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Sunlight, Vitamin D and Skin Cancer

Updated on July 7, 2014
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Michael F. Holick Ph.D., M.D. and More on Melanoma, Sunlight and Breast Cancer

Michael F. Holick Ph.D. in biochemistry, M.D. Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics.
Michael F. Holick Ph.D. in biochemistry, M.D. Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics. | Source
Map of the U.S. with highest to lowest rates of melanoma. Texas and Arizona are right above Mexico and have the lowest rates. WA and MN, below Canada have the highest rates. Click on picture to see it clearly.
Map of the U.S. with highest to lowest rates of melanoma. Texas and Arizona are right above Mexico and have the lowest rates. WA and MN, below Canada have the highest rates. Click on picture to see it clearly. | Source
Chart from PubMed showing that as you get closer to the equator, deaths from breast cancer go down due to the extra vitamin D.
Chart from PubMed showing that as you get closer to the equator, deaths from breast cancer go down due to the extra vitamin D. | Source

The Connection Between Sunlight, Vitamin D and Skin Cancer

On one hand, they say that sunlight creates neurosteroid hormone vitamin D that can protect you from many diseases including cancer. Then it is also said that sunlight can increase your chances of getting skin cancer.

Sometimes people will say that when health experts disagree then you do not know who to believe. Well you can always learn more about the people saying these things.

Dr. Michael F. Holick Ph.D., M.D. is the country's leading expert on vitamin D. He has been treating humans and animals with vitamin D for decades.

This article was written on May 3, 2013 after Dr. Holick did a webinar on sunlight and vitamin D. Plus I will add some unique information to this article. Decades ago Dr. Holick was creating vitamin D and giving it to crippled people in wheelchairs. They quickly recovered and started walking.

Latest news 2014: Scientists Blow the Lid on Cancer & Sunscreen Myth.

According to a June 2014 article featured in The Independent (UK), a major study conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that women who avoid sunbathing during the summer are twice as likely to die as those who sunbathe every day.

The epidemiological study followed 30,000 women for over 20 years and “showed that mortality was about double in women who avoided sun exposure compared to the highest exposure group.”

Dr. Holick got many awards in dermatology but was fired by the department of dermatology since he published a book on the benefits of vitamin D from sunlight. Wikipedia says about Dr. Holick (please note that vitamin D is a hormone and endocrinologists studies the glands that produce hormones):

He is an endocrinologist and professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics and director of the Bone Health Care Clinic and the Heliotherapy, Light, and Skin Research Center at Boston University Medical Center.

His scientific oeuvre [a substantial body of work constituting the lifework of a writer, an artist, or a composer] is increased awareness in the pediatric and medical communities regarding vitamin D deficiency pandemic [widespread epidemic]. [They have changed this.]

He has been quoted and his scientific work has been referenced in The New York Times,[10] Forbes,[11][12] Newsweek,[13] Men's Health,[14] Scientific American[15] and Time.[16]

Please note above where Wikipedia calls it the "vitamin D deficiency pandemic." A pandemic is a widespread epidemic! Did you know that there is a pandemic going on that most people do not know about since they are dying from very common disease from it like from heart attacks, cancer and strokes. There are 2 very recent webinar videos below where Dr Holick talks about vitamin D and answers questions.

Vitamin D can help the body to prevent many diseases. I have an article about the Many Benefits of Vitamin D. Andrew Weil M.D. graduated Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. He said:

Increasing the amount of vitamin D in the body can prevent or help treat a remarkable number of ailments, from obesity to arthritis, from high blood pressure to back pain, from diabetes to muscle cramps, from upper respiratory tract infections to infectious disease, and from fibromyalgia to cancers of the breast, colon, pancreas, prostate and ovaries.

Here is a webpage from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (PubMed) from EHP (Environmental Health Perspectives called Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health. It says:

Most public health messages of the past century have focused on the hazards of too much sun exposure.

However, excessive UVR exposure accounts for only 0.1% of the total global burden of disease in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), according to the 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) report The Global Burden of Disease Due to Ultraviolet Radiation. DALYs measure how much a person’s expectancy of healthy life is reduced by premature death or disability caused by disease.

In contrast, the same WHO report noted that a markedly larger annual disease burden of 3.3 billion DALYs worldwide might result from very low levels of UVR exposure. This burden subsumes major disorders of the musculoskeletal system and possibly an increased risk of various autoimmune diseases and life-threatening cancers.

The best-known benefit of sunlight is its ability to boost the body’s vitamin D supply; most cases of vitamin D deficiency are due to lack of outdoor sun exposure.

