sunlight ocean CC Kamil Porembiński

A ray of hope in preventing multiple sclerosis (MS) may come in the form of actual rays of sunshine.

Canadian researchers have found that a lack of vitamin D may be a direct cause for the disease — and most vitamin D comes from a chemical reaction caused when sunlight falls on the skin.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, studied DNA samples of 33,996 people, and found those with MS showed common characteristics of vitamin D deficiency.Cystic fibrosis released Imperial College London

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The scientists said their study showed “strong evidence in support of a causal role of vitamin D in MS susceptibility.”

MS is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks and destroys the insulation around nerves. The nervous system breaks down, sometimes quite quickly, leading to paralysis.

People with MS routinely show a vitamin D deficiency, but this study is the first to show that there is evidence it is the cause of the disease and not a side bucket challenge CC Knox County Government

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The researchers point out that the rates of MS increase in the higher latitudes which get less sunlight and where more people have a vitamin D deficiency as a result. They recommend people check with their doctor about taking proper levels of vitamin D supplements if there is a family history of MS.

“This is a common sense precaution, given that vitamin D supplementation is generally safe and inexpensive.” Dr. Brent Richards, who led the research at McGill University.brain_scans_CU_Tufts

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The study doesn’t suggest vitamin D can reverse MS, but opens the door into more research about the link between the two and a possible way to prevent people from developing the disease. It was published in the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine.

(READ more at the Guardian) — Photo: Kamil Porembiński , CC

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