UV Safety

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

What about UV safety? We’ve been taught that ultraviolet light is dangerous, yet our ancestors lived outside and the sun kept them well. And we love to be outside on a sunny day. It makes us feel good.

Light is important, but what kind and how much? Full spectrum light has two parts: one visible, one invisible. The visible spectrum consists of all the colors of natural sunlight. Think of a rainbow, or light broken up by a prism. The invisible wavelengths. UV and heat are at each end of the visible color spectrum. At the violet end we have ultraviolet light or UV. At the red end we have infrared wavelengths, or heat. Both are present outdoors even on cloudy days. Beyond these wavelengths are other wavelengths of energy that are not so benign – radio frequencies, electromagnetic frequencies, X-rays, cosmic rays, etc. These need to be grounded, filtered or blocked.

Let’s look at infrared and UV safety. When we get too much infrared (heat), we can get heat stroke. Yet without infrared, we freeze to death. We can also get too much or too little ultraviolet. Too much UV can cause sunburn and eyestrain, yet too little ultraviolet can cause health challenges. It’s the UV that causes our bodies to make vitamin D-3 that our bodies use to build health.

Ultraviolet light has three wavelength designations: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. Research points to dramatic health benefits with full spectrum light that includes trace amounts of ultraviolet in the same proportion that the sun emits.

Essay on UV Safety from PMS: Solving the Puzzle by Linaya Hahn, LNC

Ultraviolet (UV) light is commonly divided into three sections depending on its wavelength: near-UV (UV-A), mid-UV (UV-B), and far-UV (UV-C).1,2 UV-A tans us. UV-B stimulates the production of Vitamin D3 in our skin3 and is essential for the absorption of calcium into bones.4 The natural oils produced by the skin after ultraviolet exposure are capable of killing bacteria.5 Niels Finsen received the Nobel Prize in 1903 for successfully treating tuberculosis skin lesions with ultraviolet light. In fact, until penicillin was discovered in 1938, the preferred method of treating a wide variety of infectious diseases was exposure to the sun and its ultraviolet light, because sunlight was so effective in stimulating the patient’s own immune system.

UV-C is another story. Although used in hospitals to kill bacteria and viruses, UV-C is widely considered to increase the risk of cancer. Fortunately, most of the UV-C that the sun gives off is blocked by the ozone layer of the earth’s atmosphere. Still, it is clear that overexposure to the sun increases your chance of developing skin cancer. Regular, moderate exposure, however, may actually decrease that chance. One rigorous study found that the incidence of malignant melanomas was considerably higher in office workers than in people who were regularly exposed to sunlight in their occupations or lifestyles. In fact, one of the lowest-risk groups was sunbathers. They were only half as likely to get malignant skin cancer as the office workers.6

Ten Benefits of Ultraviolet A and B from Light: Medicine of the Future, by Jacob Liberman, OD, PhD.7

The following points are a synopsis of Dr. Liberman’s research.

1. UV light activates the synthesis of vitamin D, which is a prerequisite for the absorption of calcium and other minerals from the diet.
In a controlled study, the group receiving UV absorbed 40 percent more calcium from their diet than their counterparts who received no UV. 8,9,10,11,12,13
2. UV light lowers blood pressure.
One study reported that ultraviolet light dramatically lowered blood pressure after one treatment. The effect lasted five to six days.14
3. UV light increases the efficiency of the heart.
In 18 of 20 people tested, cardiac output increased an average of 39 percent. In other words, their hearts became stronger and pumped more blood.15
4. UV light improves electrocardiogram (EKG) readings and blood profiles of individuals with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).16,17,18,19
5. UV light reduces cholesterol.
In one experiment, 97 percent of the patients had almost a 13 percent decrease in serum cholesterol levels two hours after their first exposure. Within this group, 86 percent maintained this level 24 hours later.20
6. UV light assists in weight loss.
This may be because the UV stimulates the thyroid gland, which increases metabolism and thus burns calories.21
7. UV light is an effective treatment for psoriasis.
The National Psoriasis Foundation reports that 80 percent of people suffering from this condition improve when exposed to UV.22
8. UV light is an effective treatment for many other diseases, including tuberculosis and asthma.23,24,25
9. UV light increases the level of sex hormones.
One medical laboratory found that estrogen has a sharp peak of absorption in a portion of the UV-B range (290 manometers). This finding indicates that estrogen is most efficient when a woman is exposed to UV wavelengths.26
10. UV light activates solitrol, an important hormone in the skin that works in conjunction with the pineal hormone melatonin.27
Solitrol, possibly a form of vitamin D3, influences the immune system as well as many of the body’s regulatory centers.

