It is time to realize just how important our sun and its natural lighting are to our health. In order to do so, we need to get technical about indoor lighting. Because of technology, we are now able to spend our days indoors using artificial illumination. What we are forgetting though, is that we were not genetically designed to do that. We were created to be outdoors absorbing the FULL spectrum of natural light. Researchers have long known the detriments of spending hours of each day under standard-fare fluorescent lighting. These ramifications include impaired immunity, reduced life expectancy, cancer, eye strain, dental caries, osteoporosis, and low productivity just to touch on a few. When we observe sunlight, we see or perceive white light.
The truth is, the entire spectrum of colors is contained in this light and these wavelengths together are what provide the health benefits that we living creatures (plants and animals) need. I consider sunlight food. It actually feeds our skin and nourishes our bodies. Now that Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, we are beginning to see the effects of ‘mal-illumination’. We have been trained to think that being out in the sun is harmful to us. This couldn’t be farther from the truth in my opinion (and not just mine, but many health care professionals and researchers). We should be avoiding a sunburn, not the sun itself! Our glorious sun is sufficiently able to support the growth of healthy food and healthy people, but you cannot get these effects if you do not allow yourself exposure. You can either read the published research for yourself (American Journal of Public Health, Journal of American Medical Association), or take my word for it; there is LESS melanoma in those occupations that receive a greater amount of sun exposure. And then if you take all of the information about traditional tribal dietary habits and health, you will see that the problem of sunburn (and all of its consequences), stems from a LOW-FAT diet and not enough antioxidants. When eating appropriate good fats (olive oil, real butter, avocado, coconut oil, etc.) and sufficient vegetables, the sun becomes our friend! The fats protect our skin cells and the antioxidants protect the fats from becoming rancid in the body.
Let’s get back to the artificial lighting issue. Many studies are now underway concerning the detrimental effects of traditional fluorescent lighting. The one that really stuck out to me concerned a Catholic School in Niles, Illinois. Health officials began to look closely at this school because it went from having zero history of cancers to having the highest rate of leukemia in the US. It was discovered that pink fluorescent lights were installed around the same time that the leukemia incidences rose. Researchers also found that the shades were always closed and hardly any natural light was being let into the classrooms. As soon as the correlation was found, they installed new full spectrum lighting and opened all of the shades. As I’m sure you could’ve guessed, the leukemia rates dropped almost instantly. Because we only receive one color spectrum from most fluorescent lighting, our brains actually compute this lighting as darkness. When chronically exposed to this type of lighting say in an office or school setting, this will completely disrupt the circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). This obviously leads to low productivity, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other mood disorders, headaches, constant sickness, and the like.
The conclusion here is that humans need unfiltered sunlight to attain optimal life expectancy and the best possible health. If you live in a northern climate, this becomes even more difficult. I realize I am going against the grain here so to speak, but in my opinion, even indoor tanning once in a while in these climates will allow your body to soak in the full spectrum light and vitamin D that it so desperately needs. (Obviously too much of anything can be detrimental so use caution here). If you notice a drop in energy as soon as you walk into your place of work, check the lighting! If it’s not full spectrum, this is a huge part of your current health concerns! The US company Full Spectrum Solutions (www.fullspectrumsolutions.com) has bulbs I trust. And lastly if you are still worried about too much sun exposure, there are a couple ‘safer’ sun screens. These include Graham’s Sun Clear, UVNatural, and Lavera. Find them online or at your nearest Natural Food Store. Couldn’t we all use a little more sunshine in our lives? Go out and enjoy