Humans didn’t always live in houses, work in offices, and travel in cars, with little or no sunshine exposure each day. That’s a relatively new phenomenon. At Mercola.com, Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses healthy sun exposure and Marc Sorenson’s book on the subject, Embrace the Sun. Mercola writes:
Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published May 5, 2019.
Marc Sorenson, who has a doctorate in education, and who is the founder of the Sunlight Institute,1 has written an excellent book, “Embrace the Sun,” in which he reveals why sunlight is foundational for optimal health and longevity.2 While vitamin D supplements clearly have their place, you cannot obtain all the benefits you get from the sun when you swallow it.
For example, many of the benefits of sunlight, such as a decreased risk of heart disease, have to do with its ability to increase nitric oxide (NO) production in your body.3 Ultraviolet A (UVA) and the near-infrared light spectrum both increase NO, so you’re getting that benefit from both ends of the light spectrum. Fifty percent of sunlight is near-infrared.4
Near-infrared also increases cytochrome c oxidase (COO),5 the fourth cytochrome in the mitochondria, and neither of these benefits can be had from swallowing a pill. It’s really important to realize that your body is designed to benefit from sun exposure, and if you’re diabetic or have heart disease, it may well be one of the missing factors. As noted by Sorenson:
“When we get out in the sun, the research is incredible. The risk of heart disease and the risk of myocardial infarction drop dramatically in the summertime, and go up dramatically in the wintertime.
Meaning, there’s something there that has to be beyond vitamin D, because the vitamin D supplement studies with heart disease haven’t worked out well. What we know now is the main mover to prevent heart disease is probably NO, which is a potent vasodilator. It opens them up.
Blood pressure can go down dramatically with regular sun exposure, which it does. Among people who are getting sunlight on a regular basis, the risk of dropping dead of a heart attack goes down rather dramatically …
You can produce 20,000 international units (IU) in 20 minutes of ideal unobstructed sun exposure on both sides of the body …”
How the Sun Avoidance Conspiracy Was Born
Importantly, for every death caused by diseases related to excessive sun exposure — such as common skin cancers (basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas) as well as some other uncommon diseases — there are 328 deaths caused by diseases related to sunlight deprivation,6 according to Sorenson’s data.
Knowing your risk of dying from heart disease or stroke is 80 times greater on average than from skin cancer should really put things into perspective.7 Clearly, sun avoidance is hardly the lifesaving strategy dermatologists make it out to be.
I’d always wondered why there was such an avid aversion of sun exposure within the dermatology community. It just doesn’t make any sense — until I read Sorensen’s book, in which he dissects the motivation behind this illogical stance. He explains:
“The powers of darkness, as I call them, are very highly invested in the sunscreen industry. About 70% of the funding comes from the sunscreen industry. Of course, with a dermatological society, they back those who produce sunscreens.
We’ve got a vast conspiracy with the sunscreen industry. That’s one of the main things. Besides … medicine in general is not that interested in keeping people well, because if they do get people well — and sunlight will do that to a great extent — they’re out of business. There is a conspiracy out there. I’ve written a very large chapter about that and how they used their anti-sun [propaganda] to keep people sick.”
On Skin Cancer
There are two basic types of skin cancer: melanoma and nonmelanoma. Importantly, 75% of all melanoma occurs on areas of the body that never see the sun, Sorenson notes, and indoor workers have double the rate of lethal melanoma skin cancer than outdoor workers.8 A primary risk factor for melanoma appears to be intermittent sun exposure and sunburn, especially when you’re young.
According to data presented in his book, in 1935 about 1 in 1,500 people contracted melanoma. As of 2002/2003, that rate was 1 in 50. Between 2006 and 2015, melanoma rates increased 3% per year,9 so rates just keep going up.
“The more we use sunscreen, the more melanoma we get. Australia’s proven that for many, many years,” Sorenson says. “They use more sunscreen than any people on Earth, yet they have the highest prevalence of melanoma …
Melanoma increased by 3,000% between 1935 and, let’s say, 2002 to 2003. That’s a tremendous increase. Sun exposure during that time, by my government figures, has gone down by over 90%. We have a 90% decrease in sun exposure and a 3,000% increase in melanoma.
How does that add up for their theory? It doesn’t add up at all. They’re now beginning to realize that, I think, little by little. But still, they’re in that hip pocket of the medical schools that promote sunscreens and such.”
As noted by Sorenson, the sun actually protects you from melanoma. It does not protect again the more common skin cancers, though. However, protection from those can be had from a diet high in antioxidants.
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