View Full Version : Sunlight and ADHD


APSJ
03-27-13, 08:08 PM
Just came across this study, finding significantly lower rates of ADHD in areas with higher 'solar intensity':

In this study we found a lower prevalence of ADHD in areas with high SI for both U.S. and non-U.S. data. This association has not been reported before in the literature. The preventative effect of high SI might be related to an improvement of circadian clock disturbances, which have recently been associated with ADHD. These findings likely apply to a substantial subgroup of ADHD patients and have major implications in our understanding of the etiology and possibly prevention of ADHD by medical professionals, schools, parents, and manufacturers of mobile devices.

http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/PIIS0006322313001753/abstract

This is not something I've seen before...any thoughts on whether the study really shows a preventative effect, as stated, or a correlation that may be due to something they failed to account for? It seems like quite a few things would be correlated with higher solar intensity, such as time spent outside, perhaps?

malaka
03-27-13, 08:25 PM
yea, that can be true and i guess it could be probably related to vitamin D

i think i had some problems, linked to some kind of circadian rhythm sleep disorder, some years ago.

Drewbacca
03-27-13, 09:19 PM
The US is a good model for this type of research, since we have a very diverse population and ethnic background, as a variable, can mostly be ignored.

Then again, there are a lot of other variables between states.

I've always felt that my particular type of ADHD was likely tied to my sleep difficulties. I hope this leads to additional studies on the topic.

Personally, I think the more likely scenario is that states with higher education levels, on average, are more likely to diagnose children. The economies and number of professionals are a huge variable that don't appear to have been accounted for.

sarahsweets
03-28-13, 05:01 AM
Vitamin D rocks.

Raye
03-28-13, 06:23 AM
I was recently prescribed Vit. D. 125 Mg once a week. My level was at 6 when I think they are supposed to be at ...32 I think.

SB_UK
03-28-13, 04:34 PM
Only 'thing' I want (really want!) is sun.

Instant,incredible mood elevation / increased energy / speed.

I'll forego absolutely everything (material world) else for it.

Conman
03-28-13, 08:18 PM
not gonna lie, when i first saw this i assumed at first it was gonna be about UV radiation causing dna damage (mutations) that photolyase didnt for some reason repair.

i do take vitamin d supplements cuz i dont like regular milk and have a generally poor diet.

and despite the study's finds, correlation doesnt mean causation. not disparage its findings, but yeah

demuregeek
03-29-13, 12:47 AM
I could be completely ignorant and wrong, but this study looks like one big object lesson in confirmation bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias) to me.

Let's take a look at the maps provided by the researchers comparing ADHD rates (left) vs solar "intensity" (right).

http://i.imgur.com/jCtU1V9.jpg


If you take a look at the southwestern US, sure enough the red & dark orange area of highest sunlight lines up with an area of the lowest ADHD prevalence.
Now, take a look east, to the southern US. The amount of sun drops off slightly, but the amount of ADHD goes way up! This is the area with the highest prevalence of ADHD in the country.
If the researchers' theory is correct, the amount of ADHD should rise as you head north from here, right? But the prevalence of ADHD drops as you go further north...
...and when you hit Illinois and Minnesota, you see that they have diagnosis rates as low as the sunny southwest!
It's not shown on the maps, but if you continue on across the border, you'll find that Canada on the whole has both less sun and less ADHD than the US average.
Finally, ADHD must be absolutely rampant in Alaska, what with how little sunlight they get, right? Nope...it's in the second-lowest colour band of the ADHD map.


Maybe there are a whole lot of confounding factors that the researchers have managed to account for, but on the face of it, I'm not buying this one.

demuregeek
03-29-13, 12:58 AM
One aside when it comes to solar insolation ("intensity") -- the 1998-2005 solar data maps the researchers seem to have used have a lot of gradations, and at least to me, they seem to blur distinctions and make it hard to compare different areas of the country that get similar amounts of sun.

The 1998-2009 maps (http://i.imgur.com/nyR3whW.jpg) -- which I got from here (http://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html) -- use fewer colour bands and are much more sharply defined:

Drewbacca
03-29-13, 01:45 AM
The map is average annual solar intensity? How does intensity compare to say hours of daily exposure as both a maximum and as an average? Alaska gets more light than anyone during certain seasons...

That said, I agree with you. It's almost impossible to eliminate all the possible variables and the map taken at face value doesn't support the conclusion at all. I don't have access to the full study, but I don't doubt that it would be easy to pick apart.

SB_UK
03-29-13, 05:35 AM
Personal experience - sun is a 'stimulant' - I (all of us ?) speed up - have more energy in the sun.
A natural stimulant.
We all slow down when it's cold/dark.

A direct (rewarding/stimulating) effect on sun/UV/Vitamin D on metabolic rate.

The pattern again is of 'sun' (UV/heat) - stimulant, and not sun - narcotic.

Personally - I find that the effect works only in the type of UV which tans - and when the sensation of heat is felt (in the sun) on the skin.

The effect on mental wellbeing is immense.

What worries me - is that

[1] Skin colour has very definitely reduced from equator to poles as we've migrated
[2] This occurs because of sun exposure
[3] Dark skinned people transplanted out of sunny environments become Vit D deficient very easily
[4] Because of the general pattern of warmer places being slower to economically develop (presumably in large part because of darker places needing to acquire 'stimulation/reward' from other ventures) than colder places - we've large numbers of dark skinned people moving to places where their skin impedes nature's stimulant from coming through - resulting in more extreme addictive beaviour (to make up for the decreased natural reward forthcoming from reduced 'good' UV exposure).

