Tag Archives: vitamin d

Multiple sclerosis (MS): tame it with sunshine.

Multiple sclerosis is a sunlight-deficiency disease. Another reason to embrace the sun. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Photo of multiple sclerosis First of all, multiple sclerosis is a terrible autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack myelin, the protective nerve cover.[1], [2]  Hence, this process, known as demyelination, leaves the nerves bare and susceptible to “short circuiting.” This results in a debilitating disease which is often characterized by severe neural and muscular impairments. It may also result in sensory losses, bladder dysfunction, pain and visual problems due to nerve damage.

MS is a big problem!

And recent findings, from National MS Society, estimate 1 million people in the United States have multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, this is more double the last reported number, and the first national research on multiple sclerosis prevalence since 1975. Consequently, it is estimated that about 200 new cases are diagnosed each week in the United States.[3]

Multiple sclerosis and sun exposure: What does new research say?

While no one disputes the horror of an increasing MS rate, a new study reiterates the vital need for sun exposure to prevent MS. Also, we are not surprised about the latest research. Why? Because the new study is simply a reiteration of myriad research papers and opinions showing that more sunlight reduces the risk.

In this research, 151 MS patients defined their previous lifetime sun exposure in the different seasons by questionnaire. In addition, they were compared to 235 non-patients who answered identical questionnaires.[1]  As a result, those living in high-UVB areas experienced a 45% lower risk of multiple sclerosis. Living in those areas at ages 5 to 15 years also was associated with a reduced risk of 51-52%. UVB, of course, is a spectrum of light that emanates from the sun and causes tanning. In addition, it is used in sunbeds and sun lamps.

The conclusion regarding MS and sunlight.

In conclusion to their research, the authors stated, “Living in high ambient UVB areas during childhood and the years leading up to MS onset was associated with a lower MS risk. High summer sun exposure in high ambient UVB areas was also associated with a reduced risk.”

While this research is impressive, there is a plethora of additional science. Most noteworthy are the studies that follow. And, all show the association of sun exposure to lowered risk of MS.

Multiple sclerosis and the Davenport study

Probably, the most important early study was from 1922 by Dr. Charles Davenport. He wrote a paper entitled, “Multiple Sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race.”[2] He analyzed the multiple sclerosis rates of military draftees and compared it to their states of origin. As a result, he showed that the highest rates were found in men who grew up in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the extreme northwest. These areas, of course, have very low sun availability. There were only a few cases of MS among those who grew up in southern states, where sun availability is abundant. In addition, Dr. Davenport also noted that draftees from urban areas, and where sun availability is low, had 50% higher MS rates than those who came from rural areas. Similar studies confirm that relationship. [3],[4] In 1979, assessments of the MS rates of USA military personnel Produced nearly identical results.[5]

Reducing relapse of multiple sclerosis through sunlight and/or vitamin D.

Mowry and colleagues, in correlating serum vitamin D to the rate of disease relapse, have reported the following: For every increase in serum levels of 10 ng/ml [25 nmol/L], there is a 34% decrease in the risk of relapse in young people.[6] Especially relevant, however, is that 90% of serum levels is derived from sun exposure. And, we also know that sun exposure has protective effects on MS beyond vitamin D.[7] Also, in the aforementioned research on vitamin D, high levels may really be surrogate measures for sun exposure. Sunlight and vitamin D are not the same.

More hours of sun equal lower risk of multiple sclerosis.

Most noteworthy, among people living in geographical locations, where there are 3,000 hours of available sun yearly, multiple sclerosis rates are quite low. [8] The same relationship exists when latitudes are correlated with rates of MS: And, The risk of MS in far northern areas is more than 100 times greater than it is in equatorial areas, where sunlight is intense, and the rate of MS approaches zero.[9], [10] 

Therefore, for all who would like to prevent MS or reduce its exacerbation, soak up some regular, non-burning, safe sunlight. In conclusion, this is another of the wonderful benefits of our magnificent sun. It seems like a good time to indulge before the winter comes.

Finally, for more information on multiple sclerosis, read my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon.

References and footnotesLearn to love non-burning sunlight and prevent breast cancer

[1] Helen Tremlett, PhD, Feng Zhu, MSc, Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH, and Kassandra L. Munger, ScD.

[2] Davenport, C. Multiple Sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1922;8:

[3] Acheson ED, Bachrach CA, Wright FM. Some comments on the relationship of the distribution of multiple sclerosis to altitude, solar radiation and other variables. Acta Psychiat (Scand) 1960;35 (suppl 147):132-47.51-58

[4] Norman JE Jr, Kurtzke JF, Beebe GW. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in USA veterans: 2. Latitude, climate, and risk of multiple sclerosis. J Chron Dis 1983;36:551-59

[5] Kurtzke JF, Beebe GW, Norman JE Jr. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in USA veterans: 1. Race, sex, and geographic distribution. Neurology 1979;29:1228-35.

