By Marc Sorenson, EdD Sunlight Institute…
Following up on the type-1 diabetes blog posted a short time ago, here is interesting information on the association between low sun exposure and type-1 diabetes:
Consider this: a child in Finland is about 400 times more likely than a child in Venezuela to acquire type-1, and across the globe, there is a marked geographic variation in incidence of the disease, with high latitude countries having the highest incidence and equatorial countries having the lowest incidence. Obviously, the difference in risk of type-one between Finland and Venezuela is due to the quantity of sunlight that exists between the two countries. Sun stimulates the skin to produce vitamin D, so it might be surmised that high vitamin D levels in Venezuela are responsible for the exponentially lower risk. I agree that high vitamin D is an important part of prevention of type-one diabetes. Nonetheless, I don’t believe vitamin D to be the only factor. A 400:1 ratio of disease risk (400 cases in Finland for each one in Venezuela) is far beyond what was accomplished in Vitamin D supplement research in Finland. We also know now, that vitamin D levels are very similar among countries throughout the world, averaging about 21 ng/ml. Therefore, it appears that sun exposure is exceptionally important, beyond its ability to stimulate the production of vitamin D.
Another consideration: high sun exposure has a far more beneficial effect on MS than vitamin D per se. Since both MS and type-1 diabetes are autoimmune diseases, it is likely that sun exposure has its own independent effects in preventing type-one diabetes, as it does with MS. Some of these effects may be due to nitric oxide, endorphins and serotonin, all of which are produced by the body when it is exposed to sunlight. It is becoming increasingly apparent that sunlight has remarkable protective influences on diabetes and many other diseases, independent of vitamin D.
Enjoy the sun, but do it safely.
 Dimitrios Papandreou, Pavlos Malindretos, Zacharoula Karabouta, and Israel Rousso. Possible Health Implications and Low Vitamin D Status during Childhood and Adolescence: An Updated Mini Review.
 Jennifer Hilger, Angelika Friedel, Raphael Herr, Tamara Rausch, Franz Roos, Denys A. Wahl, Dominique D. Pierroz, Peter Weber and Kristina Hoffmann. A systematic review of vitamin D status in populations worldwide. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jan 14;111(1):23-45.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute
Nearly all research shows a positive association between sunlight and bone strength. One of the most interesting of these studies measured heel-bone stiffness (a measurement of bone strength) and various lifestyle factors among Okinawan men with and without type-two diabetes.[i]
The research demonstrated that among the group with type-two diabetes, there were a significant negative correlation between cigarette smoking heel bone stiffness. That negative correlation also was evident with age. Other factors did not produce a significant correlation in the diabetic group; however, in the non-diabetic (control) group, a significant positive correlation was shown between heel-bone stiffness and two other factors: (1) sunlight exposure and (2) consumption of small fish. Of the two, sunlight exposure predicted greater bone strength.
It is probable that the vitamin D produced by sunlight exposure led to increased heel bone strength in the control group. It is also possible that lack of sunlight in the diabetic group may have been one of the predisposing factors that initially led to diabetes in the diabetic group, as it has been shown that vitamin D supplementation in pre-diabetic subjects predict a dramatically reduced risk of developing the full-blown disease.[ii] Sunlight exposure, of course, is the most natural way to produce vitamin D.
Keep your heels—and the rest or your bones—strong by obtaining plenty of non-burning sunlight!
[i] Michiko Gushiken, Ichiro Komiya, Shinichiro Ueda, Jun Kobayashi. Heel bone strength is related to lifestyle factors in Okinawan men with type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Diabetes Invest 2015; 6: 150–157
[ii] Pittas, A. et al. The effects of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on blood glucose and markers of inflammation in nondiabetic adults. Diabetes Care 2007;30:980-86.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute
There are few things that improve our wellbeing like arising early in the morning and walking outside on a bright, sunny day. Our attitude improves, our serotonin and endorphin levels increase and there is an almost immediate feeling of exhilaration. We also become less confrontational, and our minds seem to click on all cylinders. Later on, around midday, if we are fortunate enough to have time to safely sunbathe (with lots of skin exposed), we produce large quantities of vitamin D, and our nitric oxide levels increase. This gives us a delicious feeling of relaxation and an almost instantaneous lowering of blood pressure as the cares of the day melt away.
Hallelujah! At least some scientists in Australia are realizing that their sun-avoidance programs, probably the most draconian in the world, are causing health problems, particularly musculoskeletal disorders (bone, joint and muscle problems). According to this article, those maladies cause more disability than any other group of medical conditions and cost the Australian economy $9.15 billion per year.
