A study carried out by Researchers of Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh has revealed that limited amount of exposure of skin to sunlight helps in reducing blood pressure and curbing heart attacks or strokes. The study has been published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Research has shown that right amount of sunlight alters levels of the small messenger molecule, nitric oxide (NO) in the skin and blood, reducing blood pressure.
UVA exposure dilates blood vessels, significantly lowers blood pressure, and alters NO metabolite levels in the circulation, without changing vitamin D levels.
Martin Feelisch, one of the key researcher and Professor of Experimental Medicine and Integrative Biology at the University of Southampton, says, "Nitric Oxide along with its products regulates the blood pressure. When exposed to sunlight, small amounts of NO are transferred from the skin to the circulation, lowering blood vessel tone".
As blood pressure drops, so does the risk of heart attack and stroke," he added.
High blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke, contributing to about half of all cases.
Research was carried out on 24 volunteers who were exposed to ultraviolet (UVA) light and the heat of the lamps for two 20-minute sessions.
However researchers say that it is important to expose your skin to sunlight for a limited time but extending it can lead to skin cancer.
Dr. Richard Weller of the University of Edinburgh explains that less exposure may increase the risk of prevalent conditions related to cardiovascular disease.