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February 13, 2013
Sometimes it is not easy to avoid sun exposure, especially during warm season when there is plenty of sun and the day is very long. For some people who are sensitive to sunlight, sun exposure can cause unwanted complications and adverse effects, which sometimes can be really serious and possibly even lethal. But for most people some shot-time sun exposure is actually recommended since it is the best way to receive some vitamin D which is produced in our body only under the effects of the UV radiation from sun. At the same time, prolonged sun exposure or being under the hot sun is still considered dangerous and harmful to our health. The effects of sunlight on human body and our health have been thoroughly studied for many years, and the related researches are still going on in many scientific establishments. The researchers analyze the differences in health and disease dynamic in people who live in sunny climates and those who live in colder areas. Sometimes the findings of such studies are very interesting.
This month, it was reported that those people who are exposed to sunlight more often have reduced risk for suffering from such a common health condition as rheumatoid arthritis. Those are the findings of a group of scientists at Harvard Medical School, who analyzed the data on over 200,000 women and found the links between sun exposure and reduced arthritis risk. The data was received from an extensive study evaluating the health condition and daily habits of people. It started in 1976, and then went on in 1989, followed by a few more monitoring sessions. Health condition and the developed diseases were compared to the habits, daily life and other important factors including the amount of sun exposure. As further more detailed analysis has shown, the participants from the first group (maximum daily sun exposure) had up to 21 per cent lower chances to develop rheumatoid arthritis compared to the participants from the third group (the lowest sun exposure level).
However, to a great surprise of the researchers, it seemed like the level of the UV did not have any influence on the arthritis risk, especially in the later years of the study. The main hypothesis proposed by the researchers was attributing this phenomena to the effectiveness of modern time’s cosmetic products which protect our skin against harmful effects of sunlight. But unfortunately, it was not possible to confirm or disconfirm this theory. “Our study adds to the growing evidence that exposure to UV-B light is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis,” it is stated in the report. The discovered effects and the links between sun exposure and decreased arthritis risk are explained by increased vitamin D presence in the body. Most likely, this important substance has effective protective properties and can play a role of natural protection against rheumatoid arthritis.
The findings of the UK Scientists were published recently in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, and you can check out detailed information about the research in this publication. Many specialists gave their comments regarding this study and acknowledged its high importance. It turned out to be the first study to show the links between vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis. “Studies that have been undertaken have not shown, thus far, that vitamin D is a useful treatment for rheumatoid arthritis,” Prof Alan Silman, as expert of Arthritis Research UK, commented on the findings. He expressed his home that Harvard School research group will continue the work and look closer at the discovered relationship. For the moment, as we do not know a lot about using sunlight for reducing arthritis risk, the specialist recommends going out and enjoy the benefits of daily 15-minute sun exposure, with opened hands and face but legs and shoulders protected from UV light. This is the best way to receive vitamin D and enjoy the effects of this nutrient, sunshine vitamin, which is essential for our good skin health.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.