Sunbeds for heath

Sunbeds are unjustly criticized. Learn the truth!

Sunbeds can be healthful devices. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

Sunbeds, also known as tanning beds, have many healthful properties. They produce vitamin D, strengthen bone and reduce the risk of major cancers. Yet, sunbeds are much maligned as being a major cause of melanoma. Thus, teens in many areas have been banned from using them by misguided legislation. In addition, tanning- salon owners must live in fear of government overreach that could put them out of business.

But new research shows that the attack on sunbeds is misguided.

Because of this uproar, a group of scientists (some dermatologists), led by Dr. Jörg Reichrath, did a thorough research review. Furthermore, they published their findings in the scientific journal Anticancer Research, which presented truth about melanoma and sunbeds. This information is most noteworthy since it is contrary to the prevailing papers that emanate from the Powers of Darkness. The Powers of Darkness are those who love to attack both sun exposure and sunbeds.

Especially relevant points regarding sunbeds and melanoma risk, from Anticancer Research:

  1. First of all, Reichrath and colleagues performed a systematic literature search. This research was undertaken to identify and evaluate research that investigated relationship of solarium use (sunbed use) and melanoma risk. And as a result, they stated the following: “We found no studies that demonstrate a causal relationship between moderate solarium use and melanoma risk.” In addition, they indicated that the quality of the observational studies was low and that bias may have existed.
  2. Another interesting finding was that although moderate sunbed use had no effect on melanoma, something else did affect melanoma. An unhealthy lifestyle involving extensive sunbathing, alcohol and smoking associated to a 20% increase in the disease. Also, the researchers mention that individuals with unhealthful lifestyles use tanning salons more often.

At this time, I must make a point. Those who are regularly in the sun have stronger bones and less cancer than sun avoiders. So I’m not sure what “extensive” sunbathing entailed. And, another point is this: As time spent in the sun has decreased profoundly in both Europe and the U.S., melanoma has increased exponentially. Read my book, Embrace the Sun, to see the discussion on this topic.

Could sunbeds actually decrease the risk of melanoma?

Another salient finding of the research review: A study from Europe showed that sunbed use was associated with a 30% reduced risk for developing melanoma. Reichrath and colleagues made this comment on that study: “Those findings indicate that solarium [sunbed] use may even have a protective effect.”

Sunbeds: beyond melanoma. Here are a few truths about sunbeds that are seldom discussed:

The transcendent sunbed study showed that during 20-years, women who used them reduced all-cause mortality by 23%.  So let’s suppose that that there were some health problems with using sunbeds. That negative possibility pales in comparison to the remarkably reduced risk of death, does it not? And, I am not stating that there were negatives for sunbed use in this research.

What are some of the reasons that sunbed use is associated with a lower risk of all cause death?

Another investigation showed that sunbeds were associated with a reduced the risk of breast cancer.

In addition, research showed that sunbeds were associated with 90% higher vitamin D levels and significantly stronger bones.

Also, they are useful in treating psoriasis and other skin disorders.

Sunbeds are also useful in treating pain and in improving mood.

Finally, these devices have been shown to associate with lower clot risk.

The takeaway from all of these studies is that there is no credible research that melanoma is increased by using sunbeds. And, sunbeds have remarkably healthful effects. When receiving sun exposure or using sunbeds, be sure not to burn.

Happy sunning!

For more information, read the book, Embrace the Sun.

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MS (multiple sclerosis). Beat it with sun exposure!

MS can be prevented. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

MS (Multiple sclerosis MS) is an autoimmune disease in which T-cells initiate an inflammatory response against myelin, the protective cover of nerves.[1], [2] Hence, This process, known as demyelination, leaves the nerves bare and susceptible to “short circuiting.” MS is a debilitating, sometimes painful disease that may be fatal.

Symptoms and prevalence of MS:

Here are some of the symptoms of MS, as listed by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs
  • Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements
  • Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait
  • Partial or complete loss of vision and
  • Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function.

Nearly one million people are living with MS in the United States.

Salient points regarding MS and sun exposure:

It has long been known that there is an inverse association between sunlight and MS. So In other words, the greater the sunlight exposure, the lesser the risk of contracting MS. For example, it has been known for decades that those who live closer to the equator had a lower risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).[3] And in fact, 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.[4], [5], [6]  Sunlight is usually much more intense at low latitudes than high latitudes.

Sunlight, MS and relapse rate.

MS also goes through periods of remission and then relapse, and of course, it is important to avoid relapse as much as possible. A sunlight and disease relationship was also noted in MS relapse rate: Each degree of latitude increase was associated with a 1% increase in the odds of having relapses over the previous year.[7] A 1% increase may not seem impressive. Yet, in a country with a 30% higher latitude, the increased risk of relapse would be 30%. And, the increased risk of disability would be 60-90%. This is exceptionally important, since MS damages the cerebral cortex of the brain. And, that damage is more severe during the relapse phase.[8]

Does sun exposure during youth confer protection against the disease?

