Tag Archives: vitamin d

The Evil Men Do. Is it Due to Vitamin D Deficiency, Sunlight Deficiency, or both?

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

One of the more interesting articles to appear lately is a hypothesis regarding the “good guys vs. the bad guys” in fantasy literature.  What makes it unique is that the hypothesis was published in a major medical journal, The Medical Journal of Australia.[1]The researchers did an interesting analysis of the characters’ personalities and living patterns, especially the quantity of sunlight exposure, and then predicted the mythical vitamin D levels of the good, the bad and the ugly. The vitamin D scale ran from 0-4, with 0, of course, being the lowest level and 4 the highest.

The authors noted that the good (and victorious) characters had mean vitamin D levels of only 3.4, whereas the evil (and defeated) characters had mean D levels of only 0.2, or in other words, the vitamin D levels were 17 times higher in the good guys. When assessing lifestyle habits, the authors note that “sun avoidance is a recurring theme among the evil characters.” It is also interesting to note that the greatest and strongest of the “good-guy” warriors is a character called Beorn: he is also a vegetarian. The good guys enjoy sunlight exposure, whereas the evildoers shun it, even going so far as to have a cloud of bats shade them while they do battle.

Unfortunately, the authors give credit to the vitamin D levels only and totally ignore the greater likelihood that vitamin D levels play only a miniscule part. Sunlight exposure stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain,[2] which elevates mood, as do endorphins—also stimulated by sunlight.[3] Neither of these products have anything to do with vitamin D. As long as we are talking fantasy, I opine that it is sunlight per se, and not vitamin D, that makes the underground dwellers evil. Vitamin D is a wonderful hormone produced by exposure of the skin to the UVB portion of sunlight, but the real lifting of the mood is cause by other attributes of the sun.

All of this reminds me of a statement made by a past president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), Dr. Wilma Bloomberg, who said, “In some vision as I grow older I see us moving to more shelters and perhaps underground living because of these hazards (meaning sunlight).”[4] I have always referred to the AAD as the Powers of Darkness, and this research, along with the Dr. Bloomberg’s statement, prove that the moniker is well-deserved. It is no wonder that dermatologists have the lowest levels of vitamin D of any profession,[5] and with their lack of sunlight caused by living in caves, they could probably play the part of the evil characters in the next edition of The Hobbit. Sunshine and happiness go together. Embrace the sunshine, but don’t burn. Regular, non-burning sunlight exposure will dramatically improve both your physical and mental health.


[1] Joseph A Hopkinson and Nicholas S Hopkinson. The Hobbit — an unexpected deficiency. Med J Aust 2013; 199 (11): 805-806.

[2] Lambert GW, Reid C, Kaye DM, et al. Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. The Lancet. 2002;360:1840-1842

[3] Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan. Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production. Dermato-Endocrinology 2012;4(2):109–117

[4] Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, then-president of the American Academy of Dermatology at Derm Update, the AAD’s 1996 annual media day, Nov. 13, 1996.

[5] Czarnecki D et al. The vitamin D status of Australian dermatologists. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 34; 624-25.

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Was Lack of Sunlight Responsible for Anderson Silva’s Terrible Leg Fracture?

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

Anderson Silva, probably the best UFC fighter in history, suffered a horrible career-ending lower-leg fracture in his latest fight. As he executed a simple kick to the knee of his opponent, his lower leg shattered. Obviously, his bones were fragile. Mike Adams, AKA the Health Ranger, posits that the injury was likely due to low vitamin D levels.[i] Anderson Silva is dark-skinned, and most training for UFC is done indoors, so I would agree with Mike Adams’ assessment. Even when out in the sunlight, dark skin can take up to 6 times as long as white skin to produce the same quantity of vitamin D.[ii] Therefore, dark athletes who train indoors would be even more likely to have weaker bones.

