New research last year from Dr. Richard Weller, finding that nitric oxide released from the skin in response to UV exposure can decrease blood pressure, was a game changer in UV science. It identified another significant health benefit from UV exposure that is completely independent of vitamin D — an effect that cannot be replicated with a supplement or anything else.
Now, Weller and others have expanded on that research, discovering more health benefits from the UV-induced nitric oxide and raising the question, what other benefits of UV exposure are yet to be uncovered? At least three separate studies this year provide evidence that, along with reducing blood pressure, UV-induced nitric oxide can play a role in preventing and/or treating obesity and diabetes.
First, another study from Weller and colleagues demonstrates that UVR-induced nitric oxide may be an effective means of suppressing obesity and Metabolic Syndrome — a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. A second study, published in the Journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, supports the former, concluding that “increasing NO output has remarkable effects on obesity and insulin resistance.” And, a third study, found that suggests a role for nitric oxide in treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients.
“We know sun-seekers live longer than those who spend their lives in the shade. Studies such as this are helping us to understand how the sun can be good for us,” Dr. Weller told The Express regarding his recent work. “We need to remember that skin cancer is not the only disease that can kill us and should perhaps balance our advice on sun exposure.”
As well as providing specific beneficial knowledge that can benefit prevention and treatment of the aforementioned conditions, these findings also suggest that more research should be conducted to explore the impact of nitric oxide on other diseases. As observed in the recent study from Weller and colleagues, “our results support recent calls for clinical trials that test the efficacy of skin exposure to sunlight or UVR for the control of chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis and depression, which, like obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, may take years to develop.”
It’s safe to say that it’s an exciting time in UV science…stay tuned for more!
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