More Sunlight Cuts Strokes And Arthritis Risk

As reported by Dr John Cannell (Vitamin D Council) (2/13) Sun exposure may cut arthritis risk in women

According to new research led by Professor Elizabeth Arkema and colleagues from Harvard, increased sun exposure may cut the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The study, recently published in JAMA, found that more intense sun exposure was linked with a decreased incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) among women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS).

The NHS established a large cohort in 1976 of over one-hundred thousand nurses to follow over time. In this recent analysis, the researchers found that women (ages 30 to 55) living in states with the highest ultraviolet B (UVB) intensity had a 21% lower risk for RA compared with those living in states with low UVB. Conclusive evidence? Not so fast. In 1989, the NHSII was established; a second and different cohort of over 115,000 women. In this cohort, the researchers found no such decreased risk associated with sun exposure. The risk over 20 years for RA was 0.7% among women in NHS living in states with the highest UVB compared with 1.2% in those living in states with lowest levels. There was no difference in risk between highest and lowest UVB exposure in NHSII.

They provide a possible explanation, "The later birth cohort of NHSII participants (born between 1946 and 1964) were more likely aware of the dangers of sun exposure and, perhaps, had more sun-protective behavior, making residential UVB not as good a proxy for actual sun exposure in NHSII."

They conclude that the current findings strengthen evidence that more intense sun exposure lowers the risk of RA. “The mechanisms are not yet understood, but could be mediated by cutaneous production of vitamin D and attenuated by use of sunscreen or sun avoidant behavior," they explain. The authors call for further research to examine the most effective UVB intensity and timing of exposure.

More Sunlight Linked To Fewer Strokes  

As reported by Dr John Cannell (Vitamin D Council) (2/12) New Study Suggests Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Increased Stroke Risk

Researchers at the University of Alabama announced that sunlight is inversely associated with stroke: the more sunlight the fewer strokes. The authors also commented on the poor wisdom of avoiding all sunlight; that is, they implied the dermatologists have done us harm.

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the USA, but the leading cause of disability. High blood pressure is the single most important modifiable medical risk factor, but inflammation (as measured by CRP) and diabetes are major medical risk factors as well. Blacks are twice as likely as Whites to suffer a stroke, even after scientists account for all the socioeconomic and medical risk factors. Why do so many more Blacks die from strokes as Whites?

It is not vitamin D, according to Dr. Erin Michos and colleagues in a paper published in the journal Nutrition. However, the researchers found that vitamin D levels were a major risk factor for Whites but not for Blacks. Whites with low vitamin D levels (<15 ng/ml) had a threefold higher risk for stroke compared to Whites with higher levels. This is one of those studies where they collected blood in the late 1980s and early 1990s, froze it, and then waited to see who died of what and when over the next 14 years.

For Whites, all the traditional risk factors were strongly influenced by 25(OH)D levels (p= <0.0001) including, you guessed it, CRP. For Whites in the highest quartile of vitamin D levels (mean = 44 ng/ml), they had much lower CRP (.35 vs. .48), less diabetes (4.1 % vs. 8.9%), less hypertension (22% vs. 35%) and less cholesterol problems (22% vs. 31%) than the Whites in the lowest quartile of vitamin D (mean=17 ng/ml). They could not find similar robust finding for Blacks, and they hypothesized that perhaps Blacks can get along with less vitamin D than Whites can. That certainly does not appear to be the case in equatorial Africa. I suspect they couldn't find the relationship here because American Blacks have such low vitamin D levels, that the range in blood levels is not large enough to show clinical or statistical significance. That is, so many American Blacks are deficient and at risk of stroke, the number with vitamin D levels high enough to help prevent stroke are negligible. As I said, the authors note another possibility, that vitamin D metabolism is different in Blacks. Although possible, I think it's best to treat the massive deficiency in the Black community first. I suspect researchers will find that deficiency is deficiency, no matter the skin color.

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Tanning & Natural Health News is a publication of Tan Plus /Essentials Of Life, Barclay Square, 350 Route 108, Somersworth, NH. This publication is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be presented as medical advice. Product statements made have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.

Copyright © 2015 • Ray Allard • All Rights Reserved

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