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According to the National Cancer Institute, lifetime exposure to sunlight may reduce your risk of some of the most common types of cancer. In an analysis of death certificates from 24 states over an 11year period, the NCI researchers found that those who lived in the sunniest parts of the country, and those exposed to the most sunlight through their jobs had significant lower rates of breast and colon cancer than matched controls .Worldwide the lowest rates for breast and colon cancer occur in the Caribbean, south and central America and, .South Asia. Countries in these regionso are within 20 degrees of the equator, where the sun's rays are particu1arly strong ,and where mortality rates for breast and colon cancer are 4-6 times lower than in northern Europe or North America.
The scientists identified cases through a database maintained by the NCI, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Center for Health Statistics. The data was collected from 24 states from 1984 through 1995, and includes information on occupation, state of residence at birth and at death, and cause of death. The researchers took significant measures to ensure the accuracy of: their data. They only included people who were born and died in states in the same solar radiation range, and they classified farmers in their own occupational category, separate from other outdoor jobs, have been shown to have higher overall rates of certain types of cancer. They also narrowed down the cases with a long list of exclusions.
Even after all those adjustments, the results were compelling. Overall, people who lived in the highest solar radiation range in. states like Arizona, Hawaii, Florida, Texas) had less risk of dying of breast, ovarian, prostate, or colon cancer than those who lived in the lowest range (states like Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, and-Washington). The occupational difference was most significant in relation to cases breast and colon cancer; across all levels of solar radiation, people who worked outside had 20. to 25 percent less risk of these two types of cancer. And the benefits of outside work were not attributable to the amount of hard labor. Even after the researchers adjusted for level of physical activity, the reduction in risk remained.
In their discussion, the NCI researchers theorize that SUNLIGHT offers cancer protection through its contrubution of vitamin D. Recent laboratory tests have shown that vitamin D can slow or halt the proliferation of breast and colon cancer cells. And in other research, breast cancer: patients showed lower serum concentrations of a form of vitamin D when compared with healthy controls.
Dr Jane C Wright, directing cancer research at Bellevue Memorial Medical Center in New York City in 1959, was fascinated by Ott's ideas. Ott was a pioneer .in time-lapse photography in the middle of the twentieth century. Many of the Disney fi1ms, in which we see plants growing and flowers opening were made by him. Ott made a valid point when he wrote in his last book "Light radiation and you" "Mankind adapted to the full range of the solar spectrum, and artificial distortions of that spectrum mal-illumination, a condition analogous to malnutrition - may have biological effects. Advised by Ott, Dr Wright instructed fifteen cancer patients to stay out doors as much as possible that summer in natural sunlight without wearing their glasses and particularly without sunglasses. By that autumn, the tumors in 14 of 15 had not grown, and. some patients had got better. Ott wondered why the fifteenth had not benefited... He discovered that this woman had not fully understood the instructions - while she had not worn sunglasses, she had continued to wear her prescription glasses. This blocking of UV into her eyes was enough to stop the benefits enjoyed by the other fourteen.
In 1961, with five times the national average incidence, an elementary school in Niles I Illinois, was found to have the highest rate of leukemia of any school in the USA. Because of the intense glare from the sun, in the newly-constructed building in which glass had been used extensively, the' teachers in two of the classrooms kept the blinds drawn and the children were exposed all day only to 'warm-white' fluorescent light. All of the children with leukemia were being taught in these two classrooms. After several years of keeping the blinds drawn and the fluorescent lights on, the teachers in the two classrooms left and were replaced with teachers who preferred to let the sunlight in. At the same time, the warm-white fluorescent were replaced with cool-white lights. From 1964, the time of Ott's last visit, there were no further cases of leukemia reported in that School.and other cancers
After one of his lectures, Ott sat next to the daughter of the late Dr Albert Schweizer at dinner. They talked mainly about her experiences as assistant to her father at Lambarene, Gabon, on the West Coast of Africa. Ott asked her about the rate of cancer in the people of that area. She replied that when her father had first started a hospital, they found no cancer at all, but now it was a problem. Ott asked her if the people living there had started insta1ling glass windows and electric lights. She said they had not.