Australian research compared the numbers of daily hours subjects spent in the sun when they were six to fifteen years of age.[9] Adults who were in the lowest “childhood sun-exposure” category were three times as likely to develop MS as those in the highest category.

What part does vitamin D play in sunlight’s protection against MS?

Most scientists conclude that vitamin D production, by sun stimulation of skin, leads to the irrefutable correlation between high sun exposure and low MS risk. On the surface, this conclusion seems entirely plausible, since summer sun exposure at midday can produce up to 20,000 international Units in 20 minutes. However, correlation does not prove causation.

Consider this: As with certain other diseases, sun exposure may have a positive influence on multiple sclerosis, independent of vitamin D production:

Researchers used animals with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) (an experimental form of MS deliberately induced in animals in a laboratory setting) to determine the relative influences of UVR [sunlight] and vitamin D on the disease. They concluded, “These results suggest UVR [sun] is likely suppressing disease independent of vitamin D production, and vitamin D supplementation alone may not replace the ability of sun (UV) to reduce MS susceptibility.”[10] 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.[11]Thus, it is light, not vitamin D, that protects against MS.

More on sun exposure, vitamin D and MS

Another study showed that sun exposure, while obviously being critical in the production of vitamin D, had its own profound influence in lessening the degeneration of nerves (neurodegeneration) in those with MS.[12] By measuring whole brain volume (WBV) and grey-matter volume (GMV) utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the scientists determined that greater summer sun exposure predicted greater WBV and GMV in MS patients. Interestingly though, when 25(OH)D levels were measured, they had no influence on the positive effects of sun exposure with WBV or GMV. The researchers concluded: “Sun exposure may have direct effects on MRI measures of neurodegeneration in MS, independently of vitamin D.”  Sun exposure is known to increase the quantity of brain-derived neurotropic factor, which is essential for the protection and replenishing of nerve cells. Could it be one of the photoproducts beyond vitamin D that protects against MS? Time will tell after more research is done.

Many other studies have concluded that MS risk is reduced by sun exposure, independently of vitamin D. I would suggest that you read about that research in my book, Embrace the Sun, which is co-authored by Dr. William Grant. Also follow this link to read more about this subject: . http://sunlightinstitute.org/sun-not-vitamin-d-reduces-ms/

The most recent research on Sunlight, multiple sclerosis and vitamin D.

In 2018, research showed that living in areas of high sunlight exposure during the ages of 5-15 years, was associated with a 45-55% reduced risk of the disease. The authors of this research also noted that higher summer sun exposure in high sunlight areas was also associated with a reduced risk. So, this would indicate that we need to not only live in areas of high sun exposure to reduce MS, but also to be sure to spend plenty of time outdoors.

In 2019, other research showed that MS prevalence is strongly positively associated with increasing latitude and that the gradient is increasing, suggesting that potentially modifiable environmental factors, such as sun exposure, are still strongly associated with MS risk. The researchers also stated that “it is important to acknowledge that UVR effects need not solely be via vitamin D.” Again, this statement means to me that sun exposure always works to reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis, but it is not certain that vitamin D is the key. If it is not the key, then taking vitamin D supplements will be of no value for the disease.

The bottom line: Soak up plenty of non-burning sun, being sure not to burn. It will help to reduce the risk.

[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] Acheson ED. Some comments on the relationship of the distribution of multiple sclerosis to latitude, solar radiation, and other variables. Acta Neurol Scand 1960;35:132-47.

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

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

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

[7] Jelinek GA, Marck CH, Weiland TJ, Pereira N, van der Meer DM, Hadgkiss EJ. Latitude, sun exposure and vitamin D supplementation: associations with quality of life and disease outcomes in a large international cohort of people with multiple sclerosis. BMC Neurol. 2015 Aug 5;15:132.

[8] Gracien RM, Jurcoane A, Wagner M, Reitz SC, er C, Volz S, Hof SM, Fleischer V, Droby A, Steinmetz H, Groppa S, Hattingen E, Deichmann R, Klein JC. Multimodal quantitative MRI assessment of cortical damage in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2016  6. 10.1002.

[9] van der Mei IA, Ponsonby AL, Dwyer T, Blizzard L, Simmons R, Taylor BV, Butzkueven H, Kilpatrick T. Past exposure to sun, skin phenotype, and risk of multiple sclerosis: case-control study. BMJ 2003;327:316-321.

[10] 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.

[11] 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

[12] Zivadinov R, Treu CN, Weinstock-Guttman B, Turner C, Bergsland N, O’Connor K, Dwyer MG, Carl E, Ramasamy DP, Qu J, Ramanathan M. Interdependence and contributions of sun exposure and vitamin D to MRI measures in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Oct;84(10):1075-

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Embrace the Sun for health

Low breast cancer risk: Sunlight exposure or vitamin D?

