How Much Sunshine do We Need?

The pandemic has brought us at an arm’s length with one of the worst times in human history, so much so that weare able to witness human suffering at a global level.It is hard for us to hear economies shutting down and people getting affected with this deadly virus and are losing their battle for life. Overall, this is a bad time for all of us.

But we also have to accept that to some extent we are responsible for where we stand today. However, it is too late to play the blame-game and we need to gather our courage and support one another as a community to fight the impact of the disease. The best way to fight COVID19 is to prevent its spread.

For this, we need to develop a strong immune system, follow social distancing protocols, and do some small things such as covering our faces with a good mask, avoid physical contact, takeperiodic baths, and self-quarantine if necessary.

The Dynamics of COVID19, the Immune System and Sunlight

It’s a no-brainer that sun plays an important role in our lives. And it’s  no different even during the pandemic. A dash of sunshine has been proven to boost immunity, and immunity can prevent the virus from getting to us.

According to Richard Weller, MD, a dermatologist and a sunlight researcher at the University of Edinburgh, UK, there is a correlation between the COVID19 virus and sunlight. He observed that in the US, the states that received good amount of sunlight had lower COVID19 deaths compared to other states.

He further quotes, “I think there are probably several pathways by which sunlight and sun exposure may exert beneficial effects,” to conclude that sunlight can actually be one of free things around us that can help to remain healthy and fight against this pandemic.

Sunshine to prevent COVID19 – how much sunlight do you need?

We already know that exposure to sunlight helps the human body to produce Vitamin D naturally. This vitamin enhances the expression of an enzyme called angiotensin-converting 2 (ACE2) which in turn has demonstrated the ability to protect against acute lung injury. Simply put, we need Vitamin D to counteract COVID19. Among all the methods out there to prevent the spread of the virus, Vitamin D from the sun seems to be the cheapest option ever; period.

Foods containing Vitamin D

Seafood, eggs, yogurt, etc. can provide almost 20% of the Vitamin D supply to our body. However, the rest 80% we need to get it from the sun. This means along with a healthy diet rich in Vitamin D (&C), a fitness regime, we need sufficient exposure to sunlight to keep ourselves healthy.

Will sunlight cure COVID19 virus?

NO. Sunlight is not a cure for COVID19. This is one important piece of information that can be twisted out of context when it is passed on from people to people. So before you start flocking out to parks and open beaches, in the name of exposing yourself to sunlight for Vitamin D, understand that SUNLIGHT IS NOT A CURE FOR COVID19.

However, if we see the analysis of previous virus spreads like SARS (which is the closest cousin of COVID19), sunlight had an important role in ending the respiratory illness.According to a 15-year old Swedish groupstudy, sunlight has shown to elevate nitric oxide levels and has prevented SARS from reproducing earlier during research.

COVID19 also hasa similar binding receptor as that of SARS and the Swedish research group is trying to find whether, the current virus can be stopped by elevating nitric acids in our body naturally through sunlight.

Lastly, if we notice the pattern, almost all viruses like SARS, COVID19 and annual epidemics of common cold, influenza, etc. have their originin the winter season. This means that viruses have a natural affinity towards colder and cozier climates. What we need to understand is that temperature and climate go hand in hand for the spread and if we are able to break the cycle by eliminating one element, i.e. temperature here, then the spread of COVID19 can be controlled to some extent.

After all every little helps, right?

The Sunlight Vitamin

Vitamin D is naturally produced when we expose ourselves to sunlight. Considering our current situation, it is hard to go outdoors and lay down for such a routine. However, you can bask in the sun in your own balcony or terraces, for a short while and fortify your immunity.

COVID19 will require a deliberate and firm effort to be eradicated. Be a part of the cure by taking care of your own health. It has already created chaos – like a butterfly flapping its wings in the east and causing a hurricane globally.

And the only way out is – “Gradatim Ferociter” – which means, “Step ferociously” in Latin.