Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth, muscles, and moods.However, there’s another reason to be out in the sun on a regular basis: UV rays may protect you from autoimmune illness if you get enough of them.UV rays aid in the production of vitamin D, which may protect against auto-immune disease. The study’s findings were published in the online issue of ‘Neurology,’ the American Academy of Neurology’s magazine.The study builds on prior studies that found a link between increased ultraviolet exposure in childhood and a lower risk of adult multiple sclerosis (MS).
According to the researchers, their locations and amount of sun exposure were matched by age and sex to 534 participants without MS.
In questionnaires filled out by MS patients or their parents, 19% said they spent fewer than 30 minutes per day outside during the previous summer, compared to 6% of those who did not have MS.
When the researchers took into account MS hazards such as smoking and female sex, they discovered that people who spent 30 minutes to one hour outside daily had a 52% lower risk of MS than those who spent less than 30 minutes outside daily.
Emmanuelle Waubant, MD, PhD, co-senior author and professor at the UCSF Department of Neurology and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences, said, “Sun exposure is known to raise vitamin D levels.”
It also increases epidermal immune cells, which have a protective function in disorders like MS.
Vitamin D may also alter the biological function of immune cells, potentially aiding in the prevention of autoimmune illnesses, according to Waubant. While MS often attacks adults between the ages of 20 and 50, between 3% to 5% of the approximately one million MS sufferers in the United States begin to show symptoms as children.
MS is initially inflammatory, but it progresses more slowly in children than in adults, with secondary progression symptoms such as moderate to severe weakness, poor coordination, and bowel and bladder control appearing on average 28 years after the commencement of the disease, according to experts.
However, in children with MS, these milestones are reached about ten years earlier than in adults with MS.
sun exposure was “dose-dependent,” meaning that the lesser the danger, the longer the exposure. According to Waubant, who is also the director of the UCSF Regional Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center, sunscreen does not appear to reduce the therapeutic effects of sunshine in preventing MS. Clinical trials are needed to see if “increased sun exposure or vitamin D supplementation will prevent MS or change disease course after diagnosis,” she said.
Meanwhile, “advising regular time in the sun of at least 30 minutes daily, especially during the previous summer, using sun protection as needed, especially for first-degree relatives of MS patients, could be a good intervention to minimise the incidence of MS,” according to the researchers.
Other disorders have been linked to a lack of sun exposure and or low vitamin D levels.
Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias, as well as schizophrenia and other auto-immune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and lupus, are among them.