Posts Tagged ‘Ultraviolet’

Raising healthy chickens – why light matters.

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Research into how chickens perceive the world has given insights into how light is processed.


A fluorescent bulb with a flicker can cause enormous stress and lack of UV light can impact everything from choosing a viable mate to finding sufficient food.



SAD? Then Catch the Sun

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Especially now mid winter is near it is easy to get depressed a little as we are getting up in the dark and come home at nightfall. It is called SAD, short for Seasonal Affective Disorder or winter depression.

The main contributors to SAD are reduced daylight hours and low fat diets. SAD affects you with depression, carbohydrate craving (a typical effect of low fat diet), increased need for sleep and lack of energy. It is a self-perpetuating cycle.

The Vitamin D, Melatonin and Diet connection

With the reduced sunlight (read reduced vitamin D production) and colder temperatures comes the reduced immune response to flues and head colds. SAD is emphasised by the following factors: increased melatonin, low cholesterol, low fat diets and sun block, and weight gain. These are all related. Not many health professionals have drawn the connection with low fat diets.

Low fat diets forced on us are probably THE major contributor to vitamin D deficiency. Think about the following vitamin D related conditions: cancer – more cases, heart disease – more cases, diabetes – more cases, obesity- more cases and the list goes on. Modern medical science tells us: Eat low fat – margarine is better than butter, cook with oils instead of animal fats, eggs are bad, low salt, high carbohydrate diets, low proteins (as they are associated with saturated fats), use sun block when you go outside. Most of these are old 1950’s thinking with no science back up.

Vitamin D production is closely related to diet as well as sunlight. 20 minute Summer time sun exposure on arm and face replaces the need to for vitamin D in foods. In winter that is not possible. There are a few another ways to get more Vitamin D:

1) Alternative light sources:

Not all light is the same. Light is rated in degrees Kelvin (k). White sunlight (5500K) will fragment into a spectrum of all colours like a rainbow when it passes through a prism. A normal household incandescent light bulb (approx. 4100K) does not create a true rainbow spectrum. Neither do those long fluorescent tubes with a harsher unflattering colour temperature. The new 5500K broad-spectrum lights, like the Viva-lite, simulating sunlight also include the so important near UV and mid UV range. When you put this light through a prism its spectrum is virtually identical to a rainbow. Both broad spectrum lighting and sunlight (at 5500K) are scientifically reported to help with lowering Stress hormone, Mood improvement, Fewer headaches, Slower aging of the retina, Increased productivity, and Reduced eye strain, increased Vitamin D production in the skin.

2) Foods and supplements

Best vitamin D foods to eat are cold-water ocean fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel, foods with saturated fats, butter, eggs; milk and orange juice are now being fortified but both of these are suspect food sources because they are immunologically destructive. If you are a vegetarian and avoid the sun as well as milk and animal fats your vitamin D intake is at risk, especially in winter. You can get the RDA for vitamin D by eating 1.5 kg of beef, 2 kg of corn oil, or 100 kg of cabbage. I wonder who would eat that much of these foods. However the same RDA is reached with 50 gram of salmon, or 2 grams of cod liver oil. Think twice when you have a strict vegetarian diet.

To recap:

By now the light should be on: catch your sunlight, avoid sun block, and replace your indoor lights with Full spectrum Viva-lite light bulbs. The most important winter supplement is Vitamin D 5000IU/day (or take 2 to 3 omega-3 fish oil capsules/day), eat real foods that have vitamin D (oily fish, butter and saturated fats to zonal quantities).
If you are suspecting you are suffering from a combination of depression, sleep problems, repeated colds and flues I strongly advise you to seek professional help.

Click here to read the whole article… (by Peter Riddering, BHSc (CompMed), Naturopath)

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Conflict Of Interest In Melanoma Study

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

A University of Minnesota advocacy group may have “reverse-engineered” a study to bolster its own pre-existing anti-indoor tanning crusade, failing to properly cite the significance of conflicting data within its own paper, downplaying confounding data that opposed its conclusions and failing to disclose the conflict-of-interest of its own anti-tanning advocacy efforts.

“This study was designed and executed by an advocate, not a neutral party, and the advocate failed to properly disclose that she is not a neutral party,” said Joseph Levy, vice president of International Smart Tan Network, the educational institute for the North American indoor tanning community. “That conflict of interest clouds some of the irregularities reported in the paper.”

