Sunlight exposure and high vitamin D linked to lower MS risk

Apr 12, 2011

Frequent exposure to sunlight may reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

Frequent exposure to sunlight and possessing high amounts of vitamin D may result in lowering one's risk of developing multiple sclerosis, according to recent study in the journal Neurology.

Researchers from the Australian National University compared a group of 216 adults who were newly diagnosed with MS between 2003 and 2006 with a control group of 400 adults located within the same regions in Australia.

Participants were surveyed to find out how much time they spent in sunlight and the different locations they had lived. They also tested them to determine how much Vitamin D they had in their blood and whether or not they had skin damage from sun exposure.

Average lifetime proximity to the equator and amount of sunlight exposure were lower in those with MS. Those with the disease also had less skin damage resulting from sun exposure and had levels of vitamin D 5 to 10 percent lower than members of the control group, researchers said.

More sun is not always better. According to the Skin Cancer Society, about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by UV radiation from sunlight. Skin cancer is the most common form of the disease in the U.S., and may result in difficulty obtaining affordable life insurance for those diagnosed with it.  

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