Updated: 5 hours ago
The fiery luminary that our home planet and entire solar system revolves around and relies on is the very reason why life on earth gets to exist. Our sun is divine and life-giving not only to earth and the ecosystem but humans alike.
The sun is the heart of our solar system for a reason. We need it. Earth needs it in order to create a thriving ecosystem and humans need it in order to fully thrive themselves. We are products of this earth, designed to live here. Everything about earth is intentional in providing us with what we need. Without ample daily sun, optimal health and wellbeing isn't possible.
The Truth About The Sun
The sun plays an essential role in overall health and wellbeing. It helps the body go through complex cellular processes, maintain healthy hormone levels, regulate the nervous system, and helps prevent and heal dis-ease of all types despite what we’ve been told over the past decades. We’ve been taught to fear the sun, cover up and avoid it at all costs, and that it's harmful to our health.
There are some huge misconceptions about the sun that have prevented us from benefiting from it and achieving deeper levels of health and healing. True health is unattainable without healing. Heal(th).
While too much sun can definitely be harmful, not getting enough sun causes just as much harm. Doing things like hiding from the sun, always lathering in sunscreen, and wearing sunglasses prevents the body from absorbing the health benefits. Bare skin, sans sunblock, needs to be exposed to the sun in order to fully benefit from it. The length of time depends on individual sensitivity to the sun. If you find yourself to be very sensitive or “allergic” to the sun there are other factors that contribute besides skin tone.
Certain lifestyle choices can cause the body to become hypersensitive to the sun causing faster, more severe burning, and increased risk of skin cancers. These lifestyle choices include smoking cigarettes, regular alcohol use, regular prescription and OTC drug use, eating a diet high in refined sugar and oils, conventional meat and dairy, tap water, fake food made with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, additives, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, gmo’s and more plus toxic self care and household products. All of these have one thing in common…
They cause the body to become acidic and inflamed vs. alkaline and in homeostasis. Imagine taking a metal cooking pot full of toxic chemicals and leaving it outside in the sun. Chemical reactions will occur. That is exactly what happens inside the body when we are full of toxins. Internal health plays a huge role in sun sensitivity. When the body is clean and healthy on a cellular level skin becomes less reactive and more receptive to the sun.
These exact lifestyle choices deteriorate gut health which is the foundation of overall health and wellbeing. You can start repairing your gut health and reducing inflammation today by cutting out the items listed above.
Another big contributor to sun sensitivity is sunblock itself. Yes that's right, the very thing that claims to protect us from the sun makes us even more susceptible to its harmful effects. Lots of sunblocks on the market contain harmful active ingredients that cause chemical reactions when exposed to heat, are unstable, and can harm liver, kidney, hormonal, reproductive, and nervous system health as well as increase risk of skin cancer. Not to mention they are detrimental to our oceans and marine life which greatly affects humans and life on earth as a whole.
Sun block is useful when bare skin is going to be exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time. Always opt for a sunblock that only contains zinc oxide as an active ingredient. This ensures it's not a hazard to your skin, internal health, and the oceans. If you’re interested in learning more about sunblock and sun before, during, and after care head over to my blog Sun Care for all of that!
Now let’s talk about sunglasses for a sec. Not only have we been depriving our skin of sun but our eyes too! Between wearing sunglasses, constantly being exposed to artificial light, and higher screen times than ever before, our eyes are in dire need of natural light.
Eyes are another portal to health and wellbeing. It's essential that eyes be exposed to a lot of natural light, especially first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Eye to natural light exposure directly impacts hormonal health, eye health and preventing degeneration, brain and nervous system function, systemic cellular processes, reducing inflammation, immunity, and dis-ease prevention.
Never look straight at the sun and only use sunglasses when you really need them, this is where your own discernment comes in. It also doesn't have to be sunny out to receive the health benefits, natural light exposure is what counts. You can also reduce exposure to artificial lights by opening blinds and turning lights off unless they are absolutely necessary.
The sun has been demonized but we’ve failed to take into consideration why we might be having these adverse reactions to something that we need to survive and thrive. The further away we move from nature and our natural way of living the unhealthier and more di-sease ridden we become.
We’ve been made to believe the sun has been worsening our health when in fact avoiding it is the very thing that is contributing to so much dis-ease.
