Sunshine seems to lower blood pressure

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

sunlight bike
Suddenly a sunlit bike ride is extra healthy.

Even though doctors have linked too much sun exposure to cancer, a new study found that the right amount may help lower blood pressure.

Researchers from the United Kingdom exposed a group of volunteers to a dose of Ultraviolet-A radiation, which is equivalent to 30 minutes of hanging out in the sunshine. According to the results, the participants’ blood vessels dilated (became larger) and allowed blood to flow more easily.

It appears that a healthy dose of golden rays lowers blood pressure by releasing a compound known as nitric oxide, a chemical that helps expand blood vessels. Study researcher Martin Feelisch, a professor of experimental medicine and integrative biology at the University of Southampton, explains, “…sunlight and the potential contribution the skin may make has never been on the radar.”

This could be used to improve high blood pressure, which is known as a silent killer. However, researchers still need to determine whether multiple doses are effective or not, and whether effectiveness depends on a person’s age, gender, or diseases.

Still, I hope China clears up their air pollution so citizens can enjoy this blood-calming light.

Featured image courtesy of Andrew Kudrin on Wikimedia. Image of sunlit bike rider courtesy of Stefan Powell on Wikimedia.