Sunshine and Immunity
COVID -19 Sunshine, Sleep and Immunity
Most of us know that all plants have to have sunshine to survive. However Sunshine is equally
important to Humans as well. Many have heard lately that avoid sunshine, cover with toxic
sunscreen (see previous blog) and keep completely covered when you go out in the sun, in
many ways this can be harming you. How can this be?
According to Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. in his book HOW NOT TO DIE he notes that for Billions
of years Humans lived with the light in the sun averaging 12 hours a day. For the last million
years we evolved with fire for light, for the last 5000 years we have been using candles, for
about 100 years we have been using artificial light bulbs,1 for the last 30 years we have been
glued to a computer screen 8 hours a day, I pad or Smart phone another 3-4 hours a day while
most of the time never being directly in the sun. This is bad for two reasons.
- Our pineal gland in our brain regulates sleep and the release of Melatonin based on the
amount of light our eyes see. Our brain has not yet been able to isolate the difference
between artificial light and sunlight. Therefore when a person is staring into their smart
phone, or even a TV at night after it is dark the pineal gland does not get the direction from
the hypothalamus to release melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for shutting our body
down so that we can get the proper sleep and repair needed for our stressful lifestyle we
have today. Without the normal circadian rhythm of our body developed over a billion
years ago, it can lead to lower melatonin levels. Studies have linked lower melatonin levels
to increase in breast cancer in women.2 But most of all lack of proper sleep! According to
Healthline lack of sleep can cause many problems like lack of concentration, mood
changes (anxiety and depression), increase risk for diabetes, weight gain, risk of heart
disease, poor balance and most of all, you Guessed it Decreased Immune system. “Too
little sleep can weaken the immune system’s defense against viruses”3 By the way other
research has shown that eating more vegetables can increase melatonin production at
night. So put the smart phone down at least two hours before you go to sleep. Try never
to fall asleep in front of the TV not only the light will disrupt sleep but the sound as well.
Dim your lights at night when it gets dark. Go to bed early by 10pm for one hour of sleep
before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after Midnight. When you wake up in the
morning, please do not grab your smartphone and start looking at social media emails etc.
First go to your window and try to get some sunlight or at least natural daylight into your
eyes. I always go out and take the dog outside and look up at the sky in gratitude for my
rest and another day I get to be here.
- Lack of sun means no Vitamin D production. Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin but a prohormone because the body can produce it unlike regular vitamins that have to be ingested
throughout diet. In your skin you have a cholesterol precursor that the UVb in sunlight
converts into another form of D then it has to go to the liver and then the Kidney to be
changed into a form of Vitamin D (Calcitriol) that is used by the body. I am sure you have
heard that we need vitamin D for health bones and teeth because it helps in the regulation
of Calcium levels, however; there are many other functions: regulating insulin levels,
supports lung function,4 important for cardiovascular health and blood pressure, helps the
expression of genes to suppress cancer development, it is important for digestion in the
gut, it decreases inflammation, and you guessed it again it is vital in supporting the nervous
The COVID-19 virus is a respiratory virus attacking the lungs 4
systems, the brain and mostly the immune system!!! If you live north of Philadelphia it is
very difficult to produce Vitamin D in the winter months so supplementation is Vital. I
usually recommend at least 2000 IU s of D3 in the winter months. In the spring summer
and fall save yourself $30 to $40 a month and just get 10-20 minutes of sun a day just do
not stay out for hours without protection because you do not want to burn the skin. The
foods that have vitamin D are Fish (the oilier the better) around 400 IUs and egg yolks have
a little about 40IUs.
Thank your for reading
Eric T. Evans, D.C.
(Husband, Father, Chiropractor – Hamilton, NJ)
1Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. in his book HOW NOT TO DIE pg. 182
2 He C, Anand ST, Ebell MH, Vena JE Robb SW. Circandian disrupting exposures and breast
cancer risk: a meta-analysis, Int Arch Occup Environ Health, 2015 Jul;88(5):533-47