SUNBATHING AND HEALTH http://sunlight.xhost.ro/sungazing.htm
Celsus, Pliny the younger, Galen, and Cicero, are among the Roman writers who describe the use of the sun-bath. "Sol est remediorum maximum"--the sun is the best remedy--declared Pliny.
The Ancients, as disclosed by Herodotus and Antyllos, knew that "the sun feeds the muscles". The Greeks obviously appreciated the importance of sunlight. Their athletes trained naked out of doors, thus exposing all their muscles to its beneficial effect.
The old German epic poem, the Edda, tells us that Germans used to carry their sick, in the springtime to the sunny mountain slopes, in order to expose them to the sunshine. Certain Germanic tribes placed their feverish children in the sunlight on the tops of their houses.
At the turn of the century, it was estimated that as many as ninety per cent of children in some of the crowded cities of northern Europe and the northern United States had rickets. This is despite the fact that the value of sunlight and fresh air in treating rickets had been remarked on in 1822. It took an investigative committee of the British Medical Association in 1889 to state clearly that there was a relationship between urban industrialized environments and rickets.
The modern era of sun therapy began with the knowledge that pathogenic bacteria could be destroyed with the use of sunlight. Dr. Neils Flasen successfully used sunlight in the treatment of tuberculosis of the skin, thereby winning the Nobel Prize in 1903. Finsen, Niels Ryberg was a Danish physician, founder of modern phototherapy (the treatment of disease by the influence of light). He developed an ultraviolet treatment for lupus vulgaris, a form of skin tuberculosis, which met with great success.
In 1911, Dr Rollier, a Swiss physician of Leysin, treated 369 cases of tuberculosis by the action of the sun's rays. Of these 284 were healed, 48 improved, on 21 there was no change, and only 4 percent died. The same physician exhibited, in 1912, before the Society of Physicians, at Leysin, many photos, showing how all manner of tuberculosis of the bones, fistulas, etc., has been completely cured by heliotherapy.
Then, the development of antibiotics caused the death of sun therapy.
Dr. Helen Shaw and her research team conducted a melanoma study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Sydney Melanoma Clinic, Sydney Hospital. The results of the study were published on August 7, 1982 in the British medical journal, called The Lancet. Researches found that the people who had the lowest risk of developing skin cancer were those whose main daily activity was outdoors. It was found that the incidence of malignant melanomas was considerably twice higher in office workers. The incidence of malignant melanoma, has increased 1,800 percent since 1930, and melanoma mortality rose 34 percent between 1973 and 1992, which has been documented by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
The book Sunlight by Zane Kime MD shows the beneficial results of moderate exposure to ultraviolet frequencies. Noted in Dr. Kime's book single exposures of a large area of the body to ultraviolet light were found to dramatically lower elevated blood pressure (up to a 40 mm Hg drop), lowered abnormally high blood sugars as found in diabetics, to decrease cholesterol in the bloodstream, and to increase the white blood cells, particularly the lymphocytes which are largely responsible for the body's ability to resist disease.
Richard Kovac MD shows in his book, Electrotherapy and Light Therapy that overexposure to sunlight may cause varying degrees of sunstroke, heat stroke or sunburns and such symptoms as headache, undue fatigue or irritability. Properly applied on the other hand, sunshine and open air will act as a powerful tonic, increasing general powers of resistance and promoting mental and physical development.
Dr. Holick, one of the world's foremost authorities on vitamin D and a full professor of medicine, dermatology, biophysics and physiology at the Boston University School of Medicine said in an interview: "adequate vitamin D nutrition and sensible sun exposure during childhood not only will maximize the bone health of their children but may decrease their risk of many chronic diseases in life later including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and common cancers."
Holick has submitted a paper to the Journal of Gastroneurology summarizing the case study of a 61-year-old woman who came to his Vitamin D clinic who was severely vitamin D deficient and showed signs of significant bone decay consistent with osteoporosis.
"It was so severe when she came to my office she couldn't sit down, she was in tears because all her bones ached so much," Holick explained. "So what do you do? Tanning beds to the rescue."
Holick exposed the woman three times a week to tanning bed light, following the recommended exposure schedule for her skin type. The woman's condition improved significantly.
"The bone pain over several months gradually dissolved, and the vitamin D level increased by 700 percent, just by simply being exposed to tanning bed radiation," Holick explained.
Osteoporosis is a greater problem than many people realize. More than 25 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, 20 million of whom are women.
At the Fourth World Conference on Nutritional Medicine, Dr. William Grant presented the maps showing the distribution of ovarian cancer and multiple sclerosis across US. The maps are showing a strong correlation between the latitude and the incidence of the two diseases, indicating that less UV exposure is correlated with higher incidence of these diseases.
