Can UV rays lower blood pressure?
Controversially perhaps, given how much bad press sunbeds and even the sun are given regarding skin cancer, a leading dermatologist has revealed findings of a study that suggest UV light can help lower blood pressure.
Dr Richard Weller, professor at The University of Edinburgh, released the results of his study at the annual International Investigative Dermatology conference, also in Edinburgh, last week.
His study involved a group of volunteers who were exposed to ultraviolet light via sun lamps. He found that in all of them the compound nitric oxide was released, which helps to lower blood pressure.
Discussing these findings he said:
“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.”
These views may be construed as controversial or even irresponsible science, as the medical profession warn against sun lamps and other artificial UV mechanisms such as sun beds, and also against too much exposure to the sun. This is because of the increased risk of contracting skin cancers.
However Dr Weller’s position is that the risk of getting skin cancer needs to be weighed against the risk of heart disease, and therefore how important sunlight and vitamin D is to heart health.
Skin cancer is still a very real risk however, particularly in people who use sun beds or lamps. If you have moles or lesions that you are worried about it’s important to have these checked right away to find out whether you need to undergo mole removal.