Several studies have shown the efficacy of vitamin D in reducing fractures of various kinds. Stress fractures caused by physical training among military recruits is 3.6 times higher in those whose vitamin D levels are low compared to those whose levels are in “normal” ranges.[iii] Women in Spain who are continually seeking the sun have about one-eleventh the risk of hip fractures as those who have little sunlight exposure.[iv] It has also been proved several times by a Japanese physician, Dr. Sato that sunlight exposure can halt brittle bones and profoundly reduce the risk of hip fracture in women who already suffer from osteoporosis.[v]

Sunlight is necessary for stimulating the production of vitamin D in the skin, and vitamin D is absolutely essential for the absorption of calcium in the gut and for the maintenance of calcium stores in the bones to prevent bone diseases. One investigation showed that when serum levels of vitamin D increased from an average of 20 ng/ml to 34.6 ng/ml, calcium absorption increased by 65%, and the risk of hip, wrist, forearm or vertebral fracture was reduced by 33%.[vi] My opinion is that vitamin D levels should be between 60 and 70 ng/ml. Had that level been achieved in the subjects, it is likely that fractures risk would have been decreased more impressively.

We don’t know what Anderson’s serum levels of vitamin are, but he should find out. If they are low, he may be able to heal his injuries much faster by doing a lot of sunbathing.

[ii] Harris SS, Dawson-Hughes B. Seasonal changes in plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of young American black and white women. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;67:1232-36

[iii] Ruohola JP, Laaksi I, Ylikomi T, Haataja R, Mattila VM, Sahi T, Tuohimaa P, Pihlajamäki H. Association between serum 25(OH0d concentrations and bone stress fractures in Finnish young men.  J Bone Miner Res 2006;21:1483-88.

[iv] Larrosa, M.  Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture.  Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

[v]¨Sato, Y. et al.  Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in stroke patients.  Neurology2003;61:338-42.

[vi] Heaney RP, Dowell MS, Hale CA, Bendich A. Calcium Absorption Varies within the Reference Range for Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D.  J Am Coll Nutr 2003;22:142-46.d

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Menopause Society: Stop using Sunscreens, Soak up Midday Sun

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

The Indian Menopause Society (IMS), is an organization whose motto is to keep women fit at 40, active at 60 and independent at 80. One of their suggestions is that women stop soaking up sunscreen and start getting outside at peak sunlight time–for at least 15 minutes daily. The idea is to use the most natural manner possible to optimize vitamin D levels and thereby reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

It is gratifying to see that there are women’s health organizations that understand the life-saving importance of sunlight. India is to be congratulated for cutting past the anti-sun nonsense and leading the world back to enlightenment. This is an excellent article from the Times of India.

Read the article

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Boning up on Bone Strength 2: The Latest Research from Sweden regarding Sunlight and Osteoporosis

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

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.[1] 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%.[2] 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[3] (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.


[1] Larrosa, M.  Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture.  Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

[2] 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.)

[3] 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].


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Coping with Low Vitamin D Levels in Alaska: Is a Sunny, Tropical Vacation the Answer?

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

The Alaska Dispatch recently published an article on the dilemma Alaskans face during their extremely long vitamin D winter (at least seven months). Meredith Tallas began a study on vitamin D levels in 1983, following 47 volunteers for the next 25 years while regularly monitoring their vitamin D levels.

She found that vitamin D levels were better in the summertime and lowest in winter, which is no surprise, and she also found that those who took vacations in Hawaii each winter spiked their D levels— also no surprise.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the article was the advice that a midwinter trip to the sunny tropics would be great for improving vitamin D status. She stated: “Presuming that an individual’s lowest circulating vitamin D level is found in March or April, such trips could potentially have a very significant effect in improving late winter vitamin D status.”

Obviously, MS Tallas is a believer in sunshine as the very best way to optimize vitamin D levels.

Read the article. 

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Do you want to feel better? Try a Little Sunshine!

