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