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Are there significant health benefits of UVB exposure not related to vitamin D production?

Posted on: May 11, 2018   by  Dr William Grant


During the past 15-20 years, there have been an increasing number of papers reporting on the non-skeletal health benefits of vitamin D. Now, however, there is mounting evidence that some of the attributions to vitamin D may actually be due to non-vitamin D effects of solar radiation, particularly in the UVB region, which also produces vitamin D. This blog discusses three health outcomes: multiple sclerosis, cancer and all-cause mortality rate. 

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Grant, WB., Cannell, JJ. Are there significant health benefits of UVB exposure not related to vitamin D production? The Vitamin D Council Blog & Newsletter. 4/2018.


[1]Hayes CE, Cantorna MT, DeLuca HF. Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1997 Oct;216(1):21-7.

[2]Orton SM, Wald L, Confavreux C, Vukusic S, Krohn JP, Ramagopalan SV, Herrera BM, SadovnickAD, Ebers GC. Association of UV radiation with multiple sclerosis prevalence and sex ratio in France. Neurology. 2011 Feb 1;76(5):425-31. 

[3]Becklund BR, Severson KS, Vang SV, DeLuca HF. UV radiation suppresses experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis independent of vitamin D production. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 6;107(14):6418-23.

[4]Wang Y, Marling SJ, McKnight SM, Danielson AL, Severson KS, Deluca HF. Suppression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by 300-315nm ultraviolet light. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2013 Aug 1;536(1):81-6. 

[5]Wang Y, Marling SJ, Martino VM, Prahl JM, Deluca HF. The absence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-1α-hydroxylase potentiates the suppression of EAE in mice by ultraviolet light. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016 Oct;163:98-102.

[6]Irving AA, Marling SJ, Plum LA, DeLuca HF. Suppression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by ultraviolet light is not mediated by isomerization of urocanic acid. BMC Neurosci. 2017 Jan 5;18(1):8.

[7] Langer-Gould A, Lucas R, Xiang AH, Chen LH, Wu J, Gonzalez E, Haraszti S, Smith JB, Quach H, Barcellos LF. MS Sunshine Study: Sun exposure but not vitamin D is associated with multiple sclerosis risk in blacks and Hispanics. Nutrients. 2018 Feb 27;10(3). pii: E268.

[8]Simpson S Jr., van der Mei I, Lucas RM, Ponsonby AL, Broadley S, Blizzard L; Ausimmune/AusLong Investigators Group, Taylor B. Sun exposure across the life course significantly modulates early multiple sclerosis. Clinical Course. Front Neurol. 2018 Feb 1;9:16.

[9]Miclea A, Miclea M, Pistor M, Hoepner A, Chan A, Hoepner R. Vitamin D supplementation differentially affects seasonal multiple sclerosis disease activity. Brain Behav. 2017 Jul 11;7(8):e00761.

[10]Apperly FL. The relation of solar radiation to cancer mortality in North America. Cancer Res 1941;1:191–5.

[11]Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? Int J Epidemiol. 1980 Sep;9(3):227-31. Grant WB, Bhottoa HP, Boucher BJ. Seasonal variations of U.S. mortality rates: Roles of solar ultraviolet-B doses, vitamin D, gene expression, and infections. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2017 Oct;173:5-12

[12]Moukayed M, Grant WB. Molecular link between vitamin D and cancer prevention. Nutrients. 2013;5:3993-4023. http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/10/3993

[13]Grant WB. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and colorectal adenomas: case–control versus nested case–control studies, Anticancer Res. 2015;35(2):1153-60.

[14]Grant WB, Boucher BJ. Randomized controlled trials of vitamin D and cancer incidence: A modeling study. PLos One. 2017 May 1;12(5):e0176448. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176448.

[15]Kim Y, Je Y. Vitamin D intake, blood 25(OH)D levels, and breast cancer risk or mortality: a meta-analysis. Br J Cancer. 2014 110: 2772-84.

[16]Bolland MJ, Grey A, Gamble GD, Reid IR. Calcium and vitamin D supplements and health outcomes: a reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) limited-access data set. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Oct;94(4):1144-9.

[17]Lappe J, Watson P, Travers-Gustafson D, Recker R, Garland C, Gorham E, Baggerly K, McDonnell SL. Effect of Vitamin D and calcium supplementation on cancer incidence in older women: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2017 Mar 28;317(12):1234-1243.

[18]Grant WB. A review of the evidence supporting the vitamin D-cancer prevention hypothesis in 2017. Anticancer Res, 2018;38(2):1121-36. 

[19]Makarova AM, Frascari F, Davari P, Gorouhi F, Dutt PL, Wang L, Dhawan A, Wang GY, Green JE, Epstein EH. Ultraviolet radiation inhibits mammary carcinogenesis in an ER negative murine model by a mechanism independent of vitamin D3. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2018 Apr 10. pii: canprevres.0195.2017. 
[20]Apperly FL, Cary MK The deterrent effect of light upon the incidence of spontaneous mammary cancer in mice. Cancer Res. 1945;5:697-704.
[21]Rebel H, der Spek CD, Salvatori D, van Leeuwen JP, Robanus-Maandag EC, de Gruijl FR.UV exposure inhibits intestinal tumour growth and progression to malignancy in intestine-specific Apc mutant mice kept on low vitamin D diet. Int J Cancer. 2015 Jan 15;136(2):271-7.

[22]Garland CF, Kim JJ, Mohr SB, Gorham ED, Grant WB, Giovannucci EL, Baggerly L, Hofflich H, Ramsdell J, Zeng K, Heaney RP. Meta-analysis of all-cause mortality according to serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Am J Pub Health. 2014 Aug;104(8):e43-50.

[23]Lindqvist PG, Epstein E, Nielsen K, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Olsson H. Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. J Intern Med. 2016 Oct;280(4):375-87.

[24]Grant WB, Bhottoa HP, Boucher BJ. Seasonal variations of U.S. mortality rates: Roles of solar ultraviolet-B doses, vitamin D, gene expression, and infections. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2017 Oct;173:5-12.

[25]Weyland PG, Grant WB, Howie-Esqauivel J. Does sufficient evidence exist to support a causal association between vitamin D status and cardiovascular disease risk? An assessment using Hill’s criteria for causality. Nutrients. 2014;6:3403-30. 

[26]Veloudi P, Jones G, Sharman JE. Effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation for cardiovascular health outcomes. Pulse 2016;4:193-207.

[27]Mirhosseini N, Vatanparast H, Kimball SM. The association between serum 25(OH)D status and blood pressure in participants of a community-based program taking vitamin D supplements. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 14;9(11). pii: E1244. 

[28]Raed A, Bhagatwala J, Zhu H, Pollock NK, Parikh SJ, Huang Y, Havens R, Kotak I, Guo DH, Dong Y. Dose responses of vitamin D3 supplementation on arterial stiffness in overweight African Americans with vitamin D deficiency: A placebo controlled randomized trial. PLoS One. 2017 Dec 7;12(12):e0188424.

4 Responses to Are there significant health benefits of UVB exposure not related to vitamin D production?

  1. [email protected]

    I went right to Amazon and looked for this book and/or its authors and there is no mention. Are you sure you got the title right?

    • Missy Sturges

      Thanks for checking in! The book will be available to purchase this month on amazon. I will be sure to send you a link as soon as it’s ready. 🙂

  2. Dr William Grant

    Embrace the Sun is now available at Amazon.com


    Sorry for the delay.


  3. Traci520

    Will your book be coming out in Kindle/digital format?

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