By Gerald W. Deas, M.D.
St. Francis of Assisi wrote a wonderful poem called, “Hymn Of The Sun.”
A verse relating to the sun states:
Be thou praised, Oh Lord, for all thy creation,
Most especially for our brother the sun,
Who bringeth forth the day and givest light therby,
For he is glorious and splendid in his radiance,
And to thee, most high, he bears similitude.
The sun has played a major role in man’s attitude and disposition. This magnificent shining star, called the sun, has been used in many songs that seem to bring on happiness. For example, I’m sure you have heard the song, “You Are My Sunshine.” It states definitely that it makes us happy when skies are gray. It ends by saying, “Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
Another song that I heard my mother sing while taking care of her household duties was, “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” which states:
Get your hat and get your coat,
Leave your worries on the doorstep,
Life can be so sweet,
On the sunny side of the street.
It is interesting that all songs with the word sun become memorable songs and seemingly last forever. Again, brother sun is a major factor in our happiness and chases away the blues.
Right in the center of our brain is a small gland known as the pineal body. It produces a hormone called melatonin, which is a building block to another chemical called serotonin, which has a great effect upon our behavior. Melatonin when produced in large quantities causes lethargy, tiredness, listlessness and depression. It seems that when the body is exposed to sunshine, the production of melatonin is greatly decreased, thus, we become happier and more energized. That is why all of us should seek some sunshine daily. In fact, patients who are homebound or even bedridden in hospitals should be exposed to sunlight. The sun that comes through glass windows however, has no effect upon the pineal gland. It is suggested that persons who cannot avail themselves of the sun should be exposed to a light fixture known as the sun box which gives off the same wave lengths as the sun.
Some people get the blues in wintertime when there is less sunlight. This is called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Often, they may have to be referred to a psychologist for depression. I would strongly suggest that the depression could be treated partially with exposure to brother sun.
Sunlight penetrating the skin also activates the production of vitamin D3, which is produced from cholesterol. Cholesterol is a key in the production of estrogen, testosterone and many other hormones. I’m sure you can see again that brother sun is truly your brother for good health.
The darker races contain melanin in their skin, which prevents the penetration of the sun that causes a deficiency in vitamin D3. This vitamin has now been associated with many conditions such as, colon, prostate and breast cancers. It is suggested that races, which have heavy pigmentation of the skin should obtain a level of vitamin D3 in their blood.
Just remember, sisters and brothers, our forefathers were not too off tract when they worshipped the sun given to us so freely by our creator.
For great health tips and access to an online community of physicians and other healthcare professionals, visit DrDeas.com.
This is part of the July 6, 2011 online edition of Frost Illustrated.