Summer is the best time to optimize your UVB exposure which gives you vitamin D. But year round sun exposure gives you endorphins and nitric oxide, all essential to overall wellness and better moods.
Winter Sunlight Lowers Blood Pressure December 12 2014
Sunlight year-round has it's benefits. Deep into the winter months, sunlight provides vital UVA which lowers blood pressure and slows aging.
An excerpt from the University of Edinburg talks about nitric oxide produced by exposing skin to light. This research was picked up by Science Daily, the New York Times, the Guardian and many other publications as the excitement grows for natural and individually empowering wellness options.
Researchers have shown that when our skin is exposed to the sun's rays, a compound is released in our blood vessels that helps lower blood pressure. The findings suggest that exposure to sunlight improves health overall, because the benefits of reducing blood pressure far outweigh the risk of developing skin cancer.
Production of this pressure-reducing compound - called nitric oxide - is separate from the body's manufacture of vitamin D, which rises after exposure to sunshine. Until now it had been thought to solely explain the sun's benefit to human health. [Researchers] studied the blood pressure of 24 volunteers who sat beneath tanning lamps for two sessions of 20 minutes each. In one session, the volunteers were exposed to both the UV rays and the heat of the lamps. In the other, the UV rays were blocked so that only the heat of the lamps affected the skin. The results showed that blood pressure dropped significantly for one hour following exposure to UV rays, but not after the heat-only sessions. Scientists say that this shows that it is the sun's UV rays that lead to health benefits. The volunteers' vitamin D levels remained unaffected in both sessions.
"We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer. 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. We now plan to look at the relative risks of heart disease and skin cancer in people who have received different amounts of sun exposure. If this confirms that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, we will need to reconsider our advice on sun exposure."
Check out this study published by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that shows that just being in the sunlight (even UVA) lowers blood pressure.
Sunlight also helps you get a better night's sleep, and enhances your mood.
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