(NaturalHealth365) The health benefits of sun exposure can reduce heart attack risk and outweigh the risks of developing skin cancer, according to scientists at the University of Edinburg. This is considered a landmark study, and implies the benefits of sun exposure go way beyond triggering the production of vitamin D.
Sun exposure sets off magical chemical reactions
According to Richard Weller, Senior Lecturer in Dermatology, and colleagues have discovered that when sunlight touches the skin, a compound called nitric oxide, which helps lower blood pressure is released into the blood vessels.
Weller and colleagues state that the effect of overall sun exposure could improve health and save lives, because the benefits of reducing blood pressure cuts the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and this far outweighs the risk of getting skin cancer.
The researchers have noticed that the rates of hypertension and other cardiovascular disorders rise in the winter and are tied to geographic latitude. Cardiovascular disease along with high blood pressure is higher in Northern Europe than in Southern Europe.
Could many chronic health problems be simply due to a lack of sunlight exposure?
Looking beyond the value of vitamin D
This new study is important because, until now, it was thought that the only benefit of sunlight (for human beings) was the production of vitamin D – which rises after exposure to the sun. Weller and colleagues found that the production of nitric oxide was separate from the production of vitamin D.
For the study, they used 24 volunteers who sat under sunlamps for two 20 minute sessions, while their blood pressure readings were taken.
The results were that the volunteers’ blood pressure fell and the reduction lasted about 50 minutes.
They noted that the skin contains large stores of nitrite and nitrate, the action of sunlight takes the biologically inert nitrate and converts it to nitrite and nitric oxide.
In addition, they noted that for every person that succumbed to skin cancer, about 60 to 100 people succumb to stroke and heart disease linked to high blood pressure and that translated to 80 times more people dying of cardiovascular disease versus skin cancer.
Previous studies have found that while increased vitamin D levels have a link to lower cardiovascular disease, oral supplements do not have an effect on the nitrate oxide production.
Sunlight exposure dramatically reduces your risk for disease
There are undeniable benefits from sun exposure which include lowering the risk of osteoporosis, cancer, viral and bacteria infections, MS, heart disease and improved immune function.
A look at case-controlled studies, from the National Cancer Institute, found that consumption of alcohol and vegetable oils increased the risk of melanoma, where vegetables, fish, fruit and whole grains decreased the risk. Alcohol consumption has been demonstrated, in studies, to increase the risk of melanoma, and it was found that just two drinks a day will put a person at risk.
Skin cancers and malignant melanoma cases are rapidly increasing in the United States. It was found that people who had high levels of vitamin D, carotene, lutein, and lycopene had significantly reduced risk for melanoma. These results held up no matter the amount of sun exposure.
Natural protection doesn’t come from covering the skin with synthetic chemicals, but looking to what humans have used for ages – a balanced (healthy) diet and lifestyle.
Getting out in the sun not only benefits your heart, but is food for the body. Bottom line – we have seen a dramatic rise in disease due to modern (indoor) living behavior.
It’s time to get back to nature – let’s get outside and live.
About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She has the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in natural healing including Naturopaths, scientist and energy healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.
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