[6] Mowry EM, Krupp LB, Milazzo M, Chabas D, Strober JB, Belman AL, McDonald JC, Oksenberg JR, Bacchetti P, Waubant E. Vitamin D status is associated with relapse rate in pediatric-onset MS. Annals of Neurology 2010;10.1002.

[7] Pantazou V, Schluep M, Du Pasquier R. Environmental factors in multiple sclerosis. Presse Med. 2015 ;44(4 Pt 2):e113-20.

[8] Goldberg, P. Multiple sclerosis: vitamin D and calcium as environmental determinants of prevalence (a viewpoint). Part I: sun, dietary factors and epidemiology. Int J Environ Studies 1974;6:19–27.

[9] Alter M, Yamoor M, Harshe M. Multiple sclerosis and nutrition. Arch Neurol l974;31:267-72.

[10] Kurtkze, J. Geography in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol 1977;215:1-26.

[1] Racke, M. Immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2009 Oct–Dec; 12(4): 215–220.

[2] Markovic-Plese S, McFarland HF. Immunopathogenesis of the multiple sclerosis lesion. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2001;1:257-62

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/facts-statistics-infographic#2

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Bone strength is enhanced by “sun supplementation,” without harming skin. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

bone disease caused by sun deprivationBone needs vitamin D

Bone is deteriorating in our society. Why? Since the year 2000, there has been an 8,300% increase in vitamin D deficiency in children. Insufficient time playing outdoors and/or sunscreen use are the causes of this disaster.[1] It is especially relevant to know that the skin produces vitamin D when it is touched by ultraviolet light (UV). (UV, of course, is a spectrum of sunlight, and of tanning beds and sunlamps.) And, the artificially-lighted environments that most children (and adults) live in, produce no vitamin D for bones. Vitamin D is critical for preventing osteoporosis, a fact that is most noteworthy for this discussion. Without vitamin D, weak bones develop in adults and rickets can develop in children.

Bone strength in children: Rickets is making a comeback.

Rickets is a horrible, disfiguring children’s bone disease. And, before the population became terrified of sun exposure, rickets was at one time considered to be eradicated. Hence, people are surprised to find out that the bones of children are deteriorating. Hence, rickets is making a frightening comeback,[2] it is rearing its ugly head even in sun drenched southern states. That is probably because the children are inside, avoiding the sun and concentrating on their technology. Of course, disuse of the body  during this sedentary state also causes loss of calcium, thus causing weakness.

Can “sun supplementation” stop or reverse bone loss?

Therefore, the latest research on UV supplementation is exceptionally important in this world of indoor artificial light. First of all, rats exposed to long–term low-dose ultraviolet irradiation showed an increase in bone formation rate. Furthermore, there was a decrease in resorption (bone breakdown). And, there was an improvement in bone mass content and bone mineral density without any adverse effects on skin.[3] Consequently, this research shows that the concept of ultraviolet light causing skin cancer is incorrect. Also, it corroborates how effective ultraviolet light is in maintaining and increasing bone mass. For example, a Spanish study shows that women who are sun-seekers are protected from bone loss. They have only one/11 the risk of hip fracture as those who avoid the sun.[4]

Bring the UV light inside to protect bone and enhance wellbeing.

In conclusion, this research demonstrated a concept that had never occurred to me. If we can’t bring the children (or adults) out into the sunlight, perhaps we can bring the sunlight inside to them. Also, it seems like a great idea to use low-intensity ultraviolet light indoors for northern climes where sunlight is scarce in the winter. I guarantee that it will also improve moods, reduce seasonal affective disorder and otherwise enhance the health. So remember regular, non-burning sun exposure when you consider a healthful lifestyle.

[1] Basatemur E, Horsfall L, Marston L, Rait G, Sutcliffe A.  Trends in the Diagnosis of Vitamin D Deficiency. Pediatrics. 2017 Mar;139(3).

[2] Weisberg P, Scanlon KS, Li R, Cogswell ME. Nutritional rickets among children in the United States: review of cases reported between 1986 and 2003. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80(6 Suppl):1697S-705S.

[3] Guo R, Du Y, Zhang S, Liu H, Fu Y. The effects of ultraviolet supplementation to the artificial lighting on rats’ bone metabolism, bone mineral density, and skin. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2018 Aug 27;188:12-18.

[4] Larrosa M, Casado E, Gómez A, Moreno M, Berlanga E, Ramón J, Gratacós J. Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture. Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

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Metabolic syndrome reduced by sun. Marc Sorenson, EdD.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a group of physical conditions that are predictors of disease. And, it can also be an indicator that disease is already present. Hence, when someone suffers from metabolic syndrome, they will have many dangerous disorders. High blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, Low HDL, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Furthermore, these disorders are linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. And, they are often indicative of upcoming health disasters.Avoid metabolic syndrome with sun exposure

How metabolic syndrome is influenced by sunlight.