Breast cancer (and other cancers) can be prevented with sunlight! By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

Breast cancer risk, much as a deadly snake, strikes fear into the hearts of women and their families. First of all, there are myriad opinions on the disease, which opinions serve mostly to confuse the issue. Yet, there is one factor emerging as something women can turn to. And that factor is regular sunlight exposure. Thus, in research performed on Black women, regarding cancer risk and vitamin D, only sun exposure cut through the confusion. This study was conducted among 1724 women with breast cancer and 1233 controls (no cancer). Various quantities of vitamin D and calcium were administered to these volunteers.

The result:

As a result, it was shown that dietary vitamin D was not associated with breast cancer risk. Supplemental vitamin D did have a small, positive effect. Yet, sun exposure (as always seems to be the case) was consistently associated with lower risk of breast cancer. Yet, the results on supplementation added to confusion. So, supplementing less than 800 IU per day of vitamin D was actually more effective than supplementing more than 800 IU. How do we explain that?

A breast cancer mistake made by health professionals and others.

While many doctors know that ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from sunlight reduces risk of cancer, they have missed something. Sunlight stimulates production of vitamin D in human skin. Therefore, many health professionals assume vitamin D is responsible for the reduced cancer risk. This may lead them to advocate the use of vitamin D supplementation and totally miss the bigger picture. In addition to vitamin D, UVR from sunlight or sunlamps produces many additional healthful photoproducts. Among others, nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin and BDNF are produced by sunlight, and these photoproducts are vital to health. And, it is likely that these healthful photoproducts lead to an inhibition of breast cancer.

New research shows that sun exposure per se is capable of reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Consequently, it should not surprise us that for cancer, sunlight’s effects go beyond vitamin D. Researchers used mice that easily develop breast cancer, and treated them with UVR. [think sun exposure}
They found that UVR treatments produced significant anti-cancer effects, much as we might expect. Furthermore, they found that neither dietary vitamin D nor topical vitamin D influenced cancer risk. They stated the following because of their findings: “UVR’s inhibitory effects occur irrespective of whether or not the treatment increases circulating D3 (vitamin D) in the mice.” Also, they made one more important comment regarding their research on cancer and UVR. “Therefore, supplemental D3 may not mimic all possible beneficial effects of UVR, and uncovering non-D3-mediated mechanisms of UVR tumor inhibition may lead to novel strategies for cancer prevention.”

And here is the transcendent research regarding sun exposure and breast cancer:

Profoundly important Iranian research has also emerged regarding breast cancer and sun exposure. Most noteworthy, the investigation showed that low vitamin D predicted only a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. Yet, there was a 10-fold increase in the risk of the disease.  In other words, there was a 1,000% increase in breast-cancer risk due to sun deficiency. among women who totally covered themselves (no sun exposure)

An important summary regarding vitamin D, sunlight and breast cancer.

Finally, there is no doubt that vitamin D, in some cases, has anticancer benefits. In addition, the aforementioned research, however, is especially relevant in that it corroborates what I said in my book, Embrace the Sun. Therefore, we must not put all the benefits of sunlight in the vitamin D box. That is because sun exposure performs miracles beyond vitamin D. And, One of those sunlight miracles is cancer prevention and inhibition.  Thus, if we erroneously believe that we can obtain all of the sun’s benefits from popping a vitamin D pill, we may miss the holistic effects of the sun, which provides a cornucopia of salubrious benefits.

Embrace the sun and ease your mind about cancer. Always avoid burning.

For more information, visit sunlightinstitute.org and read the book by Sorenson and Grant: Embrace the Sun.

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Sunlight good for all ages.

Lymph cancers and sun exposure. Better than vitamin D

Marc Sorenson, EdD, Author of Embrace the Sun

Lymph cancers and sun exposure:

Research published  in the journal Blood, demonstrated remarkable risk reduction (due to sun exposure), of cancers known as lymphoid malignancies. These are cancers of the lymph system or lymph cancers. And, they include non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, multiple myeloma and  classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. All of them can be deadly. This is vital information, and I have previously written about the effect of sunlight and its protective effect on children’s’ lymph cancers. http://sunlightinstitute.org/sunlight-helps-children-to-reduce-the-risk-of-non-hodgkin-lymphoma/

 First of all, the researchers measured exposure to the sun among residents  in different geographic areas. Then they compared the different categories of exposures to the risk of contracting these cancers.

What were the results regarding sun exposure and lymph cancers?

