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Sunlight Helps Me – Maybe That is Why the Colder Months Are Harder

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:

2019 starting the year sunlight

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:

  • 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:

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)

14 thoughts on “Sunlight Helps Me – Maybe That is Why the Colder Months Are Harder”

  1. There is a reason codliver oil is required in Scandinavia. We lack vitamin D more than 6months a year. So for sure it’s vitamin and nutrition related.

    1. Hey Johan,

      Thanks for letting us know. I for sure had no idea it was required there.
      Any insights on feeling better the other six months of the year, or no effect on you?


  2. Hi Adam,

    Happy New Year! I have been diagnosed with UC 15 months ago. I’m still struggling with the disease, and can’t say I have been in remission yet. Since you have been longer dealing with this, just would like to ask you about sun. Although I have been living in the U.S. for 20 years, I’m originally from South America. No history in the family (big by both sides) of this disease. Indeed, the first time I heard about it was when I was diagnosed with it. So, I’m still very illiterate about the topic. However, one issue I always heard and was told about is to run from the sun. In other words, sun is over for people with this disease or any auto-immune disease. Because it is an auto-immune disease, it can trigger skin cancer even when you are in remission or not taking medications that may cause skin cancer (as it is my case right now with remicade and imuran). Any feedback you can provide about that? Being from South America and being raised in the sun (of course, I was never the crazy one being the whole day under the sun without protection), this has been devastating to me. Thanks!

    1. Hi Alexandra,

      Thank you for your message here and thanks for explaining how things have gone so far for you with UC in your message above.

      You have a great question about skin cancer and UC, and for me, I have never heard of any connection or higher chance for people with IBD to come down with skin cancer compared to others. But, like many questions, I would HIGHLY recommend that you spend some time on Pubmed searching for phrases such as “IBD and Skin Cancer” and other related terms/phrases. FOR SURE there are studies that you can read right NOW on pubmed that will answer your question from a scientific perspective. (And….maybe you can send us a follow up comment on what you find:))) here is the link:

      Best to you, and I wish you a nice winter time up this side of the equator,


  3. Hi, I remember reading about an UCer on this website who found remission by taking big doses ir vitamin D. I always take supplements because I am always deficient.

  4. I wonder if it is indeed the vitamin D?

    I was tested years ago when I was sick with UC (I no longer am knock on wood), and my D levels were way low.

    I take vitamin D every day now.

    1. Wood knock wood knock for BEV:))))) (I thought it was sunny year round in BC BEV..??::thought that’s why all the californians are moving north…??:)))

      1. Lol…I wish Adam!

        The forest fires are so bad every summer that it’s more smoky than sunny. Tragic but true.

        Sorry to bring everyone down…:)

  5. Vitamin D along with Calcium helps keep the body in an alkaline state. I live in the Sunshine state and I still take 4mg of Vitamin D every day—a bioavailable one of course.

  6. I totally agree with Adam. Sunlight and nature plays very important role. I always have had got flare up in fall n winter months. When it’s sunny n in summer time I have always felt better.

  7. I live in the tropical part of australia and always exposed to sun and heat 9months/12months. I developed uc and my vitamin d levels are normal prior diagnosis, during and after.

  8. I was already thinking what Adam three of my bad flares were during winter months in UK.
    I do have a question to my fellow uc folk…whats your view on manuka honey any bod TG had good or bad results from it

  9. While sunlight helps my mood, my UC is at the best during the late fall and winter months. Spring is the worst! When the sap starts rising and everything begins to bloom, I feel totally depleted and am most likely to flare. Summer’s heat adversely affects me too.

  10. I was diagnosed with UC in 1981 and have had my share of ups and downs with it since that time. I was surprised and grateful to find your site when you started it and champion your efforts to help and educate people about it. I’ve been a sun lover forever and in 1986 discovered St. John, USVI. My heart was instantly captured by this special island we call Love City. 70% National Park, population 4,000, not even a single traffic light. In 2011 my dream came true and though I fell into Vacation Rentals by sheer accident. I’m the proud owner of Your post sure made me smile as a confirmation of my truth: This place is good for me! I am happy to offer a courtesy discount to fellow UCer’s who contact me, just mention Adam’s site and we’re good. Cheers to sunshine, inside and out! Many thanks to you, Adam, for all you do!

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