Benefits of Sunlight and Weight Loss: FEEL FABULOUS IN 2019 PART 9

Benefits of Sunlight and Weight LossWoman on a sunset , benefits of sunlight, lack of sunlight | Shawn Phillips Personal Trainer & Nutritionist Los Angeles

Welcome back to The Science of Fat Loss Hints, Tricks, and Tips: Part 9 to learn how the benefits of sunlight help to facilitate fat loss,  increases energy and helps to sculpt your body for both men and women.

Most people don’t realize that sunlight and weight loss are tied together.  Being a holistic personal trainer and nutrition caoch in Los Angeles for the past 17 years has given me some interesting and key insights into healthy eating, exercise and holistic lifestyle changes. We will start by discussing how sunlight and weight loss are interrelated and focus on the science and then discuss what you can do to enhance and improve your health and lose weight.

Please note, it is beneficial and important to get the correct advice on your exercise routine, overall nutrition program, daily calorie intake and developing healthy habits. If you need help, call us to get started today at (310) 720-8125.


Topics and Highlights on Benefits of Sunlight:

    • Sleep, Mood and Energy Levels
    • Vitamin D: Immune System and Testosterone
    • Optimal Tanning Time
    • Lifestyle Tips 


Hand heart, benefits of sunlight, lack of sunlight | Shawn Phillips Personal Trainer & Nutritionist Los AngelesHow could the benefits of sunlight possibly affect weight loss? Well, sunlight may be a weight loss breakthrough according to a recent study, researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada revealed an unexpected culprit for winter weight gain: the absence of sunlight. In this study, the researchers examined the effects of sunlight on the subcutaneous fat cells, also known as white fat cells located just underneath the skin. This subcutaneous white adipose tissue that we will refer to as white fat is the bad fat that stores calories that are ideally burned for energy. When this type of fat is not functioning correctly, it can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

During this study, by accident, they found out that these white fat cells shrink under the sun’s “blue light” which is the visible light that also boosts mood and energy during the day. According to one of the unnamed researchers, “When the sun’s blue light wavelengths — the light we can see with our eye — penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell. In other words, our cells don’t store as much fat.”

But there are other indirect ways that sunlight can affect our weight including the following three.



3 Main Benefits of Sunlight for our Bodies

    1. Helps to regulate cortisol and sleep-wake cycle – Sunlight helps improve energy during the day by increasing cortisol (the stress hormone), and it improves sleep quality at night by boosting melatonin (the sleep hormone).
        • Blue light exposure boosts stress hormone response according to Mariana Figueiro, associate professor and director of the LRC Light and Health Program who states, “Morning light exposure may help to wake up the body when it is time to be active, thus preparing individuals for any environmental stress they might experience.”

Young woman, benefits of sunlight, lack of sunlight | Shawn Phillips Personal Trainer & Nutritionist Los Angeles

        • Melatonin levels are high at night and low during the day, and its secretion is regulated by a rhythm-generating system located in the hypothalamus which is regulated by light.
        • If you are having trouble sleeping, chances are you are looking at your cell phone or television which emits an artificial form of “blue light” disrupting your normal sleep as well as your natural circadian rhythm.
        • The light emitted from natural sunlight is also a “blue light,” but in a much more powerful form, so morning sunlight not only signals that it is time to suppress melatonin, but it also signals it is time to increase cortisol.
    1. Boost serotonin levels which improve mood and energy levels – Sunlight helps to increase serotonin levels which regulate mood, carb cravings and sleep quality.
    2. Increase vitamin D3 – This vitamin is essential for bone density and testosterone production.
        • The best source of vitamin D3 is exposure to the sun.
        • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is made in the skin by the reaction of 7-dehydrocholesterol with UVB radiation which is present in sunlight.
        • The best way to maximize your exposure to the sun with minimal risk of skin damage would be between 10 am and 2 pm which is the best and safest time, and since noon is when the sun is at its highest point with UVB rays being the most intense you won’t need as much time in the sun to produce sufficient vitamin D.
        • Several studies have now linked low levels of vitamin D3 with an increase in abdominal obesity and visceral fat.
        • One group of researchers investigating this topic is from the VU University Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center, both in the Netherlands and led by Rachida Rafiq who states, “The strong relationship between increasing amounts of abdominal fat and lower levels of vitamin D suggests that individuals with larger waistlines are at a greater risk of developing deficiency, and should consider having their vitamin D levels checked.”
        • There are many benefits to weight loss when it comes to vitamin D including:
          • When you have enough vitamin D, the body releases more leptin which is the hormone that tells the brain you are “full and satisfied” after eating a meal.
          • You will store less fat because when you have enough vitamin D in your bloodstream, the fat cells slow down their effort in making and storing fat.
          • You will burn more fat, especially belly fat because vitamin D works with calcium to reduce the production of cortisol, the stress hormone which causes you to store more belly fat.