First of all, how does this tie into the benefits of sunlight? A recent study showed that a program designed to raise vitamin D levels reduced existing metabolic syndrome remarkably.[1] Fifty-nine people with metabolic syndrome participated in the study. It is most noteworthy that these subjects were told to expose themselves regularly to sunlight and eat foods high in vitamin D. Metabolic syndrome, as a result, decreased by about half after one year on this regimen.

Does other research associate metabolic syndrome with sun exposure?

One major aspect of metabolic syndrome is obesity. Hence, research demonstrating a reduction of obesity also indicates a reduction of metabolic syndrome. So, let’s mention another scientific paper that “sheds more light” on the subject of obesity.[2] This research was conducted on mice with shaved backs that were placed on a high-fat diet and then exposed to non-burning ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UVR is one of the types of light that is produced by sunlight. Especially relevant is that the mice should have gained weight rapidly. But the weight gain was impressively reduced when they were exposed to UVR. The treatment achieved a 30-40% reduction in weight gain, compared to the expected weight gain with the high-fat diet. Therefore, the “sun treatment” reduced the risk of obesity. And, it also reduced metabolic syndrome.

Other metabolic syndrome changes shown in this research

Benefits of these treatments also included: significant reductions in glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and fasting insulin levels (all markers and predictors of diabetes and metabolic syndrome). In addition, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and high cholesterol were also reduced.

Furthermore, a very interesting finding emerged: Supplementation with vitamin D actually reduced the aforementioned beneficial effects. Dr. Shelley Gorman, The research leader, made the following interesting observations:

  1. “These findings were independent of circulating vitamin D and could not be mimicked by vitamin D supplementation.”
  2. “It looked like the presence of vitamin D in mice on the high fat diet prevented the [beneficial] effect of UV radiation on weight gain.”

  1. Furthermore, Dr. Gorman mentioned that the mechanism of weight loss may be dependent on nitric oxide (NO). NO originates from diet and is mobilized by UV radiation to become bioactive. This conclusion was due to another part of the experiment. Skin induction of nitric oxide (NO)—also a product of skin exposure to the sun—reproduced many of the positive effects of UVR. This was something vitamin D supplements could not do.

In conclusion to this research, the investigators stated their findings. “These studies suggest UVR [sun exposure] may be an effective means of suppressing the development of obesity and MetS, through mechanisms independent of vitamin D but dependent on other UVR-induced mediators such as NO.”

It seems like there is no end to the miracles of regular, non-burning sun exposure. Consequently, do not disregard the sun and its health-giving effects. Just don’t burn. For more information, read my book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. Embrace the Sun, avoid sunscreen

[1] Nasser M. Al-Daghria, Khalid M. Alkharfya, Yousef Al-Salehb, Omar S. Al-Attas et al. Modest reversal of metabolic syndrome manifestations with vitamin D status correction: a 12-month prospective study.

[2] Geldenhuys S, Hart PH, Endersby R, Jacoby P, Feelisch M, Weller RB, Matthews V, Gorman S. Ultraviolet radiation suppresses obesity and symptoms of metabolic syndrome independently of vitamin D in mice fed a high-fat diet. Diabetes. 2014 Nov;63(11):3759-69

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Melanoma risk: reduced by high vitamin D and Sunlight

Melanoma risk between persons with high and low vitamin D levels

Melanoma Risk By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institutemelanoma risk is not caused by sun exposure

The risk directly associates with low levels of vitamin D. That is the conclusion of recent study published in the European Journal of Cancer.[1] The investigators measured the blood vitamin D levels of 137 subjects who had been diagnosed with melanoma. They collected the blood samples at the time of diagnosis of the disease. Another group of 99 healthy subjects served as the control group. The investigators collected the samples of the control group between October and April. The scientists then compared the blood collections of the melanoma group with those of the control group. They then determined whether vitamin D levels had an association with melanoma risk.

The study produced convincing results regarding vitamin D and melanoma risk.

The results were as follows:

  1. The controls (no melanoma) had vitamin D levels 50% higher than the melanoma group (27.8 ng/ml vs. 18 ng/ml).
  2. 66.2% of the melanoma group had vitamin D “deficiency,” compared to only 15.2% of the health controls. The scientists defined vitamin D deficiency as being equal to or less than 20 ng/ml. So, the melanoma group had more than four-times the risk of deficiency.
  3. The scientists defined vitamin D “sufficiency” as being equal to or greater than 30 ng/ml. They found that only 7.4% of melanoma patients were sufficient, compared to 37.4% of healthy controls. Hence, the melanoma group had about one-fifth the likelihood of having sufficient D levels.

More scientific analysis on vitamin D measurements vs. melanoma risk

The scientists then adjusted the data for possible confounding factors such as age, sex and body mass. Then, they performed an analysis that showed the following:

  1. First of all, the science demonstrated a significant inverse association with vitamin D sufficiency versus deficiency. Those who had sufficient levels had only 4% of the melanoma risk when compared to those who were deficient! Hence, this demonstrates that those with the lowest vitamin D levels (after adjusting for confounding factors) had 25-times the melanoma risk!
  2. And, vitamin D insufficiency vs. deficiency was significantly inversely associated with melanoma. Those who were insufficient had a definite advantage over those who were deficient. They had only 13% of the melanoma risk.

