woman sunlight

Your Body Needs Full Spectrum Light for Optimal Function

Without the sun there would be no life on this planet, and your body needs sun exposure for optimal health as well. In fact, the sun can be a great healer, providing benefits that go far beyond vitamin D synthesis.

As noted by photobiologist Alexander Wunsch, humans are adapted to sunlight as a complex stimulus that, at the appropriate dosage, helps keep our biological systems running.

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 (UVB) radiation is the only portion able to photosynthesize vitamin D in your skin.

September 14, 2015 | Source: Mercola | by Dr. Mercola

Without the sun there would be no life on this planet, and your body needs sun exposure for optimal health as well. In fact, the sun can be a great healer, providing benefits that go far beyond vitamin D synthesis.

As noted by photobiologist Alexander Wunsch, humans are adapted to sunlight as a complex stimulus that, at the appropriate dosage, helps keep our biological systems running.

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 (UVB) radiation is the only portion able to photosynthesize vitamin D in your skin.

However, sunlight contains many other wavelengths, and we’ve likely only scratched the surface when it comes to identifying the biological activity influenced by the various portions of the sun’s light spectrum.

Your Body Needs the Full Spectrum Light Offered by the Sun

For example, we now know that a whole host of physiological processes are directed by your endogenous circadian rhythm, which is calibrated by exposure to natural sunlight and darkness.

Dr. Auguste Rollier, who has written text books on heliotherapy, emphasizes that the composition of the different parts of the light spectrum are of crucial importance, not only to achieve all of the benefits you can get from the sun, but also to provide protection against potential damage.

For instance, while UVB synthesizes vitamin D in your skin, it can also alter DNA structures, and the ultraviolet A (UVA) rays in sunlight can produce reactive oxygen species in the tissue, leading to damage.

To cope with these side effects, your skin needs other parts in the light spectrum, such as the near-infrared and the red light, which transfers energy to your cells.

Moreover, while on the one hand UVA is associated with tissue damage and wrinkling, UVA also generates nitric oxide (NO) in your skin, which influences your body in a number of beneficial ways.

Most notably, nitric oxide protects your heart by relaxing your blood vessels and lowering your blood pressure. It also stimulates your brain, kills bacteria, and helps defend against tumor cells — so not even UVA can be written off as “all bad,” provided it’s not excessive.

Nitric oxide is a natural antioxidant that, when occurring in excess, acts as a potent free radical, so too much UVA exposure can be counterproductive and may lead to skin damage.

In short, the full blend of light wavelengths in sunlight enables your body to react in a balanced and beneficial way, which is one of the reasons why I believe regular sun exposure is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

This is also why I am passionate about my recommendation that the best way to optimize your vitamin D is through appropriate sun exposure, because you will not only get vitamin D but many other benefits as well.

It is important to remember that if you choose to use sun exposure, you need to expose as much skin as possible. Merely taking a walk during lunch with a shirt and pants on will not give you the amount of exposure you need, even in the summer.

That said, if you can’t get enough sun exposure, then taking a vitamin D3 supplement in conjunction with vitamin K2 is certainly advisable as vitamin D deficiency is associated with a wide array of chronic health problems.