As a result, it was shown that those residents living in the areas with the highest quartile (fourth) of sun exposure were impressively protected against lymph cancers. That is, when compared with those in the lowest quartile. So the overall reduction in risk was 43% reduced risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In addition, they had a 64% decrease in the risk of one of its subcategories, known as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Furthermore, the risk of another subcategory of lymph cancers, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, was reduced by 54%. Multiple myeloma was also associated with a reduced risk of 43% among those in the highest quartile of sun exposure.

Especially relevant was the fact that dietary vitamin D was not associated with the risk of lymph cancers.

The researchers stated, “These results support a protective effect of routine residential [sun exposure] against lymphomagenesis [lymph cancer production] through mechanisms possibly independent of vitamin D.”

What is the salient finding of this lymph cancer research and other sunlight/vitamin D/cancer research?

Most noteworthy, in perusing the research of sunlight and disease, I noted that vitamin D was effective for some diseases. Yet, I also noted it was only minimally effective, or ineffective, for others like lymph cancer. Also, it became obvious that exposure to the sun or other sources (sunlamps) was usually profoundly effective.

So should sunlight research on lymph cancer and other cancers focus on vitamin D?

So rather than focus on vitamin D as the only photoproduct of sun exposure, the authors should have examined the big picture. In other words, the holistic sun. Thus, many of these studies should have mentioned the effect of sun exposure on vasodilation, mediated by the skin’s production of nitric oxide. Also, they could have discussed the influence of sun exposure on the production of beneficial serotonin, dopamine, BDNF and endorphin. Vitamin D is an exceptionally important photoproduct of sun exposure, but it is not the only photoproduct. Thus, I predict that a new field of research, regarding other photoproducts of sun exposure, will soon emerge. And, it will provide impressive new knowledge regarding the life-and-health-giving benefits of our most precious friend, the sun.

The takeaway for sunlight and lymph cancer:

In conclusion, these findings are doubly important. They indicate sun exposure has protective effects against lymph cancers independent of vitamin D. This is also true of other cancers we have discussed or will discuss in other blogs. It is probably also true that vitamin D produced through sun exposure is superior to that obtained through food or supplements.  Thus, it appears that “Mother Nature knows best.” It seems like the sun’s rays, one of God’s greatest gifts, should not be ignored as powerful therapeutic and preventive therapy.

Read this book:

For more information on the influence of sunlight on lymph cancer, and other destructive diseases, read the book Embrace the Sun, by Sorenson and Grant.


Happy sunning, and do not burn.

Marc Sorenson.

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Embrace the Sun for health

Sunlight or vitamin D or both? Sunlight is the answer.

Sunlight or vitamin D or both? By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

Sunlight or vitamin D? That is a question that should not be necessary, yet many believe that vitamin D replaces sun exposure. So, they will state, “just take some vitamin D pills rather than go out in the sunlight, thus, you can derive sunlight benefits without the risk of skin cancer.” This opinion is incorrect, and it leads to sun deprivation.

This poor opinion of sunlight is misguided, erroneous and dangerous.

First of all, sunlight leads to production of many photoproducts when it touches the skin or enters the eyes. (Do not stare into the sun, since sufficient sun enters the eyes by reflection from objects or from the sky). These photoproducts include serotonin, endorphin, vitamin D, dopamine, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and nitric oxide.

Furthermore, all of these sunlight photoproducts are known to have healthful effects.

In addition, there are more photoproducts that are produced by sun exposure, but they have not yet been well-studied. Yet, it is likely that all of them will be found to have salubrious effects for the human body. Hence, we need them all. Obviously, a vitamin D pill cannot provide all the health benefits that sunlight provides.

Vitamin D in isolation may not always be healthful. Consider sunlight instead.

So yes, vitamin D is an important photoproduct of sunlight, but it is just one of the photoproducts. Thus, it is along for the ride with its companions. The serum blood tests which measure vitamin D are really surrogate measures for sunlight exposure and its other photoproducts. And, these photoproducts work as a team; one might say a “holistic” team.

Sunlight or vitamin D. What does the vitamin D research tell us?

A surprising piece of recent research assessed the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation on bone strength and density. The researchers worked with 311 healthy volunteers aged 55 to 70 and these volunteers were split into three groups. One group received 400 international units (IU) per day of vitamin D, and a second group received 4,000 IU per day. Finally, a third group received 10,000 IU per day. Bone strength and density were measured at the beginning of the investigation and at intervals of 6, 12, 24 and 36 months. The researchers had thought there would be an increase in bone mass, yet, the results were opposite of their expectations. Stunningly, all three groups lost bone mass, and the higher the vitamin D dose, the more rapid the bone loss!

How can this happen? Does sunlight exposure play a part?

So, we have an interesting dichotomy here. First of all, we see that isolated vitamin D (the supplements) were counterproductive for bone strength and mass. And yet, we know that low serum levels of vitamin D are associated with low bone density. Maybe we can unravel this mystery by mentioning that almost all serum vitamin D (about 90%) is produced by sun exposure on the skin.

