Tag Archives: MS

Sun Exposure positively influences Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

sun exposureBy Marc Sorenson, EdD, for sun exposure.

According to a new study, people with MS feel better when they spend more time in the sunshine.[1] Not only will they feel better, but they will have lower rates of fatigue, and a slower progression to disability. None of this should be a surprise, since similar results have been reported for decades. For example, in 1922 Dr. Charles Davenport wrote a paper entitled, “Multiple Sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race.[2] He analyzed the MS rate of military draftees and compared it to their states of origin. The highest rates were found in men who grew up in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the extreme northwest—all areas with low sun availability. There were few cases of MS among those who grew up in southern states, where sun exposure is abundant. He also noted that those from urban areas, which have lower sun availability than rural areas, had 50% higher MS rates than those from rural areas.  Similar studies confirm that relationship.[3] [4]

Another interesting research paper demonstrated that sun exposure, while obviously being critical in the production of vitamin D, had its own profound influence in lessening the degeneration of nerves (neurodegeneration) in those with MS.[5] By measuring whole brain volume (WBV) and grey-matter volume (GMV) by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the scientists determined that greater summer sun exposure predicted greater WBV and GMV in MS patients. Interestingly though, when vitamin D levels were measured, they had no influence on the positive effects of sun exposure with WBV or GMV. The researchers concluded: “Sun exposure may have direct effects on MRI measures of neurodegeneration in MS, independently of vitamin D.”

Be sure that you soak up your share of sunlight, without burning of course. It may indeed save your life!

[1] https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2017/02/24/actrims2017-sun-exposure-may-lower-fatigue-slow-disability-progression-in-ms/

[2] Davenport, C.  Multiple Sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race.  Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1922;8:

[3] Acheson ED, Bachrach CA, Wright FM. Some comments on the relationship of the distribution of multiple sclerosis to altitude, solar radiation and other variables. Acta Psychiat (Scand) 1960;35 (suppl 147):132-47.  51-58

[4] Norman JE Jr, Kurtzke JF, Beebe GW. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in USA veterans: 2. Latitude, climate, and risk of multiple sclerosis. J Chron Dis 1983;36:551-59

[5] Zivadinov R, Treu CN, Weinstock-Guttman B, Turner C, Bergsland N, O’Connor K, Dwyer MG, Carl E, Ramasamy DP, Qu J, Ramanathan M. Interdependence and contributions of sun exposure and vitamin D to MRI measures in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Oct;84(10):1075-81.

Read More

More Research shows that Sun Exposure thwarts Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight institute… sun exposure

 

If only those who suffer from MS had known the truth when they were younger! Getting plenty of sun exposure might have saved them from the ravages of this horrible disease. Much has been written about the influence of vitamin D on MS, and in this blog, I have pointed out that sun exposure may be more important than vitamin D. A new study conducted in Australia, and presented at the 32nd Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and in MS in Research in London, England, is interesting in the way it was conducted.[1]

By questionnaire, the researchers used past and present sun exposure as a surrogate for vitamin D levels and concluded that historical, but not current, vitamin D levels protect against MS.

This was an erroneous procedure to measure the influence of vitamin D levels on MS. It has already been established that sun exposure per se may be the operative habit that protects against MS. And in my opinion, vitamin D levels may only be surrogates for sun exposure, not vice versa. And, sun exposure probably mitigates MS, independent of vitamin D.

One of the most compelling papers on sun and MS was produced by Dr. Robyn Lucas and colleagues.[2] Here are the salient points in their report called Ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D and multiple sclerosis:

  • There is strong evidence from observational studies that low past sun exposure is associated with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Lower sun exposure or lower vitamin D status have been linked to more severe MS, that is, more frequent relapses and more rapid progression to disability.
  • Vitamin D supplementation trials for people with MS have shown improvement in immunological and MRI parameters, but with little convincing evidence of clinical benefit.
  • Higher levels of sun exposure may have benefits for MS-related immune parameters through both vitamin D and non-vitamin D pathways.
  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation may result in immune tolerance that is beneficial for MS through upregulation of T and B regulatory cells, enhanced levels of cis-urocanic acid, alterations in dendritic cell trafficking as well as release of a range of other cytokines and chemokines.

To elucidate the last paragraph it is necessary to understand the vocabulary used. T cells are an integral part of the immune system that help rid the body of invading microorganisms. The regulatory T cells (or suppressor T cells) are a subpopulation of T cells which modulate the immune system and help prevent the body from attacking itself.[3] MS is another autoimmune disease in which the body is attacked its own immune system, which in the case of MS, destroys the myelin sheath. The regulatory, or T suppressor cells suppress these attacks, thereby preventing, abrogating or ameliorating the disease. B regulatory cells are also a part of the immune system and can, through their suppressive functions decrease inflammation, possibly through the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.[4] Cis-urocanic acid is a chemical that is significantly lower in MS patients, and when stimulated by sun exposure, significantly reduces many indicators of MS.[5] [6] Dendritic cells are also messenger T cells that are essential in assisting sun exposure to decrease the immune response that effects autoimmune diseases.[7]

So let’s hear it for sun exposure as the very best therapy for MS. Be safe and don’t burn, and don’t use sunscreens, which can negate 99% of the sun’s vitamin D production.

[1] http://www.hcplive.com/conference-coverage/ectrims-2016/current-vitamin-d-doesnt-impact-ms-but-historical-exposure-does#sthash.ZF3nz3IN.dpuf

[2] Robyn M Lucas, Scott N Byrne, Jorge Correale, Susanne Ilschner & Prue H Hart. Ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Neurodegener. Dis. Manag 2015 (epub ahead of print).