Dr. DeAnn Lazovich, lead author of “Indoor Tanning and Risk of Melanoma: A Case-Control Study in a Highly Exposed Population,” set for publication in the June issue of American Association for Cancer Research, failed to disclose in the paper that she is part of a University of Minnesota group that initiated programs to discourage indoor tanning use three years before designing and engaging in data collection for this study. Those interactions may themselves have tainted subjects and controls used in the study. (

The International Smart Tan Network has revealed that The University of Minnesota group engaged in deceptive practices in 2001 when, using a National Cancer Institute grant, it developed a bogus indoor tanning training program in order to obtain data from indoor tanning facilities for future studies. According to reports, the Minnesota group told salons they were attempting to help operators lower their risks, but the University of Minnesota refers to the same grant on its web site as an effort to reduce indoor tanning usage.

Tanning advocates in New Zealand also see serious flaws in the study. Tiffany Brown of local sunbed business Get Brown Tanning said today, “There is a clear failure here to disclose a major conflict of interest. This really is quite deceptive research. Once again relative risk factors are used instead of absolute risk- a typical scare-mongering technique of the anti-tanning brigade.

‘In suggesting tanners double their risk of melanoma, the authors ignore the more telling figure that the absolute risk of melanoma is quite low for both tanners and non-tanners. The largest study to date shows that both indoor tanners and non-tanners have less than a 0.3 percent risk of contracting melanoma and most studies show no statistically significant difference between the two groups.”

The nature of “relative risk” figures in melanoma data was the topic of an article published by The Association of Health Care Journalists May 7 by Dr. Ivan Oransky, a Reuters Health editor.

Oransky quotes Dr. Lisa Schwartz, a general internist at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt., and co-author of “Know Your Chances,” a book that explains health statistics to consumers.

“Melanoma is pretty rare and almost all the time, the way to make it look scarier is to present the relative change, the 75 percent increase, rather than to point out that it is still really rare,” Schwartz told The Wilmington News Journal’s Hiran Ratnayake, who interviewed Schwartz in a recent story on melanoma and indoor tanning.

On reading the study through, Brown found intriguing the authors’ continual mention of previous evidence of the relationship between melanoma skin cancer and sunbed use as being “weak” and inconsistent. “Why then did reputable scientists and researchers previously report there were strong associations in the research? Particularly, this new study does not confirm the often-commented conclusion made by the IARC report that risk of melanoma sky-rockets when tanning beds are first used under the age of 35.” The authors of the study state “With at least 29 reports to date, past history of indoor tanning has been only weakly associated with melanoma.”

“In fact,” says Brown, “18 of 22 previous studies show no statistically significant association. This new study simply adds to inconsistencies in the total dataset available about any relationship between sunbed use and melanoma skin cancer.”

The International Smart Tan Network point out the study showed individuals who had the most outdoor sun exposure in their lives had a 15 percent lower risk of melanoma when compared to those who had less sun. The paper is actually the latest in a line of studies showing that people who get the most UV exposure outdoors are less likely to contract the disease.

“Despite what the authors in this paper set out to prove, the fact remains that whatever relationship UV exposure has with melanoma is still not understood because paper after paper, including this one, continue to show that people who get more sun exposure have fewer melanomas,” said Dr. William Grant, founder of the independent Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC). Grant, an independent advocate for UV exposure as the natural and intended source of vitamin D, published a peer-reviewed meta-analysis this year showing that indoor tanning is not a risk factor for melanoma in individuals with skin that can tan, with UV-related risk isolated only in the fairest-skinned “Skin Type I” subjects.

Brown believes tanning operators with excellent standards of care are uniquely positioned to educate the public about all aspects of ultraviolet light exposure as it relates to skin in a practical way. “We teach the basics of how the skin tans and burns to help our sun-loving clients understand why a ‘less is more’ approach is best. We’ve proven that education with regard to possible benefits of moderate UV exposure within the limits of risk-minimizing tanning behaviour actually serves to reduce the incidence of over-exposure and/or erythema (sunburn). And as this new study proves, that is a positive step in improving public health outcomes.”

Speaking for International Smart Tan Network Joe Levy said, “We think the promotion of this study has more to do with justifying a dinosaur mentality about UV light in an era when vitamin D research is proving that decades of overzealous sun avoidance may have skyrocketed SPF sales, but has caused epidemic-level vitamin D deficiency and great confusion in the world’s population.”