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'helps skin stay young'
A healthy dose of sunshine may be the secret to staying
young, a study has found.
Vitamin D, produced naturally by the skin in response to
sunlight, may help to slow the ageing process, according to
And the "sunshine vitamin" may also help protect against
age-related diseases, such as heart disease.
Researchers from King's College London studied 2,160 women
aged between 18 and 79, looking at their telomeres - a
biological marker of ageing found in DNA.
As people get older their telomeres get shorter and they
become more susceptible to certain illnesses.
But the study found women with high levels of vitamin D had
comparatively longer telomeres - a sign of being
biologically younger and healthier.
The study suggests vitamin D may help to slow down the
ageing process of DNA, and therefore the ageing process as a
Lead researcher Dr Brent Richards said: "These results are
exciting because they demonstrate for the first time that
people who have higher levels of vitamin D may age more
slowly than people with lower levels of vitamin D, this
could help to explain how vitamin D has a protective effect
on many ageing related diseases, such as heart disease and
cancer." He said further studies are required to confirm the
Professor Tim Spector, head of KCL's twin research unit, and
a co-author of the report, added: "Although it might sound
absurd, it's possible that the same sunshine which may
increase our risk of skin cancer may also have a healthy
effect on the ageing process in general."