Though tanning has been in the news in recent years mostly for its negative effects, from wrinkled skin to melanoma, new research suggests that there could be an upside to getting a tan. An Australian research team suggests that exposure to sunlight could prevent food allergies and eczema.
According toNews.com.au,the recent study by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute found that people who had higher exposure to the sun had lower rates of food allergies and eczema. Researchers looked at rates of these ailments among 7600 Australian children. Those living in the southern areas of the country had higher rates of food allergies than those in the northern part.
Professor Katie Allen said that the results support the idea that sunlight (or more specifically, vitamin D) may affect the development of food allergies. “We know that people in Queensland get more exposure to sunlight, and sunlight produces more vitamin D in your skin,” explained Professor Allen. “The research lends to the already existing hypothesis that the further you are from Equator the more likely you are to have food allergies and eczema,” she added.
Perhaps because of its geographic location, Australia has one of the highest food allergy rates in the world. Professor Allen commented that parts of the country, particularly those in the south, were struggling to keep up with requests for allergen tests.
Although the study found a potential link, the exact relationship between Vitamin D and food allergies must still be examined, cautioned Professor Allen.