Therefore, low vitamin D levels are really indicative of sunlight deprivation.

And as aforementioned, one isolated chemical (vitamin D), cannot possibly be expected to take the place of the holistic sun. Especially relevant is a study that found Spanish women who sunbathed had 1/11 the fracture risk of indoor women. Is there any doubt that the strong-boned women had higher vitamin D levels than their counterparts? You see, we have gotten it backward, because greater sun exposure associates with higher vitamin D levels and predicts long life and health. Sunlight leads to vitamin D production, but vitamin D does not bring sunlight and all its additional photoproducts.

Does vitamin D supplementation protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD), or is it sunlight?

We know the answer to half of that that question due to a study of more than 83,000 people. And this study was a meta-analysis. This means a compilation and analysis of the best supplementation studies. The study compared vitamin D intake with CVD events (heart attacks, stoke, death from CVD and all-cause death). The authors found, as a result, that vitamin D supplementation was not associated with CVD.

Most noteworthy is that for years, sunlight was shown to associate to a much reduced risk of CVD.

And, that included heart attack and stroke.
Many made the mistake of giving the credit for the reduced risk to vitamin D, because of this research.The answer to health is to embrace the holistic sun and not a single photoproduct.

Sunlight related to the beta carotene study

This reminds me of research on beta-carotene, an antioxidant nutrient found in orange and yellow vegetables such as carrots. Since these vegetables have healthful properties, the researchers decided to experiment with isolated beta-carotene. They wanted determine if beta-carotene also had anti-cancer properties. To their dismay, these experiments associated to an increase in cancer. Does isolated vitamin D lead to the same deleterious outcomes? Sunlight should also be used in its whole form, just like the carrot.

So in the winter, in climes where there is little sunlight, how do we get our share of life-saving light?

The best method is to use a good sunbed (tanning bed), and when the sunlight is available, to be outside enjoying it, summer and winter. Sunbed use has many life-enhancing effects, including longer life, stronger bones and better mood. Read more about sunbeds, sunlight, bone strength and health at http://sunlightinstitute.org/ and read the book by Sorenson and Grant: Embrace the Sun.

Happy sunning! And remember never to burn.

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Light exposure for the gut. Soak it up for health!

Light exposure for the gut, by Marc Sorenson, EdD L

Light exposure for the gut seems like a strange concept. And, rest assured we will not discuss shining light directly into the gut to optimize health. However, light exposure, according to new research, may assist in gut homeostasis and may positively alter the gut microbiome.

The thinker, worrying about light exposure to his gut.

Some words you should know to better understand light exposure for the gut:

Circadian rhythms: Circadian rhythms are variations in physiology and behavior persisting with a cycle length close to, but not exactly, 24 hours. It is necessary to synchronize the rhythms on a regular basis to maintain them. And, such synchronization is usually achieved through regular exposure to light and darkness.

Entrainment: Entrainment occurs when rhythmic physiological or behavioral events are matched to an external environmental factor. So it is ultimately the interaction between circadian rhythms and the environment, especially sunlight or darkness.

Homeostasis: The maintenance of metabolic equilibrium and balance within an animal by a tendency to compensate for disrupting changes. Thus, homeostasis is vital for good health. And conversely, a lack of homeostasis in the gut is a disease state.

Microbiome, or microbiota: A collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body. For the purposes of this discussion, we are interested in those microorganisms, such as bacteria, inhabiting the gut.

UVB: Ultraviolet B light, a part of the solar spectrum, which is also used in experiments by way of sun lamps.

Circadian rhythms: Circadian rhythms are variations in physiology and behavior persisting with a cycle length close to, but not exactly, 24 hours. It is necessary to synchronize the rhythms on a regular basis to maintain them. And, such synchronization is usually achieved through regular exposure to light and darkness.

Entrainment: Entrainment occurs when rhythmic physiological or behavioral events are matched to an external environmental factor. So it is ultimately the interaction between circadian rhythms and the environment, especially sunlight or darkness.

Homeostasis: The maintenance of metabolic equilibrium and balance within an animal by a tendency to compensate for disrupting changes. Thus, homeostasis is vital for good health. And conversely, a lack of homeostasis in the gut is a disease state.

Microbiome, or microbiota: A collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body. For the purposes of this discussion, we are interested in those microorganisms, such as bacteria, inhabiting the gut.

UVB: Ultraviolet B light, a part of the solar spectrum, which is also used in experiments by way of sun lamps.

First of all, let’s discuss the effect of light exposure on gut homeostasis.

There are specialized cells in the body called ILC3s, which are major regulators of inflammation, infection, microbiota composition and metabolism in the gut.

These cells do not function well if they are not synchronized to the biological clock (or circadian rhythm). So, the most effective way to assure that these cells are working is through external light exposure, particularly sunlight. Light signals are the major entraining cues of ILC3s.

