The sun has been shining even before humans evolved. The ancients call the sun as the god as it provides the life for everything. When the sun is out, we’re out, too. Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D, particularly Vitamin D3.
Here’s how sunlight helps our body make the appropriate kind of Vitamin D. It is a hormone responsible for many vital functions inside the human body including sex hormone production to calcium allocation to the bones.
Today, Vitamin D is available in supplement form, but still, the best kind of Vitamin D humans can have is from sunlight.
Sunlight Health Benefits with Dr. Weston
To have a good grasp of sunlight health benefits, Dr. Steve Weston of Sunwarrior explains more in the video below. He started by saying that humans went from sun worshipper to solar phobias. Today, this is very apparent. People used sunscreen to protect from UV sunlight, but is sunlight harmful?
Lots of sunlight health benefits have been mentioned in the video including the increase of Nitric Oxide in the blood. Today, Nitric Oxide is included in many supplements especially for men who want to boost their sexual function.
As a matter of fact, the erectile dysfunction medication Viagra formulation works similarly as Nitric Oxide. Then, why would a man opt to use Viagra when he can have regular sun exposure along with healthy lifestyle practices.
Although there is a studyREF that Viagra complements or enhances the Nitric Oxide level making blood more efficient. However, when humans in this modern society would consider sunlight health benefits, the used and even dependence of such pharmaceutical drug can be minimized, or even eliminated.
Sunlight Health Benefits With References
Earlier, the majority of sunlight health benefits have already been mentioned in the video. However, for the sake of enumeration and looking at the studies, below is a list of top 10 science-backed sunlight health benefits.
1. Improves Bone Health
I don’t know about you but during my childhood, I was told that sunlight exposure due to Vitamin D makes bone healthy. We were also told that calcium makes the bone healthy.
It turned out that Vitamin D and calcium with minerals like magnesium work hand-in-hand. One studyREF has proven sunlight health benefits for the bones.
Vitamin D can no longer be thought of as a nutrient necessary for the prevention of rickets among children. Vitamin D should be considered essential for overall health and well-being. Vitamin D deficiency and decreased exposure to solar UVB radiation have been demonstrated to increase the risks of many common cancers, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, and there are indications that they may be associated with type 2 diabetes and schizophrenia.
This has been supported by another research paper published in the NIHREF.
2. Improves Sleep Quality
The statistics of sleep problem is huge. In the United States alone, there are approximately 70 million individuals suffer from sleep disorder.
Fortunately, instead of taking sleeping pills, Saint Louis University had proven the benefits of sunlight exposure to improve sleep quality. Dr. Gammack, the principal author of the study said that light therapy during morning and afternoon helps regulate sleep patterns.
The study also found that natural sunlight is helpful in setting the body’s internal clock also known as circadian rhythm. Sunlight exposure helps our body know when to eat, sleep and normalizes hormone production. One kind of light you don’t want to have especially during night time is the blue light from your smartphone.
A different studyREF also found problems in windowless working environment. Most buildings to day are enclosed and employees are hardly exposed to sunlight. If you’re working in this kind of environment, find time to go out during your break time and have a few minutes of sun exposure.
3. Boosts Brain Function
The Scientific American reports European studies that found the beneficial effect of sunlight on brain function. Both studies established that low Vitamin D level causes a decline in certain brain functions. As a matter of fact, SAD or seasonal affective disorder, which happens during winter time. Obviously, during winter, sunlight is limited.
Another studyREF supports the previous study mentioned that lack of sunlight exposure can increased risk of cognitive impairment.
If you lived in regions where winter is inevitable, you might want to consider the light therapy option. You can find these light therapy lamps online like Amazon.
4. Boosts Children’s Growth
If you have children, don’t hide them from sunlight. Instead, encourage them to play under the sun particularly during morning and afternoon when sunlight is not strong. The NHS in the U.K. cited studies on the importance of Vitamin D for children and even for women while they’re pregnant.
Additionally, the AAFP or the American Academy of Family Physicians recognizes the problems in children who lack Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency in children can have adverse health consequences, such as growth failure and rickets. In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics increased its recommended daily intake of vitamin D in infants, children, and adolescents to 400 IU. Infants who are breastfed and children and adolescents who consume less than 1 L of vitamin D–fortified milk per day will likely need supplementation to reach 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
5. Boosts The Immune System
While microbiome is good at doing its job, sunlight can further boosts its function. The Vitamin D in our body helps regulate the immune system. A studyREF found beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity.
Vitamin D has important functions beyond those of calcium and bone homeostasis which include modulation of the innate and adaptive immune responses. Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in autoimmune disease. Cells of the immune system are capable of synthesizing and responding to vitamin D.
6. Heals Some Skin Disorders
This is somewhat contradictory to what most people know about sunlight. Today, a lot of people apply sunscreen to protect and prevent skin damage due to sunlight. Unfortunately, some sunscreens may be doing harm than good. A recent study also confirmed that you need to be careful on choosing a sunscreen.
There are many studies that many of the sunlight health benefits include healing cancers. Among the skin disorders in which sunlight is beneficial include eczema, fungal infection, acne and psoriases.
7. Eases Mild Depression
We’ve covered a bit of this earlier. Remember SAD or seasonal affective disorder also known as seasonal depression? The Vitamin D Council cited many references to studies about the linked of depression and Vitamin D level. One studyREF says that natural sunlight exposure is an alternative treatment to depression.
8. Lowers Symptoms of Alheimer’s Disease
The benefits of sunlight exposure to Alzheimer’s disease is due to Vitamin D. One studyREF says that Vitamin D deficiency can increased risk of cognitive impairment.
Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.
9. Lowers Blood Pressure
The lowering of blood pressure is linked to the release of Nitric Oxide, which is mentioned earlier. Lack of sunlight exposure is just as bad as smoking.
10. Reduces Risks of Certain Cancers
Again, sunlight health benefits to reducing cancer risks is linked to the Vitamin D due to sun exposure. There are already many studiesREF that proved the beneficial effects of sunlight on certain cancers like breast, colon, prostate and ovarian cancers.
In addition, one studyREF published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says solar radiation has beneficial influence in the occurrence and incidence and outcome of cancers.