Sun exposure and its effects on human health: mechanisms through which sun exposure could reduce the risk of developing obesity and cardiometabolic dysfunction

Naomi Fleury, Sian Geldenhuys, Shelley Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Obesity is a significant burden on global healthcare due to its high prevalence and associations with chronic health conditions. In our animal studies, ongoing exposure to low dose ultraviolet radiation (UVR, found in sunlight) reduced weight gain and the development of signs of cardiometabolic dysfunction in mice fed a high fat diet. These observations suggest that regular exposure to safe levels of sunlight could be an effective means of reducing the burden of obesity. However, there is limited knowledge around the nature of associations between sun exposure and the development of obesity and cardiometabolic dysfunction, and we do not know if sun exposure (independent of outdoor activity) affects the metabolic processes that determine obesity in humans. In addition, excessive sun exposure has strong associations with a number of negative health consequences such as skin cancer. This means it is very important to “get the balance right” to ensure that we receive benefits without increasing harm. In this review, we detail the evidence around the cardiometabolic protective effects of UVR and suggest mechanistic pathways through which UVR could be beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
Article number999
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume13
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2016

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