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Osteoporosis and Tanning

Dr. Marc Sorenson the author of the book Solar Power that I have referred to before in previous newsletters was recently published on the subject of, can UVB from sunlight and tanning beds reverse osteoporosis?

Sorenson says in our aging society, fractures due to osteoporosis are pandemic. Most elderly people suffer from the disease, which results when the bones lose their calcium, becoming porous and weak. Because the disease manifests itself so frequently in the elderly, osteoporosis is not only evitable, but it is also reversible.

Can sunlight exposure reverse osteoporosis? The answer is an unequivocal yes! I had long known that osteoporosis was at least partly reversible in patients who were given a program of weight-bearing exercise. But it was surprising to learn that even without exercise, an impressive increase in bone density could be achieved. In a profoundly important piece of research, the effects of sunlight on bone were determined. The subjects were elderly women-stroke victims-who had low blood levels of vitamin D. In a 12 month study, 129 of these women were exposed to regular sunlight and another 129 remained indoors. The results were startling: the sunlight group increased bone mass by an average 3.1 percent; in the non-sunlight-exposed group, bone mass decreased by 3.3 percent. That is a difference in bone mass of 6.4 percent between the two groups. Is this important: the risk of fracture increases two to three times for every 10 percent drop in bone density!

Could tanning bed exposure work as well as sunlight exposure in reducing osteoporosis and its subsequent fractures? Research has shown that those who use tanning beds have levels of vitamin D that are 90 percent higher than those who do not use tanning beds; tannin-bed users also have significantly higher bone density

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