Ott then asked her jokingly if any of the natives wore sunglasses. She looked startled and told Ott that the natives paddling their dugout canoes down the river in front of the hospital often wore no more than a loincloth and sunglasses; indeed -some wore only sunglasses. She explained that sunglasses represented a status symbol of civilization and education and had a higher bartering value than beads and other such trinkets.
In another case, Ott learned from an elderly acquaintance that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the prostate and surgery had been recommended. Ott found that for many years this man had been wearing eyeglasses with a light pink tint and was able to persuade him to stop wearing those and get full spectrum ultraviolet transmitting Spectacles. Ott also advised him to cut down watching television and spend more time outdoors. At the time of writing his book, Ott reports that the man has gone three years without Surgery and with no symptoms of his prostate cancer.
Also, it is best to get Sun exposure earlier in the day, rather than later in the day, if possible. That is because the body's internal clock is regulated by sunlight, and requires early morning light for proper setting. Additional benefits of sun include better immune system function and this could be a part of the reason why it decreases cancer risk, since the immune system identifies and destroys abnormal cells as well as stronger bones and teeth, including significantly fewer cavities in children who get adequate sun exposure.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Glucose in the b1ood gives quick energy the kind you need when you walk briskly, run for a bus., ride your bike, or take an aerobics class. Glucose in the blood is produced by the liver from the foods you eat.
In a healthy person, the blood glucose level is regulated by a hormone called insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, a small organ near the stomach that also secretes important-enzymes that help the digestion of food. Insulin allows glucose to move from the blood into cells, where it is used for fuel
People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or cannot use insulin properly (type 2 diabetes) or BOTH.
In diabetes, glucose in the blood cannot move into cells and stays in the blood. This not only harms the ce1ls that need the glucose for fuel, but also harms certain organs and tissues exposed to the high glucose levels.
Type 1 diabetes: The body stops producing insulin or produces too little insulin to regulate blood glucose level. Type 1 diabetes comprises about 10% of total cases of diabetes in the United States. Type 1 diabetes is typically recognized in childhood or adolescence. It used to be known as juvenile-onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. People with type 1 diabetes generally require daily insulin treatment to sustain life.
Type 2 diabetes: The pancreas secretes insulin, but the body is partially or completely unab1e to use the insulin. This is sometimes referred to as insulin resistance. Some people with type 2 diabetes also have a problem with not secreting enough insulin. At least 90% of diabetes cases are type 2.
Type 2 diabetes is typically recognized in adulthood, usually after age 45 years. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes mellitus, or noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. These names are no longer used because type 2 diabetes does occur in younger people, and some people with type 2 diabetes need to use insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is usually controlled with diet, weight loss, exercise, and oral medications. More than half of all people with type 2 diabetes require insulin to control their blood sugar at some point in the course of their illness. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during the second half of pregnancy.
About 1 million new cases occur each year, and diabetes or indirect cause of at least 200,000 deaths each year. The incidence of diabetes is increasing rapidly. This increase is due to many factors, but the most significant are the increasing incidence obesity and the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles.
Both forms of diabetes ultimately lead to high blood Sugar levels, a condition called hyperglycemia. Over a long period of time, hyperglycemia damages the retina of the eye, the kidneys, the nerves, and the blood vessels.
Damage to the retina from diabetes (diabetic retinopathy) is a leading cause of blindness.
Damage to the kidneys from diabetes (diabetic nephropathy) is a leading cause of kidney failure.
Damage to the nerves from diabetes (diabetic neuropathy) is a leading cause of foot wounds and ulcers, which frequently lead to foot and leg amputations.
