How does sunlight affect my immune system?

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TL;DR

Sunlight is wonderful for your immune system. The secret of its success is the combined effects of sunlight on the skin inducing the production of nitric oxide and vitamin D.

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Table of Contents

Sunlight is wonderful for your immune system.  The secret of its success is the combined effects of sunlight on the skin inducing the production of nitric oxide and vitamin D.

Roles of nitric oxide:

  • It is a messenger in the cardiovascular system
  • Responsible for relaxation of vascular muscles
  • Involved in the innate immune system
  • Regulates the activity, growth, and death of many immune and inflammatory cell types.
  • Certain immune cells generate nitric oxide, which is important as a defense molecule against bacteria and other pathogens.

Vitamin D is responsible for immune system functions

Scientific studies have concluded that vitamin D is in part responsible for increased production of T cells (immune cells) that fight off attacks on the body.  As an example, multiple studies have found an association between tuberculosis immunity and high vitamin D levels.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377861/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16822466/?from_term=%22Nitric+Oxide%2Fphysiology%22%5BMeSH%5D&from_pos=9 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21414188/ https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2013.00148/full https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18341206/

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