By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–
Health Benefits of Sunlight Outweigh Risks of Overexposure: New Study
MAY 8 — A British dermatologist — armed with a new study showing how UV from the sun and sunlamps triggers the natural production of nitric oxide in the skin to reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease — is challenging the dermatology industry worldwide to step back and re-think its position on UV exposure.
Edinburgh University Dermatologist Dr. Richard Weller will present findings from his new study Friday at the International Investigative Dermatology conference in Edinburgh, one of the world’s largest dermatology conventions.
“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,” Weller said in a press statement this week. “If this confirms that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, we will need to reconsider our advice on sun exposure.”
Weller’s study, a randomized controlled trial considered the strongest evidence in science, used a sunlamp to demonstrate that UV exposure triggers nitric oxide production in the skin which lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease, which kills 60-100 times more people than skin cancer.
There are no randomized controlled trials connecting sun exposure to skin cancer. Dermatology’s blanket condemnation of sun is based on survey studies and inferences that, properly analyzed, target sunburn but not regular UV as a potential risk factor for skin cancer.
“It’s time to revisit how dermatology groups have mischaracterized skin cancer’s complex relationship to UV while denying that there are benefits of sunlight,” said Dr. Marc Sorenson, founder of the Sunlight Institute. “Dr. Weller’s new study should put this center-stage.”
According to Medical News Today, “This new study is important because until now it was thought that sunlight’s only benefit to human health from sunlight was production of vitamin D, which rises after exposure to the sun. Previous studies have found that while increased vitamin D levels link to lower cardiovascular disease, oral supplements do not have an effect on this. ”
The Sunlight Institute believes overzealous sun avoidance is the biggest public health mistake of our time. For more information visit www.SunlightInstitute.org.
Click here to visit Medical News Today’s article on the Weller study.