Damage to the nerves in the autonomic nervous system can lead to paralysis of the stomach(gastro paresis), chronic diarrhea, and an inability to control heart rate; and b1ood pressure with posture changes
Diabetes accelerates atherosclerosis or the formation of fatty plaques inside the arteries which can 1ead to b1ockages or a clot (thrombus) which can then lead to heart attack, stroke, and decreased circulation in the arms and 1egs (peripheral vascu1ar disease).
In the short run, diabetes can contribute to a. number of acute (short-lived) medical problems.
Many infections are associated with diabetes, and infections are frequently more dangerous in someone with diabetes because the body's normal ability to fight infections is impaired.
Hypoglycemia, or 1ow b1ood sugar, occurs from time to time in most people with diabetes. It results from taking too much diabetes medication or insulin (sometimes called "insulin reaction"), missing a mea1, doing more exercise than usual, drinking too much alcohol, or taking certain medication or other conditions . It is very important to recognize hypoglycemia and be prepared to treat it at all times. You can faint or have a seizure if blood sugar level gets too low.
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome is a serious condition in which the b1ood sugar 1evel gets very high. The body tries to get rid of the excess blood sugar by eliminating it in the urine. This increases the amount of urine significantly and often 1eads to dehydration, so severe that it can cause seizures, coma, even death. This syndrome, sometimes called diabetic' coma, typically occurs in people with type 2 diabetes who are not controlling their blood sugar.
SUNLIGHT has a tremendous effect in controlling diabetes by 1owering the concentration of Glucose in the blood.o Although it is not particularly noticeable in normal individuals, the effect is dramatic in diabetics. It is because of this reason that anyone who is diabetic should be careful as they may have to reduce the amount of insulin they take to maintain normal blood sugar level if they are in strong sunlight for any length of time. As with heart disease, the incidence of diabetics is higher amongst the Indo-Asian community as this may be another manifestation of chronic vitamin D insufficiency.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system in which the myelin sheaths covering nerve fibers are damaged, leading to a range of symptoms associated with disruption of nerve function, such as paralysis and tremors. It has been proved that the incidence of multiple sclerosis increases dramatically with latitude, and that exposure to sunlight in childhood and adolescence protects against the disease in later life.
There is a strong circumstantial evidence to prove that vitamin D protects against this disease. In Switzerland, the disease is common at high altitudes and much rarer at low attitudes where the intensity of ultraviolet radiation is much stronger. In Norway, there is much greater prevalence of multiple sclerosis inland than on the coast, where fish is consumed in large quantities, providing an excellent dietary source of Vitamin D. Bright light prevents seasonal affective disorder because it suppresses the secretion from the pituitary gland of the neurohormone melatonin. It seems that by inhibiting the secretion of melatonin sunlight also prevents multiple sclerosis by strengthening the immune system and preventing demyelization.
If the disease is to be avoided, irrespective of the physical mechanism involved, there are good grounds for discouraging children from wearing sunglasses, and encouraging regular moderate sunlight exposure.
Sunlight therapy is particularly effective in cases of psoriasis, a benign but chronic inflammatory skin condition which affects 2% of the world population. The intensity may vary from very mild to severe conditions where sores completely cover the body except the face.
During the last 30 years tens of thousands' of patients mainly from Western Europe, have been given sunlight therapy for psoriasis. At the Dead Sea, in Israel there is high mineral content of the water, combined with solar radiation, improves the condition of about 80% of the patients who go there for medical treatment. The condition also has been treated successfully with sunlight in other parts of the world. In one recent study, published in the British journal of Dermatology in 1998, some 46 Finnish patients received 4 weeks of heliotherapy treatment in the Candy islands Spain. They were sent abroad because in Finland solar radiation is too weak and sunny days are too infrequent to have any real impact. For psoriatic patients exposure to sun remains an effective alternative to systemic drugs.
