SUNLIGHT – THE SOURCE OF LIFE
Plant, animal and human life are dependent upon sunlight. Unfortunately, in the past decade, dermatologists have increasingly cautioned against exposure to sun. But decreased exposure to sunlight inhibits our ability to make Vitamin D and is associated with depression, increased mortality in cancer patients, longer hospitalization after heart attack and increased incidence of multiple sclerosis. Perhaps the most interesting study was the effect of modest exposure to sunlight on patients undergoing spinal surgery. When indoors those who had 46% higher sunlight intensity on the ''bright'' side of the hospital required 22% less analgesic medications and had less stress and pain.
John Ott initiated the awareness of the benefit of full spectrum light over thirty years ago in his landmark book, Light and Health. It appears unequivocal that ''natural'' light enhances immunity and overall health. At the very least, full-spectrum light indoors is a strong recommendation.
For decades, physicians have recommended sun blockers or screens, most particularly para-aminobenzoic acid, PABA. But PABA skin lotions create allergic rashes and often irritated eyes or conjunctivitis and perhaps autoimmune disease.
Oral PABA, up to several grams daily, appears to be safe but 8 grams or more may lead to hypoglycemia, rashes and even liver damage. Interestingly, PABA induces interferon production at dosages of approximately 10 mg/Kg – 7 grams in a 70 Kg person. And PABA enhances growth of lactobacillus acidophilus, clearly beneficial to the intestines – PABA is also antiviral.
There is fairly good evidence that much of the benefit of sun-induced production of Vitamin D can be achieved by taking 1000 units of Vitamin D3 daily. On the other hand, elevated levels of Vitamin 1.25D has been reported in inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and many other diseases.
So, as we approach summer, what should you do to protect yourself and benefit from sunlight:
- Take at least 2 grams of Vitamin C, 25,000 units of beta-carotene, 400 units of Vitamin E and 25 mg. of B complex daily.
- Take 2 grams of PABA 30 minutes before you go out in full sunlight. Start with one-half hour before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m.
- After you build to several hours outside, take another 2 grams of PABA.
- Use a sunscreen if you are out more than an hour before you have built tolerance to sun; and if you are blonde or red haired, you may always need a sunscreen for exposure of an hour or more.
- Wear amber colored 100% UVF blocking sunglasses.
- If you have any significant autoimmune or inflammatory disease, have your blood tested for active 1.25D and the D ratio (1.25D/2.5D). The upper limit of 1.25D is 45 pg/ml (Quest Labs).