The sun is the source of energy for all life forms including plants, animals and humans. Sunlight kills many germs and enhances the immune system
Sunlight has received bad publicity over the years leaving the impression that even small amounts of sunlight are harmful. While it is true that excessive sunlight can increase the risk of skin cancer and cataracts, sun in moderate amounts has many benefits.
But how exactly does sunlight work in the body?
On this planet we have to have the full spectrum of sunlight to live. Sunlight is not just a bright light; it is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, best described as a rainbow. These 1,200 frequencies of light all act on some part of your body. They power the cells, regulate your biological clock and produce hormones, affect your metabolism and give you the equivalent of vitamin C and vitamin D.
When you’re not getting enough sunlight, all these functions start diminishing, and causes a compromised immune system. We need these frequencies on an ongoing basis. Ninety-eight per cent of sunlight enters through the eyes, and 2% through the skin. The 2% on the skin is important because that is the only way your body can develop vitamin D.
Lets have a look at a few benefits:
Sunlight converts a form of cholesterol into vitamin D, lowering the blood cholesterol.
Vitamin D provides a host of advantages to the body, including prevention of many types of cancer and better calcium absorption, which in turn helps prevent osteoporosis and tooth decay, makes stronger denser bones, and speeds up bone repair.
Vitamin D3 is a immune modulator which means it helps to balance the 2 legs of the immune system: T 1 cells (short term fast reacting) and T2 cells (longer term sustaining action). Simply put, T1 cells are pro-inflammatory and T2 are anti-inflammatory. When faced with a pathogenic attack, the body responds with a T1 response, which involves pro-inflammatory cytokines (communicators) whose effects, along with other immune cells, allow the body to kill invading organisms.
Vitamin D is stored in the kidneys and when it is needed is transferred to the liver which in turn releases it.
Did you know that Vitamin D is technically a hormone and can positivly effect about 3000 of our 25000 gene expressions?
Here are some more amazing sun facts.
- Sunlight kills many germs and enhances the immune system by increasing gamma globulin, and raising the number and effectiveness of the white blood cells which destroy germs. Lightly tanned skin resists germs and infection much better than untanned skin. Many skin diseases respond well to controlled doses of sunlight.
- It soothes the nervous system and is important in treating depression. It gives a sense of well-being by increasing endorphin production in the brain.
- It strengthens the cardiovascular system. by improving circulation, lowering the heart rate, and normalizing blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Sunlight aids in digestion and weight loss, increasing the metabolism by stimulating thyroid production.
- It improves sleep. Natural sunlight exposure in daytime increases melatonin output at night. Especially people who are sick are greatly benefited by the sun due to its healing properties.
- Sunlight enhances waste elimination by improving liver function and is an effective treatment for jaundice, relieving the kidneys of some of their burden by eliminating wastes through the skin when you sweat.
- Sunshine plays an important role in eye health. The retina has a receptor called melanopsin which is an absorber of blue light (sun is the highest source of blue light). This plays a vital role in our brain health and regulation of our circadian rhythm. Science has found that the first hour of the day during sunrise has the strongest effect on resetting our body clock. The clock communicates with the pineal gland which produces Seratonin (a happy hormone) So it is great for relieving depression and improving sleep.
- Fruits and vegetables that receive direct sunlight grow much better than those exposed to artificial light.
- Without the sun’s rays, we could not get the full value from our food as the sun unlocks the vitamins in food. It gives plants the ability, through a process known as photosynthesis, to take carbon dioxide and oxygen from the air and combine these into the basic food substances by which all things live. This is done by chlorophyll, the green substance in the leaves of the plants. We are unable to duplicate, or even fully understand, this process.
Ninety-eight per cent of sunlight enters through the eyes, and 2% through the skin. The 2% on the skin is important because that is the only way your body can develop vitamin D.
Did you know that after you have been in the sun, your body needs a few hours to convert a form of cholestrol to make Vitamin D in the body?
We receive the sun’s rays even on cloudy days; however ordinary window glass filters out 95% of the useful ultraviolet light.
The artificial lenses that doctors insert after cataract operations will also block all the ultraviolet. You should wear sunglasses because of glare and then opt for non-polarized, charcoal grey lenses.
Sunshine is the most natural and effective antiseptic available The light entering through your eyes follows two pathways, each of which has a different effect:
- The visual pathway, which enables you to see, is the upper pathway, which goes up to the cortex. If you’re blind, that pathway may be blocked, but the lower pathway continues to function.
- The lower pathway goes to the hypothalamus gland, an extremely important gland in the distribution of sunlight to the rest of your body.
The hypothalamus controls all the other glands. It also regulates your circadian rhythms, telling you whether it is day or night, June or December.
The significance of this is that it instructs the pineal gland to produce the appropriate hormones. During the night, your pineal gland produces melatonin and you should get about eight hours of darkness.
