What’s So Great About Sunlight?
So you can’t find 15 minutes in your day to get outside?
Shame on you!
I mean, really? You seriously cannot get outside in the sun before work starts? At lunch? After work?
Do you have colleagues that take smoke breaks? Go outside with them. Maybe stand upwind.
Ok, so you work in a prison, I mean a corporate office, in the city, and it’s winter in a northern latitude. So you get to work when it’s dark and you leave work when it’s dark. I can buy that.
Perhaps you have a specific injury or illness that you want to heal faster. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on the internet, so always consult your physician before taking any of this as advice.
If you really cannot get outside in the fresh air and sun, now what?
Can you supplement sunlight?
First, let’s take a look at what’s in sunlight and the known healing portions of light.
SOLAR GARDENS AND SOLARIUMS!
If I had specific injuries or illnesses, I would certainly look to using sunlight as a healing modality.
Sunlight has been used for millennia for health. Take note millennials.
Sometimes we really do have to get off our devices and get outside.
Many Romans and many modern homes today have installed solariums to use the power of the sun to heal. The ancient Indian Vedics used heliotherapy (sunlight to heal).
Ancient religions in Indian, Egypt, China and the Americas all worshipped or recognized the sun as healer and took note of its healing power.
SUNLIGHT CAN HEAL!
Romans installed courtyards in their homes, open to the sky, so they could get sun during the day.
Snowbirds head south for the winter to get out of the poor light environment and into an environment that provides better light conditions for optimal health.
If you don’t know about snowbirds, they are typically retired, but not always, and head down to Florida, Mexico, Arizona etc whenever it gets cold in the Northern States.
By doing this, they are certainly improving their health by taking advantage of sunshine that still provides enough UVB to produce vitamin D sulfate on their skin, something not possible past September 18 in the part of the country where I live.
SUNLIGHT CONTAINS RED LIGHT
One of the wavelengths of sunlight clinically proven to have healing benefits is red light. Specifically, Red light falls within the wavelength of 620-750nm.
Red light has many healing properties from reducing inflammation and wrinkles to healing scars. Read on for more information specifically on how red light works.
Red light can help speed healing of a tendinous, muscular, or ligamentous injury. Before you turn to drugs, try light!
Red light penetrates skin, unlike many other wavelengths of light. When red light of a certain wavelength penetrates skin, it stimulates the mitochondria to work more efficiently. Through a process of releasing nitric oxide from the mitochondria, you cells produce more energy and work more efficiently.
SUNLIGHT CONTAINS INFRARED LIGHT
Infrared light is invisible and covers a very large spectrum of the light wavelength continuum and specific wavelengths have been identified for therapeutic uses. Near Infrared, mid infrared and far infrared are all infrared but have different impacts on the body.
Infrared light ranges from 750nm – 1mm in wavelength. Light closer to 750nm is near infrared and further away, closer to 15,000nm all the way to 1mm (1,000,000nm) is far infrared.
The sun contains all spectrum of red and infrared. Some of the wavelengths have more studied biological effect than others, based on what we know today. I say based on what we know because likely all wavelengths have some biological effect. After all, we have been living under the sun since life formed on this planet. We just haven’t discovered what all the other wavelengths of light do yet.
SUNLIGHT CONTAINS BLUE LIGHT
Blue light indoors is not smart light.
When the sun shines on us, we get all the wavelengths of light. Never forget this. From red light to blue light to microwave radiation and more, these are all light energies from the sun!
Taken out of context, though, and bombarded with just one type of light can sometimes heal and sometimes harm. Blue light has many benefits and biological impacts, but also too much at the wrong time is dangerous.
Blue light from sunlight tells our body and circadian clock what time of day it is. In the morning, blue light tells our clocks to dump cortisol and remove melatonin from the system. We get the wake-up signal, no coffee needed. Sorry coffee lovers. I love coffee too, but the sun can be just as effective.
Blue light from artificial light tells our body and the circadian clock that it’s constantly noon. Even after sunset. And that’s a bad thing!
Chronic exposure to indoor, artificial lighting like LEDs and CFLs bathes us in a constant stream of blue light without the red, infrared and UV light. Not only are we being told to wake up and that it’s noon, even after dark, which messes up our circadian biology and is associated with cancer, heart disease, and obesity, but blue light at any time of the day causes free radical formation in our eyes and shuts down our production of melatonin. At the right time and place, this is fine, but constantly bathing in this one type of indoor light has negative repercussions.
