Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another study confirms the sunscreen deception.

It is undeniable that sunscreen use has profoundly increased in the past few decades, and in spite of that increase, the incidence of melanoma (CMM) continues to climb in the US. A new report, actually a clinical review in the Journal or the American Board of Family Practice,[1] comes to the following conclusions:

1. “Despite the availability and promotion of sunscreen for decades, the incidence of CMM continues to increase in the U.S. at a rate of 3% per year.”

2. There currently is little evidence that sunscreens are protective against CMM.

3. A number of studies suggest that the use of sunscreen does not significantly decrease the risk CMM, and may actually increase the risk of both CMM and sunburns.

The author of the report, Dr. Margaret Planta, also notes that the environmental protection Agency (EPA), states that “there is no evidence that sunscreens protect you from malignant melanoma.”[2]

The Melanoma International Foundation has (MIF) has stated, “Melanoma is epidemic: rising faster than any other cancer and projected to affect one person in 50 by 2010, currently it affects 1 in 75. In 1935, only one in 1500 was struck by the disease.” In other words, as sun exposure has dramatically decreased, melanoma has exponentially increased.[3] Quite obviously, the use of sunscreens has been one reason for the decrease in sunlight exposure. Consider this: if UVR exposure is the cause of CMM as stated by the IMF, there should be a concomitant decrease in melanoma as sunscreen use has increased. However, according to Kline & Company, a research group, sales of sunscreens in 1972 were $33 million; in 2008, sales were $650 million.[4] In addition, according to the Fredonia Market Research Group Company, the sales of sunscreens used in cosmetics in 2007 were $130 million.[5] Interestingly, the MIF suggests that we must do a better job of teaching people to avoid the sun. Isn’t there something terribly wrong with that reasoning?

Sunscreen is a big business that is of no real value to anyone but those who sell it. Follow the money and you will see the reason for the continuing promotion of sunscreens. So hats off to Dr. Planta, who has done her part to expose the sunscreen swindle. After her analysis, she states … “providers may need to alter their advice regarding sunscreen use for CMM prevention.” Amen.

[1] Margaret B. Planta, MD Sunscreen and Melanoma: Is Our Prevention Message Correct? J Am Board Fam Med 2011;24:735–739.

[2] United States Environmental Protection Agency. Sunscreen: The Burning Facts. Available at: http://


[3] Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. Sources: : National Cancer Institute 2007 SEER Database, American Cancer Society's 2007 Facts and Figures, The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Academy of Dermatology.

[4] Kline & Company's Cosmetics & Toiletries USA Annual Service (1972 and 2008 editions).

[5] Fredonia market research group report, 2009.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Skin cancer and nutrition—stop blaming the sun!

In the rush by dermatologists and sunscreen companies to demonize sunlight exposure as the universal cause of skin cancers, there has been a total disregard for another factor that strongly protects against or strongly promotes skin damage. That factor is what we eat. Nutrition, according to whether it is healthful or noxious, can have either profoundly positive or negative influences on the skin.

As an example, polyphenols are antioxidant phytochemicals that prevent free-radical damage and thus protect the skin. Polyphenols are prevalent in foods such as nuts, seeds, onions, green tea, pomegranates, apples, berries, cherries and other fruits, grape seeds, as well as vegetables and dried legumes. They also exist in such nutrients as resveratrol and silymarin (milk thistle extract). These nutritional superstars are able to reduce inflammation, quench oxidative stress and thereby prevent free-radical damage to DNA, inhibit immunosuppression, and diminish dysregulation of cellular signaling pathways, thereby reducing the potential for skin cancers.[i],[ii]

Particularly interesting is the fact that green tea extract and other polyphenol-containing products such as grape-seed proanthocyanadins, have been shown to inhibit the formation of skin tumors. Two researchers, writing in the Archives of Dermatological Research, made the following conclusion after a thorough review of literature regarding polyphenols and skin cancer: “Based on the epidemiological evidence and laboratory studies conducted using in vitro and in vivo systems, it is suggested that routine consumption or topical treatment of these polyphenols may provide efficient protection against the harmful effects of solar ultraviolet radiation in humans.”ii

We might conclude that protective nutrition would include the consumption of several glasses of green tea daily, some dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and other deep greens, and the daily habit of eating dark berries, cherries and other such fruits. But there are other vegetables involved in the fight against skin cancer.

