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William B. Grant has Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley (1971). He had a 30-year career in atmospheric
sciences with an emphasis on laser remote sensing of atmospheric constituents such as ozone and aerosols, with positions at SRI International (1973-79), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology (1979-89) and NASA Langley Research Center (1989-2004).
He turned to health research in 1996, publishing the first paper linking diet to risk of
Alzheimer’s disease in 1997, followed by studies of sugar, fat and coronary heart disease in
1998, and animal products and cancer risk in 1998. In 1999 he turned his attention to the role
of solar ultraviolet-B exposure in reducing risk of many types of cancer through production
of vitamin D in 2002. After retirement from NASA in 2004, he moved to San Francisco and
formed the nonprofit organization Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (www.
sunarc.org), where he spends most of his time studying the role of solar UVB exposure and
vitamin D in reducing risk of cancer and many other types of disease. He also investigates the
role of diet in risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. He has about 300 health publications listed at www.pubmed.gov, of which 210 are related to vitamin D, with 78 of these also on ultraviolet radiation and human health, and 41 to diet and disease.
His new book, “Embrace the Sun”, recommends non-burning sun exposure, citing research on sun exposure, vitamin D, and disease risk.
The authors claim that sun avoidance may be nearly as hazardous to your health as cigarette smoking! Will there soon be a Surgeon General’s warning about staying indoors or putting on too much sunscreen?
The book is based on science and research. Together, Sorenson and Grant have worked 62 years studying and practicing health, nutrition, and the proper relationship with sunlight.
A mountain of evidence exists showing that sunlight can promote weight loss, reduce
depression, and profoundly decrease the risk of today’s common diseases including most
cancers, heart disease, autism, diabetes, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, infertility, preterm
birth and psoriasis. Do I have your attention? This book provides solid evidence towards a
case for regular, sensible sun.
Some of the studies discussed in the book include:
A twenty-year study in Sweden found “Nonsmokers who avoided sun exposure had a life
expectancy similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoidance
of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking. Compared to
the highest sun exposure group, life expectancy of avoiders of sun exposure was reduced by
An investigation from Iran on the association between cancer risk and vitamin D showed
that among women who totally covered themselves and thereby had no sun exposure, there
was a 10-fold increase in the risk of the disease.
Women in Spain who actively seek the sun have a 91% reduced risk of hip fracture of compared
to women who stayed indoors.
Bill will share his wisdom so that the audience can better understand the health benefits of our
magnificent sun at a time when our sun has been demonized by various health organizations,
including the dermatology community, which has been essentially unchallenged for the past
According to the book, 75% of all melanomas occur on areas of the body that are seldom
or never exposed to sunlight. Additionally, sun exposure has decreased by about 90% in the
U.S. population since 1935. During that same period, melanoma incidence has increased
exponentially, by approximately 3,000%! This evidence debunks the myth that melanoma is
caused primarily by the sun, and instead suggests that the disease is at least partially caused
by sun deprivation.
With summer coming, is it wise to get out regularly at midday, exercise, and soak up some
rays? Or better to stay indoors, continuing the current regimen? Could it be that something
so central to nature, the sun, which has been part of the human race for thousands of years is
now bad for us? In this blip that is the late 20th and beginning 21st century has sun avoidance
been a big mistake?
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