Wonderful Benefits Of Sunlight For Optimal And Healthy Weight Loss

Although the sun has got a bad reputation due to UV and skin cancers, the sun also has a host of beneficial effects, including weight loss. Some people apply thick layers of sunscreen in the heat of summer, while others soak up the sun’s rays with little concern for their skin. Although the sun itself cannot directly cause weight loss, its effect on the body may provide better atmosphere to be successful in weight loss goals. It appears that the skin releases nitric oxide after sunlight exposure.  A new study has found that the release of this natural gas helps people control their metabolism and induce weight loss.

Sunlight exposure slows weight gain

University of Edinburgh reports that this information could help those who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which is often fueled by obesity or unhealthy lifestyles.  This research was a combined effort from Edinburgh, Southampton, and Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Australia.  Scientists found that nitric oxide cream had the same effect on mice exposed to ultra-violet light.

A study examined the relationship between the sun’s rays and metabolism, and found that shining UV light in overfed mice slowed their weight gain and caused the animals to display a fewer signs of type-2 diabetes. A compound called nitric oxide, which is triggered in the body after exposure to sunshine has the same effect on the body. The mice’s abnormal glucose levels and resistance to insulin changed after exposure to sunlight or nitric oxide.

Dr Richard Weller, senior lecturer in dermatology at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We know sun-seekers live longer than those who spend their lives in the shade. Studies such as this are helping us to understand how the sun can be good for us. We need to remember that skin cancer is not the only disease that can kill us and should perhaps balance our advice on sun exposure.”

Benefits of Sunlight Exposure

Apart from the above research, there are a lot of other ways in which the sunlight exposure helps weight loss:

Serotonin: People living in the areas of the world that experience dark and cold winters may be probably be familiar with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a disorder that occurs when the lack of sunlight causes a drop in the neurotransmitter serotonin’s levels in the brain. This drop results in mood changes such as depression. Not only can a drop in serotonin level affect the mood, it may also affect other things such as appetite and feelings of hunger and satiation. Thus, sunlight controls the effect of serotonin, indirectly controlling weight loss.

Hypothalamus: Hunger is largely controlled by a part of the brain called hypothalamus. The hypothalamus works with serotonin to relieve hunger. As the body reaches its needed calories intake, serotonin is released, causing a feeling of fullness. With a lack of sunlight resulting in SAD causing a drop in serotonin levels, this drop can result in fullness very late. This can cause a higher intake during times when the sunlight is not prevalent.

Heat-production theory: Another way that sunlight may play in weight loss has to do with Brobeck’s theory of heat production. This theory states that as the body temperature drops, one tends to feel hungrier. This can result in greater calorie consumption during periods with less sunlight, which can cause a fluctuation in weight.

Activity: Another reason why sunlight may affect weight loss has to do with the activity level. Although there are activities that can be done in the winter when sunlight is shortened, much of the population is more active during spring and summer when the days are longer and warmer. Activities (whether hiking, camping, or going for a walk in the park) burn more calories. These added activities go a long ways to increase the overall calories burned in a week, leading to greater levels of weight loss.

Other findings

  • Prior studies show that nitric oxide also lowers blood pressure after sunlamp exposure.
  • Dr Martin Feelisch, of Southampton University, said, “Our observations indicate that the amounts of nitric oxide released from the skin may have beneficial effects, not only on heart and blood vessels, but also on the way our body regulates metabolism.”
  • Dr Shelley Gorman, of the Telethon Kids Institute, said, “Our findings are important because they suggest that exposure to sunlight, together with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet, may help prevent the development of obesity in children.”
  • Professor David Ray, of Manchester University, said, “These findings support the idea that a healthy lifestyle should include time outside in the sunshine, not only for exercise, but also to benefit from sunlight on skin.”
  • In addition to the health benefit of nitric oxide, sun exposure increases the body’s production of Vitamin D.

Exposure to bright light in the morning appears linked to reduced appetite and lower body weight, regardless of sleep patterns. Not only does the sunlight affect the levels of Vitamin D in the body, it also helps in regulating metabolism. The nitric oxide released on exposure to sunlight is highly beneficial; also it affects the levels of neurotransmitter responsible for appetite and weight loss. It also helps in controlling diabetes and blood pressure, thus protecting the heart health. Lose weight with Sunlight exposure!