Heart disease accounts for nearly one third of all deaths in industrialized countries and 7 million deaths worldwide. By keeping your weight down and taking regular exercise, the likelihood of ill health is far less than if you pursue a sedentary way of life, eat convenience foods and smoke. Sunlight has a marked effect on some of the imbalances in the body which are associated with heart disease. Not only sunlight lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but the results of tests reported in the American Journal of Physiology in 1935 show that exposure to ultraviolet radiation can also increase the amount of blood ejected from the heart - the cardiac output- by as much as 39% . If sunlight does influence the functioning of the cardiovascular system to anything like this extent, one would expect to see more heart disease when and where there was less available solar radiation.
The therapeutic use of light has been known to many cultures for thousands of years. Probably the first reference came from Hufeland when he wrote in his book "Even the human being becomes pale, flabby, and apathetic as a result of being deprived of light - finally losing all his vital energy" More recently Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Nobel Prize winner and discoverer of Vitamin-C, has recognized how profoundly light and colour affect us. From his work, he concluded that "all the energy which we take into our bodies is derived from the Sun" He saw that through the process of photosynthesis - the Sun's energy is stored in plants, which are in turn eaten by animals and humans. Digestion and assimilation by animals and humans is concerned with breaking down, transferring, storing and utilizing this light-created energy.
The human body is nourished directly by stimulation of sunlight or nourished indirectly by eating foods, drinking fluids, or breathing. air that has been vitalized by the sun's light energy. This light energy not only affects our physiological activities and moods, but recently it has been shown to produce an effect in the body produced by physical training and its resultant improvement in physical fitness.
In summary, these findings along with those of many other highly respected scientists and physicians, seem to indicate that the human body is truly a living photocell that is energized by the sun's light, the nutrient of humankind.
Osteoporosis now affects one in every three women and one in every 12 men in the UK. Described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the silent epidemic" there are often no symptoms until the first fracture by which time you may have lost a third of your bone density. In women, the menopause can accelerate the problem because levels of the female hormone estrogen, which helps bones absorb calcium, declines. But all females naturally start to lose bone density from the age of 30 so don't think this is only a problem of middle age. There may be no symptoms until a bone has fractured and by the time you are at serious risk of osteoporosis, you may have already lost a third of your starting bone mass. In some cases the bones become thin and honeycombed and are prone to fractures which can occur spontaneously. By the time the disease is diagnosed, in most of the cases as much as a third of bone mass may have been lost. Osteoporosis may have to do with a weakened immune system or poor nutrition than hormonal imbalance. With advancing age, the intestine becomes less efficient at absorbing calcium from the diet.
The World Health Organization, (WHO), is now predicting that the number of hip fractures could increase six-fold to over six million by the middle of this century. This is why osteoporosis is being called an epidemic, yet one solution could be as simple and as free as safe exposure to Sun. In studies of elderly populations who have suffered a broken hip, up to 40% have been shown to be lacking in vitamin D.
Lack of sunlight does seem to exacerbate the disease. It has been recognized for over 2 decades that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of hip fractures. Bone density is at its lowest during the winter, more hip fractures occur in winter months and hip fractures become common with increasing latitude. Osteoporosis epidemic and the incidence of other degenerative diseases can be linked to sunlight deprivation. The best way to prevent it in later life is to build up high bone mass during childhood and adolescence by taking regular exercise and getting plenty of Vitamin D and calcium. Then, if calcium has been absorbed to a sufficient degree the loss of bone mass associated with ageing starts from a level that is less likely to drop below the 'fracture threshold', at which point the' risk of breaking bone increases. Safe exposure to sun at safe periods of the day can very much prevent bone disorders in later life.
Thanks to a discovery by Korean researchers, the number of weapons in the arsenal to fight Parkinson's disease has just gotten bigger. According to research, a biologically active form of vitamin D, known as 1,25(OH)2 D3, works like a natural anti-inflammatory to prevent the disease.
However, 1,25(OH)2 D3 wields most of its actions only after it binds to its specific nuclear receptors.