There are not enough words to highlight the benefits of sunlight, which has finally come to be regarded as a NUTRIENT.
Exposure to sunlight is one of the most powerful and important things you can do for your health, especially in preventing disease. Unfortunately, the media has taken it upon itself to fill us with terror and suspicion towards this essential practice for our lives.
A lot of research and experiments show how overexposure to UV rays induces melanoma, DNA damage and cancerous formations. On the other hand, when comparing people who regularly expose themselves to the sun with people who do not expose themselves to the sun, higher rates of melanoma have not been detected in the former. What makes the difference with respect to the first group is the exaggerated exposure without any precaution or gradual exposure.
Studies comparing melanoma occurrence rates between people who work outdoors and people who work indoors show that those who work outdoors have lower melanoma rates, even though they have 3 to 9 times more exposure to sunlight. (Report)
According to the observations of Ari Whitten M.S. in Nutrition and Functional Medicine, author of the book The Ultimate Guide to Red Light Therapy, there are two elements that may explain why there is a lower incidence of skin problems in people who spend a good deal of time outdoors:
- People who work indoors are exposed to fluorescent lights that are full of dirty electricity or sudden voltage changes that cause biological damage. So not only do these people not receive sufficient sun exposure, but they are also exposed to dangerous electromagnetic fields and unbalanced light spectra.
- Intermittent or occasional exposure followed by many days of little or no sun exposure tends to be more problematic than frequent sun exposure as it is very likely to burn and damage the skin's DNA, promoting melanoma and skin cancer.
Light as a Nutrient
Frequent, but not exaggerated, sun exposure enhances the body's ability to withstand light because it involves innate adaptive body systems in the skin such as melanin that are specifically designed to prevent damage from ultraviolet (UV) exposure.
Although sunlight is out there for everyone, most people are not getting even the minimum required to supply their vitamin D3 needs. Your blood samples should show levels of at least 60 nmol/L.
The sun's UV rays help the body produce this nutrient, which is important for bones, blood cells and the immune system. It also helps to absorb and utilise certain minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. Some foods contain vitamin D, such as eggs, but the amounts needed to obtain healthy levels would be higher. (article)
The synthesis of vitamin D in our skin is considered a photochemical reaction. The power density of the sun is only 105mW/cm2, but when ultraviolet B (UVB) rays touch human skin, it is converted from a universally present form of cholesterol (7-dehydrocholesterol) to vitamin D3. We experience this through our eyes which are photosensitive as our vision is provided by light hitting our retinas creating the chemical reaction that allows us to see.
The 5 Types of "Bioactive Light” and Their Function in the Human Body
Blue light: adjusts the circadian rhythm in our brain which at the same time regulates numerous different transmitters and hormones.
Ultraviolet (UV) light: allows us to synthesise vitamin D from the sun.
Red light: acts on the mitochondria inside our cells to stimulate increased production of cellular energy or ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).
Near infrared light: promotes cell regeneration. Infrared light is emitted at the site of injury or inflammation at specific wavelengths, promoting cellular repair.
The key feature of infrared light is its ability to penetrate even into the deep layers of the skin, providing better pain relief. In addition, infrared light is safe, natural, non-invasive and painless. Therefore, it can provide a wide range of health benefits. (1)
Far Infrared light: Far infrared, now considered one of the main heat sources for contemporary therapeutic saunas, works in a similar way to near infrared, but differs in terms of wavelength. This system heats the body from within and produces the kind of profuse sweating normally only seen with traditional wet-dry sauna systems.
Additional benefits of far infrared saunas are detoxification, increasing your metabolism, weight loss and stress reduction just to name a few.
The difference between red and near infrared light is the ability to penetrate the skin. Red light wavelengths penetrate the surface and are absorbed faster into the bloodstream which in turn produces collagen which slows down the production of wrinkles, provides smoother skin, fading of scars, stretch marks, cellulite, wound healing, even hair growth. Near infrared light, on the other hand, can reach deeper into the tissues, relieving inflammation, pain and muscle recovery, as well as improving sports performance.
Using Light as an Anti-ageing Factor
The ageing process is natural and if you do not help to preserve it by stimulating your body's mitochondria through hormonal stress factors, those mitochondria will shrink and wrinkle.
Hormetic stress factors: exercise, sauna, fasting, for example.
Add to that, however, the stressors of the modern world such as poor diet, lack of sleep, disrupted circadian rhythm, environmental toxins and poor exposure to sunlight, and you are fostering a system that has lost its resilience and ability to respond to these environmental stressors, leading to premature, or if you like, accelerated ageing.
For Whitten, "the body's resilience, that is, the body's ability to tolerate environmental stressors whether from poor nutrition, psychological stress, environmental toxins or other environmental stressors to the body. As well as maintaining health homeostasis and high energy levels, it is directly dependent on how robust your mitochondrial system is. This is expressed in how many mitochondria you have, how big and how strong they are."
Red light therapy
Sunlight contains the red-light component, and it is this wavelength of light that contributes to the feeling of well-being we feel after spending a few hours outdoors.
These wavelengths are called bioactive in humans and affect the function of our cells.
On the other hand, what is now called Phobiotomodulation (PBMT) is a biophotonic therapy, or light stimulation-induced polarisation, used for a wide range of human conditions.
According to Whitten, "improvements have been made in areas such as strength adaptations, protein synthesis and the amount of muscle mass gained, fat loss, increased insulin sensitivity (when combined with exercise compared to exercise alone)".
Another interesting fact Mr Whitten mentions is that,
"Research has been done on people with Hashimoto's hypothyroid syndrome showing a profound reduction in thyroid antibodies as well as thyroid hormone levels. Also, multiple studies have been done on different topics such as helping people with diabetic ulcers... combating arthritic pain and chronic pain, joint health, accelerating the healing of fractured tissues and bones...".
There are several ways to apply photobiomodulation therapy, one is with a light panel and is used to treat conditions such as fatigue, muscle pain, dermatological problems, inflammation, and others. The second is with an intranasal device to bring light to the brain which is very complex under normal conditions as a lot of light is absorbed by the skin and fatty tissue. Then the muscle tissue absorbs a little bit, but it does not reach the brain. Thus, the intranasal device achieves this and is used to help treat Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and more.
How You Can Take Advantage of Near Infrared
According to the opinions of several experts, there would be no overdose of red light or near infrared therapy. Normally, in institutes where they are applied therapeutically, exposure times vary between 1-5 minutes for each affected area, such as wound healing, muscle injuries or improved circulation, with eventual increases up to 15 minutes, but it really depends on the resistance of the person being treated.
Infrared saunas that provide a temperature between 43-50°C are now being marketed. Mr. Whitten thinks that higher temperatures are required, such as those provided by a normal sauna (between 80-93ºC) because there are experiments on animals, which indicate that being subjected to high temperatures for short periods of time increases life expectancy by stimulating all kinds of mechanisms involved in longevity, autophagy, and resistance to environmental stressors. So, there must be a degree of discomfort.
The truth is that heat stress to which you subject your body provides benefits such as:
- Preservation of muscle mass and prevents muscle loss if you are unable to train for a certain period.
- Decreases your risk of infections.
- Improves your ability to detoxify.
- Reduces risks of depression, neurological and cardiovascular diseases.
- Reduces all kinds of causes of mortality.
Therapeutic Products Containing Far Infrared
Nikken gloves. Find out about their features and functions here
Kenkotherm Duk Tape. Find out more about its features and functions here
Support band to maintain muscle and joint balance during physical activities. Find out more about its features and functions here