Beyond Vitamin D: the Incredible Health Effects of Sunlight!

Marc Sorenson, EdD

Vitamin D has an amazing amount of healthy benefits.  The best way, indeed, the ONLY way, to produce natural Vitamin D is by exposure to sunlight.  Artificial chemicals are not nearly as effective or exact.  Our skin extracts Vitamin D from cholesterol, and from there it can be changed into potent hormones to control parts of our genome.  An interesting scientific sidelight is that constant health advantages often come merely from exposure to sunlight itself, rather than elevated levels of Vitamin D.  In layman’s terms, sunshine itself is a proven tonic.  In the areas of prostrate cancer and osteoporosis there are research papers that confirm the uncertain effectiveness of Vitamin in treating these diseases, but every study reviewed indicates that sunlight alone is wonderfully effective.

While Vitamin D has been shown to decrease osteoporotic damage, sitting in the sun can effectively REVERSE the disease.  Sunlight is also a proven mood enhancer – which is a claim that Vitamin D cannot dare make.

These observations are confirmed by the European Journal of Cancer, in an article entitled:  “Is Prevention of Cancer by Sun Exposure More Than Just the Effect of Vitamin D: A Systematic Review of Epidemiological Studies.”  The writers indicate that sustained exposure to sunlight predicated a smaller risk of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and NHL (non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma).  Breast cancer and colorectal cancer responded well to Vitamin D, but not as strongly as with the addition of exposure to sunlight.  To quote the authors: “Particularly in prostate cancer and NHL other sunlight-potentiated and vitamin D-independent pathways, such as modulation of the immune system and the circadian rhythm, and the degradation of folic acid, might play a role in reduced cancer risk as well.”

Further study needs to be done to discover whether such things as vasodilation or the production of nitric oxide from skin cells during the ante meridian hours have a positive impact on the diminution of cancers without the aid of Vitamin D.  The magazine authors neglected to mention the benefits of serotonin and endorphins by the reaction of skin cells to sunlight; such benefits have little, if anything, to do with the production of Vitamin D.  Only further investigations can reveal if such phenomenon actually affect the viability of cancers in the body.

Sunlight is more, much more, than just Vitamin D.  While vitamins play a crucial role in the body’s health, they are overshadowed (excuse the pun) by pure and simple sunshine.  Not to downplay the role of Vitamin D in bodily health and mental alertness, but the study of sunlight itself on the body is only in its infancy – much more work needs to be done, which we believe will prove that sunlight is a third agent, after vitamins and minerals, in restoring and maintaining the health of the body.

1. van der Rhee H, Coebergh JW, de Vries E. Is prevention of cancer by sun exposure more than just the effect of vitamin D? A systematic review of epidemiological studies. Eur J Cancer. 2012 Dec 10. pii: S0959-8049(12)00885-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2012.11.001. [Epub ahead of print]