In fact, as a result of the removal of circadian regulators in intestines, the researchers showed that many problems occur. Without regulators, light exposure can’t do its job, and therefore the circadian rhythms of the gut would be extinguished. Why? Because ILC3s could not connect to those regulators in the gut. Thus, this caused disrupted homeostasis, impaired epithelium, a deregulated microbiome, increased infection and disrupted lipid metabolism. The researchers stated that “Our work reveals a circadian circuitry that translates environmental light cues into enteric [intestinal] ILC3s, shaping intestinal health, metabolism and organismal homeostasis.” So the bottom line is, for gut health, get your sun exposure daily!


Secondly, another investigation provides more information regarding light exposure and the gut microbiome.

Light exposure, vitamin D and microbiome makeup are all associated with inflammatory conditions like multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, scientists hypothesized that a causal chain links the three. So to test the hypothesis, they used female volunteers in a scientific experiment. In addition to three one-minute sessions of full-body UVB exposures, the volunteers had their blood vitamin D levels tested. Furthermore, before and after treatment, stool samples were taken for analysis of volunteers’ gut microbiomes.

The results regarding UVB light exposure and gut microbiome.

As a result of this minuscule UVB light exposure, good bacteria increased in the microbiome, as did vitamin D. Another fact mentioned in the paper was that studies in rodents indicated UVB increased good bacteria while decreasing harmful bacteria. So does this prove vitamin D could be responsible for lessening risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) and inflammatory bowel disease? No. It is especially relevant that many studies on vitamin D supplementation and MS show no effect. The one consistent outcome of the studies is that sun exposure always lessens the risk of MS. Sun exposure produces the marvelous hormone, vitamin D, but it also produces serotonin, endorphin, nitric oxide, BDNF and dopamine. In addition, there are many more photoproducts produced by sun exposure, which have not been fully studied for health benefits.

When possible, use sun exposure or other UVB light exposure to produce your vitamin D.

Therefore, vitamin D levels are, in many cases, surrogate measurements for sun exposure. The health benefits attributed to vitamin D may be due to other factors also being produced by sun exposure. The sun should be used holistically when possible. Using only one photoproduct of sun exposure seems like a mistake. Thus, it is much like extracting a single plant vitamin. That vitamin doesn’t have the health benefits of the entire plant, because it lacks fiber and other nutrients. Therefore, the closest thing to holistic sun is the use of a sunlamp or a sunbed. For more information, visit the sunlight Institute website.

In conclusion, take care of your gut and your health through non-burning, regular sun exposure.

For more information on sun exposure and MS, read the book, Embrace the Sun. Read more on circadian rhythms on http://sunlightinstitute.org/

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Vitamin D Society press release. Important info for Canadians and all others.

For Immediate Distribution

TORONTO, Ont (October 25, 2019) – People around the world are losing 
their battle against vitamin D deficiency and more and more are becoming 
vitamin D deficient. It’s estimated that more than 1 billion people have 
low vitamin D levels in the world. This occurs because we are living, 
working, and spending more time indoors than ever before. We are now 
told to apply sunscreens every day, year round, which if applied 
properly prevents vitamin D production. Up to 90% of your vitamin D 
comes from sunlight. Without unprotected sun exposure (when the UV Index 
is above 3 and your shadow shorter than you are) we cannot make vitamin 
D naturally in our skin. Vitamin D levels drop rapidly as the sun 
becomes weaker in the autumn. This is why we celebrate World Vitamin D 
Day every November 2nd. We want to warn you that you are probably 
Vitamin D deficient or insufficient right now.  People need to take 
action to increase their vitamin D intake. It’s time to STOP vitamin D 
deficiency and take back your health!

This is the 10th year of celebrating World Vitamin D Day on November 2nd 
as part of Novembers Vitamin D Awareness month to highlight peoples 
plunging vitamin D levels. This is a day for you to evaluate your 
vitamin D intake and take action to prevent deficiency since outdoor 
sunlight is now too weak to make vitamin D naturally in your skin at 
latitudes above 37°. Optimal vitamin D is needed throughout the winter 
to protect your health. A new World Vitamin D Day website has been 
developed to help inform people on the importance of maintaining optimal 
vitamin D blood levels of between 100-150 nmol/L (40-60 ng/ml USA). 
Please consider sending out one of the new social media shareables to 
your friends, family and loved ones on your social network to help 
promote vitamin D health. Remember to include the special hashtag 

Why does vitamin D matter? It matters because Vitamin D helps reduce 
your risk of cancers, autoimmune diseases, heart problems, strengthens 
your bones and muscles, and helps you live longer.

