Sunlight is one of the greatest blessings given by God to you.  Sunlight is one of the most healing agents in nature.           

Sunlight is important for growth and development, a healthy mind and maintenance of every bodily function.

How does adequate sunlight benefit the body?

  • It helps facilitate healthy bones
  • It resets the circadian rhythm in the body
  • It lowers blood pressure by 8%
  • It decreases blood cholesterol 
  • It lowers blood sugars
  • It increases white blood cells
  • It improves deep breathing
  • It improves blood circulation
  • It reduces stress
  • It regulates blood cells
  • It modifies the work of the kidneys
  • It influences metabolic activities
  • It regulates the hormones
  • It regulates the biological clock
  • Eating in sunlight, when practical, enhances digestion

Sunlight exposure has a great impact on calcium absorption in the body.  In order for calcium to be absorbed, you need vitamin D and protein.  Calcium is essential for the blood, and it helps to facilitate healthy bones and teeth, but if you are deficient in vitamin D, this is less than 30 ng/ml, calcium will not be absorbed.

At the same time too, protein requires calcium for digestion. High intake of protein from animal sources (milk, meat, fish, etc.) requires greater amounts of calcium and when the body is deficient in calcium, it starts pulling from wherever, even the bones; or it can cause the parathyroid to signal to the body to produce more calcium and this can be detrimental, leading to conditions such as heart palpitation and kidney stones.

Acid reflux or indigestion can cause calcium deficiency. The body would seek to compensate and may pull calcium from the bones to neutralize the acidity, this can lead to Osteoporosis and other bone degenerating conditions.

Early morning exposure to bright sunlight allows that light to penetrate our eyes to the pineal gland and this helps to regulate our circadian rhythm. This is essentially helpful to individuals as they travel across different time zones and as their body synchronizes with the rising and setting of the sun, the body knows when it is night and day. Aluminium intake can interfere with the pineal gland thus preventing it from doing its work and cause insomnia. Morning sunlight causes the body to produce serotonin that keeps u alert during the day and this converts to melatonin in the evening thereby helping you to improve sleep and prevent insomnia. Morning sunlight improves daytime energy, lifts your mood and calms anxiety. If the skin is cloudy on mornings, you need more exposure to this early sunlight.

Morning sunlight also improves luteinizing hormones, which improves testosterone levels in men and balances female hormone levels in women.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is naturally derived from sunlight exposure.  It is not a vitamin but actually a hormone.  Unlike other essential vitamins, which must be obtained from food, vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin through a photosynthetic reaction triggered by exposure to UVB radiation.

The light of the sun influences nearly every organ system of the body.  There is a receptor site on every cell in the body for two hormones, the Thyroid hormone and vitamin D.  Vitamin D is a stored nutrient in the liver, there; on a day when you are not exposed to sunlight it can pull from storage.

How Much Sun Should One Get?

Lighter skinned individuals require 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight daily, while darker skinned individuals, because of the melanin in their skin, require six times more exposure to sunlight  daily in order for the body to make vitamin D; that means, between 45 minutes to 11/2 hours between the hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm or 10:00 am to 2:00 pm depending on the time of the year and where you are located in relation to the equator, when the UVB rays are at the highest to enable the body to produce  vitamin D3 in right quantities.  If you are not sure about a great time to get good UVB rays to make your vitamin D, simply stand in the sun, and the closer your shadow is to you the better.

Who are at risk for producing vitamin D?

Certain persons are at risk for sunlight deficiency. Those who wear sun block, have higher skin pigment melanin, those who are sun sensitive because of medications or some other cause and so they may keep out of the sun; those who are aged because the body cannot produce as much vitamin D on its own, infants and the institutionalized, when they are kept mainly indoors, individuals with excessive weight because the fat blocks the vitamin D from absorbing in the skin and those who cover their body thoroughly leaving no skin exposed to the sunlight. If someone has kidney failure, they will have a hard time to produce vitamin D, and will more likely become deficient.

The American journal of Clinical Nutrition, reporting that women in Saudi Arabia who have low vitamin D levels have six hundred percent risk of having breast cancer than women with higher levels of vitamin D. The case-control study analyzed data from 120 breast cancer cases and an equal amount of controls. The study found that Saudi Arabia women in the lowest vitamin D category, less than 25 nmol/L (10 ng/ml), had six times the risk for evasive breast cancer as people in the highest category of vitamin D status, greater than 50 nmol/L (20 ng/ml).

You do not need to expose your entire body to the sunlight.  Overexposure for very long periods can lead to sunburn and skin cancer.  Simply having your face, hands and feet exposed will be sufficient.  You actually need the size of a quarter sunlight exposure to synthesize vitamin D.

How does sunlight exposure create vitamin D in our body?

