Most people think that sitting in the sun is detrimental, especially in terms of skin cancer, but findings from a new study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference indicate that there may be positive results related to being in the sun. The research suggests that the amount of sunlight one is exposed to might play a part in determining one’s risk for a stroke.
The research team focused on 16,000 patients who had no past history of stroke or heart disease at the time of the study. The scientists verified that the participants who lived in areas with the least amount of sun exposure had a 50% increased risk of stroke. However, no protective benefit from sunlight was found in some of the Southeastern coastal plains regions of Georgia as well as North and South Carolina, “How do we resolve this paradox that increased sunlight leads to decreased stroke risk, but in the stroke belt where there is lots of sunlight, there is also an increase of stroke?” The scientists asked.
One thing that was not mentioned in the study was suntan lotion use among the study participants. Could increased risk of stroke in sunny climates be due to the fact that very little vitamin D is absorbed through the skin in the presence of sunscreen?
It was however confirmed that those who had higher blood levels of vitamin D obtained from food and supplements had an 11 per cent decreased risk of stroke and a 24 per cent reduction in cognitive impairment.
There have been studies linking vitamin D to heart health, low blood pressure and inflammation reduction, so it makes sense to conclude that it can also offer protection for the brain.