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UV Light & Blood Pressure

February 4, 2014

Moderate exposure to UV sunlight may help control blood pressure.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host): UV and BP. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

UV2

(Susanne Bard)

Moderate sun exposure may lower blood pressure.  This according to Martin Feelisch, a professor of experimental medicine at the University of Southampton in England.  His team found that volunteers’ blood pressure lowered slightly but significantly after just two twenty-minute exposures to UV light – but not to an identical dose of heat without the UV. Feelisch says the UV triggers the release of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels.

MARTIN FEELISCH (University of Southampton):

So this is something that is sitting in the skin, that can be activated by light, is then released into the circulation and lowers the blood pressure.

HIRSHON:

The findings are consistent with the fact that blood pressure levels tend to run a little higher in winter than in summer. It’s also another sign, along with a rise in vitamin D deficiency, that we probably shouldn’t be avoiding the sun entirely. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

(Susanne Bard)

(Susanne Bard)