“Mortality is the most important clinical outcome. Maintaining optimal 
vitamin D blood levels of 100-150 nmol/L (40-60 ng/ml USA) may increase 
your life expectancy by 2 years.” Dr. William B. Grant

How does vitamin D do all that? Research has found that optimal vitamin 
D levels reduces your risk of many major diseases. Vitamin D controls 
the switches that guide cellular life in your body. Vitamin D tells your 
genes and DNA what to do.

To STOP Vitamin D Deficiency, adults will need a vitamin D intake of 
approximately 4,000 IU or 100 mcg a day to reach the optimal blood 
levels of vitamin D of between 100-150 nmol/L ( 40-60 ng/ml USA). 
According to Statistics Canada, 93% of Canadians do not meet this level 
and are therefore deficient.

To increase your vitamin D intake through the winter when sunshine is 
diminished and the UV index is below 3, consider using indoor sources 
such as UVB emitting sunbeds or sunlamps as a surrogate for summer 
sunshine. You can also try and eat more fatty fish in your diet such as 
salmon or take a daily D3 supplement of up to 4000 IU or 100 mcg/day 

“Vitamin D made in the skin lasts at least twice as long in the blood as 
vitamin D ingested from the diet. When you are exposed to sunlight, you 
make not only vitamin D but also at least five and up to ten additional 
photoproducts that you would never get from dietary sources or from a 
supplement.” Dr. Michael F. Holick

To find out if you are vitamin D deficient ask your doctor for a 25(OH)D 
blood test. Another option is to purchase a vitamin D home test kit. 
Remember to always get your score and compare it with the level 
recommended by an expert panel of 48 vitamin D scientists and their 
consensus called D*action. It recommends that everyone, all ages, 
maintain a vitamin D blood level of between 100-150 nmol/L (40-60 ng/ml 
USA) for best overall health and wellness.

“Your personal health requires your guidance for disease prevention. Be 
proactive. Don’t wait until you have a disease only to discover that you 
may have prevented it with optimal vitamin D levels, says Perry Holman, 
Executive Director for the Vitamin D Society. “Please STOP vitamin D deficiency.”

For more information on World Vitamin D Day on November 2nd, visit our 
new website and help take action to STOP vitamin D deficiency.

We have developed a number of social media shareables and encourage you 
to help us communicate the vitamin D message to the world on November 
2nd using the hashtag #WorldVitaminDDay

About the Vitamin D Society:

The Vitamin D Society is a Canadian non-profit group organized to 
increase awareness of the many health conditions strongly linked to 
vitamin D deficiency; encourage people to be proactive in protecting 
their health and have their vitamin D levels tested annually; and help 
fund valuable vitamin D research. The Vitamin D Society recommends 
people achieve and maintain optimal 25(OH)D blood levels between 100 – 
150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA).

To learn more about vitamin D, please visit www.vitamindsociety.org

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Macular degeneration. Stop blaming the sun!

Macular degeneration and sun exposure. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Macular degeneration [or age-related macular degeneration (AMD)] is a cause for concern because it causes blindness, especially in the elderly. As of 2010, 2.5 percent of white adults age 50 and older had the disease. And by comparison, macular degeneration affected 0.9 percent each of blacks, Hispanics and people of other races. So what is the macula? It is the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision and consequently lets us see objects clearly.

So what causes AMD?

Due to the sun phobia promulgated by the sunscare industry, one might think that sun exposure is a major cause. Therefore, there are a plethora of online articles suggesting people avoid sunlight, especially in the eyes. While it is not good to stare at the sun, sun exposure to the eyes is necessary for good health. Because sun exposure to the eyes causes the production of serotonin, it lifts our moods and enhances our lives. And because sun exposure assures the proper development of the eye in children, it helps prevent myopia. Furthermore, sunlight daily resets our circadian rhythms. It therefore helps us sleep properly and function better both physically and mentally. And most noteworthy, it does not cause macular degeneration.

But what really causes the disease?

The primary suspect is poor nutrition. First of all, Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that accumulate in the retina of the eye and stop free-radical damage. Consequently, these marvelous nutrients furnish protection against AMD. They are particularly available in dark green leafy vegetables, pistachio nuts and eggs. Thus, a diet lacking green vegetables would be a cause of macular degeneration. In addition, lack of omega-3 fats and surplus of omega-6 fats in the modern diet can contribute to macular degeneration. Hence, we should stop eating junk and we should stop blaming the sun!

What does the research show regarding sunlight and macular degeneration?

Opposite from the prevailing view of sunlight and macular degeneration, research does not support sunlight as a causative factor. A meta-analysis of studies on the subject concludes that sun exposure has no influence on the disease. The researchers assessed 44,000 subjects in 14 studies, and found no significant association either with sun exposure or sun avoidance. In conclusion to their research, the investigators stated their findings. “The results indicate that sunlight exposure may not be associated with increased risk of AMD (macular degeneration) based on current published data.”

