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Sun, Infrared, and Photons

The sun contains quite a bit of infrared, which is very healing to us.  I spoke about infrared with Dr. Gerald Pollack, where we discussed how infrared creates structured water in your body.  This recharges your cellular batteries and makes you more resilient to oxidative stress.

The sun also has high energy photons that have special quantum properties, which I don’t fully understand (yet).

Sun and Bright Light


Sun has a certain intensity that is beneficial in resetting the circadian rhythm, which is why a bright light device helps with seasonal affective disorder in the winter.

I had a client who had all kinds of problems, and I realized that most of them were likely from not getting sunlight.  I recommended the bright light device and he said that alone changed his life. I’ve had it for 3 years now and I definitely feel an enhancement from it.  I only use it on the days that I don’t get a chance to get out or I don’t get any sun.

It’s best to use it for 30 minutes upon awakening to reset your circadian rhythm.

Sun and UVB

Sun is great for decreasing inflammation.

Particularly,  UVB rays suppress immunity and can help autoimmune conditions (R).

Given that almost every disease seems like an autoimmune disease these days, it’s wise to make the effort to get sun and not take comfort in vitamin D supplementation, although vitamin D is definitely important if you aren’t getting sun.

Be aware, though, that most of the inflammation reduction is likely from the sun and not the actual vitamin D.

In an animal model of autoimmune disease, UVB rays were responsible for a reduction in the autoimmunity rather than vitamin D (R).

More specifically, sun or UVB rays suppress Th1 and Th17 immune responses (R, R2), which are what causes autoimmune flair-ups.

Sun also suppresses seasonal allergies, which are IgG and IgE-related allergies, which are caused by a Th2 response (R).

Sun or UVB POSSIBLY can even help your hair grow (R).

Even disorders that don’t seem to have anything to do with autoimmunity we’re finding out are related.

For example, I recently came across a study that associates schizophrenia with autoimmunity, likely contributing to the disease.

While the schizophrenia study found no correlation with bipolar disorder, research reveals high levels of gluten antibodies and casein antibodies in bipolar disorder and people with bipolar have increased inflammation.  This smells like autoimmunity to me.

Off topic, but I thought I’d mention that casein is found in all dairy – even the raw milk, aged, fermented goats kefir from grass-fed and finished cows, never exposed to antibiotics and, most importantly, blessed by paleo gurus.

If you can’t get sun, get the UVB light and use it for at least 15 min a day on various parts of you body.

UVB Doesn’t Pass Through Windows.

Your body doesn’t produce vitamin D  when the sun passes through a window because it’s the UVB rays that allows us to produce vitamin D and this ray is blocked by glass.  UVA rays, which are more damaging and don’t produce vitamin D, pass through so we get less of the benefit and more of the damage.

Sun and Hormesis


To get a primer on hormesis, read this post.

In short, hormesis is when a brief exposure to a stressor induces a protective response.  Short term sun exposure has this effect.

Brief exposure to UV-A, UV-B or UV-C induces apoptosis and autophagy, which actually protect you from skin cancer.

More specifically, UVB increases Nrf2, which increases our body’s internal antioxidant defenses.

The UV spectrum is also anti-microbial and can help us get rid of pathogens.

UV stimulates oxidative stress and is a type of oxidative therapy.  Chronic oxidative stress isn’t good, but in acute doses it’s beneficial.  Oxidative therapies are used to help us rid infections.

So the UV spectrum can function in various ways to enhance our resilience via hormesis.  Of course, the dose makes the poison.

Sun and Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH)

When you get sun, you produce MSH so that you tan.  MSH is very beneficial for you in various ways.

You aren’t getting MSH when you take vitamin D3 pills.

Sun and Sulfated Vitamin D3


When you get sun, you are getting a different form of vitamin D3 – one that is attached to a sulfate group.  At this stage, I’m not sure how much this makes a difference and how much we’d sulfate vitamin D supplements when we take them, but it’s interesting to know that we’re not getting the exact form in supplements.

Low Vitamin D3 In Autoimmune Disease May Be a Result, Not The Cause, Of The Disease

Low levels of 25-D are frequently noted in patients with autoimmune disease, leading to a current consensus that a deficiency of the secosteroid may contribute to the autoimmune disease process. However, Marshall and team explain that these low levels of 25-D are a result, rather than a cause, of the disease process. Indeed, Marshall’s research shows that in autoimmune disease, 25-D levels are naturally down-regulated in response to VDR dysregulation by chronic pathogens. Under such circumstances, supplementation with extra vitamin D is not only counterproductive but harmful, as it slows the ability of the immune system to deal with such bacteria. (R)

How Much Sun Do You Need For Vitamin D?

Northeast of the US (New York): From April to October at 12 Noon EST, an individual with light skin, with 25 percent of the body surface area exposed, needs to spend 3 to 8 minutes in the sun daily to synthesize 400 IU of vitamin D.   People usually supplement with 2000iu.

Southeast of the US (Miami): An individual with light skin, with 25 percent of the body exposed, would need to spend 3 to 6 minutes at 12 Noon EST to synthesize 400 IU. Vitamin D synthesis occurs faster in individuals with lighter skin.

Dark people will need significantly more sun to fulfill their vitamin D needs.

