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Exposure to sunlight can lower blood pressure: Study

Written by: QMI Agency
Jan. 20, 2014

Enjoying the sunshine can help lower your blood pressure, according to a new British study. (FOTOLIA)


Enjoying the sunshine can help lower your blood pressure, a new British study says.

Sunlight alters levels of the small molecule nitric oxide (NO) in the skin and blood, which reduces blood pressure, researchers at the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh found.

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"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," Southampton researcher Martin Feelisch said in a release about the study.

The study had 24 healthy adults undergo two sessions of being exposed to tanning lamps for 20 minutes. In one session, though, the UVA rays were blocked. The researchers found UVA exposure dilated blood vessels, significantly lowered blood pressure and altered NO levels.

Feelisch said the results show it could be time to "reassess the risks and benefits of sunlight for human health."

The study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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