RESEARCH

Insufficient Sun Exposure Has Become a Real Health Problem

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Abstract: This article aims to alert the medical community and public health authorities to accumulating evidence on health benefits from sun exposure, which suggests that insufficient sun exposure is a significant public health problem.

 

Studies in the past decade indicate that insufficient sun exposure may be responsible for 340,000 deaths in the United States and 480,000 deaths in Europe per year, and an increased incidence of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, asthma, type 1 diabetes and myopia. Vitamin D has long been considered the principal mediator of beneficial effects of sun exposure.

 

However, oral vitamin D supplementation has not been convincingly shown to prevent the above conditions; thus, serum 25(OH)D as an indicator of vitamin D status may be a proxy for and not a mediator of beneficial effects of sun exposure. New candidate mechanisms include the release of nitric oxide from the skin and direct effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on peripheral blood cells.

 

Collectively, this evidence indicates it would be wise for people living outside the tropics to ensure they expose their skin sufficiently to the sun. To minimize the harms of excessive sun exposure, great care must be taken to avoid sunburn, and sun exposure during high ambient UVR seasons should be obtained incrementally at not more than 5–30 min a day (depending on skin type and UV index), in season-appropriate clothing and with eyes closed or protected by sunglasses that filter UVR.

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Acute Respiratory Tract Infection and

25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentration:

A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Abstract: Observational studies and randomised controlled studies suggest that vitamin D plays a role in the prevention of acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI); however, findings are inconsistent and the optimal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration remains unclear. To review the link between 25(OH)D concentration and ARTI, we searched PubMed and EMBASE databases to identify observational studies reporting the association between 25(OH)D concentration and risk or severity of ARTI. We used random-effects meta-analysis to pool findings across studies.


Twenty-four studies were included in the review, 14 were included in the meta-analysis of ARTI risk and five in the meta-analysis of severity. Serum 25(OH)D concentration was inversely associated with risk and severity of ARTI; pooled odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.83 (1.42–2.37) and 2.46 (1.65–3.66), respectively, comparing the lowest with the highest 25(OH)D category. For each 10 nmol/L decrease in 25(OH)D concentration, the odds of ARTI increased by 1.02 (0.97–1.07).

 

This was a non-linear trend, with the sharpest increase in risk of ARTI occurring at 25(OH)D concentration <37.5 nmol/L. In conclusion, there is an inverse non-linear association between 25(OH)D concentration and ARTI.

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Sunshine Should Be Pursued In Moderation.

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America's second largest public health problem is insufficient sun exposure. It's responsible for 340,000 preventable deaths per year, just behind tobacco and ahead of obesity.

 

The public needs to be aware of insufficient sun exposure risks and increase daily sun exposure to improve health.

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Stop fearing the sun.

Embrace sunshine.

Let's build healthier communities.