The people of Dubai have one of the highest bone disease risks in the world; about 1/4 of the population has bone disease. Lack of sunlight exposure due to obvious cultural habits cause reduced vitamin D levels, resulting in an incredibly high risk of osteoporosis. There needs to be some serious thinking in the medical community there to find methods of optimizing vitamin D levels.
This article is one of several now indicating that children develop nearsightedness when they do not play outdoors. What could be more natural than safely participating in sunny activities? Could it save the sight of our children?
Recent research from England suggests that the amount of sunlight available to your pregnant mother in the month of your birth may have a profound influence on the direction of your life. The message here is to optimize the vitamin D blood levels during pregnancy.
Boro Petric makes that case that we shouldn’t “throw the baby out with the bath water” while worrying about skin cancer. I agree. Excessive baking in the sunlight, or burning in the sun, can be damaging. However, without the vitamin D and other metabolites received from sunlight, we can crumble and die form numerous diseases.
Did you know that by getting adequate exposure to sunshine health levels actually increase? It’s true. Of course, you wouldn’t learn this truth by reading most news reports. Media reports have practically vilified sunlight exposure. It is true that excessive exposure to sunlight, just like excessive levels of just about anything, is bad for your health.
We cannot afford to throw out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to gleaning the health benefits of proper exposure to sunlight. Our bodies need to soak up sunshine to be truly healthy. In fact, there are vital processes that are slowed or stopped altogether when people avoid going out into the sunshine.
How Does Sunshine Improve Health?
The human body needs to interact with sunshine in order to process and properly utilize Vitamin D. Vitamin D has many benefits, but one of the most important is its role in the mineralization and strengthening of bones. Without regular exposure to sunlight this essential vitamin will be unavailable to your body. Brittle bone diseases and serious bone injuries happen when bones lack strength.
It’s not just bones that benefit from a regular regiment of sunshine exposure. Routine exposure to sunshine also helps your body to maintain healthy nerves, blood rich in iron and more powerful muscles.
In cultures where the people are not afraid of regular exposures to sunshine, health levels seem to increase. People who live in North America and Europe suffer the most from lack of exposure to the sun. Millions of people in these countries suffer from a variety of health issues that could be averted altogether by taking time for regular sun exposure to the skin.
Experts estimate that as little as 10 to 15 minutes in the sun each day can dramatically reduce many serious health issues. There simply aren’t many things that can have such a dramatic impact on your health that are so simple to do. Not only is it easy to get regular sunlight exposure, it’s also free. Imagine that; something you can do every day to live a healthier life, that won’t cost you a penny.
What’s the Fuss about Skin Cancer?
In order for more people to take advantage of the power of sunshine health benefits, reeducation about sunlight exposure seems to be necessary. As was previously mentioned, the epidemic of skin cancer has caused a backlash against spending any time at all in the sun. Of course, skin cancer is a very serious condition, but it is usually caused by failing to protect the skin and inordinate amounts of time spent on tanning and other outdoor activities. True health is all about balance. If you eat too much health problems will occur. In a similar manner, spending huge chunks of your time tanning in the sunlight will also cause significant health problems, like skin cancer.
Simply put, your body will never be in a state of true health without regular time spent in the sunlight. Sunshine health benefits are available to everyone under the sun. This huge asset is free and people need to know just how important it is for living a healthier life.
By Gerald W. Deas, M.D.
St. Francis of Assisi wrote a wonderful poem called, “Hymn Of The Sun.”
A verse relating to the sun states:
Be thou praised, Oh Lord, for all thy creation,
Most especially for our brother the sun,
Who bringeth forth the day and givest light therby,
For he is glorious and splendid in his radiance,
And to thee, most high, he bears similitude.
The sun has played a major role in man’s attitude and disposition. This magnificent shining star, called the sun, has been used in many songs that seem to bring on happiness. For example, I’m sure you have heard the song, “You Are My Sunshine.” It states definitely that it makes us happy when skies are gray. It ends by saying, “Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
Another song that I heard my mother sing while taking care of her household duties was, “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” which states:
Get your hat and get your coat,
Leave your worries on the doorstep,
Life can be so sweet,
On the sunny side of the street.
It is interesting that all songs with the word sun become memorable songs and seemingly last forever. Again, brother sun is a major factor in our happiness and chases away the blues.
