MS and Sunshine!

sunshineHere is another well written great article about how good natural sunlight is for Multiple Sclerosis.   Unfortunately, for me, I find sitting in the sun and the heat exacerbates my MS symptoms so I find it difficult to get out in the natural sunlight anymore but I try.   I supplement my vitamin D with a good source of D3 Serum.  I put 10 drops in my smoothies or green juices Monday to Friday, taking Saturday and Sunday off the D3 supplement.  When it is not too hot, I will sit in the sun for 30 minutes to get that “feel good” blast of natural vitamin D from the sun.  And to think I use to be a sun worshipper.

Article starts here:

NaturalNews) Increased exposure to sunlight may help alleviate the depression  and fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), and may even reduce the  overall level of disability caused by the disease, research  suggests.

Prior research has linked both vitamin D deficiency and lower  levels of unprotected sun exposure to a higher risk of developing MS. Likewise,  other studies have linked lower vitamin D levels to higher rates of depression.  Because depression, along with anxiety, fatigue and cognitive impairment, are  common and potentially disabling symptoms of MS, researchers from Maastricht  University Medical Center in the Netherlands recently conducted a study to  examine the relationship between these separate factors. The study was recently  published in the journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.

The  researchers followed 198 MS patients for an average of 2.3 years. Twice per  year, participants reported on their levels of sun exposure, and researchers  measured participants’ vitamin D blood levels and evaluated the participants for  depression, anxiety and fatigue. Once a year, participants were evaluated for  cognitive impairment.

The researchers found that higher levels of sun  exposure were significantly associated with lower levels of depression and  fatigue. Notably, while they also found an association between higher vitamin D  levels and lower depression and fatigue levels, this association disappeared  after adjusting for the influence of sunlight. Thus the researchers concluded  that it is exposure to sunlight and not vitamin  D levels that lead to improvement in symptoms of depression and fatigue  among MS patients.

Because the vitamin D levels found in the study were  all relatively low, however, the researchers did not rule out the fact that  higher levels might lead to further improvements in depression and  fatigue.

No association was found between sun exposure or vitamin D  levels and levels of anxiety or cognitive impairment.

Sunlight improves more than mood

Another recent study suggests that for  some MS patients, exposure to sunlight may also reduce their risk of disability.  The study was based on a survey given to 1,372 people registered with the  Flemish MS Society in Belgium. Participants reported their sun  exposure, skin type and disability-related MS symptoms. Researchers assigned  each participant a score on the Expanded Disability Status Scale, with a score  of 6.0 or higher indicating disability. A score of 6.0 indicates an inability to  walk without at least some assistance.

The researchers found that among  people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), those who “always” wore sunscreen  were 1.8 times more likely to suffer from disability then those who “sometimes”  or “never” wore sunscreen. Similarly, RRMS patients whose sun exposure was equal to or greater than that of the non-MS population were 30  percent less likely to suffer from disability.

The researchers also found  that among respondents with primary progressive MS (PPMS), those who reported  “sun sensitivity” from birth were 1.8 times more likely to suffer from  disability than those who had not had lifelong sensitivity. Sun sensitivity was  defined as being able to spend only 30 minutes or less in the sun without  burning.

Of course, such research does not prove that exposure to  sunlight is a direct cause of less MS-related disability, or that such exposure  would equally benefit all MS patients. However, given the widespread prevalence  of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, increasing numbers of doctors are now  recommending that people try to increase the amount of time that they spend  exposing their unprotected skin to sunlight. For light skinned people, a minimum  of 15 to 30 minutes per day of sun on the face and hands are recommended, while  people with darker skin may need significantly more exposure.

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