In "The UV Advantage," Holick recommends exposing the hands, face, arms and legs to the sun for five to 15 minutes a day a few days a week, which he says would be enough to generate that amount without increasing the risk for skin cancer. Many people are not getting even that amount of sun exposure on a regular basis, Holick and others say.
Professor Holick believes his research could explain why people living in colder, northern climates who get less vitamin D from the sun have a higher risk of dying from colon, breast and prostate cancers.
He said more people than might be expected were vitamin D deficient. In 1998, Holick published a paper in the medical journal The Lancet showing that 41 percent of his medical students and 41 percent of his hospital patients at Massachusetts General Hospital were vitamin D deficient. In Boston, he estimated 40 to 50% of adults over 50 were vitamin D deficient.
Professor Holick's team has isolated a key enzyme, or body chemical, which is involved in the processing of vitamin D. It was found in the colon. He said if the body did not take in enough vitamin D then the enzyme would not be activated and the body would not be able to turn the vitamin into a form it could use.
The active form of vitamin D prevents colon cells from proliferating and prompts them to change into more mature cells which are less capable of becoming cancerous.
The Boston researchers have found the same process occurs in breast, skin and prostate cells.
Professor Holick said: "The most beneficial effect of exposure to sunlight is vitamin D protection.
Dr William Grant, an independent researcher from Virginia, has examined the difference in cancer rates dependent on where people live. Using data from the Atlas of Cancer Mortality, he found death rates for breast, colon and ovarian cancers in Boston and New England were almost twice as high as they were in the southwest from 1950 to 1994. Based on his US findings, he estimates a quarter of breast cancer deaths in the UK are as a result of vitamin D deficiency.
Because of his book "The UV Advantage", launched in April 2004, the Dermatology Department Chairwoman Dr. Barbara Gilchrest asked Holick for his resignation because of disagreements with his findings. After being with the department for more than a decade and a friend of Gilchrest's for more than 20 years, during which the two published, worked on and discussed research together, Holick said Gilchrest's response was not one he expected. The Boston Globe reported that Gilchrest asked for his resignation partially because of ties he had with the tanning industry. Gilchrest was not available for comment, but Dr. Boni Elewski, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said in a statement that UV exposure poses medical dangers and that "any group, organization or individual that disseminates information encouraging exposure to UV radiation, whether natural or artificial, is doing a disservice to the public."
When sunlight hits the skin, it stimulates the topmost layer of living cells, the keratinocytes. These are the cells which produce the keratin, the hard outer layer of dead skin that protects us from germs and injuries. It was always thought that they had no other function. But new evidence has proved that when they are triggered by ultraviolet light, keratinocytes produce a chemical called interleukin-1. IL-1 has a simple but potent effect: it causes white cells, and T-cells in particular, to multiply in number. This explains the observation that gamma globulins (the proteins in the blood which contain antibodies) are increased for a month after exposure to ultraviolet light.
Several studies have shown that exposure to natural sunlight increases the number of the white blood cells in the body. The main white blood cell increased the most is the lymphocyte. It is the lymphocyte that plays the leading role in defending the body in an invasion by bacteria and foreign organisms. Because the lymphocytes increase in number after a sunlight exposure, their products of defense, the antibodies like gamma globulins, also increase in the blood. This increase of lymphocytes and gamma globulins greatly increase a person's ability to fight infections. The lymphocyte is also capable of producing a substance called interferon. This substance has the ability to stop the reproduction of viruses.
A very interesting substance found in almost all cells including lymphocytes is called Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (CAMP). If high levels of CAMP build up in the lymphocytes, they will be unable to function properly and will not be able to fight cancer cells. This substance is increased in the body under stress and also when such foods as coffee, tea, and chocolate are used in the diet, among other things. These substances block the natural elimination of CAMP that would normally take place.
The animals given sunlight treatments eliminated toxic chemicals of some types 10-20 times as fast as the animals not receiving the sunlight treatments! Lead was removed from the body twice as fast as from those animals receiving sunlight exposure as from those that did not! The ultraviolet light in sunlight seemed to increase the enzymes that metabolize toxic chemicals and help to remove them.
