Other than tanned skin, sunny weather and longer days, there could now be another reason to miss the summer time. According to new research, the lack of sunshine might be causing unwanted weight gain – great.
In a new study by the University of Alberta, published in the journal Nature, researchers have shown the fat cells that lie just beneath our skin actually shrink when exposed to the blue light emitted by the sun.
“When the sun’s blue light wavelengths — the light we can see with our eye — penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell. In other words, our cells don’t store as much fat,” said Peter Light, senior author of the study.
“If you flip our findings around, the insufficient sunlight exposure we get eight months of the year living in a northern climate may be promoting fat storage and contribute to the typical weight gain some of us have over winter,” he added.
However, this is not a new fad diet to follow as the findings are only an initial observation. Basking in the sunlight is not a safe or recommended way to lose weight. Too much exposure to the sun can lead to other health risks including headaches, sunburn and in the most serious cases – skin cancer.
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So, maybe it isn’t time to pack up your life and move to a sunnier place, but this is still a great discovery which could lead to light-based treatments for obesity and other related health issues such as diabetes.
“Our initial first observation certainly holds many fascinating clues for our team and others around the world to explore,” says Light.
It might be too early to tell whether the sun will boost weight loss, but getting your daily dose of vitamin D is encouraged. It helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body as well as reduce depression and even fight disease.
When the winter sun comes out it might be a good idea to wrap up warm and get in the fresh air. Science says so.
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