When the sun hits the skin it converts cholesterol under the skin into a pre-vitamin D.  That initial photosynthesis produces vitamin D3, most of which undergoes additional transformations starting with the production of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), the major form of vitamin D circulating in the bloodstream and the form that is routinely measured to determine a person’s vitamin D status.  Although various cell types within the skin can carry out this transformation locally, the conversion takes place primarily in the liver.  Another set of transformations occurs in the kidney and other tissues, converting 25[OH]D into 1,25(OH)D.  This form of vitamin D is actually a hormone, chemically akin to steroid hormones.

Which Diseases Are Linked To Sunlight Deficiency?

There are hundreds of diseases linked to sunlight deficiency.  They include, but are not limited to: autoimmune disorders, defused muscular pain, lupus, arthritis, depression, diabetes, heart disease, rickets, jaundice, multiple sclerosis, poor blood circulation, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, hormone related problems, insomnia, cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Diabetes: sunlight has an insulin-like effect so it lowers the blood sugar in right proportions i.e. sunlight increases glycogen (stored sugar) in the body causing the blood sugar in the blood to be lowered.

Asthma patients, who could hardly breathe, were able to inhale freely after a sunbath.

Stress: Sunlight helps the body to produce endorphins, the happy hormone. This calms the nerves and increases epinephrine, thus you become more relaxed and better able to move through the day, resulting even in peaceful restful sleep.

Cholesterol: Since 1904 it was discovered that when the sun hits the skin, it converts Cholesterol into pre-vitamin D and the liver makes it into a form that the body can use. This lowers the cholesterol in the blood. Two hours after a sunbath reduces blood cholesterol by 13%. Vitamin D decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. In addition, when the sun hits the skin, it produces nitric oxide which dilates the blood vessels and lowers the blood pressure.

Rickets and Osteoporosis: Without sufficient vitamin D, bones will not form properly. As vitamin D is needed to calcify the bones it is not present and so the bones in children are easily bent, this causes rickets, a disease characterized by growth retardation and various skeletal deformities, including the hallmark bowed legs. For vitamin D deficient adults, the calcium leaves the bones and they become softer. Weak bones actually make individuals susceptible to falls and fractures.

1,25(OH)D accumulates in cell nuclei of the intestine, where it enhances calcium and phosphorus absorption, controlling the flow of calcium into and out of bones to regulate bone-calcium metabolism. Michael Holick, a medical professor and director of the Bone Health Care Clinic at Boston University Medical Centre, says, “The primary physiologic function of vitamin D is to maintain serum calcium and phosphorus levels within the normal physiologic range to support most metabolic functions, neuromuscular transmission, and bone mineralization.”

Sunlight can cure conditions such as:  Tuberculosis, bones, lungs, streptococcal infections, jaundice, fungus infections of the feet and toes, common cold, flu (colds are during the rainy/winter seasons when there is less sunlight), spinal meningitis, germs, (kills germs and changes skin oils into bacterial agents), acne, increases white blood cells to build immune system, (neutrophils in the blood cells are stimulated to eat up bacteria, fungus and other bacteria).  Vitamin D supplement and sunlight exposure is used in the treatment of these diseases.

Lowering inflammation:  Vitamin D increases the expression of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF 15), a protein that research has found decreases inflammation.  Dr. Bruce Hollis

Correct levels of vitamin D are 40 ng/mL to 100 ng/mL (once the levels get above 150 ng/mL with supplement it can become toxic to the body.  However, if the level gets to high numbers with natural sunlight you will be fine.  The 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body.  Once you know your level, if you need to increase it, you may consider taking 5000 IU daily of a vitamin D3 supplement until your levels are back in line or use as recommended by your health professional.  When you are ready to test your vitamin D level after supplementing, stop the supplement for 60-90 days then take a vitamin D test to know your true level.

For the colder climate, as a regular maintenance from June – September use the natural sunlight, May and October take 1000 IU daily. April and November take 2000 IU daily, March and December take 3000 IU daily, and January and February take 5000 IU daily.  Do not exceed the recommended vitamin D level when supplementing.  It is not possible to get to toxic levels from sunlight exposure, but you can with supplementation.   Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so it requires fat in order for it to be absorbed.  Liquid vitamin D3 with fat is best and easily absorbed.  Vitamin A, D, E, and k, perform a variety of important functions in your body and cooperate synergistically, with each other but also with essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, and zinc.

How to Avoid Sunburn?

You may use long breathable fabric such as wool, cotton, linen, silk or bamboo, to keep the body cool and exposure of the face, hands and feet can be sufficient to allow the body to produce vitamin D.  However, excessive covering of all the extremities can cause vitamin D deficiency.

Cover your body properly, wear long sleeves, long garments and a hat on your head, drinks lots of water, eat a healthy balanced, low-fat, plant-based diet and you would avoid burning of your skin. 

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In summary:

Sunlight is essential to the total well-being of the individual.  Do make an extra effort to get adequate amounts of the free, life-giving splendour of sunlight every day.

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