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:
- 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.
- 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.
For more information, read the book, Embrace the Sun.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute
After coming across some research having to do with sun exposure and the seasonality of fractures, I thought it wise to share it with my readers.
In high latitude areas, which have far less sun availability than lower latitude areas, we would expect rates of hip fracture to be high, and such is the case. Sweden is a country that has large differences in latitude, and in research performed there it was shown that the higher the latitude and the lesser the sun exposure, the greater was the risk of hip fracture. In other words, significantly more hip fractures occurred in the northern part of the country compared to the middle and southern parts. Another Swedish investigation demonstrated that in men, hip fracture risk was 37.5% lower in summer than winter. Women had a 23.5% reduced risk in summer.
Research from Norway showed similar results. Hip fracture risk in men was 40% higher in winter than summer, and in women the risk was 25% higher.These fluctuations in seasonal hip fractures indicate a loss of bone mass during periods of low sun exposure (winter) and an increase in bone mass during periods of high sun exposure (summer). In other words, sun exposure is able to reverse bone loss, or osteoporosis. Other studies show similar patterns of bone strength based on sun exposure or lack thereof.
The importance of sunlight in maintaining and producing strong bones has been known since antiquity. Dr. Richard Hobday, author of The Healing Sun, writes the following comments and a history in an online article. “Traditionally, sunlight deprivation has been linked with weak or brittle bones. One of the earliest references to this was made more than two thousand years ago by the Greek historian Herodotus (480-425 BC), who noted a marked difference between the remains of the Egyptian and Persian casualties at the site of battle of Pelusium which took place in 525 BC:
‘At the place where this battle was fought I saw a very odd thing, which the natives had told me about. The bones still lay there, those of the Persian dead separate from those of the Egyptian, just as they were originally divided, and I noticed that the skulls of the Persians were so thin that the merest touch with a pebble will pierce them, but those of the Egyptians, on the other hand, are so tough that it is hardly possible to break them with a blow from a stone. I was told, very credibly, that the reason was that the Egyptians shave their heads from childhood, so that the bone of the skull is indurated by the action of the sun — this is why they hardly ever go bald, baldness being rarer in Egypt than anywhere else. This, then, explains the thickness of their skulls; and the thinness of the Persian’s skulls rests upon a similar principle: namely that they have always worn felt skull-caps, to guard their heads from the sun.’ Herodotus, ‘The Histories’”
The message is this: Don’t hide yourself from the sun; rather, embrace it in a safe manner, and that will protect your bones.
 Nilson F, Moniruzzaman S, Andersson R. A comparison of hip fracture incidence rates among elderly in Sweden by latitude and sun exposure. Scand J Public Health. 2014 Mar;42(2):201-6.
 Odén A, Kanis JA, McCloskey EV, Johansson H. The effect of latitude on the risk and seasonal variation in hip fracture in Sweden. J Bone Miner Res. 2014 Oct;29(10):2217-23.
 Solbakken SM1, Magnus JH, Meyer HE, Emaus N, Tell GS, Holvik K, Grimnes G, Forsmo S, Schei B, Søgaard AJ, Omsland TK.
 Grønskag AB1, Forsmo S, Romundstad P, Langhammer A, Schei B. Incidence and seasonal variation in hip fracture incidence among elderly women in Norway. The HUNT Study. Bone. 2010 May;46(5):1294-8.
 Richard Hobday. The Healing sun: Sunlight, Brittle Bones, and Osteoporosis. http://sunlightenment.com/the-healing-sun-sunlight-brittle-bones-and-osteoporosis/. (accessed February 5, 2016)