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Play in the sun for an hour to halve your MS risk

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Children who play out in the sun for up to one hour every day halve their risks of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) when they are adults.

Sunshine boosts the body’s vitamin D levels, which stimulates immune cells in the skin that can protect against MS.

The link was discovered by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco who tracked the health and lifestyles of 332 people, aged from 3 to 22, who had been diagnosed with MS at least seven months earlier, and compared them to 534 participants who didn’t have MS.

Nearly 20 percent of those with MS reported they spent less than 30 minutes a day outdoors the previous summer while just 6 percent in the non-MS group had similar sun exposure.  After adjusting for other risks and for the location of the participants and the intensity of the sun they would experience, the researchers estimated that spending up to an hour a day in the sunshine lessens the risks of MS by 52 percent.

MS usually affects adults between the ages of 20 to 50, but up to 5 percent of patients reported experiencing MS-like symptoms when they were children.

Other conditions linked to low vitamin D levels include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, schizophrenia and auto-immune disorders.

(Source: Neurology, 2021; 10.1212/WNL.00000000000013045)

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