Right in the center of our brain is a small gland known as the pineal body. It produces a hormone called melatonin, which is a building block to another chemical called serotonin, which has a great effect upon our behavior. Melatonin when produced in large quantities causes lethargy, tiredness, listlessness and depression. It seems that when the body is exposed to sunshine, the production of melatonin is greatly decreased, thus, we become happier and more energized. That is why all of us should seek some sunshine daily. In fact, patients who are homebound or even bedridden in hospitals should be exposed to sunlight. The sun that comes through glass windows however, has no effect upon the pineal gland. It is suggested that persons who cannot avail themselves of the sun should be exposed to a light fixture known as the sun box which gives off the same wave lengths as the sun.
Some people get the blues in wintertime when there is less sunlight. This is called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Often, they may have to be referred to a psychologist for depression. I would strongly suggest that the depression could be treated partially with exposure to brother sun.
Sunlight penetrating the skin also activates the production of vitamin D3, which is produced from cholesterol. Cholesterol is a key in the production of estrogen, testosterone and many other hormones. I’m sure you can see again that brother sun is truly your brother for good health.
The darker races contain melanin in their skin, which prevents the penetration of the sun that causes a deficiency in vitamin D3. This vitamin has now been associated with many conditions such as, colon, prostate and breast cancers. It is suggested that races, which have heavy pigmentation of the skin should obtain a level of vitamin D3 in their blood.
Just remember, sisters and brothers, our forefathers were not too off tract when they worshipped the sun given to us so freely by our creator.
For great health tips and access to an online community of physicians and other healthcare professionals, visit DrDeas.com.
This is part of the July 6, 2011 online edition of Frost Illustrated.
Region of birth was also related to risk, with prevalence of multiple sclerosis highest in Tasmania and lowest in Queensland, suggesting exposure to sunlight during childhood and early adulthood may also be important.
Sunlight exposure levels during early pregnancy were reflected in a month of birth pattern, with Australian children born in November and December having a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis than those born in May and June. This is consistent with previous research that found a reciprocal pattern in the northern hemisphere, where there were more cases of multiple sclerosis in people born in May and fewer in those born in November.
Study co-author Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby said the findings indicated a need to review guidelines for vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and childhood to help prevent multiple sclerosis.
“Low vitamin D levels can affect the development of the central nervous system or immune system,” Professor Ponsonby, of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, said.
“The higher risk of multiple sclerosis for people born in November and December is consistent with these infants having experienced lower levels of ultraviolet radiation during the first trimester.”
The study gathered data on the birth month, sex and region of birth of 1524 multiple sclerosis patients born in Australia between 1920 and 1950.
No association was found between daily ultraviolet radiation levels at the time of birth or in late pregnancy, and subsequent risk of multiple sclerosis. However, maternal exposure to low ultraviolet radiation levels during the first four months of pregnancy predicted a higher risk of multiple sclerosis. This effect persisted after adjustment for region of birth and appeared more important than the month of birth.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that affects an estimated 18,000 people in Australia.
Those who would frighten us away from the sun continue to propagandize that sunlight causes cancer. They sometimes have the decency to say “melanoma” rather than lump all cancers together, but they are dead wrong on that front also; most major cancers, including melanoma, are dramatically reduced by regular sunlight exposure (for references, see the cancer section in my book). There have been so many papers written on the protective effects of sunlight and vitamin D on cancer, that most of the newer papers serve primarily as reinforcement for what is already known. A recent study from Ontario, Canada is a case in point. The researchers determined the amount of time spent outdoors by 3,101 women with breast cancer and compared them with 3,471 women who were cancer-free. The ages of the women was also compared to the risk of cancer to determine the differences in breast-cancer risk during different periods of life. High sunlight exposure was considered to be greater than 21 hours outdoors per week; low exposure was considered to be six hours per week or less.
Among teenagers, high sunlight exposure correlated to reduced risk of breast cancer of 29% compared to those who had the lowest exposure; among those in their 20s and 30s, high sunlight exposure correlated to a reduced risk of 36%; among those in their 40s and 50s, a 26% reduced risk; and among those in their 60s and 70s, a 50% reduced risk.
Other researchers have made similar observations. One group demonstrated that girls who had the greatest exposure to sunlight during the ages of 10-19 had a 35% decreased risk of breast cancer as adults when compared to those who had the least exposure.
And what about prostate cancer? It has been established that men who are in the lowest forth of sunlight exposure have three times the risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those in the highest forth. And young boys who are exposed to lots of sunshine have only about one-fifth the risk of contracting prostate cancer—as adults—when compared to those who have had little sun exposure.
So, are the dermatologists doing us a favor by frightening us away from the sun? You may make your own conclusions. Just remember to avoid burning if you choose to enjoy the health benefits of your solar friend.
