Sunbathing may boost endorphins in the body and brain

Mice churn out feel-good molecule in response to ultraviolet light

By Laura Sanders, 11:46 AM June 19, 2014

When bronzed sun worshippers bask on the beach they may get more than a tan. Ultraviolet light causes mice to churn out an opiate-like molecule, scientists report in the June 19 Cell. This feel-good molecule, called beta-endorphin, may explain why some people seem addicted to tanning.

The results may also explain why people are more generally drawn to sunny spots, says dermatologist and public health scientist Steven Feldman of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.


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