AGMD Episode #6- Can the sun heal your heart- with Dermatologist, Dr. Richard Weller & Aaron Grossman, MD (1)

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Richard Weller, Dermatologist at The University of Edinburgh. We already know that our bodies get Vitamin D from the sun, but dermatologist Richard Weller suggests that sunlight may provide another health benefit too. New research by Dr. Richard Weller and his team support that Nitric Oxide (NO), a chemical transmitter stored in huge reserves in the skin, can be released by UV light, to be a great benefit for blood pressure and the cardiovascular system.

To watch Dr. Richard Weller’s Ted Talk that has over 943,260 views, “Could the sun be good for your heart?”, click here. 

To access Dr. Richard  Weller’s research, click here. 

Show Notes:

-38:35 How did you get started in the research of Vitamin D supplementation, sunshine, and Nitric Oxide (NO)?

In 1998, a Nobel Prize was awarded to three American Researchers: Robert F. Furchgott, PhD, Louis J. Ignarro, PhD, Ferid Murad, MD, PhD, who discovered Nitric Oxide (NO) to have a wide range of roles in the body.

This research found Nitric Oxide (NO) having these important roles in the body:

  1. Relaxes Blood Vessels
  2. Controls blood pressure, important in controlling blood flow and overall helps the body work well.
  3. Made from Arginine, an Amino Acid
  4. It was thought that NO was converted to NO2 and then to NO3 (inactive)

Dr. Richard Weller has since then proven that NO3 has very high stores in the skin and when UV light hits the skin, it converts back into NO, and goes back into the body’s blood circulation.

-36:25 What specific role does this process play in the skin?

-33:35 The Downside of Sunlight: The Two Types of Skin Cancer:

  1. Melanoma Skin Cancer – Dangerous
  2. Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer – Less dangerous, very common. Sunlight is a big risk factor

-32:30 The Upside of Sunlight: More sunlight may mean increased lifespan

-31:50 Vitamin D: Sun vs. Supplementation

-28:35 Vitamin D as a marker: Sunlight, Exercise

-24:22 “Sunlight avoidance is as bad for your health as smoking.”

-23:15 Could people who are further away from the equator benefit from tanning beds and artificial tanning beds?

-20:00 Is there any relation with melatonin and the blue light wavelengths that block melatonin?

“Blue light is very safe and doesn’t cause DNA damage”

-18:30 How much of a role does the heat from the sun play in effecting blood pressure?

14:55 The effect of sunlight and your desire to exercise: “Light effects mood, but it also effects the sleep-weight cycle. Sleep doctors use bright light in the morning to get your sleep cycles back into sync. It makes entire sense to me that bright light makes you want to move around more.”

-13:43 Beetroot Juice: Almost banned from the London Olympics

Beetroot has been shown to lower your blood pressure and makes you more efficient when exercising since you don’t use as much oxygen to generate as much ATP (energy).

Green leafy vegetables grown at higher latitudes have higher nitrate levels.

-11:39 Upcoming trial: Use of UV from UV lamps as a treatment for high blood pressure

-10:49 3 Takeaways by Dr. Richard Weller

  1. Sunlight is an avoidable risk factor of skin cancer
  2. Sunlight has extreme benefits to exercise
  3. Dermatologists should focus on making clients healthier as a whole person, and overall general health, and not just concentrating on avoiding sun cancer.

-9:40 Effects of UV on Psoriasis and Acne