Some of the best skin protectants are tomatoes, which contain the antioxidant lycopene. One investigation showed that among individuals who consumed forty grams of tomato paste daily for ten weeks, sunburn-resistance time increased by 40%,[iii] and other research demonstrated that eating other tomato-based products correlated to significantly reduced risk of sunburn after exposure to ultraviolet radiation.[iv] And it is also known that individuals with the lowest intake of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and lycopene (all carotenoid antioxidants found in such vegetables as carrots and tomatoes) had a 50% increased risk for melanoma.[v]

And what are factors that have negative influences on the risk of skin cancer? Alcohol consumption is one such factor; research indicated a 250% increased melanoma risk among those who consumed two or more alcoholic drinks per day.[vi] There are at least two other negative dietary aspects that correlate to increased skin-cancer risk: first, the highest dairy-product consumption has also been shown to correlate to a 2 ½ times increase in risk of developing a squamous-cell carcinoma (common skin cancer, not melanoma).[vii] Secondly, the types of fats we consume are exceptionally important. In my book, I have discussed and documented this topic thoroughly, but suffice it to say that the types of fats we consume in junk foods are deadly, both for overall health and for skin cancer. They are filled with free-radical molecules that wreak havoc on the skin; if we eat such fats without massive quantities of colorful fruits and veggies, we will be much more susceptible to skin damage and potential cancer.

To summarize: to the extent that sunlight causes skin damage, it does so due to lack of proper nutrients in the diet, and there is little doubt that there will be some damage caused by sun exposure without proper nutrition. Even vitamin D, which protects against so many cancers (including skin cancer), will not be able to completely overcome the deleterious effect of the “suicide diet” that most of us consume.

[i] Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Polyphenols: Skin Photoprotection and Inhibition of Photocarcinogenesis. Mini Rev Med Chem 2011 Oct 28. [Epub ahead of print]

[ii] Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res 2010;302:71.

[iii] Stahl, W. et al. Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light–Induced Erythema in Humans. J Nutr 2001;131:1449-51.

[iv] Aust, O. et al. Supplementation with tomato-based products increases lycopene, phytofluene, and phytoene levels in human serum and protects against UV-light-induced erythema. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2005;75:54-60.

[v] Millen A. et al. Diet and melanoma in a case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1042-51

[vi] Bain, C. et al. Diet and melanoma. An exploratory case-control study. Ann Epidemiol 1993;3:235-38.

[vii] Hughes, M. et al. Food intake and risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in a community: The Nambour skin cancer cohort study. Int J Cancer 2006; online publication ahead of print.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lack of Sunlight, Chronic, Unbearable Pain and a Vitamin D Miracle.

Can vitamin D overcome chronic pain? In many cases the answer is yes!

Some time ago an acquaintance of mine listened to one of my presentations and purchased a copy of my book. On reading the section about pain, he remembered a lady friend of his whose teenage daughter was suffering from chronic pain. The condition had progressed to the point that in order for her to survive without excruciating agony, her doctors were giving her maximum doses of the most potent pain killers. These drugs were not sufficiently effective to stop the pain, so they also gave her equally potent sleeping pills. You can probably imagine her physical and mental state at that point.

My acquaintance then took my book to the young lady’s mother and asked her to read the pain section. She complied and then gave her daughter 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Within three days, the pain was gone and the young woman had her life back.

This is all very impressive, but there is one more very important aspect of the story: the young woman never ventured out into the sunlight. Her need for vitamin D could probably have been prevented if she had been doing some tanning in the summer sunlight around noon each day, or at least leading an outdoor lifestyle.

The results obtained by this girl were no surprise to me, because I have seen pain subside in may people who have taken vitamin D. The research also corroborates the efficacy of vitamin D—whose only natural source is UVB light from sunlight or sun lamps—in reducing pain. A most impressive result comes from a clinical observation of five vitamin D-deficient patients who suffered from myopathy, a disease of bone and muscle tissue. They were confined to wheelchairs and experienced severe fatigue, weakness, and chronic pain. After receiving 50,000 IU per week of vitamin D, all regained enough strength and energy within four to six weeks to be mobile and functional, and their aches and pains disappeared.[1] In another study, five chronic-pain patients at John Hopkins University Medical School were treated with vitamin D, and their pain resolved within a week.[2] The study was conducted in 1991, and considering the plague of chronic pain in the world, it amazes me that no one seems to have paid any attention to this research. Certainly it is a piece of information that the pharmaceutical companies would like to keep well-hidden.

Many other pieces of research indicate a close relationship between vitamin D levels and various types of pain. Remember that the cause of vitamin D deficiency is sunlight deprivation or lack of exposure to other types of UVB light such that produced by sun lamps. Be careful when tanning and never burn.

[1] Prabhala, A. et al. Severe myopathy associated with vitamin D deficiency in Western New York. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1199-1203.

[2] Gloth, F. et al. Can vitamin D deficiency produce an unusual pain syndrome? Arch Intern Med 1991;152:1662-4

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More evidence that sunlight prevents breast cancer and other cancers—at all ages.

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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]

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.

[1] 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]

[2] 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.

[3] Moon, S. et al. Ultraviolet radiation: effects on risks of prostate and other internal cancers. Mutat Res 2005; 571:207–219.