Russians' experiments showed that animals exposed to the correct doses of sunlight were capable of clearing a wide range of toxins out of their system considerably quicker than animals reared away from the sun. The toxins that they studied included quartz and coal dusts, toxic minerals such as lead, cadmium and mercury, liver poisons such as carbon tetrachloride, and the neurotoxins which these days are so heavily used worldwide as pesticides. They found that sunlight speeded up the clearance of toxins from the body twice to as much as twenty times. The best effect was obtained when sunlight exposure had started some time before exposure to the toxin. (Gabovich, R.D., et al., "Effect of Ultraviolet Radiation on Tolerance of the Organism to Chemical Substances", Vestn Akad Med Nauk SSSR: 3; 26-28, 1975)
Nowadays, some Russian miners are required to have a treatment with ultraviolet light every day when they leave the coal-face. (Dantsig, M., Effect and Use of Ultraviolet Radiation, (Ultrafioletovoye Iziucheniya), Meditsina Publishing House, Moscow, 1966)
Sunlight not only aids in moving the poisonous materials out of the body, but it also has a wonderful effect on the trace minerals needed by the organism. Sunlight's effects upon copper, molybdenum, manganese, nickel, and other important trace minerals have been studied. Following multiple exposures to sunlight, copper levels in the liver increased to almost half while tripling in the blood. Copper also increases by about 100% in the bones, heart, skeletal muscles, and other tissues beneficially. Therefore, we can deduce from this that sunlight can help us to metabolize and utilize the trace minerals that are
necessary in our bodies.
When a group of generally unfit students at the University of Illinois was treated with ultraviolet light as well as physical education classes, their pulse rate after exercise came down by more than ten points on average. The students who did the same exercise but did not receive the UV light only had a three point improvement. The experimental group also found that their recovery time after exercise went down by thirty per cent, and their overall muscular fitness improved by half as much again as did that of the control group. In the cardiovascular fitness tests, the experimental group improved by almost 20 per cent, compared to a minute 1.5 per cent improvement in the control group. Cardiovascular fitness, in this case, referred to a combined measure of a number of different parameters, such as resting pulse, rise of pulse after exertion, blood pressure lying and standing, rise in blood pressure after exertion, and time for pulse rate to return to normal after exertion. The students also reported an increase in their interest and enthusiasm for class work, and those receiving ultraviolet developed only half the number of colds that the control group suffered. (Allen, R.M., and Cureton, T.K., "Effect of Ultraviolet Radiation on Physical Fitness", Arch Phys Med: 26; 641-644,1945)
The muscles underlying an area exposed directly to sunlight also show some local effects. There is an increase in the amount of blood flowing through the muscles, as the blood vessels relax, together with a measurable rise in the temperature of the muscle. At the same time the work capacity and endurance of the muscle goes up. After a single dose of UV, the effect lasts for at least five days. (Levy, M., "Der Einfluss Ultravioletter Strahlen auf die inneren Organe des Mans". Strablentherapie: 9; 618-623, 1919)
After sunbathing, lactic acid, the by-product of muscle metabolism that causes soreness and stiffness after strenuous exercise, is significantly reduced. Sunbathing also increases the ability of the lungs to absorb more vital oxygen, as well as the blood's capacity to carry and deliver it. Oxygen deficiency has been readily linked to a host of illnesses and discomforts ranging from chronic fatigue to cancer.
Twenty-five years ago Dr John Ott investigated the background to a report that children at a school in Illinois had five times the national rate of leukemia. He found that the schoolhouse was a plain, modern building with very large windows in every room, and all the pupils who developed leukemia had been in two particular classrooms. In these two rooms the teachers always kept the large curtains completely drawn across the windows to reduce glare and distraction, and to keep the children's attention on schoolwork. Several years later the two teachers in question left the school, and their replacements kept the classroom curtains open all the time. The lights were also replaced with cool white fluorescent ones, and of course needed to be used less. From then on there was not a single case of leukemia in the school for as long as Dr Ott followed it up. (Ott, John, Health and Light, Pocket Books, New York, 1973)
Laboratory studies have found that there are receptor sites for vitamin D on cancer cells that appears capable of converting human leukemia cells back into normal cells - at least in the test tube.
A Russian study found that vitamin D produces a thirty percent improvement in body's conservation of proteins. (Dantsig, M., Effect and Use of Ultraviolet Radiation (Ultrafioletovoye Izlucheniya), Meditsina Publishing House, Moscow, 1966)
If you’re going to be outside in the sun, make sure you take your essential fatty acids (vitamin F). These include flax seed oil, primrose oil, borage oil, etc. The following quote is from a Standard Process Company bulletin:
"The ultraviolet rays from the sun convert skin oil to vitamin D. Too much D is called hyper-vitaminosis D. Actually, it is not too much D but a deficiency of F, vitamin D’s antagonist. D picks up calcium from the stomach and puts it into the blood. F, the essential fatty acids, take it from the blood and puts it into the tissues. Suppose you get D and no F. Your blood calcium level will increase at the expense of the tissue calcium level, because D not only picks up calcium from the stomach, in a deficiency of F. It brings calcium from the tissues back into the blood. That’s why farmers and other people who are in the sun a lot get thick skin if they don’t eat enough F, which is primarily in oils. They get sunstroke. Sunstroke involves high blood calcium levels with low tissue calcium levels."
Vitamin D affects also the kidney: it causes a greater proportion of calcium (and of course of magnesium too) to be recycled back into the bloodstream rather than passed out in the urine. So not only do we absorb more of it; we also waste less.
