4

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Benefits of sunlight exposure, other than Vitamin D?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 18, 2010 at 5:41 AM

Are there any MEASURABLE ones you know of? I hope so, because that's one more motivation for me to move to Hawaii.

My half-baked prediction: we don't know quite enough about the body yet, but something will pop up in the next 10-20 years.

Da4688a27b47c5ffc844e9a009369240

(55)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:34 PM

Happiness? Oh wait, you said measurable...

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 19, 2010
at 06:12 AM

@Eva: Visible light has effects separate from vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Light boxes work by exposing patients to visible light and are designed to minimize UV exposure to prevent adverse side effects ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_therapy ).

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 19, 2010
at 02:27 AM

Most of those could be the result of the D itself as D levels are correlated with most of those illnesses.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 19, 2010
at 02:25 AM

Yes, read this too, which is why I say try to get actual sun and not rely on supplements. It may even be that some of these products do not need intense UVB and may even occur when UVB is not present.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 19, 2010
at 02:24 AM

The endorphins will make it more likely that you will spend time in the sun. This is an intelligent system. The brain rewards you for doing something that is good for it. I do feel a good feeling when I am in the sun for a few minutes. I thought maybe it was placebo effect or imagination, but it makes sense now that it was endorphins.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 18, 2010
at 03:16 PM

Surely! http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.116-a160

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on September 18, 2010
at 06:57 AM

Kamal, thanks, but could you provide the reference? thanks!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 18, 2010
at 06:24 AM

Ah, just found an article!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 18, 2010
at 06:21 AM

There was some mention somewhere I read that the body produces multiple other products from sun exposure other than just D, none of which has been studied. But they are probably produced for a good reason, one would imagine..

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4 Answers

3
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 18, 2010
at 06:26 AM

Sorry, just found this:

"The sun may be best known for boosting production of vitamin D, but there are many other UVR-mediated effects independent of this pathway."

Direct immune suppression. Exposure to both UVA and UVB radiation can have direct immunosuppressive effects through upregulation of cytokines (TNF-?? and IL-10) and increased activity of T regulatory cells that remove self-reactive T cells. These mechanisms may help prevent autoimmune diseases.

Alpha melanocyte-stimulating hormone (??-MSH). Upon exposure to sunshine, melanocytes and keratinocytes in the skin release ??-MSH, which has been implicated in immunologic tolerance and suppression of contact hypersensitivity. ??-MSH also helps limit oxidative DNA damage resulting from UVR and increases gene repair, thus reducing melanoma risk, as reported 15 May 2005 in Cancer Research.

Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Released in response to both UVA and UVB exposure, this potent neuropeptide modulates a number of cytokines and is linked with impaired induction of immunity and the development of immunologic tolerance. According to a report in the September 2007 issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology, mast cells (which mediate hypersensitivity reactions) play a critical role in CGRP-mediated immune suppression. This could help explain sunlight???s efficacy in treating skin disorders such as psoriasis.

Neuropeptide substance P. Along with CGRP, this neuropeptide is released from sensory nerve fibers in the skin following UVR exposure. This results in increased lymphocyte proliferation and chemotaxis (chemically mediated movement) but may also produce local immune suppression.

Endorphins. UVR increases blood levels of natural opiates called endorphins. Melanocytes in human skin express a fully functioning endorphin receptor system, according to the June 2003 Journal of Investigative Dermatology, and a study published 24 November 2005 in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology suggests that the cutaneous pigmentary system is an important stress-response element of the skin.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 18, 2010
at 03:16 PM

Surely! http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.116-a160

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 19, 2010
at 02:24 AM

The endorphins will make it more likely that you will spend time in the sun. This is an intelligent system. The brain rewards you for doing something that is good for it. I do feel a good feeling when I am in the sun for a few minutes. I thought maybe it was placebo effect or imagination, but it makes sense now that it was endorphins.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on September 18, 2010
at 06:57 AM

Kamal, thanks, but could you provide the reference? thanks!

1
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 19, 2010
at 12:29 AM

Intense light exposure has many beneficial effects in humans in addition to vitamin D production and the immune effects already noted. Light boxes can mimic the effects of visible sunlight indoors. Light therapy has been used to treat:

1) insomnia-- http://www.sleepeducation.com/Article.aspx?id=49

2) jet lag-- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12432956

3) seasonal affective disorder (SAD)-- http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/DN00013

4) depression-- http://depression.about.com/od/sad/a/beyondsad.htm

5) bulimia-- http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/151/5/744

5) chronic fatigue syndrome-- http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/lifestyle_psychotherapeutic_treatments_chronic_fatigue_syndrome__000007_6.htm

6) dry eyes-- http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/health/your_health&id=7376208

7) male impotence and delayed orgasm-- http://www.healthcentral.com/prostate/news-290433-98.html

8) Parkinson's disease-- http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mds.21542/abstract;jsessionid=08345F6DB3D93D3009D8BB3ED10B26B9.d01t02

9) jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) in newborns-- http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/pa/umphototherapy.htm

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 19, 2010
at 02:27 AM

Most of those could be the result of the D itself as D levels are correlated with most of those illnesses.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 19, 2010
at 06:12 AM

@Eva: Visible light has effects separate from vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Light boxes work by exposing patients to visible light and are designed to minimize UV exposure to prevent adverse side effects ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_therapy ).

1
8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on September 18, 2010
at 12:08 PM

From 'The Vitamin D Solution': "Vitamin D made in the skin lasts at least twice as long in the blood as vitamin D ingested from the diet. When you are exposed to sunlight, you make not only vitamin D but also at least five and up to ten additional photoproducts that you would never get from dietary sources or from a supplement.

I don't know if the book goes into greater detail -- this is a quote from Dr. Eades' review. But I Trust Holick.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 19, 2010
at 02:25 AM

Yes, read this too, which is why I say try to get actual sun and not rely on supplements. It may even be that some of these products do not need intense UVB and may even occur when UVB is not present.

1
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on September 18, 2010
at 06:59 AM

two references worth checking, regarding sunlight and multiple sclerosis:

  1. Raghuwanshi A, et al. Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. J Cell Biochem 2008;105(2):338-343

  2. Becklund B et al. UV radiation suppresses experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis independent of vitamin D production. Proc Natl Acad Sci 22 Maarch 2010 [epub ahead of print]

cheers

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