Production of this [blood] pressure-reducing compound - called nitric oxide - [due to exposure of UV] is separate from the body's manufacture of vitamin D, which rises after exposure to sunshine. Until now it had been thought to solely explain the sun's benefit to human health, the scientists add.
Nitric oxide, the versatile gas that helps increase blood flow, transmit nerve signals, and regulate immune function, appears to perform one more biological feat -- prolonging the life of an organism and fortifying it against environmental stress, according to a new study.
Nitric oxide, a gaseous molecule produced in the brain, can damage neurons. When the brain produces too much nitric oxide, it contributes to the severity and progression of stroke and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute recently discovered that nitric oxide not only damages neurons, it also shuts down the brain's repair mechanisms.