Everything Under the Sun

The sun has a bad reputation when you overindulge in it, but getting sunlight exposure is a very important part of staying healthy. Besides being the main supply of vital vitamin D levels, it can also affect everything from your immune system to your mental state.

Daily exposure to sunlight is an important factor in normal circadian rhythms. This controls your body clock and keeps you in sync, letting you know when it’s time to be awake and a time to sleep. Sunlight exposure naturally increases the serotonin levels in your body, making you more active and alert during the day, and lowers the levels at night when it is time to sleep.

Sunlight can also help you maintain a healthy weight by increasing your metabolism rate. Nitric oxide derived by sunlight has beneficial effects on the way the body regulates metabolism. This effect can also lower your blood pressure and improve circulation.

The most important benefit of sunlight exposure is the body’s vitamin D supply. Vitamin D is obtained by the skin’s response to UV radiation.  Vitamin D affects 10 percent of the genes in the human body and is essential for electrolyte metabolism, protein synthesis, immunity, nerve and muscle functioning, and many other physiologic functions including fighting off infection and many autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D also stimulates the absorption of calcium, reducing the risk of bone disease, fractures and osteoporosis.

Sunlight also acts as a natural detox by producing anti-microbials that will kill off bad bacteria, fungus, viruses, and parasites in your body. Regular sunlight exposure can naturally increase serotonin levels in your body to help fight off stress and fight off mild depression.

So there you are. Make sure you get sun exposure, but not too much. The best way to do this is too get outside in the morning for about 10-15 minutes. This not only gets you the vitamin D, but it gets your rhythm going to start your day during a time when damage from sunlight is at its lowest peak.

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