Scientists in the UK say research suggests that exposing skin to the sun may have benefits that outweigh the risk of skin cancer, such as lowering blood pressure.
Researchers at Edinburgh University say that UV rays release a compound, nitric oxide that lowers blood pressure. And since heart disease and stroke linked to high blood pressure kill 80 times more people than skin cancer, the benefits may outweigh the risks.
Nitric Oxide, they say is not produced by the same mechanism in the body that produced vitamin D. Until now, researchers thought that vitamin D production was the sole benefit of exposure to the sun.
But studies done in Edinburgh suggest, “the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer,” said Dr. Richard Weller, Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at Edinburgh. “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.”
More study needs to be done, but if they can confirm that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, doctors might have to reconsider their advice concerning sun exposure.
Perhaps the skin cancer risk is not a problem with the sun, but with other lifestyle habits such as what is eaten.
Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. . . . Nature, untrammeled, does her work wisely and well. Those who persevere in obedience to her laws will reap the reward in health of body and health of mind. The Faith I Live By, page 233