Since there is no significant association between sun exposure and macular degeneration, let’s stop blaming the sun.

For more information on the health benefits of sun exposure, visit http://sunlightinstitute.org/ and read the book, Embrace the Sun.

Happy sunning!

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Embrace the Sun for health

Protect the children with sunshine #7. Arthritis

Protect the children with sunshine. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

Protect the children against illness? That is a great idea, and sunshine is one of the most effective “protectors” we can use.

“Children and arthritis” is not something we hear about because arthritis is thought to be an adult’s disease. Yet tragically, an estimated 294,000 children under age 18 have some form of arthritis or rheumatic condition. And this represents approximately 1 in every 250 children in the US.[1] Thus, we must be concerned and promote actions that protect the children.

Do we need to be even more concerned to protect the children in northern climes?

Also, the numbers of children with arthritis increase dramatically In Canada and the Northern U.S. This could be as a result of either vitamin D deficiency or sunlight deficiency or both. Since 90% of vitamin D blood levels are due to sunlight, it is likely that sun deprivation is the cause. So, if our desire is to protect the children, we must insist that they receive plenty of non-burning sun exposure. And in the winter, a vitamin-D producing sunlamp should be the first choice. When we use lamps to produce vitamin D, we also protect the children with other critically important photoproducts. Some of these photoproducts are endorphins, serotonin, nitric oxide brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), dopamine and endorphin. And all of these photoproducts are necessary for health. So, to help the children, we should be sure that they have ample sunshine or light for the aforementioned sun lamps.

Articles from the UK and scientific journals help us to protect the children.

An article from the Express, a UK online newspaper, describes research published in the scientific journal, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. They state, “Millions of people could protect themselves from crippling arthritis by getting a regular dose of sunshine.” And although the research involved women, we can easily extrapolate to children, since mothers to a great extent, determine their children’s habits.

To learn more about arthritis and the influence of sun exposure, read this article (and others) posted on Sunlight Institute. First of all, go to the news section and search “arthritis.” You will find numerous articles on the subject. Also, read the book, Embrace the Sun.

Remember to obtain regular sun exposure to protect yourself and to protect the children. Happy sunning!

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: arthritis-related statistics.

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Children’s diseases associated with sun deprivation. #6

Children’s diseases associated with sun deprivation. by Marc Sorenson, EdD

Children’s diseases that are associated with sun deprivation are legion. So, how do I know this? Because my last five blogs discussed this topic, and I’m a long way from finishing the theme.

To subject our children to sun deprivation is child abuse. It results in either lifelong or temporary children’s diseases.

So, the first of the children’s diseases discussed this week will be acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI). In addition, the second will be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ALRI are a leading cause of sickness and mortality both in children and adults worldwide. Furthermore, ALRI are not uniformly defined and this may hamper a true appreciation of their importance. Also, from an epidemiological point of view, the definition of acute lower respiratory infections includes other diseases. The most noteworthy of these diseases are acute bronchitis and bronchiolitis, influenza and pneumonia. The NCBI also states that acute respiratory infections, and particularly lower respiratory tract infections are deadly. Another fact is that these diseases are the leading cause of death among children under five years of age.  Especially relevant is that they are estimated to be responsible for between 1.9 million and 2.2 million childhood deaths globally.

Studies regarding children’s diseases indicate that sun exposure has protective effects, whether due to vitamin D production or another factor.

First of all, in one study, children placed outside in sunlight were less than half as likely to suffer ALRI. Another investigation on sunlight compared vitamin D levels and sun exposure habits in children with and without ALRI. And, there was virtually no difference in vitamin D levels between the sick and healthy groups. Yet, those children who had a higher percentage of the body exposed to sunlight were less likely to have ALRI. Therefore, this reinforces the fact that sun exposure has preventive effects beyond vitamin D for children’s diseases.

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is another of the disheartening children’s diseases.

ADHD is the most prevalent of mental disorders in children. And, it causes significant problems with executive functions (e.g. attentional control and inhibitory control). In addition, it causes attention deficits, hyperactivity, or impulsiveness not appropriate for a person’s age. Thus, it is certainly another of the important children’s diseases. Also, researchers have found that sun exposure correlates to a decreased risk of ADHD. The investigators assessed the relationship between ADHD prevalence and sun intensity in various nations and in US states. As a result, they found a close association between low sunlight intensity and the prevalence of ADHD. Another finding was that it explained 34%–57% of the variance in ADHD prevalence, with high sunlight intensity having a preventive effect.

It seems like the advice to deprive our children of sun exposure, in order to a prevent melanoma, is disastrous. Do we want to increase the chance of ALRI, ADHD or other children’s diseases we have already discussed? In conclusion, let’s love our children and be sure that they receive plenty of regular, non-burning sun exposure. And for more information, read the book, Embrace the Sun.

Happy sunning!

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