The Importance of Sunlight & Vitamin D
There are crucial reasons why you need sunlight for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. In fact, without sunlight, there would be no life on earth. And yet despite this truth, recent generations have been taught to fear the sun rather than embrace it. This is why we’re here today, to share the importance of sunlight and vitamin D.
Vitamin D Deficiencies are Extremely Common.
As Melbourne and the greater regions now ‘return to the office’ it’s a great time to think about your diet and sun exposure. Are they supportive of healthy vitamin D levels?
If you have fatigue, muscle weakness or cramping, depression or bone pain it might be worth getting your levels checked with a simple blood test.
Vitamin D Strengthens our Immunity.
Adequate levels are protective against common viruses and infections all the way to autoimmune conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis. Vitamin D deficiency can manifest in osteoporosis, an increased risk of cardiovascular and liver disease, cancer, diabetes and more.
A strong immune system is vital for staving off illness and disease, whilst keeping you healthy without the need for medical intervention.
Vitamin D has been shown to help your immune system work more effectively by signalling it to activate and monitor the body for signs of free radical intruders and pathogens.
Whilst Vitamin D is available in certain foods, sunlight is by far the most potent source. By exposing yourself to more sunlight, you’re actively fortifying your immune system to repel sickness, disease and to maintain healthy overall body function.
Vitamin D is Metabolised in the Kidneys.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, it is said that vitamin D is a marker of Kidney function, in particular, the ability of a person’s yin energy to anchor the yang energy of the sun. If you have low vitamin D levels yet feel your sun exposure and dietary intake are sufficient, you could be experiencing an absorption issue.
Magnesium for Better Absorption
Metabolism of Vitamin D requires Magnesium…. So, this is another vital mineral that our bodies need in ample supply to function optimally.
Vitamin D for Mental & Emotional Well-being
Without sunlight, the world would be a dark and sad place. In fact, the impact of sunlight on mental and emotional wellbeing, is highlighted by the fact the highest rates of depression and suicides are mostly in bleak, northern countries where the sun only shines for limited days each year.
Sungazing at Dawn
Gazing into the rising sun at dawn for short bursts can help stimulate the pineal gland – the area of your brain responsible for producing the ‘feel-good’ endorphins of melatonin and serotonin.
These same biochemicals also regulate your sleep and wake cycles, so for this reason, sun gazing can make you feel more energised, happier and even speed up your metabolism.
In addition, sun gazing will not only relax your eyes, over time it will also ‘train’ your eyes to have fewer eyesight problems such as light sensitivity and focusing issues.
It is important to note that Sun Gazing is not recommended during the day when the sun is at its highest intensity – it is only recommended as an early morning ritual.
Vitamin D to Improve Sleep
One of the most documented healing attributes of sunlight, is its ability to encourage sleep by increasing the release of melatonin at night, which is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy and keeps you asleep. By increasing your exposure to moderate sunlight, you can help stimulate melatonin production.
Without quality sleep every night, it can affect everything from your stress levels, emotional balance and your ability to repel illness and disease. If you don’t get enough sunlight regularly, you’ll put yourself at risk for disrupting your circadian rhythm – that is your body’s sleep/wake cycle – which can lead to anxiety, depression and compromised immunity.
Vitamin D Supports Bone Health
Sunlight triggers the liver to release Vitamin D, which promotes absorption of dietary calcium from the intestines and plays a key role in regulating calcium deposits into the bones for strength.
As we get older, your body naturally decreases in bone mass and makes you more susceptible to injury and bone fragility, which can lead to osteoarthritic conditions.
By getting enough sunlight, you’ll be getting enough vitamin D to help absorb calcium for bone protection.
Vitamin D for Weight Management
If you’re working to stay in shape and maintain a healthy weight, the sunlight can actually help you.
Not only does sunlight help encourage you to get outside and move, activate your senses and work up a sweat, studies show that just 30 minutes of sun exposure can help you lower your BMI (Body Mass Index) and shrink fat cells, helping you to burn body fat.
The natural healing powers of sunlight can also help reduce your blood pressure, which can help you avoid stroke and heart disease.
Vitamin D for Glowing Skin
If you’ve ever suffered from skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema or acne, sunlight is one of the most powerful natural remedies.
Responsible exposure to sunlight can greatly impact your skin quality and texture due to the nutrient density of sunlight penetrating the pores of your skin.
Of course, it’s not wise to expose your skin for extended periods in the heat of the day, however with 30-45 minutes of exposure mid-morning low intensity sunlight, you will gain all of the healing benefits of sunshine without burning or irritation.
Lightly apply a cold-pressed plant oil like organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil to feed your skin before and after sun exposure. Fresh Aloe Vera will also supply the skin with hydrating, nourishing components to the skin post-exposure.
More Ways to Boost your Vitamin D
10 minutes of direct sunlight on your skin each day. It’s best to do this in the afternoon when the sun is low to avoid harsh UV rays.
UVB rays combined with vitamin D rich foods such as eggs, red meat and oily fish will keep your immune system and bones strong.
With love and light,
Nicci Morpeth xx