A new study has revealed that the UV rays from sunlight can help release a key protein (Nitric Oxide) that can help keep you slim by increasing your metabolic rate.
This study was undertaken at Edinburgh and Southampton Universities who experimented on mice.
Dr Richard Weller, a senior lecturer in dermatology at the University of Edinburgh had this to say about the study:
“Studies such as this one are helping us to understand how the sun can be good for us.”
“We need to remember that skin cancer is not the only disease that can kill us and should perhaps balance our advice on sun exposure.”
What did the study involve?
The study involved looking at how UV light slowed down the weight gain of overfed mice, with those exposed to the UV displaying fewer warning signs that you would expect to see linked to type 2 diabetes, for example abnormal glucose levels and a resistance to insulin.
The scientists behind the study discovered that the UV light caused the production of Nitric Oxide to increase, which can help your body digest and process food and sugar quicker and more effectively.
However, the scientists did warn that while this research was promising, it may not work the same for humans, with more studies needed.
Mice are nocturnal animals that are covered in fur so usually will not be exposed to much UV light, whereas humans are exposed to it on a daily basis.
What is known though is that Nitric Oxide has other benefits for humans, as it can help to lower blood pressure. Whether sunlight can help to increase the production of this protein however, remains to be seen.
Professor Martin Feelisch from the University of Southampton had this to say about the findings:
“These observations further indicate that the amounts of nitric oxide released from the skin may have beneficial effects not only on heart and blood vessels but also on the way our body regulates metabolism.”
Scientists have often talked about the benefits of sunlight, with weight loss perhaps now being another benefit. Just remember that too much sunlight can be bad for your health too, as if you are not protected you may raise the risk of developing skin cancer.