As the coronavirus outbreak drones on, getting a little sun could prove beneficial to our health. Sunlight is known for boosting the mind and body, which could be helpful in a time when millions of Americans are jobless or grieving the loss of a loved one to COVID-19.
The sun’s rays have mood-boosting capabilities. Research suggests sunlight may play a role in serotonin production, sometimes referred to as the "happy chemical." Skin also has serotonin infrastructure, and moderate sun exposure may result in a brighter mood.
Sun exposure sparks vitamin D production, as vitamin D receptors in the skin react with cholesterol and ultraviolet rays to make vitamin D3. Vitamin D can help strengthen the immune system, as well as aid in calcium absorption and bone growth.
Though there are no clinical studies that prove the effectiveness of vitamin D or any other supplements or vitamins to treat coronavirus, Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer of the health care website WebMD, previously told Fox News, stay-at-home advisories during the coronavirus epidemic may result in vitamin D deficiencies due to lack of sun exposure. Pandemic aside, some 40 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient, Whyte said.
Exercising outdoors, such as taking brisk walks, meditating, or practicing yoga – all while maintaining at least six feet away from others, as per current social distancing recommendations – may be healthy options in securing vitamin D at this time.
Adequate vitamin D may also protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, infections, immune system disorders, certain cancers, multiple sclerosis and more, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Vitamin D can be acquired through nutritional supplements and food, namely fatty fish, such as salmon, eggs and mushrooms.
The World Health Organization advises five to 15 minutes of sunlight exposure two to three times per week. Overexposure to the sun is known to cause skin cancer, however, and personal precaution is advised in protecting the skin through sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.
Fox News' Madeline Farber contributed to this report.