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Lower your blood pressure in your backyard
Your annual checkup results are in and your blood pressure is UP !
Your instinct says……….
this blood pressure problem, CAN be fixed, all you need is a holiday.
A few days on a tropical island, baking in the sun and sipping a mojito. Avoiding your busy in-box, the traffic, your overbearing boss and the multitude of other stressors, you’re experience, will let the pressure out.
But, that’s NOT going to happen anytime soon !
Well, I’ve got GREAT NEWS…….
You can get much of the BENEFIT, in your backyard.
Exotic beach locations and the removal of those irritations and frustrations, that are part and parcel of YOUR LIFE, for a week or two, is NICE. And highly recommended !
But it is NOT obligatory.
The MUST HAVE ingredient, is the SUN.
And, the blood pressure lowering effects, happen INSTANTANEOUSLY.
Which is good news, since a little sun, is something that can be arranged…..
But, RIGHT NOW, it is NOT SOMETHING, you’re arranging.
In fact, truth be told, you haven’t seen the sun, since last year’s vacation…..which for the record, was a sizziling experience.
The reason for the absence of sun…..
Your life happens, INSIDE and you deliberately avoid sun exposure, because sun exposure CAUSES skin cancer.
Not so fast.
Sunburn is not the same as sun exposure
First off, there is a difference between sun tanning and SUN BURNING.
Staying in the sun until you turn into a crispy, is ill advised. Not only does it hurt, it causes some serious damage to the skin. This damage that can come back to bite you, in a diagnosis of skin cancer, years down the line.
A sporadic killer
Skin cancer is definitely a killer, BUT….. in the big picture of things, it is pretty rare. Statistically speaking, you’re far more likely to die of heart disease.
And if your blood pressure is HIGH. The odds of this happening have just multiplied.
Could it be time to change your thinking on sun exposure ?
I know about vitamin D…..
And I’m DOING it !
It’s probably helping, being vitamin D deficient/insufficient, sets you up for BAD BODY CHEMISTRY, but there is plenty of science to suggest, “fixing” vitamin D, is NOT enough.
The reason, the beneficial effects on blood pressure
HAVE NOTHING TO DO, WITH VITAMIN D.
Move over vitamin D
For one, the effect of the sun on blood pressure, occurs INSTANTLY.
It takes hours to turn cholesterol into vitamin D.
The sun’s blood pressure lowering magic, is tied up in skins stores of nitrite….
UV light makes nitric oxide
If you beam, a little UV light, onto a nitrite solution – chemistry happens.
This is what a team of researchers, based in the Radiation Effects Department, in the UK, discovered, when they beamed light on a 10 mM solution of sodium nitrite (NaNO3) and sodium nitrate (NaNO2).
The effect is most notable, for UV-A and UV-C light.
Since the ozone layer, screens out UV-C light, the UV-A light is what we’re interested in. Here you can see, the effect, at different intensities of light.
If you’re still reading, your reaction to this news, might be s…………..SO WHAT ?
There is nitrite in your skin
Lots of it, the levels of nitrite can be anywhere from 25 times to 360 times higher, in your skin, versus your plasma…
Now, Mother Nature never does things, without a reason.
Our team found, the sodium nitrite, our body has squirreled away, in the skin layers, reacts the same way, to UV irradiation, as the nitrite solution.
When they pinched skins samples, from baby boys and adults, and exposed them, to the levels of light, you’re likely to encounter on a sunny day, in London.
Nitric oxide is released.
Pretty much every cell type, found in your skin, produces some nitric oxide.
Comparison of response to UV-A irradiation in foreskin keratinocytes from 22 different donors. © Graham Holliman et al 2017
Now, all skins did it, but, some were a lot, better at it than others. At this stage, they don’t know why, there are differences. Odds are, it’s related to, overall body chemistry.
Maybe you’re still thinking, SO WHAT ?
Nitric oxide regulates blood pressure
We’ve known this for years……….
The way that it does this, is by encouraging the little muscles, that surround blood vessels, to relax.
But, you’ve got to be CAREFUL – dropping blood pressure TOO much, is also a problem.
But that won’t happen, when “sun tanning”….
A smidge not a floods
The team found, on average, the cells increased nitric oxide levels, by 7 %.
That’s a smidge.
But, there are LOTS of cells, so that smidge, on paper at least, could be TOO MUCH.
Fortunately, it’s NOT. The reason, nitric oxide flits, it’s around for a very short period of time. Despite being a powerful signalling molecule, in it’s own right, the vasodilation effect, depends on being in the right place i.e. near a blood vessel.
The UV-A light goes deep – it is able to penetrate, through the multiple layers of the skin. The deep dive, ensures, the nitric oxide production, happens
RIGHT WHERE IT MATTERS
Living UNDER the sun
Humans have always lived under the sun, in fact, many ancient cultures “worshipped” the sun, only modern man abhors the sun, this “avoiding” the sun, has consequences, among them, HIGHER BLOOD PRESSURE.
If you want to LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE……. get some sun !
Skin cells, work closely with the immune cells to keep the border closed. The same techniques humans use, to keep unwanted bacteria out……. THEY PICKLE THEM
Remote ischemic preconditioning, uses a blood pressure cuff, to deliberately cut off the blood supply – it’s cruel, but in the end, practice makes perfect
We’re told to AVOID THE SUN, like the plague, because….. SUN EXPOSURE CAUSES SKIN CANCER, but when you crunch the numbers, sun avoiding IS A RISK FACTOR for dying early