Tag Archives: dental caries

Sunlight and health for all

Protect our children with sunlight. Part 3

Protect our children with sunlight. By Marc Sorenson, Ed.D

Protect our children and we save the world.

And, we can’t protect our children unless we provide them with sufficient sunlight. This is part three of a series concerned with protecting our children from sun deprivation and the Powers of Darkness. Consequently, we have already covered the dangers of sun deprivation on the childhood diseases of melanoma, myopia, asthma, and AIDS. So, please read the previous two blogs on http://sunlightinstitute.org/ and let’s keep the anti-sun demons at bay!

Protect our children with sunlight and reduce the risk of acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI).

First of all, the definition of ALRI usually includes acute bronchitis and bronchiolitis, influenza and pneumonia. ALRI is a leading cause of sickness and mortality both in children and adults worldwide.[1] According to the World Health Organization, 20% of all deaths in children 5 years old or younger are due to ALRI,[2] and several studies indicate that sun exposure has a protective effect against the disease.

How well does sunlight protect our children from ALRI?

So, in one piece of research, children who were placed outside in the sun, uncovered, were less than half as likely to suffer ALRI. Also, those who had the lowest levels of vitamin D were ten times more likely to contract this infection than those with the highest levels. Therefore, we can obviously protect our children from ALRI with the sun. So there is no sane reason to deprive our children of sunlight. Also, an investigation compared the vitamin D levels and sun exposure habits in children with and without ALRI.  In conclusion, 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. This reinforces the fact that sun exposure has many healing effects beyond its ability to stimulate the production of vitamin D.

Can sunlight help protect our children from dental cavities?

It seems like the answer is yes. One finding showed a direct correlation between hours of available sun per year and the number of dental caries (cavities) in Caucasian boys 12 to 14 years of age: And in geographic areas with less than 2,200 hours of available sunlight, there were, on average, 486 cavities per-year in each group of 100 boys.

In areas where there were 3,000 hours of sunlight, there were only 290 cavities per year per hundred boys. The frequency of cavities was also higher in winter than in summer months.[3] This indicates that sunlight played a big part in reducing cavities.

As a result of this information, we build on the truth that children’s optimal health suffers when they have insufficient sunlight. For more information, read the new book, Embrace the Sun.

Happy sunning!

[1] http://www.erswhitebook.org/chapters/acute-lower-respiratory-infections.

[2] WHO statistics. Accessed 8, 2010. http://www.who.int/fch/depts/cah/resp_infections/en/

[3] McBeath, E. The role of vitamin D in control of dental caries in children. J Nutr 1938;15:547.

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Understanding Proper Circadian Rhythms and the Critical Importance of Light in maintaining them.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Sunlight, through regulation of the proper circadian rhythms, influences the health of nearly the entire the human body.

Circadian rhythms are variations in physiology and behavior that persist 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 achieved through regular exposure to light and darkness.[i] This is also known as “resetting the biological clock.”

Circadian rhythms include sleeping and waking in animals, flower closing and opening in angiosperms, and tissue growth and differentiation in fungi.[ii] There are other factors besides light and darkness that have an influence on either synchronization or desynchronization of the clock, but they play a small part. For the purpose of this book, we will consider the influence of light in maintaining proper circadian rhythms, and by so doing, enhance human health.  Researchers have stated that “Mammalian circadian rhythms form an integral physiological system allowing for the synchronization of all metabolic processes [emphasis mine] to daily light/dark cycles, thereby optimizing their efficacy.”[iii] Anything that has a profound effect on all metabolic processes is obviously important to the proper functioning of the human organism.

When circadian rhythms are disrupted (or de-synchronized), it upsets the physiology of the human body. People who take long flights across many time zones often feel “out of sorts” and many have a difficult time in adjusting to time zones to which they are not accustomed. We call this “jet lag,” and it is a common manifestation of a desynchronized rhythm. Another is night-shift work. When the body is expecting bright light and instead is exposed to dimness or darkness, its attempts to resynchronize can cause cloudy thinking, fatigue, and even more destructive damage to the psyche and physiology.

There are innumerable research papers that demonstrate the health detriments of a desynchronized circadian rhythm. For example, research on rats shows that desynchronization leads to premature cellular aging,[iv] as measured by telomere length (a DNA marker for life span); the shorter the telomeres, the shorter the life span. Young rats that were “jet-lagged” had aging characteristics of middle-aged rats.

It also appears that circadian disruptions change the structure of important proteins that play a protective role in cancer, thereby increasing the risk of breast cancer.[v] Other research has demonstrated that disruption of circadian rhythms may lead to a profound increase in the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and other cancers;[vi] [vii] even the risk of poor dental hygiene and dental caries may be increased by desynchronized circadian rhythms.[viii]

One might ask why I am making such an emphasis on circadian rhythms. Here is the answer: Sunlight can, and should, reset the circadian clock daily; it is the timing cue, also called a zeitgeber, which entrains the physiologies of humans and thereby helps to prevent critical illness.[ix] [x]

This is another positive benefit of sunlight that occurs apart from vitamin D production.

[i] Duffy J, Cziesler C, Effect of Light on Human Circadian Physiology. Sleep Med Clin. 2009 June; 4(2): 165–177.

[ii] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/circadian%20rhythm?s=t

[iii] Mitchell MI, Engelbrecht AM. Circadian Rhythms and Breast Cancer: The Role of Per2 in Doxorubicin-Induced Cell Death. J Toxicol. 2015;2015:392360.

[iv] Grosbellet E, Zahn S, Arrivé M, Dumont S, Gourmelen S, Pévet P, Challet E, Criscuolo F. Circadian desynchronization triggers premature cellular aging in a diurnal rodent. FASEB J. 2015 Aug 10. pii: fj.14-266817. [Epub ahead of print]

[v] Mitchell MI, Engelbrecht AM. Circadian Rhythms and Breast Cancer: The Role of Per2 in Doxorubicin-Induced Cell Death. J Toxicol. 2015;2015:392360.

[vi] Vignesh Shanmugam, Amro Wafi, Nawaf Al-Taweel and Dietrich Büsselberg. Disruptions of circadian rhythm

Increase the risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.  Journal of Local and Global Health Science, 2013:3.

[vii] Bratsun DA, Merkuriev DV, Zakharov AP, Pismen LM. Multiscale modeling of tumor growth induced by circadian rhythm disruption in epithelial tissue. J Biol Phys. 2015 Aug 21. [Epub ahead of print]

[viii] Lundgren AM, Öhrn K, Jönsson B. Do adolescents who are night owls have a higher risk of dental caries? – a case-control study. Int J Dent Hyg. 2015 Jul 22. doi: 10.1111/idh.12165. [Epub ahead of print]

[ix] Remi J. Humans Entrain to Sunlight – Impact of Social Jet Lag on Disease and Implications for Critical Illness. Curr Pharm Des. 2015;21(24):3431-7.

[x] Hasegawa Y, Arita M. Circadian clocks optimally adapt to sunlight for reliable synchronization. J R Soc Interface. 2013 Dec 18;11(92):20131018

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