 Anderson LN, Cotterchio M, Kirsh VA, Knight JA. Ultraviolet Sunlight Exposure During Adolescence and Adulthood and Breast Cancer Risk: A Population-based Case-Control Study Among Ontario Women. Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun 9. [Epub ahead of print]
 Knight J. et al. Vitamin D and reduced risk of breast cancer: a population-based case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2007;16:422-29.
 Moon, S. et al. Ultraviolet radiation: effects on risks of prostate and other internal cancers. Mutat Res 2005; 571:207–219.
 Luscombe, C. et al. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation: association with susceptibility and age at presentation with prostate cancer. Lancet 2001;358:641–42.
Well THIS is refreshing…
After years of warning against the dangers of sunlight, at least one mainstream researcher has caught up to reality.
He’s Angus Dalgleish, M.D., a medical oncologist and professor at St. George’s University of London. For most of his life he’s always avoided sunlight, covering up whenever he was outside and using plenty of sunblock.
As a “fair-haired Scot” (his own description), he always feared that too much sun might result in melanoma — the deadly form of skin cancer.
But his thinking began to change about 15 years ago. As part of a research team that tested vitamin D to treat breast cancer, he found that D could speed up the death of tumor cells and target tumors in many other ways.
Jump ahead a few years and Dr. Dalgleish was shocked when he started testing his cancer patients’ D levels. He expected 30 percent would be deficient. But his discovery that the percentage was closer to 90 “changed everything for me.”
Writing in a recent edition of the Daily Mail, he says he now believes that avoiding sun exposure increases rather than reduces skin cancer risk.
Welcome to the light side, Dr. Dalgleish. We have room for your colleagues, too.
“Yes! A dose of sun CAN protect you against skin cancer” Professor Angus Dalgleish, Daily Mail, 5/24/11, dailymail.co.uk
By Kiyan Rajabi–
A new study in Australia suggests that obtaining Vitamin D through sun exposure may help prevent the onset of multiple sclerosis as well as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), which currently afflicts roughly 2.5 million people worldwide, is an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord and causes damage to the protective layer surrounding an individual’s nerve cells. As a consequence, the brain becomes less effective at communicating with the body as nerve impulses are slowed or, in severe cases, stopped entirely. Although very little is known about what causes MS, medical professionals believe environmental precursors, genetics, a virus or a combination of all three are factors in the onset of the disease.
In a recent study led by the University of Oxford, scientists monitored the vitamin D receptor binding sites in humans and observed a connection between the lipid-soluble vitamin and the activity of 229 genes. In explaining the significance of this finding, lead researcher Dr. Andreas Heger said, “Our study shows quite dramatically the wide-ranging influence that vitamin D exerts over our health.”
Similar studies in Scotland have correlated the country’s dreary weather with disease incidence as well as the population’s general vitamin D deficiency. One study by writer and scientist Oliver Gillie revealed that, on average, Scottish people were twice as likely to be vitamin D-deficient, and had vitamin D levels four times lower than those of their English neighbors, who receive approximately 400 more hours a year of sunlight than the Scottish. Accordingly, Scotland also ranks one of the highest countries in reported cases of MS. These findings have prompted a number of campaigns countrywide to encourage and educate citizens on the benefits of receiving adequate vitamin D.
The evidence linking vitamin D obtained through sun exposure and general health, including the prevention of MS, is so compelling that many scientists are claiming it is one of the most, if not the most, important nutrients for humans.
According to UCSB molecular, cellular and developmental biology professor Seng Hui Low, “The evidence is quite compelling that vitamin D could prevent multiple sclerosis or even prevent relapses in patients.”
While tanning salons may seem like a viable source for the fat-soluble vitamin in areas other than sunny Santa Barbara, they may actually be counterproductive for those trying to get healthier because of the beds’ other associated health risks.
“It is not advisable to frequently visit tanning salons as an effort to increase vitamin D synthesis because of the risk of skin cancer,” Low said.
Although the studies do not necessarily prove that sufficient vitamin D eliminates the risk of developing MS, medical practitioners will likely begin to prescribe it as a preventative measure to reduce the incidence of MS in light of the recent findings.
For all of those interested in skipping lecture for the beach to reap all the health-promoting benefits, here is some cautionary information: The body only needs five to 15 minutes to promote the internal vitamin D production needed daily. Consequently, sunbathing for longer is not necessarily advantageous, especially for fair-skinned people. Still, my fellow Gauchos, summer is just around the corner and I encourage you all to get outside, get your vitamins and look good doing it.