Interesting theory on Melanoma

I recently read an article proposing an alternative theory to increased incidence of melanoma. It isn’t what I expected. Basically it argues that people working indoors have a higher incidence (up to 9 times more) than people working outdoors.

Here is the abstract from Medical Hypothesis at Elsevier:

Cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) has been increasing at a steady exponential rate in fair-skinned, indoor workers since before 1940. A paradox exists between indoor and outdoor workers because indoor workers get three to nine times less solar UV (290–400 nm) exposure than outdoor workers get, yet only indoor workers have an increasing incidence of CMM. Thus, another “factor(s)” is/are involved that increases the CMM risk for indoor workers. We hypothesize that one factor involves indoor exposures to UVA (321–400 nm) passing through windows, which can cause mutations and can break down vitamin D3 formed after outdoor UVB (290–320 nm) exposure, and the other factor involves low levels of cutaneous vitamin D3. After vitamin D3 forms, melanoma cells can convert it to the hormone, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, or calcitriol, which causes growth inhibition and apoptotic cell death in vitro and in vivo. We measured the outdoor and indoor solar irradiances and found indoor solar UVA irradiances represent about 25% (or 5–10 W/m2) of the outdoor irradiances and are about 60 times greater than fluorescent light irradiances. We calculated the outdoor and indoor UV contributions toward different biological endpoints by weighting the emission spectra by the action spectra: erythema, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma (fish), and previtamin D3. Furthermore, we found production of previtamin D3 only occurs outside where there is enough UVB. We agree that intense, intermittent outdoor UV overexposures and sunburns initiate CMM; we now propose that increased UVA exposures and inadequately maintained cutaneous levels of vitamin D3 promotes CMM.

Since UVB sunlight exposure of 15-30 minutes can produce between 15,000 to 30,000 IU of vitamin D3 which is protective against melanoma. We should get outside more frequently. Protect your face and neck with a hat (since this is the most susceptable area of the body due to chronic, long-term exposure), and get an adequate dose of sunlight on a regular basis. DO NOT put on sunscreen when you want to get vitamin D since it blocks UVB exposure of the skin and subsequently vitamin D synthesis.

Vitamin D has been found to act on approximately 2,000 genes in our body and every single cell has at least one vitamin D sensitive receptor/activator in the phospholipid bilayer (cell wall) as noted in ScienceDaily. Think about what that can mean for a moment. Do we really want to be deficient with this hormone? Yes, vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is a hormone that has action in our endocrine system regulating more than we realize. Since vitamin D is one of my personal pet study projects, I plan to study it further.

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