There is something about the sun coming out, isn’t there. Suddenly everyone has a smile on their face and a spring in their step and we frequently hear people commenting on how much better they feel when the sun’s out. But have you ever wondered why this is? It’s all to do with Ultraviolet (UV) light – you know, the thing that we are encouraged to stay away from and block ourselves off from.
Well, here are a few facts about UV light that you may not be aware of.
First, a big one. UV light activates a skin hormone called solitrol. Solitrol plays an important part in your immune system and many of your body’s regulatory centres and, together with the pineal gland’s hormone melatonin, causes changes in mood and daily biological rhythms. Another interesting one is that the haemoglobin in your red blood cells needs UV light to bind to the oxygen required for all cellular functions. This is why lack of sunlight is a co-factor for almost any kind of illness. It also explains why lack of sunshine can disrupt normal cell growth.
It has been well understood for many years that ultraviolet light has powerful healing qualities. By 1933 over 165 diseases had been identified for which sunlight was recognised as being a beneficial treatment, for instance tuberculosis. The interesting thing here is that although there were complete cures of tuberculosis, for example, it was observed that patients who wore sunglasses were not cured - more on this later…
And that’s not all. Here are some other considerations. Ultraviolet light:
lowers blood pressure and resting heart rate
improves cardiac output when needed (which is not contradictory to lower resting heart
reduces cholesterol, if required
balances blood sugar
enhances energy, endurance and muscular strength
improves the body’s resistance to infections
controls a gene that is responsible for producing a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic
throughout the body
enhances the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood
increases sex hormones
improves the skin’s resistance to infections
raises tolerance to stress and reduces depression
So you see, our amazing bodies were designed to absorb UV light for many good reasons. If we needed total sunscreen, nature would have ensured that we evolved with a natural sunblock to protect our skin and eyes.
Let’s stay on that subject of eyes for a moment. Normally, when the optic nerves in your eyes sense sunlight, this is a signal for your pituitary gland to produce hormones that act as boosters for your melanocytes, (they produce melanin, which is what causes your skin to tan) and your melanocytes start producing melanin in great quantities. But when you wear sunglasses, the optic nerves send completely the opposite messages which lead the pituitary gland to think that you are in the dark, which reduces the production of melanocyte stimulating hormones. The result is that your skin produces less melanin which means you will then be more susceptible to sun damage.
So, while I am absolutely NOT advocating that you take risks, a little time in the sun without sunscreen could do you the world of good, providing you don’t burn of course. And if you could manage without your beautiful fashion accessories on your face, that too would be beneficial and give your amazing body the chance to protect you as it is naturally set up to do.