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Originally published March 28 2014

Low UV-B radiation protects against copper toxicity; high UV-B increases damage

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) If you suffer from a condition known as copper toxicity -- that is, you have too much "free copper" in your body associated with an underlying health condition such as impaired adrenal or liver function -- you may be looking for ways to reduce your overall copper load and thus avoid chronic toxicity. And one way you might be able to do this is by reducing your exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, which one study published in the journal Plant Physiology and Biochemistry found can minimize the oxidative stress caused by copper toxicity.

Researchers from the Department of Botany at India's University of Allahabad tested the effects of both low and high levels of UVB radiation on Phormidium foveolarum and Nostoc muscorum, two types of cyanobacteria. Both bacterial strains were under varying levels of copper toxicity at the time of testing, one group at two micrometers and the other at five micrometers, and both were tested and examined after varying lengths of experimentation, one group after 24 hours and the other after 72 hours.

Based on tests involving the combination of both high UVB radiation levels and low UVB radiation levels, the research team observed that both bacterial strains, when they were induced with copper toxicity, experienced decreased growth when exposed to high levels of UVB radiation. Oxidative stress in the form of increased production of superoxide radical and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) was accelerated when high levels of UVB radiation were introduced into the equation.

Low UVB exposure in individuals with copper toxicity could protect against chronic inflammation

The team also observed marked increases in both lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation when high levels of UVB radiation were exposed to the bacterial strains with copper toxicity -- both lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation are forms of cell damage that fall into the larger category of what is commonly referred to as free radical damage, which in turn can lead to chronic inflammation and related diseases.

However, those same bacterial strains with copper toxicity exposed to low levels of UVB radiation experienced far less oxidative damage, according to the study. Levels of the all-important "master" antioxidant glutathione, for instance, remained considerably higher in low UVB-exposed bacteria with copper toxicity compared to high UVB-exposed bacteria with copper toxicity. Additionally, the normal ascorbate-glutathione cycle (AsA-GSH), which is responsible for metabolizing H2O2, remained largely intact in the low UVB-exposed bacteria compared to the high UVB-exposed bacteria.

"Results revealed that UV-B radiation at low fluence rate stimulated protective responses in both the organisms under Cu toxicity while UV-B high irradiation caused damage alone as well as together with Cu," wrote the authors in their abstract. "[C]omponents of [the] AsA-GSH cycle play a significant role in these responses."

It is important to note that UVB radiation is critical for the healthy production of vitamin D in the body, which means that cutting it out altogether could be problematic for individuals that do not regularly supplement with vitamin D3. But for those with copper toxicity who do supplement with vitamin D3, reducing UVB exposure to minimal levels could offer some easily achieved protective benefits.

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