Now, this is the most important point about melanoma risk:

In addition, this research proves conclusively that sun deprivation is a major cause of melanoma. I say this because about 90% of serum vitamin D is produced by sun exposure to the skin.[2] So, the aforementioned research is really research on sun exposure. It shows that regular sun exposure leads to a profound reduction in melanoma risk. Therefore, Vitamin D levels are surrogate measurements for sun exposure in nearly every case.

Could sunlight increase health through photoproducts beyond vitamin D?

In conclusion: My new book, Embrace the Sun (coauthored by Dr. William Grant), notes that sun exposure provides more than vitamin D. It also provides other photoproducts such as nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin, and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). All of these photoproducts are vital to human health. Could these photoproducts have a positive and protective effect against melanoma risk beyond vitamin D? And, vitamin D produced by sunlight may be superior to that given in pill form.

Finally, this research gives us one more reason to embrace the sun safely without burning. And who would have thought that safe sunlight could be one of the best prophylactics against melanoma risk?

Happy sunning!

The book is available at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533923845&sr=8-1&keywords=embrace+the+sun+sorenson

1] Cattaruzza MS, Pisani D, Fidanza L, Gandini S, Marmo G, Narcisi A, Bartolazzi A, Carlesimo M. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D serum levels and melanoma risk: a case-control study and evidence synthesis of clinical epidemiological studies. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2018 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]

[2] Reichrath J. The challenge resulting from positive and negative effects of sun: how much solar UV exposure is appropriate to balance between risks of vitamin D deficiency and skin cancer? Prog Biophys Mol Biol 2006;92(1):9-16

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Breast Cancer Anyone? Or would you prefer sunlight?

Breast cancer breakthrough. Soak up the sun and prevent breast cancer~By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute

Stunning Breast Cancer research shows that the highest vitamin D levels associate with an 80% reduction in risk.[1] 

Is the breast cancer pandemic due to vitamin D deficiency?

First of all, as pointed out by the authors, numerous studies have shown an association between higher vitamin D level and breast cancer. But, other studies had not taken into consideration serum levels of vitamin D above 40 ng/ml. Why? Because that level had been considered the highest level needed for good health. Nevertheless, this study showed differences in breast cancer risk when comparing all serum vitamin D levels, and that made all the difference in the results. The research included 5,038 womenLearn to love non-burning sunlight and prevent breast cancer.

A dose-response association between vitamin D levels and breast cancer

The most noteworthy finding can be summed up in the study conclusions: “Higher 25(OH)D concentrations were associated with a dose-response decrease in breast cancer risk with concentrations ≥60 ng/ml being most protective.” In other words, the higher the vitamin D levels, the greater was the protection.

This fact is especially relevant: serum vitamin D levels in 90% of the population are effected by sun exposure. Hence, sun exposure may be the operative factor in the comparisons. Sun exposure causes the body to produce nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). Most noteworthy is that all of these photoproducts are vital to human health.

Is something besides vitamin D at work in preventing breast cancer?

Therefore, it could be that these additional photoproducts added power to the vitamin D produced by the sun. Could the “holistic” sun be more important than vitamin D alone? Of course it is! Another study, little known, may hold the answer. An investigation from Iran, on the association between breast-cancer risk and vitamin D, showed that low vitamin D predicted only a slightly increased risk of the cancer. However, among women who totally covered themselves and thereby had no sun exposure, there was a 10-fold increase in the risk of the disease.[2] In other words, there was a 1,000% increase in breast cancer risk due to sun deficiency.

Summary:

Finally, consider this: With the holistic sun, we get the entire package, not just vitamin D. Embrace the Sun, and don’t burn.

For more on the study, see the press release put out by the Vitamin D Society: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/press_release.php?id=58

Learn to love non-burning sunlight

[1] Sharon L. McDonnell , Carole A. Baggerly, Christine B. French, Leo L. Baggerly, Cedric F. Garland, Edward D. Gorham, Bruce W. Hollis, Donald L. Trump, Joan M. Lappe. Breast cancer risk markedly lower with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≥60 vs <20 ng/ml (150 vs 50 nmol/L): Pooled analysis of two randomized trials and a prospective cohort. PLoS One. 2018 Jun 15;13(6)

[2] Bidgoli SA, Azarshab H. Role of vitamin D deficiency and lack of sun exposure in the incidence of premenopausal breast cancer: a case control study in Sabzevar, Iran. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(8):3391-6.

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Sunshine research shows that sun exposure, not vitamin D, profoundly reduces Multiple Sclerosis (MS) risk.

