Sunlight and Your Liver: is Nitric Oxide at work again?

Sunlight and Your Liver: is Nitric Oxide at work again?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD Sunlight Institute

Recent research, again involving Dr. Richard Weller, demonstrates that Sunlight exposure may prevent liver inflammation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is the most prevalent liver disorder in western countries.[1] The authors of this research state then state the following possible mechanism: “Following exposure to sunlight-derived ultraviolet radiation (UVR), the skin releases anti-inflammatory mediators such as vitamin D and nitric oxide.”

Though there has been no proof that sunlight works for humans (no research yet), the authors indicate that animal studies suggest that exposure to sunlight (UVR), can prevent the development of NAFLD.

They also note that most of the credit for these positive results has focused on vitamin D, yet clinical trials have yet to demonstrate a clear, beneficial effect of supplementation; therefore, they suggest that other mediators such as nitric oxide may be important. This is another of those studies that demonstrates the possibility that sunlight has positive affects on a disease independently of vitamin D. Future research may clarify that idea.

Until then, regular sun exposure may be good insurance for a healthy liver.

[1] Gorman S, Black LJ, Feelisch M, Hart PH, Weller R. Can skin exposure to sunlight prevent liver inflammation? Nutrients 2015 May 5;7(5):3219-39.

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