Friday, February 6, 2004

New Research Speaks In Favor Of Moderate Sun Exposure

Source: Dr. William B. Grant


San Francisco, CA -- Dr. William B. Grant, PhD, an internationally known research scientist who recently retired from NASA’s Langley Research Center, has discovered that moderate sun exposure, whether natural or artificial, is necessary to fight numerous forms of internal cancers. His data, first brought to light at the annual American Society for Photobiology meeting and a National Institutes of Health conference last year, led the charge of new scientific thinking that is in stark opposition to dermatologists’ decades-long “Stay Out of the Sun” warning.

“Vitamin ‘D’, one of the most important immune system substances, is generated in the skin by sunlight”, said Dr. Grant. He added, “Without it, the human body becomes serum vitamin D deficient, clearing the way for the onset of a host of diseases.” Along with breast, colon and over a dozen other forms of internal cancer, one of the most notable of these is rickets, the bone-mutating condition that was combated by large UV-B arc lamps in the 1920’s, and then later by mom’s doling out cod liver oil in the 1940’s and 50’s. When sun tanning became popular in the 60’s and 70’s, dietary supplements were phased out as vitamin D levels rose.

The Anti-Sun Doctrine
Around 1980, the American Academy of Dermatology, and its powerful lobby in Washington, insisted that such unseemly activities like sunbathing were causing an epidemic of skin cancer, which, according to their point of view, could only be inhibited by slathering on sunscreen, completely covering up, or avoiding the sun. The “Anti-Sun” campaign that ensued gave rise to a panic that put billions into the pockets of pharmaceutical firms and kept millions of people indoors. In 1999, when it was reported that rickets, a disease thought to have been totally eradicated in the US, was suddenly on the rise, the alarm bells began going off among research scientists to find out why.

“Sunshine is the best medicine”
Using NASA-generated UVB data, and going on a hunch, Grant looked at regional maps of internal cancer death rates, and was astounded to find mortality levels in the Northeastern US nearly double those in the Southeast. Grant and his colleagues believe that the reason is chronic Vitamin D deficiency. As such, he says telling people to stay out of the sun may not have been very good advice at all. “These data show that many billions of healthcare dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives are wasted each year treating maladies that could be prevented by insuring normal serum vitamin D levels are maintained. Sunshine is the only real way to make that happen, because proper doses of dietary supplements are difficult to determine while sunlight production is self regulating.”

No one from the AAD was willing to comment on these new findings, but surveys are beginning to show that more and more individual dermatologists are tempering that organization’s draconian message to avoid the sun at all costs, and more often recommend care against sunburning.

William B. Grant, PhD, recently retired as a Senior Research Scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and is now Chairman of SUNARC (SUnlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center) in San Francisco, CA, which receives and processes scientific data submitted by Epidemiologists and Molecular Biologists throughout the world, with the aim of understanding how human beings are benefited from sunlight -generated Vitamin D.

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