MS prevention by sunlight. By Marc Sorenson, Ed.D. Sunlight Institute

What is MS?Photo of MS development

MS is a painful, debilitating, crippling, disease in which immune cells initiate an inflammatory response against myelin. Myelin is the nerves’ protective cover. It is rather like an electric wire that has lost its rubber cover. So, this process, known as demyelination, leaves the nerves bare and susceptible to “short circuiting.” From 85 to 170 people per 100,000 in the USA suffer from MS, and the rate among women, during the period from 1991 through 1994, has increased by 50% compared to the period from 1982 through 1986.  Also, as of 2010, the last year for which we could find statistics, there were 350,000-400,000 cases diagnosed in the USA.

There is no doubt that sunshine reduces the risk of MS, because The risk of multiple sclerosis in far northern areas, where there is little sunshine, is more than 100 times greater than it is in equatorial areas. So, in those areas, where sunlight is intense, due to directness of the sun, the rate of MS approaches zero. [1], [2], [3]

And do you know anyone who suffers from multiple sclerosis? They should probably read this blog and then obtain plenty of non-burning sun exposure.

The latest Research on MS, sun exposure and vitamin D.

A study carried out in Southern California corroborates the sun exposure benefits to MS reduction.[4]  First of all, the researchers recruited members of three different ethnicities (blacks, Hispanics and whites). In addition, they further divided those ethnicities into those who suffered from MS (known as cases) and those who were free from the disease (controls).  They then simultaneously examined lifetime sun exposure and blood vitamin D levels, accounting for genetic ancestry and other factors. The results were impressive:

  • Among blacks, the highest lifetime sun exposure was associated with a 47% lower risk, independently of blood levels of vitamin D.
  • Among whites, the highest lifetime sun exposure was associated with a 32% lower risk. In this group, highest vitamin D levels also associated with a lower risk of MS.
  • Among Hispanics, the highest lifetime sun exposure was associated with a 34% lower risk, independently of blood levels of vitamin D.

This is just the latest research to determine that sun exposure lessened the risk of MS independently of vitamin D. In addition, researchers used animals with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) (an experimental form of MS). It was induced in animals in a lab setting and then used to determine the relative influences of UVR and vitamin D on MS. In conclusion, they stated, “These results suggest UVR [sun] is likely suppressing disease independent of vitamin D production. Thus, vitamin D supplementation alone may not replace the ability of sun (UV) to reduce MS susceptibility.”[5]

More on sunlight and MS from the same researchers

Later on, some of these same researchers investigated the mechanism by which sun exposure suppressed the disease and determined that UV light selectively inhibits spinal cord inflammation and demyelination.[6]

Furthermore, in another study, scientists performed an investigation with UVR. UVR is the same radiation emitted by the sun and sunbeds or sunlamps. It was administered to animals with EAE.[7] First of all, the researchers found that UVR treatments stopped inflammation and demyelination of the spinal cord. It did so by inhibiting a chemical known as a chemokine, also known as a cytokine. Cytokines are specialized proteins that are either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory in their nature. Therefore, inflammatory cytokines or chemokines are the cause of inflammation and autoimmune attacks resulting in MS. In addition, UVR directly initiated the MS-ameliorating effects, independent of vitamin D.

To conclude:

Finally, as wonderful as vitamin D is, we should realize this: The production of vitamin D is only one of the profoundly healthful effects that are due to  Sun Exposure. Hence, those who take vitamin D and believe they will derive all the benefits of sun exposure, are wrong. Consequently, they could be “dead wrong” in the case of a scourge like MS. So, be sure to obtain your full share of non-burning sunlight whenever possible. It could save your life. And, it could save the lives of those who have the disorder or who might be susceptible to it. Maybe we should start paying more attention to our sun exposure?

This is one of many blogs that I and others have written on this subject. In addition, here are a few more that may interest you:

http://sunlightinstitute.org/research-shows-sun-exposure-thwarts-multiple-sclerosis-ms/

http://sunlightinstitute.org/a-vitally-important-study-on-sunlight-and-multiple-sclerosis-ms/

http://sunlightinstitute.org/exceptionally-important-findings-on-sunlight-exposure-multiple-sclerosis-ms-and-brain-volume-independent-of-vitamin-d/

Embrace the sun! Without burning, of course

[1] Alter M, Yamoor M, Harshe M. Multiple sclerosis and nutrition. Arch Neurol l974;31:267-72.

[2] Kurtkze, J. Geography in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol 1977;215:1-26.

[3] Hayes CE, Cantorna MT, DeLuca HF.Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1997;216:21-27

[4] Langer-Gould A, Lucas R, Xiang AH, Chen LH, Wu J, Gonzalez E, Haraszti S, Smith JB, Quach H, Barcellos LF. Nutrients. 2018 Feb 27;10(3).

[5] Becklund BR, Severson KS, Vang SV, DeLuca HF. UV radiation suppresses experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis independent of vitamin D production. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107:6418-23.