The Healing Properties
The sun basically supercharges the body allowing it to achieve deeper levels of healing, restoring, and rebuilding which is what our bodies do for us all day everyday. It's up to us to give it what it needs to accomplish a high level of health and wellbeing. Without the sun the body does not experience the full effect of the following processes and health benefits…
Endorphins - The euphoric neurochemical produced by the body that acts as a natural mood enhancer and pain and stress reliever. This chemical is closely associated with one's mental and emotional wellbeing. Lack of endorphins often leads to anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, mood swings, body aches and pains, sleep disturbances, and drug addiction.
Dopamine - A neurotransmitter that the body makes and the nervous system utilizes to send messages between nerve cells. It plays a role in how we feel pleasure, think, plan, and focus. Dopamine also impacts learning, motivation, movement, mood, attention, sleep, heart rate, pain processing, kidney function, and blood vessel function. Lack of dopamine has been linked to health disorders and diseases such as schizophrenia, ADHA, drug addiction, Parkinson's disease, and obesity.
Serotonin - The key hormone in stabilizing mood, and feelings of well being. It also plays a key role in healthy sleep, blood clotting, bone health, bowel movements, and appetite. Not enough serotonin is associated with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts/behavior, and OCD.
Something to keep in mind, however, is that about 70% of serotonin in the body is synthesized in the gut and is closely associated with gut health. The sun is essential for its production along with proper gut health. Poor gut health is also associated with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Taking care of your gut health whilst getting daily sun is essential in achieving thriving health and wellbeing.
Melatonin - A hormone released by the pineal gland at night that controls sleep - wake cycles. Those with a deficiency experience trouble falling and staying asleep, not getting enough sleep, insomnia, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart arrhythmias, and increased risk for type two diabetes.
Antioxidants - A powerful compound found mostly in plants that inhibit free radicals from damaging cells helping to prevent diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease, brain decline, and digestive disorders. They also support the kidneys, vision, reproductive health, nervous system health, respiratory health, immune system, quality of sleep and help prevent premature aging.
ATP Production - Adenosine triphosphate, a molecule that provides energy to cells in order to carry out functions such as nerve impulses, muscle contractions, intracellular communications, DNA and RNA synthesis and so much more.
Nitric Acid - A natural compound in the body that is responsible for relaxing the blood vessels allowing them to widen, increase circulation, and decrease blood pressure. This allows oxygen and nutrients to flow and stimulates human growth hormone. It’s also a neurotransmitter that regulates functions including digestion, memory, vision, erectile function, and immune system defenses.
Hormesis - The adaptability of the human body to environmental stressors lessening or preventing diseases including autoimmune diseases, allergies, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimers, stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancers.
Sirtuins - A certain type of protein that regulates cellular processes including the aging and death of cells and resistances towards stressors. It is also key in maintaining homeostasis within the cells, keeping them healthy and balanced so you can thrive. Sirtuins, however, can only function when NAD+ is present.
NAD+ - Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, a coenzyme found in every single cell of the body. It’s necessary for the creation of energy in the body, regulates cellular processes, and is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes. NAD+ can decrease in the later years of life. Those with deficiencies can experience depression, fatigue, disorientation, headaches, dementia, dermatitis, diarrhea, vomiting, and are prone to disease like diabetes, heart disease, vision loss, brain function decline, and cancers.
Autophagy - Another process in which cellular homeostasis is maintained by the degradation of damaged cells. This process helps cells stay alive under stressful conditions by ridding itself of certain components that aren't functional or necessary in its survival and maintaining cellular energy levels. It's like a tree in autumn, releasing old parts that no longer serve it to preserve energy so that the cell can rebuild and survive.
Apoptosis - Another process that maintains cellular homeostasis by regulating the life - death cycle of cells. Different from autophagy, this process does not save cells, instead it kills them off. This is important in maintaining the proper number of cells and preventing overgrowth of cells which can lead to the creation of tumors.
Vitamin D3 - Can only be synthesized in your body by the sun. Most are vitamin D3 deficient due to a major lack of sunshine. Vitamin D3 must be present in order to absorb calcium into the body, necessary for bone, teeth, and muscle health. Vitamin D3 also helps fight against disease like multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and viral infections. Lack of vitamin D often causes fatigue, aches, pain, muscle weakness, stress fractures, depression, low energy, brain fog, weak immune system, osteoporosis, and a general sense of feeling unwell. It also plays a big role in healing and maintaining the digestive tract mucosa, an essential aspect of proper gut health.
Melanin - The pigment found in skin that gives it its color. Melanin is present in people of all skin tones, some more and darker than others. The purpose of melanin is to absorb harmful UV rays and prevent them from causing damage to the body. The sun encourages the skin to produce more melanin when exposed, this is when the skin becomes darker. The more melanin present the better the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays.
