A new study by researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada has revealed that fat cells under the skin are sensitive to a specific spectrum of sunlight and shrink when exposed.
The Study led by Peter Light was completely by accident, the team of researchers were investigating ways to use light as a trigger to make fat cells produce insulin to help people with type 1 diabetes. “It was serendipitous,” says Peter Light, senior author on the study. “We noticed the reaction in human tissue cells in our negative control experiments, and since there was nothing in the literature, we knew it was important to investigate further.”
Peter adds, “it’s early days, but it’s not a giant leap to suppose that the light that regulates our circadian rhythm, received through our eyes, may also have the same impact through the fat cells near our skin”.
He doesn’t suggest heading outside and exposing yourself to hours of sun light (skin cancer is a thing, after all). But based on his findings, Light says our surroundings may play a bigger role than we think: “We need to consider more than vitamin D. We need to look at what’s an appropriate level of sunlight exposure, and what’s good for our bodies overall,” he explains.
“Either way, this exciting discovery “certainly holds many fascinating clues for our team and others around the world to explore,” Light concludes.
1. Sunlight and Vitamin D may reduce the risk of no fewer than 17 types of different cancers. One of the most striking findings regarding cancer incidence is that for many forms of the disease, cancer incidence is higher the further you live from the equator. Also, studies have found that the most serious cases of cancer are diagnosed in the winter.
2. The sun’s light kills bad bacteria. The German soldiers after WWI knew of the discoveries that had been made in 1903 by the Nobel Prize winner, Niels Finsen. They used sunlight to disinfect and heal wounds.
3. Sunlight has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema and fungal infections of the skin.
4. Sunlight lowers cholesterol. The sun converts high cholesterol in the blood into steroid hormones and the sex hormones we need for reproduction. In the absence of sunlight, the opposite happens; substances convert to cholesterol.
5. The sun’s rays lower blood pressure. Even a single exposure significantly lowers blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.
6. Sunlight penetrates deep into the skin to cleanse the blood and blood vessels. Medical literature published in Europe showed that people with atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) improved with sun exposure.
7. Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood. And, it also enhances the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissues; very similar to the effects of exercise. The sun has a great effect on stamina, fitness and muscular development.
8. Sunlight builds the immune system. The white blood cells, which increase with sun exposure, are called lymphocytes, and these play a major role in defending the body against infections.
9. Regular sunlight exposure increases the growth and height of children, especially babies. Many cultures throughout history have recognized this fact. Studies have shown the amount of sun exposure in the first few months has an effect on how tall the person grows.
10. Sunlight can cure depression. The noon sunshine can deliver 100,000 lux. When we sit in offices for the best part of the day, out of the sun, under neon and artificial lights (150-600 lux), we are depriving ourselves of the illumination of nature. Sunlight deprivation can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. It is more common in winter months, but also common in people who work long hours in office buildings.
Exposure to the sun should be done SLOWLY! If you are not used to the sun, then your skin will be more sensitive to it. Avoid sunburn by building up your tolerance SLOWLY. (As a rough guide 20 minutes of exposure is the equivalent of 10,000 IU).