UV exposure prevented excessive weight gain in experimental mice, a result that could not be replicated through vitamin D supplementation, in a new study.
Three months of repeated exposure to a non-burning dose of mostly UVB radiation resulted in 30 to 40 percent less weight gain in mice on a high fat diet. Researcher Dr. Shelley Gorman from the Telethon Kids Institute in Australia suggests that this effect is likely due to nitric oxide released in response to UV exposure. Dr. Richard Weller previously explained this process in relation to its impact on heart disease.
“These findings were independent of circulating vitamin D and could not be mimicked by vitamin D supplementation,” Gorman says. “While there seems to be a link between obesity and vitamin D, it remains uncertain whether there is a causal effect. It looked like the presence of vitamin D in mice on the high fat diet prevented the [beneficial] effect of UV radiation on weight gain.”
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