Sunlight Could Shrink Fat Cells Leading To Weight Loss

Exposure to the sun could not only provide Vitamin D in the body but also reduce the size of fat cells resulting in weight loss, according to a new study. This could probably be the reason why some people gain weight during winter in addition to festive foods they eat.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of Scientific Reports. The study was led by researchers from the University of Alberta. The team discovered that subcutaneous fat cells that are located beneath the human skin shrink once exposed to the blue light discharged by the sun, according to Medical News Today.

Peter Light, senior author of the study and a professor and director of University of Alberta's Alberta Diabetes Institute, said that when the sun's blue light wavelengths, which is a light that is visible in the human's eye, penetrate in the skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets shrink in size and are released out of the cell. This means that the human cells do not store as much fat.

He added that insufficient sunlight exposure in eight months living in a northern climate could enhance fat storage. This contributes to the typical weight gain some people experience during winter, as noted by Brinkwire.

In the study, the researchers investigated the subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT), which is the major fat depot in humans and a key element in regulating the body metabolism of a person. It is considered the bad type of fat because it stores calories. This fat could also lead to cardiometabolic disorders resulting in acquiring medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

The researchers actually examined these fat cells to help people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They want to produce insulin when exposed to light. However, they found that these fat cells could reduce into size when exposed to the blue light emitted by the sun. Furthermore, they studied the effect of the blue light on the fat cells. Their study could lead to a way for weight loss strategies or could be a therapy for those with obesity and diabetes.

Even so, Light cautions people not to take the findings of the study literally and expose themselves in order to lose weight. This is because there are other factors to be considered, such as the intensity and duration of light that are essential for this pathway to be activated. However, he described the discovery as exciting and could certainly hold many fascinating clues for them and to other researchers to explore.