When the first heat arrives, we immediately think of suntan and tanning, while the doctors and dermatologists warn us about the risks of UV rays, the most aggressive, for the skin. Actually, if it is true that from these aggressive rays it is necessary to protect the skin, in order to avoid wrinkles, premature aging and in the cases most at risk of tumors and melanomas, it is also true that the sun can be a panacea for the heart, the immune system and the mood.
The sun is therefore not an enemy to be avoided at all costs. Professor Antonio Costanzo, Head of Dermatology in Humanitas, spoke about it in an interview with Corriere della Sera.
The importance of vitamin D, the vitamin that is produced by exposure to the sun
“Let the sunshine in”: this is the title of the cover of the weekly New Scientist, one of the most authoritative scientific journals that launches an ‘inverted’ alarm, since in recent years, after having blocked the sun’s rays with sun protection and filters, our body suffers from a lack of vitamin D, produced thanks to direct exposure to the sun.
“Among my patients there is not one that has vitamin D levels in the norm. I don’t know how much this depends on the fact that the thresholds have been raised, but they are all below the recommended values,” explained Costanzo. “While the ideal amount of vitamin D is 40 units, a large part of the population is currently under 20, if not under 10.
How the sun affects our body
“The sun – explains the professor – affects the immune system in two ways: through vitamin D it promotes the production of peptides, chemicals that have a powerful antimicrobial action, a thousand times higher than penicillin. Not only do they kill bacteria, but the immune system is told that something is wrong; and then the sun is an ally of our defenses: through its so-called “blue fraction”, it manages to penetrate deeper into the dermis. There are so many T cells there, the sentinel cells that are fundamental for the immune system,” explained Costanzo. “Last year the study by American researchers, which appeared in Nature scientific report, showed that the blue component of the solar spectrum increases the ability of T lymphocytes to move and their production of hydrogen peroxide.”
In addition, “another research that appeared in Science has shown that exposure to sunlight significantly lowers blood pressure”.