I've whizzed through this idea many times over - and know that the conclusions to it aren't particularly attractive.

As human beings plan to populate the stars etc... this idea places human beings, for optimal physiological function to just a narrow range of latitude.

As though our profile of 'energy' is regulated by UV/Vit D ?

Truly placing us as 'locally' environmentally dependent.

An environment which we appear to be destroying.

SB_UK
03-29-13, 05:47 AM
A direct (rewarding/stimulating) effect on sun/UV/Vitamin D on metabolic rate.
All the info we need is out there.
http://www.vitamindwiki.com/Vitamins+To+Speed+Up+Metabolism+And+Aid+Weight+Los s+%E2%80%93+May+2011
They studied two groups, one which took 1000 IU of Vitamin D versus no additional Vitamin D to their diets. Over just 11 weeks the Vitamin D consuming group lost 5 pounds; which equals about 230 calories burned per day. This is equivalent to 13% of an average American resting metabolic rate. Really importantly - my entire presentation on ADHD has become happy existence if we maintain physiological bounds.
No intervention required.

As far as I can see - we're 'programmed' by skin colour to a certain sun exposure in order to maintain Vit D levels - and thereby ideal metabolic rate - to maintain physiological function.

As that webpage shows - reduced exposure results in reduced metabolic rate in increased weight - deviation from physiological bounds.

The general pattern with supplementation that we've been repeating - is that, and in particular in the hormone (vitamin D)/neurotransmitter - is negative feedback.We’ve been taught that Vitamin D is the “bone vitamin”, but it is really more of a sun hormone.
Absolutely no in all cases to anything other than (vegan MUFA-rich low carb low cal ketogenic fast incorporated) real food - because of inducing tolerance through agents which can result in negative feedback/tolerance ie insensitivity in a system.

The body has to do it for itself
- and if the body through migration patterns over many thousands of years reduces skin pigmentation - isn't it obvious that there's a very real physiological function which reducing skin coloration with reducing UV exposure is performing ?

Where - I think the body's reaction to a Vitamin D hit in a sunny country (ie over-exposure) 'll be to stay inside as well as subtle shade shifting (but there are limits to the shade shifting), preventing tolerance ?

Darkest brown to albino white isn't possible.

-*-

Summarising
I think that our skin shade defines our sunlight (stimulant) needs defines our optimal/physiological metabolic rate.
Too little sunlight/stimulation in a certain skin type and reward/stimulation must be sought elsewhere.

SB_UK
03-29-13, 06:58 AM
I'm looking at addictive profiles (to drugs) in 'transplanted' populations from high to low sun.

It's a worrying consideration.

The sun/UV/Vit D really is a stimulant.

APSJ
03-29-13, 08:01 AM
Personal experience - sun is a 'stimulant' - I (all of us ?) speed up - have more energy in the sun.
A natural stimulant.
We all slow down when it's cold/dark.

A direct (rewarding/stimulating) effect on sun/UV/Vitamin D on metabolic rate.

The pattern again is of 'sun' (UV/heat) - stimulant, and not sun - narcotic.

Personally - I find that the effect works only in the type of UV which tans - and when the sensation of heat is felt (in the sun) on the skin.

The effect on mental wellbeing is immense.

I've definitely noticed improved mental state when I spend some time outside, but otherwise my personal experience is just the opposite: Sun, and heat generally, but particularly the beating sun, makes me slow and sluggish, and more inclined toward just lying around.

Cold, on the other hand, wakes me up, and makes me feel more alert. Though, I will note that darkness does not, and I do need a fair amount of light to be productive. (I have about 7 lamps in my cubicle)

malaka
03-29-13, 08:26 AM
sunlight is important, but it puts us in a tough situation

http://cl.jroo.me/z3/Y/N/p/e/a.baa-mom-told-me-to-go-play-outsi.jpg

demuregeek
03-29-13, 09:17 AM
The map is average annual solar intensity? How does intensity compare to say hours of daily exposure as both a maximum and as an average? Alaska gets more light than anyone during certain seasons...

Solar insolation -- which I presume the researchers meant by "intensity" since that's the map they used -- is a measure of the total energy that an area receives from the sun over some span of time. It's affected by both the number of sunny days at the location and how bright/warm the sun is on those days. So, f'rinstance Boston, MA and Birmingham, AL both receive about the same number of sunlight hours every year, but you can guess which of the two gets more warmth out of those hours.

I'd totally be interested in seeing a US map of the number of sunlight hours or number of sunny days places get and comparing it against the ADHD map, though. I'd think that kind of thing would be more relevant to Seasonal Affective Disorder than total solar insolation, too.

meadd823
03-29-13, 11:46 AM
I see sun exposure and amount of melanin in ones to be of relevance also - What is beneficial to one who has a lot of melanin may be to much for another who has less.


I wounder though how much electric lighting contribute to screwing with the circadian rhythm which may account for the increase of ADHD in recent years - Maybe not the computer or TV but the lighting they emit that prevents our body from experiencing natural darkness thus screwing with our sleep cycles which increases the mental impairing aspects of mild sleep deprivation with regards to a diagnosis of ADHD in susceptible populations.