Sun exposure helps prevent obesity, diabetes in mice
Moderate sun exposure may help prevent the development of obesity and diabetes, according to new animal research.
Scientists from Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Australia tested the effects of sunlight on mice after feeding them a high-fat diet in order to trigger obesity and diabetes. The mice were then exposed to moderate levels of UV radiation.
The researchers found that after the UV exposure, the mice showed reduced weight gain and fewer indications of diabetes, such as high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
The researchers then analyzed whether the effects of UV exposure were due to vitamin D. However, they found that the results of the study was actually due to nitric oxide, which is a compound that the skin releases after being exposed to the sun.
The study's findings, published in the journal Diabetes, suggest that moderate exposure to sunlight, in addition to a healthy diet and exercise, may help prevent obesity and diabetes, which have beengrowing problems for American children in recent years. Researchers noted, however, that human studies are needed before any clear conclusions can be reached about the effect of sunlight in fighting obesity.