Written by Nadine Artemis.
When exposed to sunshine, immunity of the skin is strengthened. Our skin has its own form of photosynthesis; it converts sunbeams into the regenerative substance, a steroidal hormone precursor, vitamin D. I like to think of vitamin D as golden drops of sun-fluid that we all need to function optimally.
Vitamin D courses through the body, responsible for many body functions and for halting disease processes. The sun, via vitamin D, lets the cells know when it is time to die; cancerous tumors result when cells stop dying when they are supposed to, and yet the cells keep dividing causing disorganization in the body. Also, vitamin D (along with vitamin K2) is essential for proper absorption of calcium and other minerals into the bones and teeth. It promotes efficient neuromuscular functioning and plays a role in anti-inflammatory processes.
Our skin's exposure to sun produces two types of essential sulfur: cholesterol sulfate and vitamin D3 sulfate. Sulfur, cholesterol and the vitamin D produced in our skin from sun exposure are necessary for optimal cellular health while protecting us from radiation damage. “Both cholesterol and sulfur afford protection in the skin from radiation damage to the cell’s DNA, the kind of damage that can lead to skin cancer. Cholesterol and sulfur become oxidized upon exposure to the high frequency rays in sunlight, thus acting as antioxidants to “take the heat,” so to speak.” Vitamin D3 from oral supplements, which is unsulfured and fat-soluble, is helpful, but it is not bonded to sulfur to make D3 sulfate. Vitamin D3 sulfate is water soluble and moves freely in the bloodstream providing a healthy barrier against bacteria; it is “synthesized in the skin, where it forms a crucial part of the barrier that keeps out harmful bacteria and other microorganisms such as fungi.”
The most natural and effective form of vitamin D is the type that we synthesize when our skin is exposed to the sun – without sunscreen. The best time of day to get out in the sun for making vitamin D is mid-morning to noon, and you only need 10 to 15 minutes to make a day's supply of D. To preserve the juiciness of your sun exposure use only organic botanical oils in and after the sun and be sure not to use soap on the skin’s surface which disrupts these regenerative substances.
Our current sun-fear is causing us harm. The rate of vitamin D deficiency in North America is soaring. Almost 75% of adults have insufficient levels of the vitamin in their blood stream. A lack of UV light disturbs normal cell growth, and new research attributes a host of health issues, including heart disease, juvenile diabetes and cancer, to this vitamin deficit.
Staring at the Sun
Look to the sun for health. Another biological process of sun-energy absorption activates when we have the sun in our eyes. Sunlight enters our eyes and stimulates our pineal gland, which is connected to the hypothalamus, where sun-energy triggers vital magnetic, electrical and chemical reactions in the human body. Science has revealed that sunlight stimulates the production of melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin is a hormone that promotes a general feeling of calmness, regulates our sleep wake cycle and helps us sleep deeply at night. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being, is found in the brain, nervous system and gut. Adequate and increased levels of serotonin protect against various mental and physical disorders: depression, anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and more.1 Research on how sunlight affects our brain and body chemistry is ongoing.
Practicing the ancient tradition of sun gazing may meet all of your body's and spirit's sun-needs. The practice is easy; simply look at sun as it rises or sets. It is safe to look at the sun at any time within the hour after sunrise or before sunset because ultraviolet levels are at zero.
You will want to begin sun gazing slowly to acclimatize your eyes to the sun. Start by looking at the sun, during one of the safe hours, for about 10 seconds and then add 10 seconds to your sun gazing practice every day. After three months, you will have built up to 15 minutes, and you will likely start to feel the positive effects; less tension, fewer worries, a more balanced spirit and plenty of vitamin D.
Question of the Day: Do you get enough Vitamin D? How do you ensure you do?