For example, blue light from the sun is always present with red and infrared, so the free radicals generated in our eyes from blue light are counteracted by red and infrared. It’s amazing how nature accounts for all these things, but humans are a bit slow to figure this out. Sunlight has equal parts red and blue. They balance each other out. Blue light turns on the pharmacy in our own bodies.
In the name of energy efficiency, we have replaced incandescent lights with LEDs. But we’ve done it at the cost of human health. As LEDs have huge spikes of blue light and nearly zero red and infrared. We’ve prioritized saving money over the health of our kids and ourselves. We’ve gotten rid of the balance!
Supplementing with blue light may be beneficial in very narrow circumstances, like killing bacteria on your face for acne. Otherwise, steer clear of blue light supplementation as we already get a toxic amount from our devices and indoor lighting.
SUNLIGHT CONTAINS UV LIGHT
Ultra-Violet (UV) light comes in three flavors. UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UV light is invisible, mostly. Some children and certain adults can see lower frequency UV in the 310nm range. Maybe this explains why some people can see auras because all animals give off UV light. Insects can also see UV light, and if you haven’t watched Nourish 2016 with Dr. Jack Kruse explaining how malaria is a good thing, you best check it out.
Here’s part of what he talks about:
How does UV light get absorbed into the eye, and why is this a good thing?
We are more like plants than we had previously thought. We call human photosynthesis photobiomodulation. Where our eyes, specifically our retinas, absorb UV light and create particles that transfer to energy for our mitochondria and also signal for hormone creation and activation in our body.
The retina contains rods and cones, (rods help us see at night and cones help us see during the day) which react to light causing send electrical signals to get sent down the optic nerve to the brain, they are responsible for our vision. In the eye between the retina and the choroid there is an insulating layer called the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which passes nutrients, removes waste and its essentially the retinas filter, it controls what enters the retina.
Getting UVA light into your light every morning is key to upgrading your life, hormones, and weight. Melatonin is the main hormone that controls your mitochondrial DNA and Dopamine is responsible for your perception of reality.
UV light turns off the hormone levels in your skin while blue light constantly turns them on. Remember, bathing in blue light indoors means that the system can no longer turn light into the chemicals that it needs, this leads to adrenal fatigue.
Vitreous collagen slows light down as the photons hit the body. UVA hits the retinal pigment epithelium which is filled with melanin, it absorbs the UVA light that comes into the eye and creates melatonin and dopamine.
This is why it is imperative to get sun in the morning because that is when melatonin and dopamine is produced. Quick hack; look to the sun in the morning to create dopamine! If we have a lack of dopamine it can decrease our ability to perceive patterns, trends or changes in our environment. The benefits of UV-A light help with your sleep quality via melatonin; regulate emotional responses to help us make better decisions via dopamine [r] .
UVB light is responsible for making the hormone vitamin D sulfate in our skin. Without this light, we leave ourselves open to many diseases including rickets and cancer, obesity and heart disease.
Supplementing with oral vitamin D is not the same thing as getting it from the sunlight and some doctors even think it could be harmful to take vitamin D pills.
From HERE, Dr. Kruse says: “When UVB photons come into contact with our skin, the photons become particles. This process causes the wave (photon) to become a particle (solid) and allows the particle to have mass, become polarized, and creates momentum. Similar to plants as mentioned above, our bodies take light and create particles in this case. When we supplement Vitamin D the reaction described above never occurs. When your body has low endogenous vitamin D the water in your cells are being changed which is a catalyst for change in your respiratory proteins, these changes lead to a change in your mitochondria, therefore, affecting its size and shape.
Bicknell and Prescott found in 1953 discovered that the gut and body cannot regulate the amount of vitamin D it absorbs from food. That being said the only way humans should be getting vitamin D3 directly forms the sun or UV-B supplementation. Taking a Vitamin D pill will have no effect because the body does not have a proper feedback loop for it to be absorbed. The place where the body does have a natural feedback mechanism is when the sun or UVB hits the sun or the eyes. Instead of trying to supplement Vitamin D3 orally we should be focusing on getting out into the sun or supplementing UVB.”
Yes, we have a way for you to hack Vitamin D creation in the Winter!!
We’re tackling Photobiomodulation next!