For someone with an average complexion (in between Nordic and Middle Eastern), I would recommend 15 minutes on each portion of your body and you should cover about 50-75% of your body.  This is a minimum effective dosage for me that I feel good on.

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  • Greg

    What about us folks that have sulfur metabolism issues and don’t produce enough sulfate? Is there a Vitamin D3 sulfated supplement we can buy?

  • Maddy

    Kyle – the hypercalcemia you mentioned may be due to supplementing D without also supplementing K2. you cannot supplement D without K2 or you will have calcium problems no matter who you are.

  • Maddy

    thanks for posting Seneff’s work. She has said that the sulfate from the sun is essential in the transmission of melatonin in the brain, and much more. She is big time anti-sunglasses also. That it is essential the sunlight gets through the eye to the pineal gland for some reason.

  • carol close

    “Some Benefits of Sunlight May Be Independent of Vitamin D.”
    The study suggests that blue light specifically, within the visible light spectrum, may directly activate key immune cells and increase their motility. The researchers studied both human and mouse T lymphocytes after exposure to blue light. They found that the blue light triggered the synthesis of hydrogen peroxide, which in turn activated key signaling pathways that led to increased movement and motility of the T cells. This is a process that can take place naturally. When T cells are stimulated by infection or the presence of a foreign invader, they will release hydrogen peroxide, and this will mobilize other T cells and other immune cells to mount an immune response. So it seems very biologically plausible that blue light could be having this effect, which can be replicated by exposing the T cells directly to hydrogen peroxide. Why is this of particular interest? Blue light is known to reach the dermis, the second layer of the skin, and the dermis has a very high concentration of T lymphocytes. In fact, it’s been estimated that there are twice as many T lymphocytes in the dermis as circulating in the bloodstream. When mobilized, these T lymphocytes can travel through the dermis and into the bloodstream. This suggests that there may, indeed, be a separate pathway through which sunlight exposure (specifically blue light exposure) may affect immune function.

    INFRA-RED LIGHT IN SUNLIGHT REJUVENATES AND THICKENS PAPER THIN SKIN “Objective assessment of skin rejuvenation using near-infrared 1064-nm neodymium: YAG laser in Asians.”
    Infra-red light thickens and rejuvenates human skin.

  • carol close


    In research between lifeguards and surfers, they found Vitamin D can take up to 48 hours to be absorbed through the skin upon first exposure to sunshine…using soap and water on the skin can interfere with the chemical reaction says Dr. Mercola…. Vitamin D can only be made between 10 am and 2 pm from oily sebum on skin with UVB rays. They tell you to avoid the sun between 10am and 2 pm- Wrong!! UVA is the most damaging ray causing skin cancer, penetrates windows, and is strong all day even before 10am and after 2pm, plus UVA does not produce vitamin D. Whereas UVB which makes a tan on skin is only effective between 10am and 2pm for production of vitamin D. Production of vitamin D is reduced in the winter even in southern states, but especially in northern states, and immune function weakens in winter for more colds and flu.

  • carol close

    RE: Sun and sulfated Vitamin D
    “Is the skin a solar powered battery for the heart?”
    “How sun exposure affects your sulfur status.”
    plus “Cholesterol Sulfate—The Link Between Obesity and Lack of Sun Exposure?” plus “Heart disease, I think, is a cholesterol deficiency problem, and in particular a cholesterol sulfate deficiency problem…”

    1. carol close

      “Do not fall for the nonsense coming from Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT” regarding sulfated Vitamin D from sunshine and benefits over supplemental Vitamin D. Here are two studies that also contradict her. “Synthesis and Biological Activity of Vitamin D, 3P-Sulfate ROLE OF VITAMIN D.3 SULFATES IN CALCIUM HOMEOSTASIS*” and “Synthesis and Biological Activity of Vitamin D3-Sulfate*”

  • Carlos

    Hi Joe. I’m getting real benefits from sun. The problem is: I live in Argentina. It’s summer nowadays, but from april to september there’s no UVB rays here. How can I get UVB rays without sun? Is there a device (like a lamp) that produces UVB rays? Which one do you recommend?

  • marshall

    why u always gotta flash ur junk? #nsfw

    1. Selfhacked

      Bec I know you’ll be looking

  • Kyle Taylor

    I’m curious as to why you linked that article reviewing work by Dr. Marshall. He believes that vitamin D is harmful in any amount when suffering from most chronic illnesses and should be avoided at all costs. Sarcoidosis, the disease he has, is one of the only diseases that responds negatively to sunlight and/or vitamin D supplementation due to hypercalcemia. His conclusions of what the literature shows are either tentative or errant at best and life-threatening at worst.

    1. Selfhacked

      Interesting. It was just to give an opposing view. I take vitamin D when I don’t get sun and recommend others to do the same.

    1. Fred

      (I guess orange glasses are no enough, you need knee covers :))

  • dan

    40min full body exposure to Sun was the single most effective lifestyle change with CR (1300 cal) I had experienced… vit d made me more fatigued… I recommended my father only those two changes and his reaction time tripled +insomnia gone within a week…

    1. Selfhacked

      I’ve likewise had very good experiences with sun

    2. Gabriel

      Is it vit D or the sun via other way that makes one tired?

  • Stuart

    Good article! What are your views on the use of sunbeds? I’ve been intending to start using them in Winter months for Vitamin D, Circadian rhythm purposes, and generally just to stop myself from going too pale!

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