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Why sunlight could protect against multiple sclerosis

LNM Radio Network

LNM Radio Network

A new study suggests that people with natural vitamin D deficiency, the chemical produced by sunlight, are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis
Spending more time in the sun could cut the chance of developing multiple sclerosis after scientists found that people with low vitamin D levels are at increased risk from the disorder.

A study by McGill University in Canada and Kings College London looked a nearly 40,000 Europeans, 15,000 of whom were born with genes which made them naturally vitamin D deficient. They team found that those with the genetic predisposition for lower levels of the vitamin were twice as likely to develop MS than those whose levels were normal.

Most vitamin D comes from direct sunlight although some is also present in foods including eggs, meat and oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines.

The researchers say more work needs to be done to find out if Vitamin D supplements or greater exposure to sunlight could delay or prevent MS but said that the study provided ‘strong evidence in support of a causal role of vitamin D in MS susceptibility.’ The findings are particularly relevant for northern latitudes like Britain where sunshine is limited.