When getting vitamin D levels tested, many shift workers show up as being ‘deficient’.
In other words, they fall short of fitting within what’s deemed to be the healthy range.
However serum vitamin D, is simply a proxy marker for sun exposure.
Clinical trials have found vitamin D supplementation provides little to any meaningful health benefits.
It’s the sunlight, along with it’s related factors, which are responsible for the beneficial effect on human health.
According to Professor Gerald Pollock in his Tedx Talk – ‘Water, Cells and Life’, it’s because sunlight provides light energy to the body (via photosynthesis), which structures water within our tissues.
What this means is insufficient sun exposure means less energy and less structured water, which over time, results in disease.
A review published in Ageing Research Reviews, presented evidence showing how red and near-infrared light, both being present in sunlight, could explain the associations between sunlight exposure and better health status.
Why is this important to understand?
Because it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming a pill is going to fix all of our ills.
But a pill cannot provide light.
Sun exposure, on the other hand, most definitely can.
So whenever and wherever humanly possible – get outside during daylight hours.
Even if it’s cloudy – because being outside is still going to provide you with some natural light, as opposed to staying under a roof and inside 4 walls.
Heiskanen, V, Pffifner, M & Partonen T 2020, ‘Sunlight and health: shifting the focus from vitamin D3 to photobiomodulation by red and near-infrared light’, Ageing Research Reviews, vol. 61, pp.
Theodoratou, E, Tzoulaki, I, Zgaga, L & Ioannidis, J 2014, ‘Vitamin D and multiple health outcomes: umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised trials’, British Medical Journal, vol. 348, pp. 1-19.
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