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Sunlight provides health benefits apart from Vitamin D synthesis

Posted:  Thursday, August 13, 2015

It may not be a drug, but if it were to be, the Sun would be considered a powerful one. Emerging research shows that UV rays not only stimulate Vitamin D synthesis in our skin but also provide other health benefits.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, a recent study brought to fore the findings of a survey conducted by a non-profit public health research organisation, GrassrootsHealth. The researchers have a reason to believe that moderate UV exposure improves health, not to forget in a natural manner.

The mystery behind the magic is that over thousands of years the human body has learnt to adapt to sunlight exposure and consequently draw many physiological benefits apart from Vitamin D production. Thus, avoiding sunlight can usher unnecessary risks into the picture.

There is a growing body of evidence that heliotherapy (treatments that use sunlight) is the way out for cutaneous tuberculosis and the like. Consistent with this, 99% of dermatologists surveyed (by Grassroots Health) trust that psoriasis and other non-lethal skin conditions can be treated by exposure to UV light.

In the light of these findings, Carole Baggerly, executive director of GrassrootsHealth and co-author of the paper, suggested the following, "We urge the US Surgeon General's office and other public health entities to do the work needed to recommend UV exposure levels that are both beneficial and safe, and which favour scientifically-researched information over current cultural norms."

Although further research is required to understand the health benefits of UV light, it is safe to say that sunlight provides benefits that far outweigh those from vitamin D supplements.

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