1. Z. R. Kime, Sunlight (Penryn, CA. World Health Publications, 1980).
2. J. Liberman, Light: Medicine of the Future (Santa Fe: Bear, 1991).
3. J. S. Adams, T. L Clemens, J. A. Parrish, & M. F. Holick, “Vitamin-D Synthesis and Metabolism after Ultraviolet Irradiation of Normal and Vitamin-D-Deficient Subject,” New England Journal of Medicine 306, no. 12 (Mar. 25, 1982): pp. 722-25.
4. R. M. Neer et al., “Stimulation by Artificial Lighting of Calcium Absorption in Elderly Human Subjects,” Nature 229 (Jan. 22, 1971): pp. 255- 57.
5. F. A. Stevens, “The Bacteriocidal Properties of UV-Irradiated Lipids of the Skin,” Journal of Experimental Medicine 65 (1937): p. 121.
6. V. Beral et al., “Malignant Melanoma and Exposure to Fluorescent Light at Work,” Lancet 2, no. 9293 (Aug. 7, 1982): pp. 290-93.
7. Note: The following references (#8-27) are based on the research of Jacob Liberman, OD, PhD, and are included his book Light: Medicine of the Future (Santa Fe: Bear, 1991): pp. 141-44. They are used with his permission:
8. M. F. Holick and M. B. Clark, “The Photobiogenesis and Metabolism and Vitamin D,” Federation Proceedings 37 (1978): p. 2567.
9. M. F. Holick et al., “Advances in the Photobiology of Vitamin D-3,” (Second Annual Scientific Meeting of the. American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Washington D.C., U.S.A., June 16-17, 1980) CALCIF Tissue International 31, no. 1, p. 79.
10. M. F. Holick et al., “Photosynthesis of Previtamin D-3 in Human Skin and the Physiologic Consequences,” Science 210 (Oct. 10, 1980): pp. 203-5.
11. M. F. Holick, J. A. MacLaughlin, and S. H. Doppelt, “Regulation of Cutaneous Previtamin D-3 Photosynthesis in Man: Skin Pigment Is Not An Essential Regulator,” Science 211 (Feb. 6, 1981): pp. 590-93.
12. J. A. MacLaughlin, R. R. Anderson, and M. F. Holick, “Spectral Character of Sunlight Modulates Photosynthesis of Previtamin D-3 and Its Photoisomers in Human Skin,” Science 216 (May 28,1992): pp. 1001-3.
13. R. M. Neer et al., “Stimulation by Artificial Lighting of Calcium Absorption in Elderly Human Subjects,” Nature 229 (Jan. 22, 1971): pp. 255- 57.
14. J. R. Johnson, “The Effect of Carbon Arc Radiation on Blood Pressure and Cardiac Output,” American Journal of Physiology 114 (1935): p. 594.
15. Ibid.
16. L. Lohmeier, “Let the Sun Shine In,” East West (July 1986): pp. 36-39.
17. L A. Kunitsina et al., “Therapeutic Action of Ultraviolet Irradiation in a Complex Treatment of Patients with Initial Cerebral Atherosclerosis,” Sovet Med 33 (1970): p. 89.
18. V. A. Mikhailov, “Influence of Graduated Sunlight Baths on Patients with Coronary Atherosclerosis” Sov Med 29 (1966): p. 76.
19. A. 1. Putsovsko et al., “Preventative Activity of Ultraviolet Rays on the Presence of Experimental Atherosclerosis,” Vop Kurort Fizioter 36 (1971): p. 203.
20. R. Altschul and I. H. Herman, “Ultraviolet Irradiation and Cholesterol Metabolism, Seventh Annual Meeting of The American Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis,” Circulation 8 (1953): p. 438.
21. L. Lohmeier, “Let the Sun Shine In,” East West (July 1996): pp. 36-39.
22. Ibid.
23. I. I. Belyayev et al., “Combined Use of Ultraviolet Radiation to Control Acute Respiratory Disease,” Vestn Akad Med Nauk SSSR 3 (1975): p. 37.
24. N. M. Dantsig, “Ultraviolet Radiation” in Russian language book (Moscow: 1966).
25. A. P. Zabaluyeva, “General Immunological Reactivity of the Organism in Prophylactic Ultraviolet Irradiation of Children in Northern Regions.” Vesin Akad Med Sauk SSSR 3 (1975): p.23.
26. T. K Das Gupta and J. Terz, “Influence of Pineal Gland on the Growth and Spread of Melanoma in the Hamster,” Cancer Research 27 (1967): p. 1306.
27. W. Stumpf et al., Brain Mind Bulletin 15, no. 1 (Oct. 1989): p. 2.

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