The Sunshine Conspiracy

I have recently been undergoing surgeries for basal cell carcinoma on my face, which has been quite distressing. I have found frustrating the blanket assumption from family and medical professionals, that it has been caused by the sun, that the cancer is a consequence of my spending too much time outdoors.

My instincts were telling me this wasn’t the case. I had read contrary information during several years spent researching alternative therapies, of which cancer is one of the most interesting subjects for debate. TY Bollinger, who presents the nine part documentary series ‘The Truth about Cancer’,  (TTAC) lost both his mother and father to the disease and made it his mission to interview many global practitioners to search for the truth. Put simply, on the website he concludes that:

“The ONLY answer that can explain the rise of cancer, which correlates precisely with the increased incidence of cancer, is toxins. This is especially so if you consider the various forms of radiation to be toxins.”

Dr David Jockers DC, MS, CSCS, writes for TTAC here and discusses the fact that toxic chemicals in sunscreen lotions and lack of sunshine can be causative agents in the growth of cancers. Sunscreens are known to contain many dangerous substances such as: octinoxate, PABA esters, octisalate, homosalate, menthyl anthranilate, methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI), avobenzone, salicylates, digalloyl trioleate, cinnamates, benzophenoones (dioxybenzone, oxybenzone).

How could we be fed such conflicting evidence, and how do we know what’s true? I decided to examine the science behind recent revelations that sunshine may be a preventative method, rather than a cause, of cancer. The evidence appears to be there. In this report on albino mice, it concluded:

“Sun exposure is associated with increased survival from melanoma.”

Further investigation upturns many scientific articles that seem to correlate similar results, such as the study in America that shows that cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is associated with increased use of sunscreens. The organisation Environmental Working Group (EWG) in the USA has been conducting research into the most popular sun screens and their safety, and in 2007 only one quarter of products were considered safe:

“Almost three-fourths of the products we examined offer inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that may harm skin. And despite scant evidence, the government still allows most sunscreens to claim they help prevent skin cancer.”

Crucially, it would appear that products containing the minerals zinc or titanium oxide are safer than those containing retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), which has been shown to be carcinogenic when exposed to the sun after topical application.

Similarly, there’s a tremendous amount of evidence that low vitamin D levels are associated with many different types of cancer, and the best and most effective source of vitamin D is the sun. Is it possible that we’ve been fed hype from the cancer and sunscreen industry? (Which is part of the Big Pharma industry.)

I had my vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) levels tested in the UK (through the NHS but paid for personally) and in the USA, and…

in the UK I was told that they were well within range. In the USA, I was told that at 21nmol/L my level was insufficient.

My practitioner was concerned about these low levels and prescribed a high dose of 50,000 iu’s three times a week (vitamin D stays a long time in the body and you don’t need to supplement it daily). Around the same time, I read an article in ‘Life Extension’ magazine  which revealed some apparently skewed statistics on vitamin D supplementation, and claimed that Big Pharma may be trying to reverse the trend towards it. After all, profit is made from the sick and not the healthy when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, right? After the report: ‘Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Blood Pressure’ was published, mainstream media appeared to jump on it. The USA’s CBS news and the Independent’s Tim Spector in the UK published articles damning the benefits of D3.

While D3 can be obtained in small amounts through our diets, by eating oily fish and eggs, by far the best source is the sun:

“You can also obtain vitamin D from supplements and foods such as liver, oily fish and eggs are also good sources of vitamin D. However, you would need to eat an enormous amount of these foods to keep your levels in the desired range. The farmed fish typically consumed in the UK may contain less vitamin D than wild fish and, in the UK, cows’ milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it isn’t fortified like in other countries. However, most people should be able to receive all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet and by getting some summer sun.”

The UK’s National Osteoporosis Society recommends levels to be higher than what the NHS considered adequate at the time of my testing:

“According to the new advice, measuring serum 25 hydroxyvitamin (25OHD) is the best way of assessing patients’ vitamin D status; below 30 nmol/L indicates deficiency, while 30–50 nmol/L is inadequate in some groups and above 50 nmol/L is usually sufficient.”