[6] Wang Y, Marling SJ, Beaver EF, Severson KS, Deluca HF. UV light selectively inhibits spinal cord inflammation and demyelination in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015  1;567:75-82

[7] Wang Y, Marling SJ, Beaver EF, Severson KS, Deluca HF. UV light selectively inhibits spinal cord inflammation and demyelination in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015  1;567:75-82.

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Pregnant Moms, Sun Deprivation and obese Children

Obesity: Do vitamin D and sunlight have a part? A new study shows thatSun exposure for pregnant mom important for children to prevent obesity when vitamin D-deficient pregnant women bear children, the children may become obese.[1] Furthermore, the children had larger waistlines at age 6, compared with children born to women who had sufficient vitamin D levels. The body-fat percentage of those born to vitamin D- deficient women was also significantly higher. Body fat-percentage is a measure of obesity (or lack thereof).

The authors stated that 95% of vitamin D production in the body comes from sun exposure to skin. That is correct. Consequently, the expectant mothers spend too much time indoors. Or, they are frightened into sunscreen use, which can prevent production of 99% of vitamin D by sun exposure. Therefore, this type of obesity is a sun-deprivation disease. The research suggested that vitamin D supplements might be the answer. However, the answer is not supplements when sunlight is available. We should promote safe, non-burning sun exposure to prevent obesity.

Much has been researched lately regarding the importance of sunlight in preventing obesity. In my last blog, I mentioned several of these studies:  http://sunlightinstitute.org/staying-slim-sunlight/

Here is a list of the methods by which sun exposure helps to prevent or reverse obesity:

  • First of all, because blue-spectrum light causes cells to dump part of their fat load, it helps weight-control
  • Secondly, early-morning light, because it resets circadian rhythms, reduces the risk of weight-gain.
  • Thirdly, exposure to ultraviolet radiation (one of the spectrums in sun exposure) has been shown to impressively reduce weight gain in mice on a high-fat diet. Especially relevant is the fact that vitamin D levels made no difference in the weight of the animals.

In conclusion, non-burning sun exposure is vitally important to human health. If you would like to have a fat content that is less than others, be sure to obtain your share or sunshine and make weight-control for you and your children much easier!

[1] V. Daraki, T. Roumeliotaki, G. Chalkiadaki, M. Katrinaki, M. Karachaliou , V. Leventakou, M. Vafeiadi, K. Sarri, M. Vassilaki, S. Papavasiliou, M. Kogevinas and L. Chatzi. Low maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity. Pediatric Obesity Pediatr Obes. 2018 Jan 28. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12267. [Epub ahead of print]

Obesity: Do vitamin D and sunlight have a part? A new study shows that when vitamin D deficient pregnant women bear children, the children may become obese.[1] Furthermore, the children had larger waistlines at age 6, compared with children born to women who had sufficient vitamin D levels. The body-fat percentage of those born to vitamin D- deficient women was also significantly higher. Body fat-percentage is a measure of obesity (or lack thereof).

How is vitamin D produced?

The authors stated that 95% of vitamin D production in the body comes from sun exposure to skin. That is correct. Consequently, the expectant mothers spend too much time indoors. Or, they are frightened into sunscreen use, which can prevent production of 99% of vitamin D by sun exposure. Therefore, this type of obesity is a sun-deprivation disease. The research suggested that vitamin D supplements might be the answer. However, the answer is not supplements when sunlight is available. We should promote safe, non-burning sun exposure to prevent obesity.

Are there other studies regarding sunlight and obesity?

Much has been researched lately regarding the importance of sunlight in preventing obesity. In my last blog, I mentioned several of these studies:  http://sunlightinstitute.org/staying-slim-sunlight/

Here is a list of the methods by which sun exposure helps to prevent or reverse obesity:

  • First of all, because blue-spectrum light causes cells to dump part of their fat load, it helps weight-control
  • Secondly, early-morning light, because it resets circadian rhythms, reduces the risk of weight-gain.
  • Thirdly, exposure to ultraviolet radiation (one of the spectrums in sun exposure) has been shown to impressively reduce weight gain in mice on a high-fat diet. Especially relevant is the fact that vitamin D levels made no difference in the weight of the animals.

In conclusion, non-burning sun exposure is vitally important to human health. If you would like to have a fat content that is less than others, be sure to obtain your share or sunshine and make weight-control for you and your children much easier!

[1] V. Daraki, T. Roumeliotaki, G. Chalkiadaki, M. Katrinaki, M. Karachaliou , V. Leventakou, M. Vafeiadi, K. Sarri, M. Vassilaki, S. Papavasiliou, M. Kogevinas and L. Chatzi. Low maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity. Pediatric Obesity Pediatr Obes. 2018 Jan 28. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12267. [Epub ahead of print]

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Reduce risk of liver cancer with Sunlight. Sun exposure is inversely associated with risk..

