by Vanesa Estradain Health / Skin Care (submitted 2011-03-12)
We’ve spent the last few decades preaching about how important it is to stay out of the sun. We completely understand the hazards regarding it and do everything we can think of to keep it away from us. We wear a lot of layers of the highest SPF sunscreens that we can buy. We put on giant hats. Even during the hottest conditions of the year we make ourselves wear long sleeves and pants. We often stick to the shade–some people may also carry parasols and umbrellas just to make sure they have exactly no contact with the sun. Now we’re beginning to see that sunlight can sometimes be quite helpful. Can the sun truly help you?
A new study has been performed and it shows that people who allow some time in direct natural light aren’t as likely to get MS as the people who do everything they can to keep out of the sun. The study was originally done to see how Vitamin D affects the progression of Multiple Sclerosis. Eventually it grew to be clear, however, that it was the Vitamin D our bodies create as a response to exposure to the sun’s rays that seems to be at the root of the issue.
We’ve known for a very long time that the sun’s rays and Vitamin D can slow down the way the immune system contributes to MS. This study, on the other hand, focuses on the affects of the sun’s rays on those who are experiencing the very earliest symptoms of the disease. This study is trying to figure out the effects of Vitamin D and the sun’s rays on the precursory signs or symptoms of the disease.
Sadly, there aren’t actually very many ways that really prove whether or not the hypothesis of this study are true. The study would like to show whether or not exposure to the sun can actually prevent MS. Unfortunately, the scientists found out, the only way to that is to watch people over the course of their lives. This is just about the only solution to seriously assess the levels of Vitamin D that are already present in a person’s blood before the precursors to MS start to become apparent. As it stands today, people with typical sun exposure seem to have fewer MS symptoms, specifically in the beginning, than those who live in darker and colder climates–but this was already widely known.
There is also the very critical issue that spending too much time in the sunshine greatly increases a person’s chances of developing skin cancer. So, if you try to avoid one disease, you could be helping to induce the other one. Of course, whenever it gets found early on, skin cancer is very treatable and can even be cured. This is not true for MS.
So what should you do: risk skin cancer or risk MS? Ask your doctor whether or not this is an excellent idea. Your health care provider will figure out if you are at risk for the disease (and how much) by checking out your genetics, medical history and current health. From there your physician will help uou figure out the best ways to keep the disease at bay.
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