Often we are reminded that overexposure to the sun is detrimental to your skin. The fears of sunburns, sun poisoning, wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer are common. But that does not mean that we should hide from the sun entirely.
Studies have proven that safe sun exposure is just as important to our health. And with the winter months coming along, it is important to remember that being outside in the sun is quite beneficial.
Cases of Vitamin D deficiency are most likely due to a lack of outside sun exposure. Vitamin D is important for strong bones and a deficiency can ultimately lead to rickets, a disease in which bone tissue does not mineralize properly.
Research has found that sunshine increases serotonin which can help alter moods in the brain. It can help with minor depression and more time in the sun during the wintertime can help prevent seasonal depression in the winter.
Exposure to the sun, and the boost in Vitamin D has been found to possibly prevent cancer. A study connected Vitamin D deficiency with cancer by studying the incidence of colon cancer in New York versus New Mexico. New York had three times the incidence of colon cancer. Research now suggests that there is also a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and breast cancer.
To maintain a normal circadian rhythm, spending time outside in daylight is vital. Ensuring your body clock is in sync is important so that you body is more willing to sleep when you need it to. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences states that the body’s master clock, or SCN controls your production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy.
A study at The University of Edinburgh found that exposing skin to sunlight helps to reduce blood pressure and can cut the risk of stroke and heart attack. The UV rays upon our skin release a compound that significantly dropped blood pressure, while vitamin D levels stayed the same.
UV light has been found to kill germs through a natural process called photo-oxidation. There are even a number of UV products on the market that offer hand held light solutions to kill bacteria and germs that are prevalent during flu season.
When skin is safely exposed to the sun, it can actually protect you from melanoma. A study found that indoor workers actually had an increase of melanoma because they were only exposed to UVA light. Indoor UV broke down the vitamin D3 that was formed in outdoor UVB exposure, which results in vitamin D deficiency.
While we know that vitamin D stimulates calcium, newer research shows that there is actually direct correlation between bone density and blood levels of vitamin D3. There is a higher rate of bone fractures when there are lower blood levels of vitamin D3.
Many studies have shown an increase in exposure to sunlight results in a decrease of certain diseases. For example, a normal circadian rhythm can help improve aspects of Alzheimer’s. It also is found that MS is more common in people who live further away from the equator and research shows that early sunlight exposure in life can influence the risk of developing MS.