Researchers are giving us another reason to have kids unplug and go out and get some sun! They have found a connection to sun exposure and the delay of the onset of MS. Patients with MS usually develop it later in life if they had regular exposure to sun during their youth. This bolsters the idea that MS is linked to a lack of vitamin D and sunlight, both are vital to health.
As an example, over 1000 adults in Denmark with MS were studied. The ones who spent time in the sunlight developed symptoms of MS two years later than those who had no regular exposure to sunlight.
It is important to note that this does not mean regular sun exposure prevents, treats, or cures Multiple Sclerosis.
Nicholas LaRocca, VP within National Multiple Sclerosis Society in NY, believes this supports the idea that vitamin D affects the development of MS. Others have linked exposure to sunlight and higher levels of vitamin D in the blood to a lower risk of MS.
It is not definitive that this is a cause and effect relationship. Clinical trials are in the works to see if vitamin D can help significantly delay the progression of Multiple Sclerosis. The results of these trials are important for the future of MS treatment.
Some symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are muscle weakness, numbness, vision issues, and problems with balance and coordination. These symptoms can progress to issues with mobility. These symptoms are a result of an abnormal immune system attack on the protective sheath that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain and spine.
The cause of MS is not known. There are suggestions that genetics and environmental triggers play a role in the development of MS in addition to the lack of vitamin D, which is vital for regular immune function.
Being that sun exposure is directly linked to the vitamin D levels it is possible that spending time in the sunlight may explain the later onset, but this is yet to be completely validated.