[4] Luscombe, C. et al. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation: association with susceptibility and age at presentation with prostate cancer. Lancet 2001;358:641–42.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Could the asthma upsurge be due to sunlight and vitamin D deficiency?


According to the Centers for Disease Control in May 2011, “about one in 12 people in the United States now has asthma—a total of 24.6 million people and an increase of 4.3 million since 2001.”[1]

Researchers in Boston have hypothesized that the decrease in sunlight exposure and resultant vitamin D deficiency is responsible for the asthma epidemic.[2] Others show the same facts: the increase in asthma has paralleled the decline in sunlight exposure, and asthma risk is 40% lower in children of women who have the highest vitamin D consumption during pregnancy.[3] Is it time to return to the sun?

Another study shows an asthma reduction of 52-67%.[4] In that study, THREE-YEAR- OLD CHILDREN WHOSE MOTHERS WERE IN THE HIGHEST QUARTILE OF VITAMIN D CONSUMPTION DURING PREGNANCY HAVE A 61% REDUCED RISK OF A “RECURRENT WHEEZE,” A SYMPTOM OF ASTHMA, WHEN COMPARED TO THOSE WHOSE MOTHERS WERE IN THE LOWEST QUARTILE. The researchers believed that inadequate D levels in the fetus leads to improper development of the lungs and immune system, and they demonstrated that each 100-IU increase in vitamin D consumption resulted in a 19% risk reduction.

A scientific experiment from Australia also demonstrated that when asthmatic mice were exposed to ultraviolet light, before being exposed to an asthma-causing allergen, asthma symptoms were reduced.[5] Considering the yearly $700-million expenditure for Australian asthma-treatment, regular sunlight exposure seems a small price to pay. Tanning beds, like the sun, put forth ultraviolet light to produce vitamin D. These researchers were really using tanning beds for mice! Finally, another recent study from Spain has shown that children exposed to the most sunlight have lower risks of asthma.[6]

Steroids are used as an asthma therapy, but in some individuals, asthma is resistant to steroids. However, when vitamin D3 is added to the steroid treatment, symptoms are greatly reduced.[7] Perhaps sufficient supplementation or sunlight exposure could eliminate steroid need completely. This is the bottom line: children and adults are meant to play outdoors or otherwise be exposed to non-burning ultraviolet B (UVB) light—the most natural way to produce vitamin D. Every child should have a natural life playing outdoors, and both children and adults should regularly have sunlight exposure. It is critical for human health. What a travesty to deprive our children of healthy, normal lives because the Powers of Darkness need to make money selling sunscreens. Be careful not to burn, and enjoy the sun!

[1]Vital Signs: Asthma Prevalence, Disease Characteristics, and Self-Management Education --- United States, 2001--2009 MMWR, 2011; 60(17);547-552

[2]Litonjua, A. et al. Is vitamin D deficiency to blame for the asthma epidemic? J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;120:1031-35

[3] Camargo, C. et al. Maternal intake of vitamin D during pregnancy and risk of recurrent wheeze in children at 3 y. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:788-95.

[4] Devereux, G. et al. Maternal vitamin D intake and early childhood wheezing. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:853-59

[5]Hart, P. et al. Sunlight may protect against asthma. Perth (Australia) Telethon institute for child health research. Quoted in Australian AP Oct 24, 2006.

[6] Arnedo-Pena, A et al. Sunny hours and variations in the prevalence of asthma in schoolchildren according to the International Study of Asthma and Allergies (ISAAC) Phase III in Spain. Int J Biometeorol 2011;55:423-434.

[7]Xystrakis, E. et al. Treatment of Steroid-Resistant Asthma. J Clin Invest 2006;116:146-55

Can sunlight influence fertility and sexual behavior?


Now that I have your undivided attention, let’s look at the evidence.

Sperm quality and number is superior in men with high vitamin D levels compared with men who are deficient,[i] and other research shows that FEMALE RATS MATED TO DEFICIENT MALES HAVE 73% FEWER SUCCESSFUL PREGNANCIES THAN THOSE MATED TO VITAMIN D-SUFFICIENT MALES.[ii] The ovaries and testes of rats that lack vitamin D receptors (VDR) do not function properly,[iii] and vitamin D deficiency profoundly reduces sperm production;[iv] but that condition is reversible when vitamin D is optimized,[v]--an important fact—since human sperm also contains VDR.[vi]

Dr. Anne Clark assessed the vitamin D levels of about 800 men who were unable to produce a pregnancy in their wives.[vii] About a third had low D levels. After lifestyle changes and vitamin D supplementation, 40% of the men were able to impregnate their wives.

If vitamin D increases fertility, we would expect conception rates to be higher in summer than in winter—and, so it is. Conception rates are highest in late summer.54 For those who are having difficulty producing a pregnancy, conception may be as simple as a sunny vacation.

