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Sunshine Can Cut Blood Pressure and Make You Thinner

July 18, 2016

There’s no doubt that the sunshine is great for your health, and this isn’t another post about Vitamin D. Summertime is upon us and while the risk of skin cancer is scary, scientists are discovering more and more positive attributes about the bright star.

This new research is indicating that sunlight may be protecting us against a wide range of lethal and disabling conditions. This includes obesity, heart attacks, strokes, asthma and multiple sclerosis. While we know the benefits of Vitamin D are endless in helping build healthy bones, scientists now believe that sun exposure prompts our bodies to produce the ‘feel good’ brain chemical serotonin as well as nitric oxide. This is a chemical that helps protect the cardiovascular system.

A study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine followed the sunbathing habits of around 30,000 Swedish women for 20 years. Investigators from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm concluded that avoiding the sun is just as bad as smoking is. 1.5 women in 100 who reported that they had the highest exposure to UV light were found to have died during the two decades in comparison with three in 100 of those who said they avoided sunbathing. The researcher explains that those who were avid sunbathers had a significantly lowered death risk from cardiovascular disease and other conditions that were non-cancer related.

The epidemiologist who led the study said non-smokers that avoided the sun had a life expectancy that was similar to smokers that were in the highest sun exposure group. This goes on to indicate that avoiding the sun is a risk factor for death in a similar magnitude to that of smoking.

Senior lecturer in dermatology at Edinburgh University, Dr. Richard Weller said, “Advice on healthy sun exposure needs to be reconsidered,” and that the older population is particularly sun deprived, as their low blood levels of Vitamin D show because of their lack of outdoor activity.

Dr. Weller’s team determined that sunlight exposure may lower blood pressure, therefore cutting the risk of heart attack and stroke. He also said it appears that sunlight “alters the way our genes behave.” There appears to be a correlation between higher amounts of sun exposer and less disease in conditions like MS.  Scientists also say the sunlight might keep us slim and healthy since UV radiation has been found to possibly suppress the development of obesity and symptoms of type 2 diabetes.