Golden hour, benefits of sunlight, lack of sunlight | Shawn Phillips Personal Trainer & Nutritionist Los Angeles

These 3 main benefits of sunlight (increase vitamin D, boost serotonin and regulate sleep cycle) have a huge impact on health and well-being.  The top three health complaints that new clients have are insomnia, depression and anxiety.  One of the easiest ways to begin to solve these issues is to do the following: first thing in the morning take a 20 minute walk and expose yourself to sunlight. If you live in a cold climate region, your best bet is to buy a light box which can have similar effect to morning sunlight.

If you are concerned about wrinkles, the limited exposure shouldn’t have much effect on oxidative damage to the skin.  Also, if your diet is rich in antioxidants, this should blunt any of the effects of skin aging.  Supplementation can also be helpful in slowing down aging – vitamins C and a good food based multi-vitamin would work just fine.


Sunlight can influence our weight through other internal avenues such as the immune system as well as testosterone levels.



Sunlight and the Immune System

  • Wild flowers, benefits of sunlight, lack of sunlight | Shawn Phillips Personal Trainer & Nutritionist Los Angeles
    • We all know that sunlight influences vitamin D, but vitamin D also influences the immune system.
    • According to William Grant, who directs the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center, a research and education organization based in San Francisco, “Vitamin D induces cathelicidin, a polypeptide that effectively combats both bacterial and viral infections,” Grant says.
    • Research now shows that sunlight also affects the immune system by energizing the infection-fighting T-cells, specifically the “blue light” that is found in the sun’s rays made the T-cells move faster.
    • The T-cells can then get to the infection site at a faster rate which ultimately helps boost the immune system.



Sunlight and Testosterone Levels

Shawn on sunset, benefits of sunlight, lack of sunlight | Shawn Phillips Personal Trainer & Nutritionist Los Angeles

Having low levels of testosterone can cause many things including a reduced sex drive, but it can also cause weight gain to occur.

      • Getting enough vitamin D can help boost testosterone levels
      • Getting as little as 15 minutes of direct sun each day can help keep vitamin D levels managed which in turn help to keep testosterone levels maintained.
      • Studies have ultimately shown the levels of sex hormones such as testosterone were highest in sunnier seasons.
      • Exposure to bright light can increase testosterone as well as sexual desire due to the boosting of the pituitary gland’s luteinizing hormone (LH) which is known to increase testosterone levels.


Sunlight Recommendation Tips

    • Get 20 to 60 minutes of sunlight per daySunset, benefits of sunlight, lack of sunlight | Shawn Phillips Personal Trainer & Nutritionist Los Angeles
    • The darker your skin, the more sunlight you need because darker skinned people have more of the pigment melanin which reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from the sunlight.
    • Take a walk in the morning or go to the park and do your interval training which will give you your daily dose of vitamin D as well as exercise to increase your metabolism further.
    • To avoid too much UV radiation, get your sunlight early in the morning or late in the afternoon as this will prevent damaging the skin.
    • Use sunscreen but be aware that although sunscreens have chemicals that can either reflect, absorb or scatter the sunlight, it also blocks the UVB which is essential for making vitamin D.


In conclusion, we want to protect our skin from the damage due to the harmful UV rays of the sun, but we do need the sunlight for all the phenomenal health benefits it offers including weight loss. For more information on getting fit and fabulous in 2019, contact me today, and together we will make this a brighter healthier year!



Weight Loss is the #1 Health Goal in America.  And, there is a strong correlation between belly fat or a large belly and degenerative disease.  Whether you want to look great naked or simply just want to live longer, getting leaner and healthier has to be one of your priorities in life.  If you interested in learning more about getting lean and healthy, please check out my 10 part series on the science of weight loss.

Part 1 – Metabolism and Weight Loss

Part 2 – Strength Training and Weight Loss

Part 3 – Gut Health and Weight Loss

Part 4 – Stress and Weight Loss

Part 5 – Insulin and Weight Loss

Part 6 – Testosterone and Weight Loss

Part 7 – Sleep and Weight Loss

Part 8 – Brain Health and Weight Loss

Part 9 – Sunlight and Weight Loss

Part 10 – Detox and Weight Loss


Biography: as a Certified Personal Trainer Los Angeles, Shawn Phillips is a well-known Health Practitioner and Fat Loss Expert specializing in body sculpting, nutrition, lab testing, and exercise coaching. For a FREE consultation call him at (310) 720-8125.


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