Category: Sun exposure and Parkinson’s


Almost everyone has heard about the importance of getting enough vitamin D to maintain good bone density and strength. One side of the health coin suggests spending time outside absorbing direct sunshine, while the other side warns about too much exposure and the very real concern of developing skin cancer. When blood tests reveal low vitamin D levels, physicians often prescribe vitamin D in pill form.

Quoting from an article released in the August 2019 Parkinson’s News Today:

“Some studies support that lack of vitamin D results in a greater risk of falls and fractures in Parkinson’s patients, which can increase hospitalization and even fatal disability. Its levels also have been associated with cognition and mood, as well as stomach malfunction in people with the disease. …People with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to fall and experience sleep problems, including difficulty in falling asleep (insomnia). They also had significantly more depression and anxiety.” 

Read more here about the effect of low vitamin D levels on Parkinson’s non-motor symptoms. Discussions with one’s doctor, including requests for blood tests to monitor vitamin D levels, are another potential add-on life-management tool.


At last, the long, cold spring is slowly turning itself into warmer summer-like weather. If the lazy, hazy days of summer are beckoning with plans for either staying around the home or travelling, click here for some very important tips on how to have fun, while staying prepared for unexpected situations that arise!


May is another kind of national “awareness” month. What’s the subject? Unfortunately, it’s melanoma skin cancer. Did you know that there’s a see-saw balance between the benefits of sunshine and the risks that having too much exposure create for people with Parkinson’s? It’s important that you read further…

Let’s stay positive first. Enjoying moderate exposures to sunshine can help the brain boost its serotonin levels. That’s an “upper” because serotonin is what helps brighten our mood. Sunshine also helps our circadian rhythms stay on track, which keeps the body’s “clock” running more efficiently. And exposure to the sun’s UV rays can also help clear up eczema and psoriasis skin conditions. (Just remember that if you have one of those skin conditions, talk with a doctor to manage just how much sunshine to enjoy.)

Now, for the not-so-positive information: In a 2015 “Ask the MD” article written by Dr. Rachel Dolhun for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, studies are described that explain some of the research that links Parkinson’s and melanoma risks. Click here to read what Dr. Dolhun shared.

Researchers also advised in a 2016 “Melanoma News Today” article that: “It is prudent that dermatologists be aware of this increased risk of melanoma and explain this risk to their patients with Parkinson’s and recommend to them sun protection, self-surveillance, and periodic skin check-up.”  Have any of YOUR physicians mentioned this to you? The article is available to read here as another important resource for healthy living.

Now that you know more about this possible link, be certain that your doctor includes an examination of all your skin surfaces, including areas where the sun DOESN’T shine, such as the soles of the feet and the buttocks.

As recently as May 4th this year, the government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued preventive warnings for everyone, many of which you may find familiar. They are certainly worth reading, especially as summer fun time approaches. Click here for the CDC resource updates. While you’re learning these safety tips about sun exposure, remember your eyes too and wear sunglasses!