In my last post, I discussed the risk of too much sun exposure. Now it is time to realize the great benefits of the sun. In the process of photosynthesis plants use sunlight with carbon dioxide and water to generate oxygen that we breathe and carbohydrates, which fuel our body. Just think, the sun helps feed us.
Robin Lucas in the International Journal of Epidemiology concludes that more lives are lost to disease because of lack of sunlight than is lost from too much sunlight. God designed us to be outside rather than inside. As more and more people are staying inside, the pro-hormone vitamin D is not being activated.
Vitamin D is essential for mental health, bone health, and even cardiovascular health. Vitamin D helps prevent infections and much more. Entire books are written about the benefits and importance of Vitamin D. I sometimes wonder about all the important chemical reactions that we do not know about where Vitamin D is essential. Sunlight and Vitamin D walk hand in hand.
The sun is also used to treat many medical conditions. We term this phototherapy. Sunlight is used to enhance moods via serotonin production, fight pain by increasing endorphins, and help in a variety of skin disorders. Phototherapy is used for psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and vitiligo. Sunlight also has been shown to help fibromyalgia and benefit those with sleep disorders. Sunlight helps regulate melatonin and our circadian rhythms, which enable us to rest better. I am sure that as time moves on we will discover even more benefits.
Ten minutes in the midday with arms and legs exposed can help a body make up to 10,000 IU’s of Vitamin D. Some advocate 15 minutes three times a week. There is scientific debate on the exact amount, but the important point is to enjoy the sunlight. Try not to burn.
Remember when the sun is 50 degrees above the horizon; you will experience the most exposure to UVB rays. The time any person might need in the sunlight will also depend on the skin pigmentation. Darker skin has more protection from sun damage but needs more exposure to make Vitamin D.
Our God is so amazing and loving to give the sun to feed us and make our bodies healthy. Go out into the sunlight and thank our loving Father for yet another biblical prescription for life.