Sunshine slows down weight gain
Scientists who looked at the effect of sunlight on mice found that shining UV light at overfed mice slowed their weight gain.
In addition, the mice displayed fewer of the warning signs linked to diabetes, such as abnormal glucose levels and resistance to insulin.
“Our findings are important as they suggest that casual skin exposure to sunlight, together with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet, may help prevent the development of obesity in children,” says Dr Shelley Gorman, of the Telethon Kids Institute and lead author of the study
A healthy dose of sunshine
The beneficial effects of UV treatment were linked to a compound called nitric oxide, which is released by the skin after exposure to sunlight. Previous studies in people have shown that nitric oxide can lower blood pressure after exposure to UV lamps.
The team says the new findings add to the growing body of evidence that supports the health benefits of moderate exposure to the sun’s rays.
“We know from epidemiology studies that sun-seekers live longer than those who spend their lives in the shade. Studies such as this one are helping us to understand how the sun can be good for us. 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,” says Dr Richard Weller, Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at the University of Edinburgh.