And what about sexuality? There is a direct correlation between high D levels and high testosterone levels in men.[viii] Since testosterone is the “love hormone” in both sexes, libido might be increased by sunlight exposure. Also, D supplementation in testosterone-deficient men increases testosterone by 25% in one year.[ix]

This has been known for decades; in 1939, Dr. Myerson measured circulating testosterone in men and exposed their various body parts to UV.[x] AFTER FIVE DAYS OF CHEST EXPOSURE, TESTOSTERONE INCREASED 120%. WHEN GENITALS WERE EXPOSED, TESTOSTERONE INCREASED BY 200%! Considering the current cultural obsession with sex, I’m surprised that no one has followed up on Myerson’s work. The light emitted from tanning beds is the same type of light used by Dr. Myerson. I expect that many people may have a totally new concept of the much-maligned tanning bed if this information is widely promulgated.

[i] Bjerrum, Poul et al. Vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa. Human Reproduction 2011;26:1307-1317.

[ii] Kwiecinski, G. et al. Vitamin D is necessary for reproductive functions of the male rat. J Nutr 1989;119:741-44.

[iii] Kinuta, K. et al. Vitamin D is an important factor in estrogen biosynthesis in both female and male gonads. Endocrinology 2000;141:1317.

[iv] Sood, S. et al. Effect of vitamin D deficiency on testicular function in the rat. Ann Nutr Metab 1992;36:203-8.

[v] Sood, S. et al. Effect of vitamin D repletion on testicular function in vitamin-D deficient rats. Ann Nutr Metab 1995;95-98

vi] Corbett, S. et al. Vitamin d receptor found in human sperm. Urology 2006;68:1345-49

[vii] Clark, Anne. Fertility Society of Australia conference in Brisbane - paper presented by D. Clark - research was part of a doctoral study by University of Sydney student Laura Thomson. News.com.au Oct 19 2008

[viii] Wehr, E et al. Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2010;73(2):243-8

[ix] Pilz, S. et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res 2011;43(3):223-5

[x] Myerson, A. Influence of ultraviolet radiation on excretion of sex hormones in the male. Endocrinology 1939;25:7-12

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vitamin D, Sunlight and Pneumonia

A new analysis of vitamin D levels among winter pneumonia patients has produced some very interesting observations:

1. Those admitted to the Waikato, New Zealand hospital with severe vitamin D deficiency were more likely to die within a month compared to those who had normal or only slightly low levels.

2. The overall death rate was 29% for those with severe D deficiency, and only 4% for those with higher levels. This could indicate that vitamin D deficiency causes a 700% increase in the risk of death by pneumonia. Follow this link to read more about the research: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2011-05/13/c_13873372.htm

The authors noted that sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, and that winters in Hamilton, New Zealand area, like most temperate areas of the world, do not allow sufficient sunlight to stimulate vitamin D production. They also state that pneumonia is the single largest cause of death in children worldwide, killing about 1.6 million children under the age of five each year.

What a horror that so many countries, by means of their health departments and dermatological societies, are frightening children and their parents away from the sunlight during the seasons of the year when it is available. This ensures that vitamin D deficiency will ensue in winter. Also, at the very least, supplementation of vitamin D3 should be recommended during winter—supplementation of about 1,000 IU for every 25 pounds of bodyweight.

This is not the first time the relationship between pneumonia and sunlight has been observed. In 2003, Dr. Dowell and his colleagues showed that the disease is seasonal, with the lowest rates in summer, an increase in fall and a peak in winter.[1] This relationship exactly mimics the quantity of sunlight exposure available in different seasons. Other research has pointed out the same relationship,[2] [3]and still other studies have shown the importance of vitamin D in prevention of pneumonia and related infections to it,[4]

A popular fitness guru used to scream the slogan, “Stop the insanity!” I agree with her advice as it relates to sunlight exposure and would like to scream that it is insane for medical and governmental organizations to frighten their citizens out of the sunlight. Sunshine has become one of our most critical health needs, and those who would have us avoid it at all costs have blood on their hands.

[1] Dowell, S. et al. Seasonal patterns of invasive pneumococcal disease. Emerg Infect Dis 2003;9:573-9.

[2] Leow L, Simpson T, Cursons R, Karalus N, Hancox RJ. Vitamin D, innate immunity and outcomes in community acquired pneumonia. Respirology. 2011;16(4):611-6

[3] White AN, Ng V, Spain CV, Johnson CC, Kinlin LM, Fisman DN. Let the sun shine in: effects of ultraviolet radiation on invasive pneumococcal disease risk in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. BMC Infect Dis. 2009 Dec 4;9:196.

[4] Oduwole AO, Renner JK, Disu E, Ibitoye E, Emokpae E. Relationship between Vitamin D Levels and Outcome of Pneumonia in Children. West Afr J Med 2010;29(6):373-8.