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SOURCE: Vascular Health Sciences
New study links sunlight exposure to reduced incidence of rheumatoid arthritis. Vascular Health Sciences Chief Science Officer weighs in.
Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) February 24, 2013
HealthDay News reported this month that a long-term study links exposure to sunlight with a reduced incidence of rheumatoid arthritis in women.
“Unfortunately, in recent years news coverage concerning sunshine exposure has been largely negative,“ said Vascular Health Sciences Chief Science Officer Nathalie Chevreau. “Overexposure is, of course, a bad thing, but we shouldn’t be scared to go outside. The benefits of vitamin D, produced in the body when sunlight is absorbed through skin, are better understood now. Joint health is clearly linked to vitamin D as well, according to this new study.”
Beginning in 1976 in the United States, a total of 235,000 women participated in the study. The first phase included nurses who were aged 30-55 at that time, and their study continued until 2008. In 1989, the second group, consisting of nurses aged 25-42 began, and these women were tracked until 2009.
Over this time period, 1,314 of the women developed rheumatoid arthritis. Based on the regions in which the nurses lived, a general level of exposure to sunlight, UV-B in particular, was determined. There was no attempt made to track lifestyle choices or outdoor recreation of individual participants.
Women in the earlier group who lived in sunnier climates were 21% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. There was no such correlation in the later study group. It is speculated that the younger women had been educated to consider exposure to the sun as risky, and so reduced their time outside without protecting their skin.
The Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University has shown that vitamin D binds to receptors in tissues and acts as a steroid hormone. This includes joint tissue, and it serves to keep joints healthy. Both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patients have been shown to have lower than normal levels of vitamin D. The European Union League Against Rheumatism reported nearly 75 percent of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers were deficient in the sunshine vitamin.
At a level lower than 30 ng/mL, the parathyroid gland initiates a process that leads to calcium loss in bones. However, the Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that an ideal level of vitamin D may be more in the range of 50-70 ng/mL.
“It is difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone,” said Chevreau. “More time in the sun, and or a supplement may be important. A conversation with your doctor is the key here.”
About Vascular Health Sciences
Founded in 2010, Vascular Health Sciences explores technologies, develops products and disseminates information to increase awareness and promote the proper care of the endothelial glycocalyx. Vascular Health Sciences is committed to increasing awareness of the glycocalyx and its role in vascular health, and to providing products supporting the care of this essential system. For more information, visit VascularHealthSciences.com.
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