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

New research from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Corroborates what almost every human being knows: Sunshine brightens the mood. Twenty people with depressive symptoms were split into two groups: one group was asked to spend more time in the sunlight, and another group was asked to see a doctor. The experiment lasted for seven weeks and showed that those who spent more time in the sunlight had fewer symptoms of depression.

The authors of this research suggested that vitamin D status accounted for the differences in the two groups, but I personally believe that it is more likely that the true mechanism was the influence of sunlight exposure in producing endorphins and serotonin. We who live in more northern climes have all experienced immediate mood elevation on entering the sunlight after spending several days or months in cloudy winter weather. Vitamin D is not produced in winter in high-latitude countries, so winter sunshine must be the factor that makes the difference. Also, we cannot raise vitamin D levels fast enough to make that kind of immediate difference in mood. Those in the UAE whose moods improved had previously created their own “winter” by avoiding sunlight, and it is likely that the mood improvements were made not by vitamin D but by the aforementioned mood-enhancing changes. Nevertheless, the article makes some good points and is worth reading.


Read the article.

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The Indian Press says, “Bring on the Sunshine.”

By: MarcSorenson, Sunlight Institute–

In so many countries, sunlight is looked on with fear, and the press is constantly promoting that fear by warning that sun exposure in causing melanoma—an idea that is patently false.

Fortunately, in India not everyone is buying the sunscare propaganda. It is not uncommon to see articles in the Indian press expressing the concern that Indians, many of who have adopted the indoor lifestyles of western countries, are becoming severely deficient in vitamin D due to lack of sunlight exposure. One of those articles was recently published in the online version of India Today. The author, Nalini Ravichandran, correctly points out: “Scientific studies have proven that Vitamin D is like the ignition key to your car; the car won’t run unless you turn the key and ignite the engine. So get started in the right direction, before it gets too late.” In other words, seek the sunlight!

The author also laments the fact that 80% of Indians are now vitamin-D deficient. The only thing lacking in this excellent piece is a discussion of all the benefits of sunlight beyond vitamin D.

I applaud the efforts of the Indian press to bring the truth about sunlight to their populace. I have seen several articles in the past year all extolling the benefits of sunlight. Now, if only we could get the western press to catch up!

Read the article.

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Load up on Sunlight this Fall.

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

A great new article by Michelle Goldstein in Natural News states that fall is a great time to soak up the sunlight. I agree. Although the amount of vitamin D produced by sunlight exposure is reduced compared to the amount produced in summer, there is still the production of nitric oxide, which lowers blood pressure and reduces cardiovascular disease, and the production of endorphins and serotonin, which are natural mood elevators.

The article points out that the best time to get sun is between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, exactly the opposite of the advice given by the Powers of Darkness—those who would ruin health by keeping us out of the sunlight. The article also mentions several diseases that correlate to sunlight deficiency.  It is very-well-written and speaks the truth.

Read the article.

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Dancing in the Dark: Could Low Sunlight Exposure lead to Injuries in Professional Dancers?

By: Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute–


Research published in the journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, found that professional ballet dancers were much more likely to injure themselves during winter.[i] The objective of the study was to ascertain whether lack of sunlight exposure among the dancers during winter might correlate to lowered vitamin D levels and thereby increase injury.

Elite, classical ballet dancers, 19 in all, were chosen for the investigation and were monitored during a six-month period for vitamin D levels, serum markers for bone turnover, and frequency of injuries.

It was found that vitamin D levels averaged 14.9 ng/ml in winter and 23.9 ng/ml in summer. Soft tissue injuries were nearly twice as frequent in winter (24) as in summer (13).

It is significant that soft-tissue injuries correlated so closely to low vitamin D, since vitamin D is generally thought of as a bone-strengthening hormone. Also interesting is the fact that in both summer and winter, vitamin D levels were too low. In winter, the athletes were approaching critically low levels. Vitamin D, of course, is produced by the skin in response to sunlight exposure and would be expected to be higher in summer. Still, it was not nearly high enough, and though it is conjecture, I expect that levels around 60 ng/ml would have correlated to an even lower risk of athletic injuries among the dancers.