Rick Fischer, author of, delves much deeper into vitamin D supplementation, and makes an interesting point:

“Vitamin D directly lowers potassium and vitamin A levels, and raises calcium levels.”

So supplementing with D is more complicated that we may have been led to believe. The balance between calcium and potassium affects the thyroid and, furthermore, the delicate balance between calcium and potassium can affect sodium. High levels of sodium can lead to a stress response in the body and consequent inflammation. As stress increases, magnesium can drop. Low levels of magnesium are linked to all kinds of health problems and immune dysfunction. And so continues the complex degeneration of health associated with so many chronic disease of these modern days. Rick Fischer makes some other interesting points when he discusses vitamin A and copper:

“Vitamin A is necessary to decrease inflammation. However, vitamin D lowers vitamin A. Even more dangerously, both magnesium and potassium are necessary for the body’s anti-inflammatory response, and yet vitamin D lowers both these essential minerals. Without the necessary anti-inflammatory response, a host of disease processes arise, and arteries also become damaged. Calcium and cholesterol then get drawn to these sites of arterial damage and plaque builds up, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Furthermore, vitamin A is necessary for the production of ceruloplasmin, a protein that binds to copper to make it bioavailable. Unfortunately, vitamin D lowers vitamin A which lowers ceruloplasmin which makes copper bio-unavailable. This, in turn, leads to many of the negative side effects associated with copper toxicity, while also raising bio-unavailable calcium – weakening the bone matrix and contributing to a higher risk of osteoporosis.’

At this point, I feel overwhelmed by information and wonder if we will ever understand how to balance our vitamin D levels, only to be reminded that vitamin’ D is not a vitamin at all!  Vitamin D3 is actually a hormone produced by the kidneys that helps to control the concentration of calcium in the blood and is vital for the development of strong bones. That isn’t the only function of vitamin D3. Recent research has shown that D3 has many other immune-boosting and cancer-fighting properties. A major research paper by Plos One in April 2016, concluded that:

“Serum levels above 40 ng/ml were associated with substantial reduction in risk of all invasive cancers combined.”

Rick goes on to say that testing for vitamin D may not be very accurate. He adds that there are two forms of D3 – active and stored – and it may be just the active D3 that is tested in blood serum.

“There are some people, however, that can benefit from vitamin D supplementation, but this can only be determined by first understanding your unique mineral levels as shown through a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA). Blood testing for this purpose is highly inadequate as blood serum levels can fluctuate day to day and do not accurately represent stored tissue mineral levels. Through HTMA testing, we can see if a person is a fast metaboliser (as defined when the calcium to phosphorus ratio is below 2.6) or a slow metaboliser (when the Ca/P ratio is above 2.6). Over 80% of the population are slow metabolizers, and for these people, who generally already have higher levels of calcium and lower levels of potassium, vitamin D supplementation can have very adverse affects. Fast metabolisers, however, can find benefit from vitamin D supplementation is it can help bring better balance to their mineral pattern.”

You can see how complex treating chronic diseases can be. Never can we isolate one deficiency and expect a quick fix. All our vitamins and minerals, hormones, enzymes and our bodies’ different systems work in harmony with each other. This article perhaps demonstrates how various functional medicine tests can be vital in understanding what our bodies really need. Frequently, blood serum levels don’t give us the accuracy that we require to unravel disease.

Finding a balance between adequate sun exposure without overexposure would seem to be the obvious answer regarding the suns rays. Many advisory websites steer towards avoiding the use of sunscreens and, instead, covering up with clothes, wearing wide brimmed hats and finding shade during the hottest times of day.

As we pass through the seasons and embrace the autumn months, we can stop worrying about getting too much sun. We can grasp the last rays, in awe. Nature seems to know best when it comes to sunshine, and our health.




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.