Nearly everyone is aware that sunlight is one of the best natural sources for Vitamin D and that least some daily exposure is needed for humans to maintain adequate levels of this important nutrient. However, there are more complex processes at work here when humans walk on the sunny side, so to speak, and a number of health benefits have emerged in scientific studies that could drastically change the way sunlight is perceived in terms of human health. Read on to find out more about the surprising benefits of sunlight.
Helps Control Pain
One interesting study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine noted the link between sunlight exposure and pain levels when it found that patients who had undergone spinal surgery did better if placed on the sunnier side of the hospital unit. Patients on this side were exposed to about 46% more sunlight on average and it was found that those who underwent this exposure reported feeling less stressed and in addition took 22% fewer analgesics and also cost 21% less in terms of pain control.
Research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that exposure to sunlight could help boost the rate at which the body metabolizes fat. It is believed that this is due to the suspected link which exists between obesity and Vitamin D deficiency: researchers suspect that restoring levels of Vitamin D to normal might aid in weight loss.
May Lengthen Lifespan
One study published in Medical Hypotheses suspects that there is a link between variation in sunlight exposure and human lifespan. In this study, that people conceived and born during years of peak solar cycles lived, on average, 1.7 years longer than those born in nonpeak years and theorize that sunlight exposure can affect the human genome and be a predictor of longevity.
Research that was recently published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience found that if people were exposed to at least 6 hours of natural daylight exposure reports greater feelings of alertness than people who were exposed to mostly artificial light during the day and who tended to report greater feelings of fatigue or sleepiness.
Increase Energy Levels
One interesting theory posited in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is that human beings, much like plants, are able to convert energy directly from sunlight exposure, and that in a way the human skin acts like a series of solar panels to facilitate this energy conversion, much in the same way that plants use their leaves for photosynthesis.
In short, while more research need to be done to expand knowledge of the relationship between sunlight exposure and human health, it appears at face value at least that this relationship is more complex and with further-reaching consequences than perhaps has been suspected in the past.
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