Have you ever considered the sun as a source to boost immunity? Well it is, and it’s possibly the easiest way to feed your body an essential component in staying healthy during the winter months.
Sunlight is the primary source of natural vitamin D, and vitamin D aids with keeping the immune system in homeostasis. Homeostasis, one of my most favorite words, is when the immune system self-regulates to adjust immune responses to adaptive levels for health despite changes in the environment, diet, or level of activity. A main function of vitamin D is to help activate T cells in the body. These cells detect and destroy foreign pathogens, i.e. viruses, bacteria, fungus, that are looking for a host in order to thrive. There are three ways to get vitamin D: (1) food - egg yolks, beef liver, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, swordfish or sardines and fish liver oils, (2) direct sun exposure on your skin - 10 to 30 minutes daily, and (3) supplements 600-800 IU per day - comes in two forms, D2 (a form derived from plants and is the form often found in fortified foods) and D3 (naturally produced by our bodies and is the type found in animal sources).
Aside from the sun providing vitamin D, sunlight also benefits your skin and emotional state. Skin issues such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and fungal infections have been treated with sunlight relieving symptoms associated with such disorders. As far as emotionally, sunlight is known to help with developing healthy sleeping cycles, weight management, lowering cortisol levels (stress hormone), and fighting depression by releasing serotonin boosting your mood. So yes, there is such a thing called “sunlight therapy” and I would push for your primary doctor to write you a script if you need time off work to get some much needed care! 😉
Although there are other ways to get around vitamin D deficiencies in the absence of sunlight, the natural source of sunshine is necessary in activating the movement of T cells for immune response as well as stabilizing emotional and mental health. The bottom line is sunlight is essential for immunity health, and coupled with diet and movement puts you in a better place to combat ailments that would prey to overtake you. So in the words of CeeLo Green…drop the top and let the sunshine in! 🌞