people to ignore the warnings about over-exposure to sunlight but a call for people to exercise common sense and ensure they are not shutting themselves out from the vital health benefits of natural sunlight.”

Of course, in the winter, when no vitamin D production is available, it will be necessary to find another source of vitamin-D stimulating light. Sunlamps are ideal, provided they produce UVB light.

Also remember, that during winter, sunlight still raises serotonin levels and produces nitric oxide, both of which are necessary to human health. The value of sunlight goes far beyond its ability to promote vitamin D production in the skin.

For more information on the Vitamin D Society, visit www.vitamindsociety.org.

 

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More on the Effects of Sunlight beyond Vitamin D

By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Drs. Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan wrote a paper in 2012 that beautifully summarizes the effects of sunlight beyond the production of vitamin D.[1] Here are the highlights of their paper, as stated in the abstract. They discuss the separate affects of Ultraviolet B light (UVB) and ultraviolet A light (UVA), which are, of course, components of sunlight.

  1. UVB induces cosmetic tanning (immediate pigment darkening, persistent pigment darkening and delayed tanning).
  2. UVB-induced, delayed tanning acts as a sunscreen.
  3. Several human skin diseases, like psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis and localized scleroderma, can be treated with sunlight or artificial UV radiation (phototherapy).
  4. UV exposure can suppresses multiple sclerosis independently of vitamin D synthesis.
  5. UVA generates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and generally improve cardiovascular health.
  6. UVA induced NO may also have antimicrobial effects.
  7. UVA induced NO may act as a neurotransmitter.
  8. UV exposure may improve mood through the release of endorphin.

It wasn’t mentioned in the paper, but we now know that sunlight also helps generate serotonin in the brain, which improves mood, and outside the body it is a potent disinfectant (see my recent blogs on those subjects). So those who claim that sunlight is harmful in any amount, must be living on a different planet. Embrace the Sun, but never burn.

[1] Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan. Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production. Dermato-Endocrinology 4:2, 109–117; April/May/June 2012.

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