We Are Sunshine

‘No one can patent sunshine’: writer says

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

A pro-sunlight column written by a financial services writer earlier this year keeps popping up in new publications.

2010-02-17 Sun Patent copyPatrick Cox, a columnist for Agora Financial, wrote a comprehensive essay echoing Smart Tan’s contention that anti-sun advice would be completely flip-flopped if the phramaceutical companies behind the message could sell sunshine. reported on the column Jan. 11. It has since been republished by other sources and keeps showing up on google searches.

“As a financial writer, I bemoan the fact that no one can patent sunshine,” Cox wrote in the column, which most recently landed on the financial services web site “Biotechs with therapies supported by far less evidence have exploded in value. Sirtris, for example, was bought by GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million to acquire IP for certain resveratrol-like substances. If you compare the evidence supporting the benefits of resveratrol vs. sunshine, sunshine leaves resveratrol in the dust.”

Cox’s essay — “What Vitamin D Means to Your Technology Profits” — points out that everything we’ve been taught about sunshine in the past generation should be abandoned.

“The ‘scientific consensus’ that has held sway for four decades regarding both exposure to the sun and vitamin D has collapsed. What has emerged in place of the old ‘settled science’ is the knowledge that most people in America are seriously vitamin D deficient or insufficient. The same is true for Canada and Europe, and the implications are staggering,” Cox wrote.

“In the early 1900s, it was demonstrated that summer midday sunshine prevented rickets. As a result, there was an effort to educate the public and nearly everybody learned that a little sunshine was good for you. If you’re of baby boom age, your mother undoubtedly told you to ‘go outside and get some sun.’” Cox wrote. “That’s why. Ironically, the beginning of the end of this attitude came in 1923 when a means of producing dietary D was found. UW-Madison biochemistry professor Harry Steenbock discovered that the vitamin D content of milk could be increased with ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. This led to the enrichment of milk and the near elimination of rickets. Slowly, the perception of sunshine as healthy began to fade.”

To read the entire column click here.