The sun, a powerful healer.
We’ve all heard about the consequences of sun exposure, but by trying to avoid the uva rays, we have forgotten how vital the sun is to our lives.
A few weeks ago in a beautiful yoga retreat I got some new information about the sun. They told me that I should get some direct sunlight when the sun is at its highest point, and that I should do this, every day for 15 minutes. I was very intrigued, because what I had previously learned about the sun was that I had to be very carful, that I could get dark spots, wrinkles and worst of all, cancer. It was actually really frustrating, because I love to spend time outdoors and even more, I love to sunbathe. For me the sun has always been kind of magical.
After getting this new information, I decided to do a little more digging, and found some wonderful things I would love to share.
New evidence confirms that exposure to the sun in appropriate and measured timeframes has a number of health benefits. The“sunshine vitamin” or vitamin D is produced by your skin as a response to sunlight exposure. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and can affect as many as 2,000 genes in the body. NIH says at least 1,000 different genes that control every tissue in the body are linked to be regulated by vitamin D3.
Sun exposure can treat several skin conditions for the right person. Doctors have recommended UV radiation exposure to treat psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, and acne. Sun exposure also regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and facilitates normal immune system function. Vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain disease.
Although excess sunlight can contribute to skin cancers, a moderate amount of sunlight has cancer preventive benefits.The skin’s exposure to ultraviolet radiation of short wavelegnths (UVB) has been linked to a decreased risk of melanoma.
Vitamin D fights disease
It reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, heart disease and the likelihood of developing a flu. Studies have revealed preliminary links between sunlight as a potential treatment for a number of conditions. These include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erytematosus
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Vitamin D fights depression
It plays an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. This is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Without enough sunlight exposure, a person’s serotonin levels can dip low. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
How do you get it?
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight. All you need is 15 minutes a day of midday sun exposure. Besides getting vitamin D through sunlight, you can also get it through certain foods:
- egg yolk
- milk (fortified)
- cereal (fortified)
- yogurt (fortified)
- orange juice (fortified)
Vitamin D Deficiency
The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include:
- Tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well.
- Severe bone or muscle pain or weakness.
- Stress fractures, especially in the legs, pelvis, and hips
While sun exposure is your best source for vitamin D, it’s important to understand that not all sun exposure will allow for vitamin D production.The UVB-rays from the sun must pass through the atmosphere and reach where you are on the earth in order for this to take place. This obviously does not occur in the winter for many of us. Refrain from staying outside too long without sunscreen. If you’re going to be outside longer than 15 minutes, you’ll need a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
Hope you enjoyed… Mel