The Healing Sun by Richard Hobday presents evidence showing an increase in disease with a decrease in sunlight exposure. This article discusses: Sunlight and Diabetes
How Sunlight Can Prevent Serious Health Problems
by Richard Hobday, taken from his book, The Healing Sun
Sunlight and Diabetes
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 35 million people suffer from diabetes mellitus worldwide. There are two main forms of the disease: insulin dependent diabetes and non-insulin dependent diabetes. The onset of insulin dependent diabetes is most common in childhood and occurs as a result of the body’s auto-immune system destroying the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. As the name implies, insulin dependent diabetes requires treatment with insulin. Non-insulin dependent diabetes is less serious and can be treated with diet, exercise, drugs which increase the production of insulin, or insulin itself. It is the more common form of the disease and accounts for almost 90 per cent of all diabetes cases. Non-insulin diabetes occurs after the age of about 40 years in people who are genetically disposed to it and who are often overweight and unfit. The World Health Organization predict that the number of people with diabetes is set to rise to 300 million by 2025 because of population ageing, unhealthy diets, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
A deficiency of insulin results in increased concentrations of glucose in the blood which, in turn, causes damage to blood vessels and nerves. Diabetes can lead to severe complications in the longer term, including heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness, and gangrene in the lower extremities. Heart disease kills 75 per cent of people of European origin with diabetes. Studies have shown vitamin D to have a protective effect against childhood diabetes. The results of large pan-European trial published in the journal Diabetologica, in 1999, suggest that vitamin D supplements taken in infancy protect against, or arrest, the initiation of a process that can lead to insulin-dependent diabetes in later childhood. If this is the case, it seems reasonable to suggest that exposure to sunlight in early childhood may be important in preventing the onset of the disease — although no one seems to have investigated this possibility.
Whether or not sunbathing can prevent insulin dependent diabetes, it is known that sunlight has a similar effect to insulin in that it lowers concentrations of glucose in the blood. As previously discussed in Chapter 1, although this is not particularly noticeable in normal individuals, the effect is dramatic in diabetics. It is for this reason that anyone who is diabetic should be careful if they sunbathe, as they may have to reduce the amount of insulin they take to maintain normal blood sugar levels if they are in strong sunlight for any length of time. As with heart disease, the incidence of diabetes is higher amongst the Indo-Asian community than the indigenous British population, and this may be another manifestation of chronic vitamin D insufficiency.
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