Sunlight fighting liver cancerAlthough liver cancer is generally thought to be related to drinking, other factor such as obesity, HIV infection, smoking, diabetes, socioeconomic factors, drugs and others come into play. A recent study compared sun exposure to liver cancer and adjusted for the aforementioned factors. Sun exposure was shown to be a major factor in reducing the risk of the most prevalent and deadly liver cancer, called hepatocellular carcinoma.[1]

Major finding for liver cancer:

The subjects were divided into five groups, or quintiles, based on their sun exposure. In addition such factors as as outdoor activity, geographical residence, urban or rural settings, etc. were adjusted for.

Most noteworthy, was the fact that for each quintile of increasing sun exposure, there was a 17% decrease in the liver cancer risk.

A disappointment:

The only disappointing part to the study was this: The researchers assumed that the positive influence of sun exposure on liver cancer was due to vitamin D production. And, they may have been correct. Yet the sun causes the body to produce many other photoproducts. Due to the sun’s myriad effects, serotonin, endorphin, BDNF, nitric oxide, and dopamine are all increased. Therefore, it is impossible to know if vitamin D alone was the reason for the reduced risk of liver cancer. However, vitamin D undoubtedly played a large part in the positive results.  And, there is a problem with giving vitamin D the credit without knowing for sure. People may believe, due to this research, that they need only to take a vitamin D supplement to receive all benefits of sunlight. Therefore, they can make very bad assumptions.

This is the first study on sun exposure and liver cancer.

Probably, this is the first research to show a link between liver cancer and inadequate sun exposure. However, there are indications that sun exposure is associated with a reduced risk of another liver ailment, called fatty liver disease.[2]

In conclusion, if you are a liver lover, you can love your liver by protecting it from liver cancer. Hence, you should obtain your share of unscreened, direct, non-burning sun exposure. Happy sunning!

[1] Trang VoPham, Kimberly A. Bertrand, Jian-Min Yuan, Rulla M. Tamimi, Jaime E. Hart,

and Francine Laden. Ambient ultraviolet radiation exposure and hepatocellular carcinoma incidence in the United States. Environmental Health (2017) 16:89.

[2] Gorman S, Black LJ, Feelisch M, Hart PH, Weller R. Can skin exposure to sun prevent liver inflammation? Nutrients 2015 May 5;7(5):3219-39.

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Maintain your marbles—Vitamin D and Sunshine protect against Dementia and Cognitive Loss.

Better cognitive ability with vitamin DDoes cognitive loss lead to dementia? Yes. Is vitamin D important to the risk of cognitive loss? Yes. Do those levels also influence the ability to think (cognitive ability)? In 2002, 252 people were assessed for vitamin D levels, signs of dementia and cognitive ability.[1] And, in 2012 another assessment was completed. The data was then assessed to determine if the initial vitamin D levels were associated with different risks of dementia and cognitive ability after 10 years.

Cognitive ability results:

First of all, those with higher vitamin D levels at the beginning of the ten-year period had about 40% better executive functioning at the end of the period compared with those who had lower vitamin D levels (executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal, and they can be viewed as the “conductor” of all cognitive skills.)[2]

Of course, vitamin D levels are determined by the quantity of sun exposure one receives. Therefore, we could say that vitamin D levels are a surrogate measurement of sun exposure.

Other research on sunlight and cognitive ability:Much research has been done on the association of sun exposure on cognitive abilities, so this research is no surprise. Especially relevant are the results of more recent research, based on a 15-year residential history of varying degrees of sun exposure. It has also shown cognitive impairment in persons who were below the median exposure to sun was 88% greater than those who were above the median.[3] Researchers mentioned vitamin D as a possible mechanism by which sun positively influenced cognitive abilities. And, they also remarked that regulation of the circadian rhythm by sun could be a factor. Additionally, these same investigators had previously shown the following: lower levels of sun exposure resulted in a 2.6-times higher incidence of cognitive impairment.[4] 

 Does BDNF play a part in protecting cognitive ability? 

Part of the reason for better cognitive skills under the influence of sun exposure may not have anything to do with vitamin D. It could be due to a chemical called Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). It is a part of a cascade of proteins promoting growth of neurons and preventing nerve death.[5] It is especially relevant that BDNF levels have been shown to increase significantly after bright light exposure.[6] And, in what I would consider to be a remarkably important study, both light exposure and treadmill exercise increased the expression of BDNF in rats.[7] And—as the researchers showed—exercise and/or bright light promoted neurogenesis (new nerve cell growth) in the adult rat brain. How important is this finding for adults who are worried about cognitive decline? Furthermore, we are actually seeing an example of new brain cells being built by bright light and exercise! Researchers have shown that BDNF has an effect on behavior, mood (e.g. depression), and brain adaptation (e.g. plasticity) and that its levels fluctuate seasonally in correlation with the amount of ambient sun:[8]

 

In addition, we can add one more natural chemical inversely associated with cognitive decline, depression, memory loss, and nervous system degeneration, and directly associated with sun exposure. We now have vitamin D, serotonin, endorphins, dopamine and BDNF. Hence, sun exposure is absolutely necessary to human health. Be sure you are obtaining your share! Don’t let your mind deteriorate due to avoiding the sunlight.

