Sunny Disposition: The Health Effects

According to a recent study, sunshine can lower blood pressure and even reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. A Sunny Disposition can help. Past research has concluded that those affected with hypertension tended to have lower blood pressure in warmer months compared to colder seasons. Additionally, cardiovascular disease occurs in higher concentrations with distance from the equator.

Sunny Disposition: How it Helps Your Health

Recently released in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the study proved that a person’s levels of nitric oxide change when exposed to sunlight. As a result, the molecular changes can protect organs and cause blood pressure to drop.

Hypertension risks

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, happens when the force of blood flow is too high, creating pressure on the arteries of the heart. The tissue of the arteries get stretched beyond their normal limits and can pose several risks to those affected.

High blood pressure can have a number of effects, including increased risk of developing heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, lung problems and peripheral artery disease. However, for most people, high blood pressure has no symptoms.

The sunny side

Fortunately, there are many ways to manage high blood pressure, including diet, exercise and medicine. After the most recent study, getting a few hours of sunlight each day or week can also prove to help those dealing with hypertension. According to researchers, the drop in blood pressure when exposed to sunlight was small, but still represented a noticeable difference and benefit.

While direct sunlight was found to be the cause of increased levels of nitric oxide and a drop of blood pressure, future research may attempt to reveal how the body uses and stores nitric oxide.

“We believe that [Nitric Oxide] from the skin is an important, so far overlooked contributor to cardiovascular health,” said Martin Feelisch, professor of experimental medicine and integrative biology at the University of Southampton. “In future studies we intend to test whether the effects hold true in a more chronic setting and identify new nutritional strategies targeted at maximizing the skin’s ability to store NO and deliver it to the circulation more efficiently.”

Vitamin D supplements ineffective

Vitamin D has long been considered an essential element for health, but surprising new research has shown that taking vitamin D supplements actually have very little effect on improving health. In a recent study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, vitamin D supplements were shown to not protect against heart disease, stroke or cancer.

Authors of the study originally predicted that vitamin D supplements would provide protection from certain ailments by 15 percent.

“Existing evidence does not lend support to the commonly held belief that vitamin D supplementation in general prevents osteoporosis, fractures and nonskeletal diseases,” said Karl Michaelsson, one author of the study. “Consequently, the impression that vitamin D is a sunshine vitamin and that increasing doses lead to improved health is far from clear.”

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Pete Blasi