Episode 101

The Sunny Side of Health: How Sun Exposure Can Prevent Chronic Diseases with Prof Prue Hart


May 9th, 2023

51 mins 56 secs

Your Host

About this Episode

The information in this podcast is intended for Healthcare Practitioners.

Sun exposure has been valued for its healing properties throughout history and across cultures. But too much of a good thing can be harmful, and in recent decades we have been warned about the risks of sunburn, skin ageing and skin cancer. However, our guest expert today argues that we may have gone too far in avoiding the sun, and that we are missing out on its vital benefits for our health and well-being.

Prof Prue Hart is a photoimmunologist who has been studying the effects of vitamin D and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on health and disease for over 20 years. She has found evidence that insufficient sun exposure is linked to increased mortality and various chronic conditions, such as some cancers, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. Moreover, she has discovered that these benefits are not only due to vitamin D production, but also to other molecules that are activated by UVR, such as nitric oxide and urocanic acid.

In this podcast, Prof Hart will explain how these molecules work in our body, and how they can help us prevent or treat diseases such as COVID-19 and multiple sclerosis. She will also share some practical tips on how to balance sun exposure and protect our skin health. Join us for this enlightening conversation on the sunny side of health.


Alfredsson L, Armstrong BK, Butterfield DA, et al. Insufficient Sun Exposure Has Become a Real Public Health Problem. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(14):5014. Published 2020 Jul 13. doi:10.3390/ijerph17145014

Hart PH, Norval M. The Multiple Roles of Urocanic Acid in Health and Disease. J Invest Dermatol. 2021;141(3):496-502. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2020.07.017