Is sunshine good for you? Well, the answers are yes and no. However, a recent study says that morning sunshine can actually make you lose weight.
Sunshine and Its Benefits
The greatest benefit of sunshine exposure is that it could boost vitamin D supply of the body. In fact, most cases of vitamin D deficiency are from lack of exposure to the outdoor sun exposure. A lot of genes which control almost every tissue in the body are thought to be regulated by the active form of vitamin D. This form of vitamin D is also involved in calcium metabolism, immune system functioning and neuromuscular functioning.
Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin from a photosynthetic reaction triggered by exposure to ultraviolet B radiation. The active form of vitamin D is absorbed by the cells of the intestine where it enhances calcium and phosphorus absorption by controlling the entry of calcium and its exit in the bones to regulate calcium metabolism. Vitamin D functions to maintain serum calcium and phosphorus levels within normal ranges so that these minerals can support metabolic functions, bone mineralization and neuromuscular transmission.
When there is no exposure to morning sunshine, there would be a poor formation of bones. In children, this causes rickets, a medical condition wherein there is stunted growth and various skeletal abnormalities including bowed legs. Vitamin D from sunshine can also greatly impact bone growth in adults. Vitamin D in adults should be adequate to prevent decreases in bone mineral density and falls in older people. Osteoporosis can result in older men and women with decreased sun exposure. The painful bone disease osteomalacia can also result.
Sunshine also has benefits on various illnesses. It may benefit people with tuberculosis. In some studies, it was found out that sun exposure was shown to improve cutaneous TB and pulmonary TB as well. Sun exposure boosted immunity to these diseases more than good nutrition and ultraviolet light. Also, some studies have found out that high vitamin D levels from sunshine reduce the risk of active TB.
In other studies, phototherapy and exposure to sunlight was found to treat not only TB but also diseases such as diabetes, chronic ulcers, gangrene, rheumatic disorders, gout and wounds. Furthermore, there are recent findings that while excessive sun exposure could lead to malignant melanoma, high sun exposure can also lead to increased survival rates in patients with early-stage melanoma. The said findings also showed that most melanomas occured on the least sun-exposed areas of the body, and occupational exposure to sunlight actually reduced melanoma risk.
There are also other reports which say that low levels of vitamin D can lead to diseases other than cancer. There are also other experts who claim that high vitamin D levels from sunlight exposure can decrease the risk for multiple slcerosis. Diabetes is also said to be prevented with adequate exposure to sunlight. Metabolic syndrome may also be prevented; this is important since metabolic syndrome increases one's risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin D levels are said to decrease blood concentration levels and insulin resistance. People with cardiovascular diseases are also found to be highly deficient in vitamin D. Experts actually say that exposure to sunshine may actually be cardioprotective.
Weight Loss and Morning Sunshine
A recent study from Northwestern Medicine has found out that timing, intensity and duration of your light exposure during the day is linked to weight. In this study, researchers have found out that daily exposure to even moderately bright light in the morning can bring about a significantly lower BMI as compared to those who had light exposure later in the day. The researchers commented that this finding was independent of physical activity, caloric intake, sleep, age or season. Thus if you want to lose weight, you should aim to get more bright light between 8AM and noontime.