High above shines the Sun. Since the beginning of time, man has been living under this giant solar generator.
To give you a perspective we all know but sometimes forget, Professor Steven Jones points out, “Without the Sun, we would not have life on earth.”
And yet, in some circles, we have vilified the Sun. It has been labeled a “bad actor” with the capacity to do harm to the very creatures which depend on it. Hopefully I can shed some light on why we need to rethink our vision of this energy source.
Skin cancer seems to have been the catalyst for the negative opinion toward sunlight. When I was growing up, we were encouraged to go outside. Part of that may have been the parents’ desire for some “me time” but, as kids, we were naturally inclined to go outside and play. We enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, public opinion has swung radically. “Stay out of the Sun” became a rallying cry. We have had a sea change in the way we viewed the Sun. The unintended side effects of this mindset have begun to surface in recent years. The following are some of the pros and cons regarding sun exposure.
Good old sunlight
“Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Decreased sun exposure has been associated with a drop in your serotonin levels, which can lead to major depression with seasonal pattern.”
“Exposure to the ultraviolet-B radiation in the sun’s rays causes a person’s skin to create vitamin D. According to one study from 2008Trusted Source, in a 30-minute period while wearing a swimsuit, people will make the following vitamin D levels:
•50,000 international units (IUs) in most Caucasian people
•20,000 to 30,000 IUs in tanned people
•8,000 to 10,000 IUs in dark skinned people”
“Although excess sunlight can contribute to skin cancers, a moderate amount of sunlight actually has preventive benefits when it comes to cancer. According to researchers, those who live in areas with fewer daylight hours are more likely to have some specific cancers than those who live where there’s more sun during the day. These cancers include:
Everything in moderation
Of course, there are always two sides (or more) to a story. The negatives listed are related to being in the Sun’s rays for extended periods of time.
“Long-term, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun can damage the retina. The retina is the back of the eye, where the rods and cones make visual images, which are then sent to the visual centers in the brain.”
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat exhaustion is the body’s response to excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. People working in a hot environment are at risk of heat exhaustion.”
“Sunburns are widely recognized as one of the most common negative effects of too much sun exposure. Dr. Carey Bligard says the maximum symptoms of sunburn do not usually appear until about four or five hours after the sun exposure occurs. Ultraviolet light is the cause of sunburn, which may come from the sun or tanning beds.”
Dr. Joseph Mercola interviewed Dr. Marc Sorenson, founder of the Sunlight Institute and the author of the book “Embrace the Sun.” You can watch the 65-minute interview on YouTube: “Benefits of Sunlight with Dr. Marc Sorenson.” The following data reveals some of the very interesting results Dr. Sorenson unearthed.
“For every death caused by diseases related to excessive sun exposure, there are 328 deaths caused by diseases of sunlight deprivation.”
“There are two basic types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. 75 percent of all melanoma occurs on areas of the body which never see the sun. Indoor workers have double the rate of lethal melanoma skin cancer than outdoor workers.”
“Melanoma increased by 3,000 percent between 1935 and 2002/2003. Sun exposure during that time, by my government figures, has gone down by over 90 percent.”
“In 1935 about 1 in 1,500 people contracted melanoma. As of 2002/2003, the rate was 1 in 50. Between 2006 and 2015, melanoma rates increased 3 percent per year, so rates just keep going up.”
“Research from Finland showed vitamin D supplementation decreased the risk of Type 1 diabetes by five to six-fold. When compared to Venezuelan children, who get ample sun exposure, Finnish children had 400 times the risk of Type 1 diabetes.”
“Iranian research showed women who cover themselves completely have a 10 times higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who don’t cover themselves completely. That’s 1,000 percent greater risk of breast cancer. Yet women are being told to avoid sun exposure at all costs to protect their health.”
Most everything you do in life has a better chance of success when done consistently and with a balanced approach. Problems can often surface when we go to extremes. Trying to be the guy in the gym who can lift the most amount of weight is a receipt for disaster. Working long hours while sacrificing your sleep has been proven to negatively impact your well-being. Some research points to why marathons may be problematic in the long run (pun intended).
In this same vein, if you continue avoiding the sun at all costs, the results to your health could be tragic. My suggestions are to listen to the interview and do your own research. After you take those steps, will you then be ready to let the sunshine in?
Good luck and good health!