Sunlight Exposure Pros and Cons

Sunlight Exposure Pros and Cons


By: Dr. Patrick Flanagan

Here Comes the Sun

The human body was designed to live in harmony with sunlight. Research shows that human civilization evolved under natural sunlight for thousands of years. In fact it is clear that we need natural sunlight in order to be healthy. Yet, in the past 30 years we have seen the emergence of the first UVA-UVB sunscreen, developed in 1980 by Coppertone. It begs the question — what was life like before sunscreen?

Nobody wants to get skin cancer, but instead of worshiping the sun as our ancients did, most fear it. Statistics show that 40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.

The same DNA-damaging, sunburn-causing UVB wavelengths that sunscreens are designed to block also does some good: they kick off the chemical and metabolic chain reaction that produces vitamin D. It is almost impossible to get enough vitamin D from what you are eating. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to get your body to produce it. Someone would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk per day just to get the theoretical minimum levels of vitamin D from his or her diet. And drinking milk may not even be enough because enormous controversy exists concerning the effective nutrient absorption through fortified foods.

Were Wintertime Cavemen Depressed?

Getting some sun may also shake off the wintertime blues: Research suggests that light hitting your skin and eyes, helps reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is caused by a melatonin imbalance initiated by lack of exposure to sunlight. Melatonin is a mood-regulating hormone. It helps modulate your circadian rhythms, waking you up in the morning and bringing you down at night; by the way, that’s why doctors recommend getting outdoors as a remedy for jet lag. Melatonin is also related to insomnia, mood swings and food desire.

Besides, being outside gets us engaged in physical activity; so go play with the kids in the backyard, walk your dog, jog on the park! Enjoy every single ray of sun if you are freezing in the north hemisphere right now, or go to the beach early and get some sun if you are on vacation on the nice tropical countries, especially if you just got out of the plane!

Heal Yourself! It’s Free!

Sufficient levels of vitamin D are determinant for calcium absorption. Without enough vitamin D, your body is not able to absorb this mineral, so even if you take calcium supplements they will have limited impact. Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and even affects diabetes and obesity. Researchers are discovering that vitamin D also promotes normal cell growth and is fundamental for maintaining hormonal balance and a strong immune system. Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underestimated nutrient in the world of nutrition, and maybe it’s due to a simple fact – it’s free. No one sells ‘bottled’ sunlight.

Some truths about sun exposure:

  • The healing rays of natural sunlight cannot penetrate glass. So you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.
  • The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D.
  • People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 to 30 times more exposure to sunlight than fair- skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D.
  • Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%, so the only way to actually increase vitamin D production in your body is smart exposure to the sun. Scientists say anywhere from 15 minutes 2 to 3 times a week to one hour per day depending on your skin color, but always avoiding the sun’s peak hours (10 am to 3 pm). Adequate amounts of unfiltered sunlight are critical to good health.
  • It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self- regulate and only generate what it needs. That’s because we have a natural check-and-balance mechanism that shuts off the synthesis when we get enough.
  • If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
  • Obesity weakens vitamin D utilization in the body, therefore obese people need two times more vitamin D.
  • Your risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes and cancer is reduced 50% – 80% through simple, sensible exposure to natural sunlight 2-3 times each week.

Of course there is controversy on the subject. Dr. Michael R. Thun said that “The evidence that vitamin D prevents cancers is still quite limited, but the evidence is very solid that sun exposure creates life- threatening melanomas and other non-threatening skin cancers.” This may be due to the ozone layer and apparent increases in UV. Of course you don’t have to fry yourself on the sun; it’s all about sensible exposure, which is determined by the pigmentation in your skin. The darker your skin, the more sunlight you need in order to produce vitamin D. The lighter your skin, the less sunlight you need. And always avoid exposure during peak sunlight hours (10 am to 3 pm).

Sunlight exposure is still one of the most powerful healing therapies in the world, far surpassing the best science efforts. We’ve benefited from it for hundreds of years, without even knowing about it, before the sunscreen fever. There is no drug or therapy that comes even close to the amazing healing power of natural sunlight.

Skin Repair from the Inside Out

Antioxidants increase your body’s ability to handle sunlight without burning. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful “internal sunscreens” and can allow you to stay under the sun twice as long, according to your type of skin, without burning.

Designed and engineered by Dr. Patrick Flanagan, MegaHydrate decreases the surface tension of water, making it easier to absorb into the body. Regardless of the water you are drinking, MegaHydrate helps you utilize the water that is consumed, and helps your body make the most out of it. MegaHydrate is also the most powerful antioxidant, which means it actually helps your body neutralize the toxins that come from sunlight damage or other free radicals. Not only are you going to have better, all-around hydration, but you are also going to have a more robust healing and limit the impact of sun damage.


  1. The Wetter Water Report by Dr. Patrick Flanagan
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