UV radiation in sunlight lowers blood pressure

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Moderate sunlight can help against hypertension

Sunlight is said to help alleviate high blood pressure by widening the blood vessels with UV rays. British scientists write in the "Journal of Investigative Dermatology". This connection could also explain why patients have higher hypertension in winter than in summer.

Sunlight affects high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular diseases
As the researchers report, UV radiation affects the nitrogen monoxide content in the skin, which causes the blood vessels to widen. This reduces arterial pressure and blood pressure drops. So far, doctors have explicitly warned against sunbathing due to the risk of skin cancer. However, according to the study, it is advisable to expose yourself to the sun's rays to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack.

Martin Feelisch, medical professor at the University of Southampton, and his colleagues conducted their experiments with 24 study participants, who lay under a tanning lamp with UV radiation for 20 minutes. This achieved a radiation intensity of 30 minutes in the real sun. The procedure was repeated, but without the UV radiation, so that the test subjects were only irradiated with heat. While there was a decrease in blood pressure in the first attempt, no effect on blood pressure was found in the second attempt. According to the researchers, their results correspond to the seasonal fluctuations in blood pressure and the resulting risks for problems with the cardiovascular system.

"All of our data collectively provide mechanism-related insights into an important function of the skin in modulating systemic nitric oxide bioavailability, which can be responsible for the seasonal and latitude-related fluctuations in blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases," write the scientists in the specialist magazine. (ag)

Image: Dieter Schütz / Pixelio

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