The scientists are suggesting an increase in sun exposure; unfortunately, the amount of exposure they suggest is woefully inadequate to produce optimal health, but at least it is a step in the right direction. The scientists also state that ultraviolet radiation is the main risk factor for skin cancer. If they are talking about malignant melanoma, they are dead wrong. However, we must compliment them for suggesting regular sun exposure, a habit that could save millions of lives yearly.
Sunlight exposure has been shown to correlate to a reduced risk of numerous cancers, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but results with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) are mixed. The most recent research shows that there is an inverse correlation between HL and the highest vs. lowest lifetime, childhood and adulthood experience with the following three factors: sunlight exposure, sun-lamp exposure, and sunburn.  The pooled analysis showed an odds ratio of .56, or in other words, a 44% reduced risk of contracting the disease.
Two items particularly stand out in this research: (1) Sun-lamp use correlated to a reduced risk of the disease—a positive result for the much maligned tanning industry—and (2) sunburn also correlated to a reduced risk. Of course, no one would recommend sun-burning; it simply serves a surrogate measurement for a high degree of sunlight exposure. Sunlight exposure can easily be used in high quantities—without burning—by moving out of the sun when the skin begins to redden and then coming back later after the skin has adjusted and started to tan.
This research once again points out the efficacy of sunlight in reducing cancer. Don’t expect the American Academy of Dermatology to mention this vital information in their next newsletter!
 Monnereau A, Glaser SL, Schupp CW, Ekström Smedby K, de Sanjosé S, et al. Exposure to UV radiation and risk of Hodgkin lymphoma: a pooled analysis. Blood 2013;122(20):3492-9
An article on the ABC website poses the following question: “If sun exposure causes skin cancers, how is it that some skin cancers grow in body parts that never see the light of day?” It then follows up by listing several areas where skin cancers occur: “Between the toes, on the soles of the feet, even around the genitals … skin cancers can appear on body parts that rarely or never see the sun.”
They then quote the CEO from Cancer Council Australia, Professor Ian Oliver, who tells us that the sun’s ultraviolet light (UVR) is by far and away the major cause of skin cancers. If he is talking about melanoma, he is dead wrong. And if he is talking about common skin cancers, how many of those cancers are found in or on the aforementioned areas of the body? This is a misguided effort to “frighten the daylights out of the people to frighten them out of the daylight” as said Dr. Michael Holick, a great vitamin D researcher.
Let’s make it clear that this effort is aimed at melanoma, the deadly skin cancer that does indeed occur in areas that are seldom or never exposed to sunlight. To say that UVR (sun exposure) is far and away the major cause of skin cancer (melanoma) is simply untrue. Mr. Oliver is not a liar, but he has obviously not read the research. He is terribly misguided if he believes that sunlight is the causal factor in the disease. Let’s look at the facts:
Sunlight exposure dramatically decreased in the US during the 20th Century, and Melanoma increased by at least 30-fold during that time. Concomitantly, the percentage of outdoor workers, those most likely to be exposed to sunlight, decreased dramatically; for example, the outdoor occupation of farming decreased from 33% to 1.2% of total employment, a 96% reduction. Further information from the EPA determined that as of 1986, about 5 percent of adult men worked mostly outdoors, and that about 10 percent worked outside part of the time. The proportion of women who worked outside was thought to be lower. It becomes quite obvious that as sunlight exposure has profoundly decreased, the risk of melanoma has skyrocketed.
Furthermore, other research demonstrates that outdoor workers, while receiving 3-9 times the sunlight exposure as indoor workers, have had no increase in melanoma since 1940, whereas melanoma incidence in indoor workers has increased exponentially.  From that information, one could reasonably conclude that regular, outdoor sunlight exposure protects against melanoma. There are at least a dozen more studies in the professional literature that corroborate that those who live indoors have far more melanoma than those who live outdoors.
If sunlight exposure is the reason for the increase in melanoma, we would expect that areas of the body that receive the most exposure would also be the areas of greatest occurrence of the disease. Mr. Oliver believes that this is the case, but it is not. As to the distribution of melanomas in “unexpected” areas, the scientific literature points out that there are higher rates on the trunk (seldom exposed to sunlight) than on the head and arms (commonly exposed to sunlight). Others research demonstrates that melanomas in women occur primarily on the upper legs, and in men more frequently on the back—areas of little sunlight exposure. In African Americans, melanoma is more common on the soles of the feet and on the lower legs, where exposure to sunlight is almost non-existent. According to these facts, if there is a relationship between sunlight exposure and melanoma, the relationship is inverse—the greater the exposure, the less the risk of melanoma.
For more information on this subject, see my earlier blog: Exposing-sunlightmelanoma-fraud-part-1
My hope is that you will learn the facts presented here and become a good soldier in the battle to protect the Sun, our greatest friend.
 Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma.
 Ian D. Wyatt and Daniel E. Hecker. Occupational changes in the 20th century. Monthly Labor Review, March 2006 pp 35-57: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 Godar DE, Landry RJ, Lucas AD. Increased UVA exposures and decreased cutaneous Vitamin D3 levels may be responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. Med hypothesis (2009), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2008.09.056 –
 Godar D. UV doses worldwide. Photochem Photobiol 2005;81:736–49.
 Lee J. Melanoma and exposure to sunlight. Epidemiol Rev 1982;4:110–36.
Vågero D, Ringbäck G, Kiviranta H. Melanoma and other tumors of the skin among office, other indoor and outdoor workers in Sweden 1961–1979 Brit J Cancer 1986;53:507–12.
Kennedy C, Bajdik CD, Willemze R, De Gruijl FR, Bouwes Bavinck JN; Leiden Skin Cancer Study. The influence of painful sunburns and lifetime sun exposure on the risk of actinic keratoses, seborrheic warts, melanocytic nevi, atypical nevi, and skin cancer. Invest Dermatol 2003;120:1087–93.
Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67. Kaskel P, Sander S, Kron M, Kind P, Peter RU, Krähn G. Outdoor activities in childhood: a protective factor for cutaneous melanoma? Results of a case-control study in 271 matched pairs. Br J Dermatol 2001;145:602-09.
Garsaud P, Boisseau-Garsaud AM, Ossondo M, Azaloux H, Escanmant P, Le Mab G. Epidemiology of cutaneous melanoma in the French West Indies (Martinique). Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:66-8.
Le Marchand l, Saltzman S, Hankin JH, Wilkens LR, Franke SJM, Kolonel N. Sun exposure, diet and melanoma in Hawaii Caucasians. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:232-45.
Armstong K, Kricker A. The epidemiology of UV induced skin cancer. J Photochem Biol 2001;63:8-18
Crombie IK. Distribution of malignant melanoma on the body surface. Br J Cancer 1981;43:842-9.
Crombie IK. Variation of melanoma incidence with latitude in North America and Europe. Br J Cancer 1979;40:774-81.
Weinstock MA, Colditz,BA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. Bronstein, BR, Speizer FE. Nonfamilial cutaneous melanoma incidence in women associated with sun exposure before 20 years of age. Pediatrics 1989;84:199-204.
Tucker MA, Goldstein AM. Melanoma etiology: where are we? Oncogene 20f03;22:3042-52.
Berwick M, Armstrong BK, Ben-Porat L, Fine J, Kricker A, Eberle C. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Nat Cancer Inst 2005;97:95-199.
Veierød MB, Weiderpass E, Thörn M, Hansson J, Lund E, Armstrong B. A prospective study of pigmentation, sun exposure, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1530-8.
Oliveria SA, Saraiya M, Geller AC, Heneghan MK, Jorgensen C. Sun exposure and risk of melanoma. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:131-8.
Elwood JM, Gallagher RP, Hill GB, Pearson JCG. Cutaneous melanoma in relation to intermittent and constant sun exposure—the western Canada melanoma study. Int J Cancer 2006;35:427-33
 Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.
 Rivers, J. Is there more than one road to melanoma? Lancet 2004;363:728-30.
 Crombie, I. Racial differences in melanoma incidence. Br J Cancer 1979;40:185-93.
The evidence has been mounting for some time that sunlight exposure can halt osteoporosis in its tracks. For example, an investigation from Spain in 2008 concluded that women who actively participated in sun exposure had one-eleventh the chance of a hip fracture as those who stayed indoors. There is no bone drug that can create such dramatic results, and neither has vitamin D supplementation been able to create such results, although vitamin D was doubtlessly a major factor in the results of the Spanish research.
The beauty of sunlight exposure is the fact that it is irrefutably capable of reversing osteoporosis. A study from Japan furnishes the proof: Over twelve months, 129 elderly, hospitalized women were exposed to regular sunlight and another 129 stayed received no sunlight. The results were impressive. In these sedentary women, the sunlight group increased bone mass by an average 3.1%; in the non-sunlight-exposed group, it decreased by 3.3%. More importantly, the women who had the benefit of sunlight had only one bone fracture in their group. The sunlight-deprived group had six fractures! Sunlight reversed osteoporosis. Vitamin D produced by the skin in response to sunlight likely played a large role in the reversal; blood levels increased by nearly 400% during the year. Nevertheless, the women remained vitamin D deficient, reaching levels of about 19 ng/ml. This may mean that something beyond vitamin D production—perhaps another photoproduct produced by the skin in response to sunlight—made a difference. Certainly, no study using vitamin D supplements alone has produced such results.