So the above is saying that sunlight can save you from 3.3 trillion more health problems than it can cause. This is a very extensive article if you want to read it. It tells about how they found that sun bathing can reduce high blood pressure but they are not sure if this is from the vitamin D alone.

Please note that the 3rd video below shows that they found that there are heart/cardiovascular benefits in addition to the vitamin D that you get from sunlight. Vitamin D comes from the UV-B light so you need to get it during the hours of 10AM to 3PM. The body gets nitric acid from the UV-A light that you can get all day. This nitric oxide increases cardiovascular health and lowers high blood pressure.

The article also tells about other beneficial things that are created in the body due to sunlight. It says that ultraviolet radiation (UVR) increases blood levels of natural opiates called endorphins. The video webinar below with Dr. Holick also talks about this. He says that sunlight creates the hormone beta-endorphin or β-endorphin and this makes you feel good.

Dr. Holick mentions that there are no studies showing a link between sunlight and melanoma. According to him most melanomas occur on areas of the body that have not been under UVR. Also the chart above shows that states that get the most sunlight have the lowest rates of melanoma.

The other skin cancers are basal cell skin cancer and squamous cell skin cancer. The majority of them are merely cosmetic and not lethal. Now here is an explanation for these cancers and sunlight that you will not easily find elsewhere.

An herbalist was treating a woman with knee pain. She applied an herbal ointment to it that is called Bone, Flesh and Cartilage. it was created by Dr. John Christopher-- master herbalist. The next day the husband called and said that his wife's knee is now burned. Now the herbal ointment did not burn her knee but her knee would not have got burned if the ointment was not applied.

The herbalist said to the husband that she must have gotten a cortisone injection in her knee. He said that she was correct. The B,F and C formula removed toxins from the knee to help it to heal and drugs like cortisone are toxins. Then when it was brought out, the cortisone burned her knee.

So sunbathing draws cancers from inside of the body to the skin so they are no longer inside the body. Then if a person continues to sunbathe, it will heal the cancer on the skin. So what appears to be hurting people is actually helping. Although it is the World Health Organization mentioned above that says the benefits of sunlight are 3.3 trillion times better than the damage that it causes.

Information on Video Below about vitamin D, sunlight and skin cancer

After Dr. Holick gave his talk on the video, he then answered questions. One interesting question is if vitamin D can be washed off after being in sunlight. The outer layer of the skin is dead skin cells. Holick says that vitamin D is created in the living skin cells and cannot be washed off of the skin.

He says on the video:

Excessive exposure to sunlight causes non-melanoma skin cancer-- easy to detect and easy to treat.

Note that he also explains that you can only get vitamin D from sunlight from around 10AM to 3PM. That is when the UV-B is strong enough while UV-A stays strong through the day. He mentions on this video that they found that the further people live from the equator, the greater their chance of hypertension-- too much tension. Just kidding! It means high blood pressure. He said that they found that UVR creates NO (nitric oxide) that helps control blood pressure. See my article on Foods that Lower High Blood Pressure and Supplements that Lower High Blood Pressure for more on this.

Dr. Holick said that you can get more vitamin D from tanning beds. Silent celiac disease can cause people to not created enough vitamin D from sunlight. They do not make vitamin D from from fat wool directly but take the cholesterol out of the fat wool.

The sun scare campaign of sunlight lies

Book: The Vitamin D Solution by Dr. Michael Holick (Get it while it is still in print.)

Would God Get It Wrong? The truth about the sun.

Dr. Michael Holick - Vitamin D & the Sun - What does the sun do for me? Part 1/2 January 22, 2013

Dr. Michael Holick - Vitamin D & the Sun - Additional Q&A Part 2/2

Experiment showing that the UV-A light reduces high blood pressure due to creation of nitric oxide (NO). Vitamin D comes from UV-B light. Talk by dermatologist.

***Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression, and Low Vitamin D!!!


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    • profile image

      Jennifer Suchey 

      6 years ago

      I just read your article again and grasped information I don't remember from last time, or just didn't retain. The part about how the sun actually heals skin cancers that have been drawn out of the body. Pretty amazing. Thanks for citing sources. I will refer back to this article as I update my articles on vitamin D and the sun, and/or write new ones.

    • profile image

      Jennifer Suchey 

      6 years ago

      I love that other people are talking about the benefits of the sun. I just wrote about it myself and saw the link to yours below mine (and another one as well). My hub is actually focused on reasons for fatigue, but vitamin D deficiency is one of them and I spent several days last week working on a detailed article for my website on the subject, which includes safe sun exposure, how it prevents, not causes cancer, etc. I hope we can make the world a better place with our message of healthy sunshine! :D


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