In a nutshell, the sun aids in healing and preventing autoimmune, age related, gene related, and most other dis-ease. Dis-ease simply being anytime the body is not at ease (homeostasis), this includes anything from depression, anxiety, acne, hair loss, eczema, brain fog, migraines, fatigue, osteoporosis, arthritis, insomnia, reproductive issues, diabetes, cancers and so on.
Sun rays are broken down into ultraviolet and infrared radiation (rays), each having different wavelengths and purposes.
Ultraviolet rays are typically the ones we hear most about as they are the ones that have the potential to cause damage. Ultraviolet rays are categorized into UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA rays have the longest wavelengths giving it the ability to penetrate deeper layers of the skin known as the dermis. UVB rays have shorter wavelengths that only allow it to affect the most superficial layers of skin, the epidermis. UVC rays are the most harmful, however, they are short and do not make it past earth's atmosphere. The only time we face the risk of UVC exposure is through an artificial source like lamps or lasers. UVC has the potential to cause severe burns and injury to the eyes.
UV rays aren't all bad, they still play an important role in our health, it’s about getting appropriate amounts of sun. Without UV rays, the production of vitamin D3 wouldn't be possible. They also contribute in regulating calcium metabolism, insulin, blood pressure, immunity, cell propagation, and more.
Infrared radiation is mainly responsible for heat production and does not have the potential to cause damage. Health benefits include vitamin D3 synthesis, pain relief, detoxification, muscle tension relief, decreased blood pressure, boosts immunity, can aid in weight loss, skin health, reducing effects of diabetes and many other ailments.
Absorbing sun rays on a daily basis is just as important to our health as eating plenty of fruits and veggies, drinking enough water, exercise, fresh air, and proper amounts of sleep. It is essential to our survival, preventing disease, and maintaining overall health and wellbeing. It’s recommended to get 15-20 minutes of direct sunlight per day with as much of your bare skin exposed as possible without sunblock/sunscreen. This allows the skin to fully absorb the sun and reap all of its health benefits.
If you are weary of skin damage due to the sun try sun soaking before 10am when the sun is infrared dominant with very little UV ray activation. After 10am UV rays become more dominant. This is when it's important to be mindful of the time of day you're spending time under the sun and for how long. UV rays are at their strongest around 2-4pm.
It's crucial to make the effort to get daily sunshine even if you live in areas where it gets cold, rainy, and cloudy. I strongly encourage you to try to get out in the sun even if it is cold outside. If you cannot bear to do that try sitting by a window with the sun beaming through it, again with as much of your bare skin showing as possible. We still get benefits from the sun even when it is cloudy. The clouds do not prevent rays from fully shining through.
On days where you just cannot get outside or by a window it’s important to supplement D3. Although it won't provide you with all of the health benefits that the sun does, it will at least provide you with an essential dose of vitamin D3.
If you're interested in investing in a high quality vitamin D3 supplement I love the one from Cymbiotika. They make some of the highest quality health supplements I’ve ever come across. I will leave the link to the vitamin D3 supplement I use below and I definitely recommend checking out their other products as well. This vitamin D3 is specifically formulated with K2 and COQ10 for maximum health benefits. I use this only on days where I really can't get outside.
Another option to look into if you can't get in the sun or live somewhere that gets cold and snowy like I do is a sun sauna. I recommend researching wellness spas in your area to see if any of them offer something like this. Sun saunas offer much of the same benefits as the sun through natural full spectrum light and infrared radiation. This increases natural vitamin D3 and serotonin production as well as promoting detoxification, muscle relaxation, and circulation. Unlike tanning beds, sun saunas do not darken the skin and do not contain any of the ultraviolet rays that can cause harm.
Living a truly healthy lifestyle means embodying and practicing all of the aspects that are necessary for you to thrive - mind, body, and soul. It’s important to take care of your vessel on a cellular level, not just an outward, physically aesthetic level.
Sun, nourishing food, exercise, fresh air, daily movement, clean water, meditation, rest, sleep, eliminating anything toxic from food and products to people and environments. You deserve to be your happiest and healthiest, they both go hand in hand.
If you're experiencing any type of dis-ease or being unwell in anyway the sun might just be the missing key in your healing journey. We cannot have true health without first healing.
The sun is a gift so get out there and catch yourself some rays 🌞😎
Wishing you a beautiful day 🌿