It is now January and happy New Year to all the UC’ers of the world. The main purpose of this posting is to talk about how sunlight may have some mysterious positive impact on our ulcerative colitis and maintaining good health. There are several studies I’ve included that talk about this in various ways.
The past year was like most filled with some great times and tuff times.
I think that is the generally the case for most of us right?
I ended 2018 in the Krkonose Mountains of Czech in the snow, then flew to visit my family in New York on New Years Eve, and after a few days went down to 17 degrees North, close to Puerto Rico in the Caribbean for a week of sun. Here that last sentence in a few pictures:
As some of you might have been keeping up with previous stories, I pushed my body to probably a new physical limit over the summer months. Mainly in the form of extreme bike riding on two long bike trips. About 60 days in total and a few thousand miles. But more than anything else, I felt excellent while on the road pedaling around. My body, mind, and gastro-system was functioning real good.
As it has been over ten years now since my diagnosis, I like many UC folks are always trying to figure out what environmental factors may play a role in feeling “good” compared to “bad”. It would be hard to put a number on how many hours I’ve spent on this, but safe to say it is a large number.
A theory I’ve had(and I’m by no means the only one), and I think it is nearly confirmed is that Sunlight is very beneficial
Why I Think Sun Can Help Ulcerative Colitis Folks
Here are some ideas:
– Back many years ago, the first several years after my diagnosis, I remember always having a flare up, sometimes it was a nasty one that would start sometime in the fall months. And, often it would go for a month or two or even longer.
– Just a few months after my diagnosis, I was on all sorts of medications and not doing well…things were very severe at the time, and I had the opportunity to go down to Puerta Vallarta Mexico…It was miraculous 100% changes in my health, but certainly I felt that my symptoms started to get better after several days in the sun and heat. I thought it was simply the fact that a vacation was good for me, and gave my body some rest.(But I had not been working anyways at that time…)
– Last year in December, I left the freezing cold and minimal light(forget about sunlight up here at 50 degrees North) of Prague, Czech Republic(where I’ve been living now nearly 5 years) and flew south to about 10 degrees North to the island of Barbados. I was there floating around for a week. Full sun everyday, and temperatures between 70-80 degrees farenheit all day. And, I felt better than I had in several months, and an added bonus was that the mild/moderate psoriasis on my hands and shins went completely away(more on the skin stuff below)
– And let’s take this summer as I already mentioned. I was on the bike, doing 6-9 hours per day of riding. With an extra 40 pounds (about 20 kilograms) of gear. And, in the sunlight nearly all day long with shorts and a tank top on most of the time. Getting blasted by the sun. And as you probably can guess…feeling excellent. Yes, I was in “nature” 95% of the time on small roads without cars and in villages with fresh air, but don’t forget the sun.
Is Anything Here Correlated?
I think the answer is best answered by the UC’ers of the world.
Maybe you have opinions on this, and perhaps you completely disagree with me.
Here is some research that I think is related:
- Solar radiation is inversely associated with inflammatory bowel disease admissions.
- This June 2017 study shows that more people were diagnosed with IBD in latitudes that had LESS sunlight
- Here is a quote from the “conclusion” section: “inflammatory bowel disease admissions were highest in the southernmost region with lowest solar radiation. Our results support the potential role of vitamin D deficiency on inflammatory bowel disease flares.”
- The country studied is Chile, south of the equator, so south Chile(higher latitude SOUTH = less sunlight it appears) ((bottom of Chile…not to far from Cape Horn…south pole…penguins…)
- Lower regional and temporal ultraviolet exposure is associated with increased rates and severity of inflammatory bowel disease hospitalisation.
- Very interesting study, from Sept. 2014 from the smart folks here: Division of Gastroenterology, Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
- Their Conclusion: “Lower ultraviolet exposure is associated with greater rates of hospitalisation, prolonged hospitalisation and the need for bowel surgery in IBD. This trend for bowel surgery was not seen with non-IBD encounters.”
- UVR (that means ultra violet radiation…sunlight)
- This study is available to read the whole thing FREE, here is the link – full study link
- The importance of vitamins D and K for the bone health and immune function in inflammatory bowel disease.
- This study was conducted in Japan (one of the countries in the world that are leading the way with regards to Immunology/Science/forward thinking)
- The author of the study is: Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita, Osaka, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
- And yes, that is an email of the main author…feel free to email them and ask them further questions!!!
- ALL of the studies listed above I found using PubMed. The world’s best and largest resource of medical studies, and scientific studies that are available to use for ALL OF US. here is a posting I made a few moons ago that shows in several EASY STEPS how you and your family can research things from ANY medical condition on Pubmed: https://www.ihaveuc.com/learn-how-to-use-pubmed-for-free-its-amazingly-easy/
I hope that some of you will take a few moments and think if there might be some correlation to the state of your disease and your sunlight exposure. Perhaps this is something you can bring up with your gastro doctor or your general practitioner/family doctor.
And, maybe spending a bit more time in the sunlight can help you as well.
Have a great start to the year, and I hope you are feeling well and excited for 2019!!!!!
(if you have a sunlight story, or other related to UC, feel free to submit it here and I’ll post it up on the site)