by Heather Callaghan
May 13, 2013
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
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
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.
Weller, certain that overall benefits far outweigh cancer risks,
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.
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
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
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.