Sunshine offers protection - even without vitamin D
The effect of UV rays on the immune system is much more significant than the effects of the "sunshine vitamin".
Veldhoven, 25 April 2012 (SRF) The sun has a great impact on human health in a range of different ways. A large part of its effect is due to vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. Benefits include regulation of the immune system and protection against autoimmune illnesses such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis as well as bacterial and viral infections.
But even here, the sun is not totally and in every case reliant on the "mediation services" provided by the sunshine vitamin D, as has now been proven by Australian researchers:
In their study, the group of researchers investigated to what extent the immunoregulatory effects of UV irradiance are exclusively exerted by the production of the "sunshine vitamin" via the skin. The scientists compared the results of studies that focused on the effects of vitamin D against studies that concentrated on exposure to the sun or UV irradiance. The results of their review reveal that the effect of UV irradiance on the immune system far exceeds the effects of the "sunshine vitamin".
"For the immune system to fully benefit from the effects of UV irradiance, it is essential to have regular, but moderate, exposure to the sun or to visit a solarium", explains Ad Brand from the Sunlight Research Forum (SRF). He adds that avoiding sunlight wherever possible and satisfying vitamin D requirements primarily through dietary supplements seems to be the wrong approach, according to the latest research.
The Sunlight Research Forum (SRF) is a non-profit-organisation based in the Netherlands. Its aim is to make the latest medical and scientific evidence on the effects of moderate exposure to UV radiation available to the general public.
Prue H. Hart, Shelley Gorman, John J. Finlay-Jones: "Modulation of the immune system by UV irradiance: more than just the effects of vitamin D?" in: Nature Reviews Immunology 11, 584 (2011)
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