When you are in daylight, or sunlight, those same glands produce serotonin. In a normal day you usually receive eight hours of melatonin and 16 hours of serotonin.
During the winter months you experience more darkness, so your body secretes more and more melatonin, throwing your body out of balance and creating those conditions mentioned above, especially the craving to sleep more.
So giving a person who has seasonal depression melatonin will make it worse because their body is already producing too much melatonin.
Full spectrum light from the sun regulates your melatonin and serotonin levels.
Eating a healthy whole food diet high in omega 3 fruits and veggies, drink plenty of fluids will help protect your skin naturally.
The hypothalamus has another important duty of converting light to chemical electrical pulses that follow the nervous system in the body, providing energy to every cell in your body.
Your cells require nutrients from foods, and oxygen from the air, but what ignites energy in the cell is light. Sunlight is the spark plug, which provides the spark in cells to produce protein, and to replicate and repair.
Thus sunlight is vital in the body. It regulates the body clock; it produces the hormones and it produces the energy that goes to the cells, so it’s important that the body and eyes are exposed daily.
But what about over exposure?
Over-exposure to sunlight is a major risk factor for skin cancer but sunlight in an appropriate amount actually prevents cancer. Melanoma, is the most aggressive and quick spreading form of skin cancer and is fatal in 20% of cases.
It is associated with lack of regular sun exposure and repeated burning of the skin. So one should avoid sunburn and rather get your sunshine in small doses.
How long you can be in the sun is dependent on your skin colour, darker skinned people need more exposure to sunlight to produce the same amount of Vitamin D as lighter skinned people to produce the same amount.
Sunscreens contain toxic chemical substances that block the essential UV A & B resulting in non production of Vitamin D. Studies have failed to show clear evidence that sunscreens help prevent melanoma. It appears that getting MODERATE sun exposure is of the utmost importance.
The effect of sunscreens on nature is also worth considering:
Even “healthy” sunscreens containing zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is broken down to nano particles to make it smoother and give it the ability to rub onto our skin. Scientist have found nano particles in marine life and researchers are saying that there might be a risk of the particles crossing trough the blood brain barrier but this is still being researched. Scientists have also expressed concern that these nano particles via the sun creams could be attributing to the deterioration of the Great Barrier reef and other marine systems.
On the other hand regular sunscreens contain toxic chemical substances that block the essential UV A & B resulting in non production of Vitamin D.
Regular sunscreens contain toxic chemical substances that block the essential UV A & B resulting in non production of Vitamin D.
There are other measures which one can take to help PREVENT skin cancer - and cancer in general,
Including plenty of green leafy vegetables in a healing diet, vegetable juicing as well as the correct omega 6:3 ratio.
According to the prestigious “National Academy of Sciences” in a comprehensive review published by them they showed that the omega 6:3 ratio is key to preventing the development of skin cancer.
There are 3 types of ultraviolet light: A, B and C.
People can get a sunburn during overcast skies because although the cloud layer blocks the A and B, ultraviolet C still comes through, and the C is what does the burning.
Ultraviolet A and B are essential to your body, but unfortunately, these are the ones which are blocked on cloudy days and when wearing the wrong sunglasses. The cloud layers will also block a great many of the other sunlight frequencies in the spectrum. The ozone layer blocks UVC, which is very caustic and with the ozone layer diminishing unfortunately the one causing problems.
lt does not come through glass or plastic, so if you are paying for any kind of UV protection in your lenses, it’s a waste of money.
The cornea of your eye also blocks UVC, and the lens and the retina of the eye block the other two ultraviolet lights. We have our
own regulatory system going on in our eye when we receive normal amounts of UV.
We have our own regulatory system going on in our eye when we receive normal amounts of UV.
Interestingly enough, usually the brightness of light (glare) has more impact on cataract development than does the amount of UV.
So how do we gain maximum benefit from the sun?
- Take great care between 10 am and 3 pm, particularly in summer when the sun is strongest.
- Watch the sunrise every morning, stand outside if you can.
- Spend at least 30 min a day in natural light with your sunglasses off to allow the magic to happen in the eyes and brain.
- Start with 5 min exposure to direct sunlight and build it up to no more than 30 min especially in the heat of the day.
- Don’t shower before or after you go into the sun as you need the natural skin oils to assist in converting the vitamin D which only happens about 2 hours after you have been exposed.
How do you protect yourself if you do have to spend more time in the sun after receiving your therapeutic dose for the day.
- Wear a big hat and long sleeves, eat a healthy whole food diet high in omega 3 fruits and veggies, drink plenty of fluids this will help protect your skin naturally.
- Use a natural sunscreen. See resources for links to great products.
Can you wear sun glasses? Yes in prolonged exposure when doing e.g. water sports, it is essential as sunlight can burn the eyes. But limit exposure everyday.