You’re probably aware of the importance of vitamin D. Ideally, it’s best to get it from the sun, because sunlight provides a number of other benefits as well, over and beyond vitamin D synthesis, that you simply cannot get from food or a supplement. It’s important to realize that when we’re talking about sunlight exposure, the light spectrum you’re exposed to when sitting by a window is not the same as the spectrum you’re exposed to outdoors. Sunlight filtering through a window is actually more akin to poor quality artificial light, due to the fact that parts of the light spectrum are being filtered out. In order to be energy efficient, modern windows filter near-infrared light, and as mentioned, this range actually helps counteract some of the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.
The Healing Power of Sun Light
By Dr. Mercola introduces Heliotherapy, or sun therapy, where you use sunlight directly to provide therapeutic benefits. This works because you aren’t removing or altering any part of the light spectrum.
Presenting Alexander Wunsch, a German physician of holistic medicine and photobiology. He’s also the CEO of Medical Light Consulting in Heidelberg, Germany. He believes, that the sun is a great healer. A recorded interview with him is provided in the below video.
He believes that it’s the unity of biophysics and biochemistry that allows for life, and provides the human body with the essential ingredients for optimal health.
The Importance of Heliotherapy for Optimal Health
Heliotherapy, or sun therapy, is when you use sunlight directly without removing or altering any part of the light spectrum. Early examples of heliotherapy include the use of sunlight to treat tuberculosis prior to the discovery of antibiotics, and they did that quite successfully.
Sunlight was also used to treat rickets and other diseases associated with light deficiency (which we now know as vitamin D deficiency). According to Alexander humans are adapted to sunlight as a complex stimulus, and when you remove that stimulus (sunlight), you end up with problems.
Vitamin D: A Chronobiological Stress Hormone
Wunsch views vitamin D as a kind of “seasonal stress hormone,” explaining that chronobiological stress hormones such as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and adrenaline-cortisol hormone blends are what enable you to get up in the morning, and help regulate the blood sugar concentration in your body, just to name a couple of their functions.
When we talk about sun exposure to optimize vitamin D production, we’re really only looking at a small portion of the action spectrum of light, because ultraviolet B radiation is the only portion able to photosynthesize vitamin D in your skin.
But the health effects and benefits of sunlight are not restricted to ultraviolet B. Swiss specialist Dr. Auguste Rollier, who has written text books on heliotherapy, emphasized that the composition of the different parts of the light spectrum are of crucial importance to achieve all of the benefits you can get from the sun.
The Drawbacks of Windows and Artificial Lighting
“We face a common problem in the artificial light area and in the use of window glass. Both are factors which eliminate important parts of the spectrum,” Wunsch says. “For that reason, we have to be careful with windows and artificial light. Let’s say, you sit in your office and your eyes signal, “There is enough light around me.” Your intrinsic hunger for light may be satisfied by the light you perceive through your eyes. But there is an expression called “biological darkness.” This is what most of us might experience when we are indoors, sitting behind windows under artificial light sources.”
One of the ways you can avoid that, when the weather cooperates, is to open up your windows to get unfiltered sunlight exposure. Alternatively, take a walk outside, wearing minimal clothing. Interestingly, and contrary to what most of us have been told elsewhere, Wunsch notes that the only artificial light source that provides natural full-spectrum light is the incandescent lamp, which is currently being phased out and replaced with energy-saving bulbs like LEDs.
Disregarding Biological Adaptations Tend to Promote Poor Health
Your body is adapted to very specific lighting conditions: bright unfiltered daylight during the day, and low level fire-light in the evening followed by darkness. This rhythm of light and dark is what drives your circadian clock. This is discussed in much greater depth in my interview with Dan Pardi. Modern life, however, has inverted these natural conditions, leading to light deficiency during the day, and light excess at night. To correct the situation, you need to make sure you receive a healthy dose of sunlight ideally around high noon, and at night, try to reduce the levels of light you’re exposed to. I recommend getting an hour or more of sunlight during the middle of the day if you can, but 30 minutes may suffice.
On cloudy days, the benefit you will receive is clearly going to be reduced. However, Mr. Wunsch believes that being outside is a good idea regardless, because the heat or cold on your skin brings your skin into a reaction flow. He describes the skin is an organ that responds to environmental factors such as light and temperature, and these environmental factors allow your skin to cleanse and perform a number of adaptive functions. For example, your skin becomes thinner during the winter and thicker during the summer—provided you expose your skin in a diligent way to natural sunlight. So do go outside and expose yourself to whatever climate conditions you find yourself in.
Scientific Evidence of Biophotons
Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp was a pioneer of biophoton research, which is still widely disregarded in the US, despite the scientific evidence for their existence. As Mr. Wunsch notes, you can measure biophotons, and basic chemistry tells you that every chemical reaction goes along with an exchange of photonic energy. In the past, I suggested that elevated biophoton levels might be one of the benefits of eating raw food. He agrees that biophotons are surrogate markers for the “liveliness” of food.
The majority of Alexander Wunsch’s work is published in German, but his blog, PhotonBlog.de, is bilingual, and does contain some English material. His website, SpectroChrome.de, has both English and German language options, and provides basic information on how to use colored light in your home to improve your personal health. General awareness about the health benefits and importance of sunlight may still be lacking, but there are changes afoot. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared 2015 The International Year of Light, for the purpose of raising public awareness about the importance of light on human health.
“We all should be aware of the fact that when the sun were to stop shining, nothing would be alive in two or three days on this planet,” Wunsch says. “When we are eating, we are eating transformed light. We can prove this scientifically, as you know. I think even if we are not able to estimate the influence light has on our biological system as a whole, it starts on the single cell [level] and it ends in our consciousness, in our mental functions. Light is a symbol in our culture, which will always be our companion.”
- Sunlight provides a number of important health benefits, over and beyond vitamin D synthesis, that you simply cannot get from food or a supplement
- Heliotherapy, or sun therapy, is when you use sunlight directly without removing or altering any part of the light spectrum. Early examples include the use of sunlight to treat tuberculosis prior to the discovery of antibiotics
- Humans are adapted to sunlight as a complex stimulus that, at a certain dosage, keeps your entire system running; when you remove that stimulus (sunlight), you end up with health problemsAticle Summary
Click here to read Dr. Mercola’s entire post.
Photo credit: Flickr/https://www.flickr.com/photos/sagisen/8181469660/
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