Can Sunlight Affect Your Response To Drugs?

We are often told that too much exposure to the sun can be very damaging to our health. It’s well known, for example, that sun burns can lead to an increased risk of developing skin cancer. But new research has suggested the while skin cancer can be a danger; another issue is that levels of sunlight actually affect how our bodies respond to drug treatment.

The study, from researchers at Karolinska Institute, indicates that the body’s ability to metabolise chemical medication may be directly related to how much exposure we get to sunlight. Published in the Drug Metabolism & Disposition journal, the results show that concentrations of some drugs vary throughout the year in a pattern that reflects fluctuations in levels of vitamin D.

The researchers looked at nearly 70,000 analyses from patients who had had their blood levels of immune suppressive drugs monitored regularly. The samples obtained during the winter months were compared with those obtained during the summer months. There was a noticeable difference between the concentrations of the drugs.

Interestingly, drugs levels were at their lowest when vitamin D levels were at their highest. This insight offers scientists a new understanding into why drugs respond differently in certain patients. It also shows that your environment can play a crucial part in how your body responds to any toxins it encounters.

It seems that vitamin D has an effect on the liver. It causes it to produce an enzyme which breaks down the drugs quickly. It seems that if the body is producing this enzyme then a higher dose of the drug is required to produce the same effect.

While more research will be required, it could be that this study will have serious implications on any patient who is taking a drug that can be broken down by the enzyme. Hopefully this will lead to better care of patients.

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