The aforementioned studies conclusively demonstrate that sunlight is the key to strong, healthy bones; nevertheless, corroborating information continues to emerge. Recently published research from Sweden showed the results of an investigation regarding the correlations among fracture rates, latitude and UV radiation (the light spectrums of sunlight that stimulate the skin to produce vitamin D and other photoproducts such as nitric oxide, endorphins, etc.). The higher the latitude, the lower is the exposure to UV radiation. The investigators showed that there were statistically significant correlations between hip-fracture rates and latitude as well as UV radiation in Sweden. Obviously, this is another instance of sunlight exposure preventing osteoporosis and fracture.
Osteoporosis, like many other degenerative diseases, is an absolutely unnecessary malady. Plenty of sunshine and a healthful nutrition program can prevent and even reverse these illnesses.
 Larrosa, M. Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture. Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.
 Sato, Y. Metoki N, Iwamoto J, Satoh K. Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in stroke patients. Neurology 2003;61:338-42.)
 Nilson F, Moniruzzaman S, Andersson R. A comparison of hip fracture incidence rates among elderly in Sweden by latitude and sunlight exposure. Scand J Public Health. 2013 Nov 21. [Epub ahead of print].
A recent research paper from the Netherlands states that a shift from daily exposure to the sun to an intermittent exposure has correlated to an increase in skin cancer, and it suggests that moderate, frequent exposure is the best advice for people living in that country. The researchers also state that frequent exposure is a protective factor against colorectal, cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as multiple sclerosis and metabolic syndrome.
Interestingly, the paper mentions that the circadian rhythm is affected by light. It postulates that too low levels of light in the daytime and too high levels of light in the evening and at night can weaken and disrupt that rhythm, which could be a risk factor for some types of cancer and for metabolic syndrome. Such ideas have been studied previously, and have indicated that disruption of the circadian rhythm due to night-shift work may lead to increased breast-and/or-colorectal cancer risk in women. 
Whatever the reason, which could also be related to vitamin D production among those who are regularly exposed to sunlight, the evidence for the health benefits of safe sunlight becomes clearer by the day. I opine that millions of lives could be saved yearly by regular, non-burning sun exposure for the entire population.
 van der Rhee HJ, Coomans CP, van de Velde P, Coebergh JW, de Vries E. [Illness, health and sunlight]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2013;157(46)
 Davis S, Mirick DK. Circadian disruption, shift work and the risk of cancer: a summary of the evidence and studies in Seattle. Cancer Causes Control 2006;17:539-45.
 Reparto di Chirurgia Generale A/D, Policlinico Sant’Andrea, Sapienza Università di Roma. [Night work as a possible risk factor for breast cancer in nurses. Correlation between the onset of tumors and alterations in blood melatonin levels]. Prof Inferm. 2007;60:89-93.
The results of the investigation were recently published in the International Journal of Cancer, and demonstrated that regular sunlight exposure was not associated with either overall melanoma risk or risk at different body sites. To the contrary, the highest sunlight exposure predicted a 44% decreased risk of melanoma on the head and neck when compared to the lowest exposure.
In addition, when sunlight exposure to the upper limbs was assessed, the highest exposure was associated with a decreased risk of melanoma of 34%. The authors stated, “Our results suggest that occupational sun exposure does not increase risk of melanoma, even of melanomas situated on the head and neck.”
Stated another way, the authors might have suggested that sunlight exposure protects against the risk of contracting melanoma. In reading this research, I was reminded of a statement by Dr. Frank Garland during his presentation at a vitamin D conference I attended several years ago. He said, “melanoma is a disease of sedentary, indoor office workers.” He was absolutely correct.
Those who have bought the propaganda of the American Academy of Dermatology may consider this information quite surprising, but in reality it is just one more in a long line of scientific investigations pointing out several reasons that melanoma is not caused by sunlight exposure: (1) Most melanomas occur on areas of the body that are seldom exposed to sunlight. (2) As sunscreen use has increased, melanoma has also increased. (3) Outdoor workers have far less risk of melanoma than indoor workers. (4) As the populace has left outdoor work and moved indoors, profoundly reducing sunlight exposure, melanoma has increased exponentially.
For those interested in reading further regarding these statements and also searching the references, they are contained on previous posts on this site. In the meantime, let’s take advantage of some non-burning sun exposure to protect ourselves against melanoma.
I’m grateful to the scientists from Australia who brought forth this information. Truth will ultimately prevail.
 Vuong K, McGeechan K, Armstrong BK; AMFS Investigators; GEM Investigators, Cust AE. Occupational sun exposure and risk of melanoma according to anatomical site. Int J Cancer 2013 Nov 13 [Epub ahead of print].