 

Embrace the sun, but do it safely. Finally: avoid sunburn.

 

 

 

[1] Alicia M. Goodwill, Stephen Campbell, Steven Simpson Jr, Maria Bisignano,

Cherie Chiang, Lorraine Dennerstein, Cassandra Szoekea. Vitamin D status is associated with executive function a decade later: Data from the Women’s Healthy Ageing Project. Maturitas 107 (2018) 56–62

[2] http://www.ldonline.org/article/29122

[3] Kent ST, Kabagambe EK, Wadley VG, Howard VJ, Crosson WL, Al-Hamdan MZ, Judd SE, Peace F, McClure LA. The relationship between long-term sun radiation and cognitive decline in the REGARDS cohort study. Int J Biometeorol. 2014 Apr;58(3):361-70.

[4] Kent ST, McClure LA, Crosson WL, Arnett DK, Wadley VG, Sathiakumar N. Effect of sun exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study. Environ Health. 2009 Jul 28;8:34

[5] http://scicurious.scientopia.org/2010/12/13/bdnf-and-depression/

[6] Tirassa P1, Iannitelli A, Sornelli F, Cirulli F, Mazza M, Calza A, Alleva E, Branchi I, Aloe L, Bersani G, Pacitti F. Daily serum and salivary BDNF levels correlate with morning-evening personality type in women and are affected by light therapy. Riv Psichiatr. 2012 Nov-Dec;47(6):527-34.

[7] Kwon SJ, Park J, Park SY, Song KS, Jung ST, Jung SB, Park IR, Choi WS, Kwon SO. Low-intensity treadmill exercise and/or bright light promote neurogenesis in adult rat brain. Neural Regen Res. 2013 Apr 5;8(10):922-9.

[8] Molendijk ML, Haffmans JP, Bus BA, Spinhoven P, Penninx BW, Prickaerts J, Oude Voshaar RC, Elzinga BM. Serum BDNF concentrations show strong seasonal variation and correlations with the amount of ambient sun. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48046.

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Is the sunbed a Gianus Bifrons (two-headed god)?

Is the sunbed a Gianus Bifrons (two-headed god)?

Sunbeds, Good or bad?

Sunbeds may save lives.

Recent research comes to the conclusion that indoor tanning is a Gianus Bifrons,[1] which is interpreted as a two-headed god. One head, according to these researchers, is an increase in various skin cancers (a dubious claim). The other head is the ability of sunbeds to produce large quantities of vitamin D, increasing serum vitamin D concentrations up to two fold. In addition, this increase in vitamin D, they believe, could lead to a decrease in myriad diseases.

The authors of the paper state the following: “Therefore, some favorable effects [of tanning beds] against the risk of developing many human diseases, including non-skin cancers, cannot be excluded at first glance, although they may not be only linked to [higher] vitamin D status.” They also go on to suggest that more research should be performed to determine if the unfavorable effects of indoor tanning on skin cancers may be outweighed by the favorable benefits of amelioration of low vitamin D levels.

This research ignored many research studies showing that regular, non-burning sun exposure is protective against melanoma. In my upcoming book, Embrace the sun, about 14 different research studies are cited. All of these studies demonstrate a positive effect of sun exposure. There are also positive effects of sun exposure and sunbed exposure, beyond the ability to produce vitamin D. Nitric oxide (NO) is produced by both. NO is a vasodilator that lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.

No increase in melanoma!

Perhaps the most important study to differentiate between the positive effects and negative effects of sunbed exposure is this one: A 20-year Swedish study demonstrated that women who used sunbeds were 23% less likely to die from any cause than women who did not use them.[2] This study also showed no increase in melanoma after the 20-year period.

So, what more do we need to know about the pros and cons of sunbed use?

Here are a few more positive effects of sunbeds on human health:

  • Sunbed use reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.[3]
  • Sunbed use strengthens bone.[4]
  • Sunbed use controls psoriasis and eczema.[5]
  • Sunbed use reduces chronic pain.[6], [7]
  • Sunbed use may help unborn children.[8]
  • Sunbed use reduces the risk of clots.[9]
  • Sunbed use is associated with lower breast-cancer risk.[10]
  • Sunbed use reduces the risk of death.[11]

[1] Giuseppe Lippi*, 1, Gianfranco Cervellin†, Elisa Danese. Indoor Tanning a Gianus Bifrons:

Vitamin D and Human Cancer. Advances in Clinical Chemistry 2017;20:1-16

[2] Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Nielsen K, Stenbeck M, Olsson H. 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.

[3] P.G. Lindqvist, H. Olsson, M. Landin-Olsson, Are active sun exposure habits related

to lowering risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women, a prospective cohort

study?, Diabetes Res. Clin. Pract. 90 (2010):109-114.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

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

[7] 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.

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

[9] 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.

[10] 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

[11] Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Nielsen K, Stenbeck M, Olsson H. 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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