Perhaps it is time for dancers to leave the darkness and practice routines outdoors during summer. This would help optimize vitamin D and muscle strength. Then, in the winter, sunlamps could be used for vitamin D production, or at least regular vitamin D supplementation would provide some protection against winter injuries.



[i] Wolman R, Wyon MA, Koutedakis Y, Nevill AM, Eastell R, Allen N. Vitamin D status in professional ballet dancers: Winter vs. summer. J Sci Med Sport 2013;16(5):388-391.


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Striking back at Alzheimer’s Disease and Non-Alzheimer’s Dementia: Can Vitamin D and Sunlight Help?

By: Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute–


One of the fears of aging is that memory will fade and full-fledged Alzheimer’s disease will develop. Amyloid plaques, consisting of tangles of amyloid protein (a complex protein resembling starch) in nervous tissue, are pathological markers of Alzheimer’s disease that are found in the spaces between the brain’s nerve cells. Recent research indicates that vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids may help to remove these plaques and thereby reduce the risk or severity of Alzheimer’s.[1] The research, described in a press release from UCLA, compared the immune system changes and inflammatory markers in the blood from two different groups, one group with Alzheimer’s and another without the disease.

The researchers showed that both vitamin D and omega 3 improved the ability of macrophages, large white blood cells, to clear amyloid plaques in those with Alzheimer’s. Macrophages work by folding themselves around foreign particles and then disposing of them—a process known as phagocytosis. Cell death caused by Alzheimer’s disease was also diminished, and inflammatory markers diminished in those who suffered from excessive inflammation.

This whole process indicates that D and omega 3 have an enhancing influence on the immune system. Dr. Fiala, one of the researchers, stated the following: “We may find that we need to carefully balance the supplementation with vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, depending on each patient in order to help promote efficient clearing of amyloid-beta. This is a first step in understanding what form and in which patients these nutrition substances might work best.”

This information provides further knowledge on the relationship of Alzheimer’s to vitamin D levels, which has been suspected for some time. It has been shown that high dietary intake of vitamin D correlates to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s of about 77% compared to those with the lowest intake.[2] Other studies from both Europe and the US have established a link between low vitamin D and Alzheimer’s.[3] [4] [5]

As impressive as the correlation of low vitamin D and Alzheimer’s, it pales in comparison to the potential of vitamin D to reduce the risk of non-Alzheimer’s dementia. A seven-year study showed that the risk of non-Alzheimer’s dementia was 19.7 times higher in people who had vitamin D levels less than 10 ng/ml (severely deficient) than those who had higher levels.[6]

All tissues in the body have vitamin D receptors, and the brain and central nervous system must have vitamin D to function properly. A little non-burning sunlight exposure at midday can produce vast quantities of vitamin D. If the memory is fading fast, it may be time to spend more time in the sun. Remember that sun exposure is the only natural way to obtain that vitally important hormone, vitamin D.



[1] Champeau R. Vitamin D, omega-3 may help clear amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s. UCLA Newsroom Feb 2013.

[2] Annweiler C et al. Higher Vitamin D Dietary Intake Is Associated With Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: A 7-Year Follow-up. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Apr 13. [Epub ahead of print]

[3] Soni M et al. Vitamin D and cognitive function. Scand J Clin Lab Invest Suppl. 2012;243:79-82.

[4] Grant WB. Does vitamin D reduce the risk of dementia? J Alzheimer’s Dis 2009;17(1):151-9.

[5] Pogge E, Vitamin D and Alzheimer’s disease: is there a link? Consult Pharm. 2010;25(7):440-50.

[6] Annweiler C, et al. Serum vitamin D deficiency as a predictor of incident non-Alzheimer dementias: a 7-year longitudinal study. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2011;32(4):273-8.


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