Here’s something I never thought we’d hear in this lifetime:
We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer.
A lot of us are secretly, boldly basking for reasons like vitamin D, mood enhancement, happiness, skin issues, liver health, pain and more. Now there’s never a reason to fear harm or feel guilty – you could save your heart – and prevent an untimely death!
The espoused fear for about 50 years has been skin cancer rates (which continue to rise), but researchers are finally surmising that years of hiding from the sun could lead to increased heart attacks – a much sooner demise than the risk of skin cancer in later years. Sunlight does so much more than vitamin D production.
A recent landmark study could turn the modern thought on sun exposure right on its head….
UK scientists from the University of Edinburgh discovered that when sunlight touches our skin it releases a compound in our blood called nitric oxide. This helps lower blood pressure and protect the heart from disease, cardiac arrest, strokes, and attacks.
Senior Lecturer in Dermatology, Richard Weller, and his colleagues believe there is such a greater effect overall from the sun in reducing life-shortening events like strokes and heart attacks, that sun bathing should not only be “risked” but incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. There was such proof and such emphasis that the world’s largest gathering of skin experts flocked to hear about it recently at the International Investigative Dermatology event in Edinburgh.
The main emphasis is sunlight for heart health. They have connected some interesting dots:
- Heart disease and high blood pressure rise in winter time
- Heart issues correlate with location. Example: higher rates of problems in Northern Europe versus Southern Europe
- Anywhere between 60 to 100 people die from strokes and heart disease for every person who dies from skin cancer (at least in Europe)
- Vitamin D can lower heart disease rates but not so much with store bought supplements – it’s sun-induced vitamin D
- However, this production of nitric oxide is completely separate from vitamin D production, so it’s something about sun-induced nitric oxide that is badly needed for heart health – does not come from vitamin D supplements
- In past studies, sunlight has been found to zap infectious disease like chicken pox
A couple dozen volunteers basked in two separate 20-minute sunlamp sessions; one with only heat, and one session with heat plus both types of UV rays. Blood pressure sank and heart rates rose for the UV session only – and the lowered blood pressure lasted for almost an hour.
The work we have done provides a mechanism that might account for this, and also explains why dietary vitamin D supplements alone will not be able to compensate for lack of sunlight.
If this confirms that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, we will need to reconsider our advice on sun exposure. [emphasis added]
This study that was published in Journal of Investigative Dermatology in April was done with sun lamps – so you can imagine reaping the natural benefits of Good Ol’ Mr. Golden Sun. Sunlamps did not produce vitamin D. Get the real deal, and not that God-forsaken chemical spray that makes people look like Oompa-Loompa Kardashians.
The sun is sexy again – just don’t want to barbecue that lovely skin. Please avoid any sunblock containing these chemicals – nanoparticles are on the rise, which means they can penetrate further into skin and blood. Have fun and make your own natural sunscreen and use after you get some pure sunshine.