Although you may have heard to stay out of the sun, there’s actually evidence that says getting enough sunlight every day is crucial to a healthy body! Not only does a little sunlight make you feel happier, but as little as 30 minutes a day actually gives you more energy, provides you with the right amount of essential vitamin D3, essential for maintaining strong bones, and a resilient immune system!
As you may already know, vitamin D is an essential nutrient that our body needs to build strong bones, absorb calcium and other minerals, but vitamin D has even more benefits to our health, including playing a major role in keeping inflammation low! Inflammation is the body’s response to damage or a threat, whether from pathogens, injury, or autoimmune diseases. Imagine that inflammation is similar to a fire and vitamin D is the fire extinguisher. When inflammation has successfully done its job to eliminate the threat, Vitamin D tells the body to turn off its inflammatory response.
In addition to controlling inflammation, Vitamin D keeps the body’s immune system strong and resilient to infections and diseases! There are multiple studies that show higher levels of Vitamin D decrease infection, yeast, fungus, and pathogens (and vice versa). Higher vitamin D levels from sunlight show a decrease in chronic inflammation, especially from things such as:
- Susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections
- Skin conditions like acne and psoriasis
- Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Much more
Did you know that before the advent of effective antibiotics, tuberculosis patients were sent to sanatoriums where they had to sit in sunlight? The sunlight exposure was thought to directly kill the tuberculosis! It was also used as a large component in the treatment of joint and skin problems.
You’ve likely heard that you should limit your time in the sun. It’s important to be note that your body can only get the right amount of Vitamin D from sufficient sunlight exposure, rather than from food. The UVB rays are the good ones responsible for giving you vitamin D and balance out the potentially harmful UVA rays.
Scientist say that the best time to be in the sun, the maximize vitamin D absorption depends on things like, where in the world you live, the color of your skin, the time of day, and the amount of skin you expose. However, a key thing to note is that when the sun’s rays enter the atmosphere at an angle, such as in the morning, evening, or winter season, the UVB rays reflect off the atmosphere and only allowing the UVA rays in. Therefore, the most beneficial time of day to expose yourself to the sun is around noon, when the UVB rays penetrate the atmosphere and balance out the UVA rays. Just 20 minutes at this time of day, several times a week, will increase your body’s vitamin D levels, boost your immune system, and decrease inflammation!
It’s important to keep in mind, that the best way to maximize vitamin D production is by exposing your bare skin to the sun. Although an all-natural sunscreen can block out the harmful UVA rays, it also blocks out the UVB rays and vitamin D. So if you’re going to wear it at all, better to do so in the morning, evening, and winter season.
Just like any other nutrient, it is best to get vitamin D from its natural source – the sun.
Dr. Mercola makes an interesting point, saying that the only vitamin absent in breast milk is vitamin D. He claims that, to him, that is a giant clue that we are meant to get our vitamin D from the sun, rather than by swallowing it. “Newborn infants, just like you, were designed to get this from exposing their skin to natural sunlight,” he concludes.
However, if you live in a region where the climate and weather make it difficult to get enough sunlight exposure, look for a high quality vitamin D3 supplement. Packaged foods are fortified with Vitamin D2, but D3 is the most effective when supplementing, and has shown to be the better second behind sunlight.
But aside from all this, there are countless benefits to making sunlight a priority. Other benefits of the sun beyond vitamin D production are:
- Pain Relief
- Endorphin production
- Enhances mood and energy levels
- Improves sleep quality
- Regulated blood sugar
- DNA repair
- Muscular relaxation and stimulation
- Reducing body odor
- Killing harmful bacteria
And the list goes on…