Morning Sunlight Strengthens Your Immune System by Optimizing Mitochondrial Function

May 15, 2024 | autoimmune disease, environment, exercise, immunity

For the past 20 years I have been practicing Autoimmune Functional Medicine and including Nature as an essential aspect of the healing journey. 

My dedication to incorporating Nature into healthcare was one of the primary reasons I sought out a hospital that would be surrounded by natural beauty. Our bodies are designed to respond to natural elements, and early morning sunlight plays a crucial role in maintaining our health, particularly through its impact on mitochondrial function and immune system balance. By aligning our daily routines with natural light cycles, we can more quickly reverse autoimmune conditions and prevent new ones.

This article explores the key ways in which exposure to early morning sunlight can strengthen your immune system by enhancing mitochondrial function.

1. Boosts Serotonin Levels and Mitochondrial Function

Morning sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, the “feel-good hormone,” in your brain. This happens when light-sensitive neurons in your retina send signals to your brain’s master circadian clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite, which are all crucial for maintaining a balanced immune system. Additionally, serotonin has been shown to enhance mitochondrial function, leading to better energy production and immune response.

2. Optimizes Circadian Rhythm and Mitochondrial Synchronization

The specific wavelengths of light present in the early morning, especially during the first three hours after sunrise, offer the best balance of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light. This period is the most valuable time for sun exposure as it sets your circadian rhythm for the day. A well-regulated circadian rhythm ensures your body produces the right hormones at the right times, helping to manage inflammation and support immune health. Moreover, a synchronized circadian rhythm helps maintain the proper functioning of mitochondria, which is essential for optimal immune function.

3. Enhances Vitamin D Production and Mitochondrial Support

Exposure to early morning sunlight helps your skin produce vitamin D, which is vital for immune function. Vitamin D can help reduce the overactive immune response seen in autoimmune conditions, preventing flare-ups and keeping your immune system balanced. Vitamin D also plays a role in maintaining mitochondrial health by regulating calcium levels and supporting energy production.

4. Improves Sleep Quality and Mitochondrial Repair

Morning sunlight helps regulate your sleep patterns by boosting serotonin levels, which in turn helps your body produce melatonin at night. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that supports immune health and helps protect mitochondria from oxidative stress. Better sleep quality allows your body to repair and regenerate, reducing the severity of autoimmune symptoms and promoting mitochondrial health.

5. Protects Against Harmful Blue Light and Mitochondrial Damage

Blue light from morning sunlight is beneficial for serotonin production, but artificial blue light from screens and LED lights is harmful, especially in the evening. Exposure to artificial blue light at night can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, leading to poor sleep quality and a range of health issues. This disruption can also negatively impact mitochondrial function, as mitochondria rely on a well-regulated circadian rhythm to function optimally. Turning off blue light-emitting devices after sundown, using blue light blocking glasses, or using low-frequency red lights can help improve your sleep, mitochondrial health, and immune function.

In researching different vendors for blue light blocking glasses, Spectra479 is one company that provides testing of their lenses and offers great quality for a reasonable price https://spectra479.com/drbilstrom. Use code DRBILSTROM for 15% of your purchases. It’s important to note that artificial blue light can also get into the body through skin, so covering up while using devices after sundown will also help.

 

 

6. Stimulates Mitochondrial Biogenesis

Exposure to morning sunlight has been shown to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, which is the process of creating new mitochondria in cells. Increased mitochondrial biogenesis leads to a higher number of mitochondria, which can improve energy production and support immune function.

7. Reduces Inflammation and Supports Mitochondrial Health

Chronic inflammation is a common factor in many autoimmune conditions and can negatively impact mitochondrial function. Morning sunlight exposure has been shown to reduce inflammation by modulating the immune system and supporting mitochondrial health. By reducing inflammation, morning sunlight can help alleviate autoimmune symptoms and protect mitochondria from damage.

 

Conclusion

Incorporating early morning sunlight exposure into your daily routine can have a profound impact on your mitochondrial health and immune function. As someone who has witnessed firsthand the healing power of Nature, I encourage you to embrace the natural rhythms of light and dark to support your well-being. By understanding the science behind how natural light cycles affect our bodies, we can make simple lifestyle changes that can significantly improve our overall health and help manage autoimmune conditions.

References:

  1. Light as a central modulator of circadian rhythms, sleep and affect function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4254760/
  2. Serotonin and Mitochondrial Function: https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1821332116
  3. The influence of different wavelengths of light on human biological rhythms: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9682518/
  4. Vitamin D and Autoimmune Disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897595/
  5. Melatonin and Mitochondrial Function: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295210005794
  6. Blue Light Effects on Circadian Rhythms and Sleep: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6751071/
  7. Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in Photobiomodulation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5844808/
  8. Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/

 

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