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Can sunshine prevent Type 2 diabetes?

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Diabetes UK has today responded to a new study that suggests that sunshine may slow the development of Type 2 diabetes.The study, which was conducted by researchers from Australia and the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton, found that shinning UV light on overfed mice made them gain less weight.The beneficial effects of UV treatment were linked to a compound called nitric oxide, which is released by the skin after exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D, which is produced by the body in response to sunlight, did not play a role, the study found.The researchers have said their findings should be interpreted cautiously as the study was conducted on mice and further research will be needed to see if the same effect identified in the study also applies to humans.Dr Richard Elliott, Diabetes UK Research Communications Manager, said: “This study in mice suggests that low doses of sunlight might help to reduce risk factors for Type 2 diabetes by an effect unrelated to vitamin D, but further research is needed to see if this also applies in humans. In the meantime, we know that spending more time outdoors contributes to a healthier lifestyle in other ways, such as through regular exercise. Being more active and following a healthy balanced diet that is low in fat, sugar and salt and includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, are the best ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes.”

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