Research finds that weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes could be slowed down due to sunshine exposure.
Ultraviolet light effects
Scientists from Southampto, Edinburgh and Australia found that overfed mice ate less when ultraviolet (UV) light was shone on them.
This UV treatment resulted in the mice displaying fewer warning signs of type 2 diabetes, such as abnormal insulin resistance and glucose levels.
Nitric Oxide, a natural gas which is released by the skin after exposure to sunlight, was linked to the UV treatment, which can help people control their metabolism and slow weight gain.
The same effect of the UV light was found when a cream containing nitric oxide was applied to the skin of the mice.
The researchers added that vitamin D, which is produced by the body in response to sunlight, did not appear to play a role in the results.
However, they also acknowledged that their results should be interpreted with caution. Mice are nocturnal animals, covered with fur, and generally not exposed to much sunlight.
Preventing type 2 diabetes
These findings have been met with optimism in regard to the prevention of type 2 diabetes, with moderate exposure to the sun’s rays is seen as greatly beneficial.
“This study in mice suggests that low doses of sunlight might help to reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes by an effect unrelated to vitamin D, but further research is needed to see if this also applies in humans,” said Dr Richard Elliott, of Diabetes UK.
“We know that spending more time outdoors contributes to a healthier lifestyle in other ways, such as through exercise”.

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