The following piece has been excerpted from Luminous Life: How the Science of Light Unlocks the Art of Living, in which author and optometrist Dr. Jacob Israel Liberman explores how sunlight contributes to human health and happiness.

All the energy which we take into our bodies is derived from the sun. – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

In 1896 Wilbur Atwater and Francis Benedict conducted a series of metabolic experiments that suggested that the human body’s production of heat and physiological activities corresponded to the caloric value of the nutrients ingested. Their findings became the basis of the calorie theory.

Based on Atwater’s findings, Francis Benedict and James Harris developed the Harris-Benedict equation in 1919, making it possible to determine one’s basal metabolic rate or how many calories the human body requires at rest.

An unexplainable amount of energy

This theory stood unchallenged for over 50 years. Then, beginning in 1972, a team of research scientists headed by Dr. Paul Webb conducted a series of studies using state-of-the-art technology in an attempt to replicate Atwater and Benedict’s results.

Webb’s findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, uncovered a significant discrepancy between the theoretical amounts of energy produced by metabolism versus the actual amount of energy produced by the body. This difference, referred to as “unmeasured energy,” indicates that as much as 23 percent of the energy produced by the human body couldn’t be attributed to one’s caloric intake.

To further corroborate his discoveries, Webb reviewed all scientific studies related to the subject and found that they not only confirmed his findings but also demonstrated that the more precise the study, the clearer the evidence that a significant amount of energy couldn’t be scientifically explained.

Confronted with the fact that there was energy that couldn’t be accounted for, Webb introduced a new variable that he referred to as Qx into the calculation of energy balance. This variable represented energy that originated from an unknown source, or energy derived from what some call nothingness.

Although the idea of energy derived from “nothingness” may seem strange from a Western perspective, Eastern cultures have been aware of this mysterious life-force energy for thousands of years. In China it’s called chi, in India prana, and renowned Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich referred to it as orgone.

Webb’s research not only exposed the shortcomings of the calorie theory but also demonstrated that the human body receives energy (or life force) from an unknown source. The research also discovered that the greater the food deficit, the larger the unmeasured energy. In other words, the body appears to receive a significant amount of energy from an unknown source, and the less we eat the more energy it receives.

A yogi living without food or water

Webb’s discovery seems to be verified by the case of yogi Prahlad Jani, who claims to have lived without food or water since 1940. Although this sounds unbelievable, this Indian yogi was evaluated twice under the most stringent of controlled scientific conditions, and each time he was deemed physiologically normal.

In 2003 Prahlad Jani first underwent a rigorous 10-day evaluation at Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad, India. During the study Jani was evaluated by dozens of medical experts, and all pertinent tests, including daily blood cell counts and CT scans of the body, were administered. In addition, he was under around-the-clock surveillance in a locked room with no access to food or water; the bathroom was sealed off, his clothes and sheets were scrutinized for any traces of urine, and mobile cameras filmed him whenever clinic personnel escorted him from his locked room to an office or laboratory for medical evaluation.

Dr. Urman Dhruv, who supervised and approved the study protocol, stated that Jani didn’t consume anything orally, including fluids of any type or food during the 10-day study. He also didn’t pass any urine or stool during that period. In the words of Dr. Sudhir Shah, the initiator of the study, “We are all scientifically educated and research-orientated doctors. … And our entire knowledge has been shaken to the core.”

Under ideal circumstances, it’s conceivable that humans can live 10 to 15 days without drinking. However, after four to six days without eating, drinking and urinating, one would expect extremely high levels of uremic waste products. Nevertheless, Jani’s blood and metabolic levels remained in the safe range during the entire project!

In 2010 Jani was once again rigorously evaluated for 15 days at Sterling Hospital. This time, a team of 35 researchers from the Indian Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) studied him. After 15 days of not eating, drinking, urinating or defecating, all medical tests on Jani were reported as normal, and researchers said that Jani was in better health than someone half his age. Representatives from DIPAS stated in 2010 that further studies were planned to investigate, among other things, where Jani’s body derives its energy for sustenance.

In the February 9, 1901, issue of Collier’s Weekly, Nikola Tesla wrote, “Why should a living being not be able to obtain all the energy it needs for the performance of its life functions from the environment, instead of through consumption of food?”

Today, Dr. Gerald H. Pollack, professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington and author of The Fourth Phase of Water, may be able to demonstrate how that process actually occurs.

Living water

Blonde baby in sand next to water - Living on lightAccording to Pollack, “Experimental evidence shows that light imparts energy to water, including body water. That energy may, in some instances, provide enough energy for sustaining life.”

Pollack and his team have confirmed that there exists a fourth phase of water, beyond that of solid, liquid and gas. The body’s cells are composed of this “living water,” which differs from normal water, as it’s imbued with light.

You might say that the body is a biological photocell filled with “living water” that’s constantly charged by the sun.

Fourth-phase water, H3O2, is more viscous, dense, organized, and alkaline than H2O and has more available oxygen due to its chemical structure. It has a negative charge and, like a battery, can store the energy contained in sunlight and deliver it as needed. Since the energy required for structuring water comes from the sun, you might say that the body is a biological photocell filled with “living water” that’s constantly charged by the sun.

In spite of the stringent medical assessment and scientific scrutiny that Prahlad Jani underwent, the current scientific findings of Pollack and the powerful documentary by P. A. Straubinger titled In the Beginning There Was Light, most doctors and scientists still don’t consider the possibility that our bodies may actually run on sunlight.

The power of light

Earlier I mentioned that Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi said that “all the energy which we take into our bodies is derived from the sun.” The sun’s energy, through the process of photosynthesis, is stored in plants, which are then eaten by animals and humans, who use this light-created energy.

But is it possible that we can supplement this process even further by spending more time outdoors in natural light? If solar power can run our homes, cars and cities, is it so far-fetched to consider that sunlight may also be powering our lives?

According to physician and photobiologist Alexander Wunsch, only one-third of the energy produced by our body comes from the food we eat. The balance comes from the light we’re exposed to.

In essence, the body’s energy production involves a lot more than just eating right. The body is always seeking homeostasis, and most of the energy required to maintain that essential balance comes from the sunlight we ingest. The easiest way to get our minimum daily requirement of sunlight is to spend some time outdoors each day, revealing as much of our skin as possible.

The body is powered by both food and light. That’s why sunlight—nature’s optimal fuel mix for life—is so critical for our health and well-being.

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Front cover of Luminous Life book - Living on lightDr. Jacob Israel Liberman, author of Luminous Life, is a pioneer in the fields of light, vision and consciousness and the author of Light: Medicine of the Future and Take Off Your Glasses and See. He has developed numerous light and vision therapy instruments, including the first FDA-cleared medical device to significantly improve visual performance. A respected public speaker, he shares his scientific and spiritual discoveries with audiences worldwide. He lives on Maui, Hawaii. To find out more about his work, visit him at

Excerpted from the book Luminous Life. Copyright ©2018 by Jacob Israel Liberman. Printed with permission from New World Library —

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