The ratio of helper to suppressor cells was fifty per cent higher in osteoporotic patients. They then gave these patients vitamin D for two months, and found that this brought down the T-helper/suppressor ratio in every case to around the normal. In people of the same age without osteoporosis, who had a normal T-helper/T-suppressor ratio to start with, vitamin D does not alter this. (Takuo Fujita. et al., 'T-lymphocyte subsets in Osteoporosis', J. Mineral Electr. Metab.: 10; 375-378,1984)
Both cholesterol, which is needed to make the sex hormones, and vitamin D are derived from the same substance in the body - a chemical called squalene, which is found in the skin. There is a new theory that in the presence of sunlight, this squalene is converted to vitamin D but in its absence, it is converted to cholesterol.
Exposing human skin to sunlight for a couple of hours lowers the level of cholesterol in the skin by at least a half. The effect is less in Negro skin, suggesting that it is the ultraviolet, which melanin pigmentation filters out, that is causing the effect. (Rauschkolb, E.W., et al., "Effect of Ultraviolet Light on Skin Cholesterol", J. Invest Derm: 49; 632-636, 1971)
It is also known that sunlight lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood stream in humans by 9 or 10 per cent. People with low or normal cholesterol are much less likely to see a significant drop than those with a raised cholesterol. (Altschul, R., "Ultraviolet Irradiation and Cholesterol Metabolism", Arch Phys Med: 36; 394-398, 1955)
Doctors in Russia have been using sunlight and ultraviolet light therapy on patients with arteriosclerosis. They have found that as well as improving heart function, the blood supply to the brain can be improved, even in patients with arteriosclerosis of the brain. A study published in 1966 on 150 patients reported that the mental functioning of cerebral arteriosclerosis sufferers was improved greatly by regular sunlight baths. (Mikhailov, V.A., "Influence of Graduated Sunlight Baths on Patients with Coronary Atherosclerosis", Soviet Med: 29; 76-79, 1966)
Dr. Bruce Armstrong of the University of Sydney in Australia said the impact can occur far from the patches of skin where sunlight hits. The more sunlight people receive, the less likely they are to get non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He looked at 1,398 people and found that those who got the most sun had a one-third lower risk than those who got the least. (Hughes AM, Armstrong BK, Vajdic CM, Turner J, Grulich AE, Fritschi L, Milliken S, Kaldor J, Benke G, Kricker A. Sun exposure may
protect against non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a case-control study. Int J Cancer 2004;112:865-71.)
A report from the University of Sydney on non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), was published in December 2004. It is the first epidemiological study to examine the association between sunlight and NHL using direct measurements of sun exposure in individual subjects. The study, which reviews sun exposure over a time span of six decades, compares 704 Australian adults (between the ages of 20 and 74) who had a confirmed diagnosis of NHL, to 694 control subjects without NHL. The control subjects were randomly selected and then matched to the NHL patients by age, sex and place of residence. A questionnaire and telephone interview were used to determine the number of hours spent outdoors on working and nonworking days and vacations.
Contrary to expectations, the risk of NHL fell with increasing hours of sun exposure. The chance of getting NHL was 35 percent less in that portion of the study population that had the most sun exposure compared to the portion that had the least. The impact was even greater when the scientists looked at sun exposure on non-working days. People who got a lot of sun exposure on weekends and holidays had less than half the incidence of NHL compared to those who stayed indoors on their days off. It was a remarkable difference.
"Our results provide strong statistical evidence for an inverse association between sun exposure and NHL," Prof. Anne Kricker and her School of Public Health coauthors wrote in the International Journal of Cancer (Hughes 2004). Since sun exposure produces vitamin D in the skin, these findings suggest that this essential vitamin may also protect against some deadly forms of cancer, including lymphoma. The authors say that it makes "UV-mediated synthesis of vitamin D a plausible mechanism whereby sun exposure might protect against NHL." (Reuters. Sunshine may ward off lymphoma. Dec. 3, 2004)
Dr. William Hrushesky, an authority on how disease patterns fluctuate over time, looked at the results of more than 900,000 papilloma tests done in southern Holland between 1983 and 1998.
August is consistently the sunniest month in southern Holland, and the screening tests picked up twice as much evidence of papilloma virus infection then as in the winter. The virus fell off sharply in September. “Sexual intercourse did not appear to explain most of the variance,” he said. Hrushesky theorizes that even though women are exposed to papilloma at roughly the same level year round, the extra sunlight weakens their defenses against it in the summer.
He noted that sun can dampen the body’s production of antibodies and the activation of protective T cells, the main branches of the natural defenses against infection. Other research has suggested a connection between sunlight and susceptibility to herpes and adenovirus, among other things.