[3]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_T_cell (accessed November 24, 2015.)

[4] Min Yang, Ke Rui, Shengjun Wang and Liwei Lu. Regulatory B cells in autoimmune diseases. Cellular & Molecular Immunology (2013) 10, 122–132. Cellular & Molecular Immunology (2013) 10, 122–132.

[5] Jorge Correale and Mauricio Farez.S60 Multiple Sclerosis: Biomarkers: Clinical Phenotype Immune System Modulation in Multiple Sclerosis as a Result of Sun exposure: Role of cis-Urocanic Acid. Neurology April 6, 2012.  (names s

[6] Correale J, Farez MF. Modulation of multiple sclerosis by sun exposure: role of cis-urocanic acid. J Neuroimmunol. 2013 Aug 15;261(1-2):134-40.

[7] Breuer J, Schwab N, Schneider-Hohendorf T, Marziniak M, Mohan H, Bhatia U, Gross CC, Clausen BE, Weishaupt C, Luger TA, Meuth SG, Loser K, Wiendl H. Ultraviolet B light attenuates the systemic immune response in central nervous system autoimmunity. Ann Neurol. 2014 May;75(5):739-58.

Read More

A vitally important Study on Sunlight and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Drs. Robyn Lucas and Prue Hart are researchers from Australia whom I have followed for years. They speak the truth about the benefits of sunlight and present their research in a cogent and easily understandable manner. Their recent paper, written with other colleagues, is no exception.[i] They show evidence that beyond vitamin D, other photoproducts such as regulatory cells, dendritic cells, chemokines and cytokines,
released from the skin following exposure to ultraviolet radiation, may have protective and ameliorating affects against MS.

Here are the salient points in their report called Ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D and multiple sclerosis:

  • There is strong evidence from observational studies that low past sun exposure is associated with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Lower sun exposure or lower vitamin D status have been linked to more severe MS, that is, more frequent relapses and more rapid progression to disability.
  • Vitamin D supplementation trials for people with MS have shown improvement in immunological and MRI parameters, but with little convincing evidence of clinical benefit.
  • Higher levels of sun exposure may have benefits for MS-related immune parameters through both vitamin D and non-vitamin D pathways. (emphasis mine)
  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation may result in immune tolerance that is beneficial for MS through upregulation of T and B regulatory cells, enhanced levels of cis-urocanic acid, alterations in dendritic cell trafficking as well as release of a range of other cytokines and chemokines.

This research is important because it shows that sunlight exposure works on MS in several different ways, one of which may be the stimulation of vitamin D production.

As the authors state: Recognition of multiple pathways whereby exposure to UVR may affect the development of MS could mark the beginning of prevention activities through modulation of an environment risk factor and the development of new therapeutic compounds. The vitamin D star seems to be waning, despite considerable genetic evidence that vitamin D has a role in MS risk. Perhaps it is only one part of a more complex picture. New intervention trials, undertaken in parallel, of vitamin D supplementation and UV-B phototherapy, should provide more definitive evidence – at least for the risk of MS following CIS. A finding that sun exposure, through the entirety of its effects, does have clinical significance as an immunomodulator for the development of MS, offers one of the few opportunities to modify disease risk for MS.”

I have posted other blogs regarding sunlight and MS, indicative that sunlight has protective effects against that malady, beyond its ability to stimulate vitamin D production in the skin. This research by Lucas and her colleagues is important in that it defines some of the other mechanisms of sunlight exposure that could lead to the prevention and potential cure of the disease.

[i] Robyn M Lucas, Scott N Byrne, Jorge Correale, Susanne Ilschner & Prue H Hart. Ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Neurodegener. Dis. Manag 2015 (epub ahead of print).

 

Read More

More Research on Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Highest Sunlight Exposure as a Teenager predicts later Age of Onset of MS.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Although several of my posts on the Sunlight Institute have discussed sunlight and MS, this post will provide the results of the most recent paper that I am aware of, and it reviews some of the most important investigations showing that sunlight exposure is absolutely essential for preventing or mitigating the disease.

MS is a disease in which the myelin sheaths (nerve coverings and insulators) are destroyed, leaving nerves bare and susceptible to “short circuiting.” This process is known as demyelination. New research, which should surprise no one, demonstrates that teenagers who have the greatest exposure to sunlight have a delayed onset of MS as adults.[1] The study involved 1,161 Danish patients with MS who were given questionnaires regarding their sun-exposure habits and body-mass index (BMI) as teenagers. BMI is a measure of obesity (or the lack thereof). Besides sunlight, other vitamin-D predicting measures were also used to determine the probable cause of MS.

Interestingly, only sunlight exposure and lower BMI were associated with later age at the onset of the disease; other serum vitamin D predictors such as fish consumption did not show any association with MS. The authors still seemed to feel that vitamin D was the reason for the extended time before disease onset; however, that is unlikely, since other predictors of higher vitamin D levels showed no association. And, it has been shown that sunlight exposure has profoundly protective effects against MS, independently of vitamin D.[2] Researchers determined to find the mechanism by which sunlight exposure suppressed the disease and found that UV light selectively inhibits spinal cord inflammation and demyelination.[3] In that study, they performed an investigation in which ultraviolet radiation (UVR)—the same radiation that is found in sunlight and tanning beds—was administered to animals who suffered from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).  EAE is MS that has been deliberately induced in animals in a laboratory setting. The researchers found that the UVR treatments stopped inflammation and demyelination of the spinal cord by inhibiting a chemical known as a chemokine, also known as a cytokine. Chemokines are the cause of the inflammation and autoimmune attacks that result in MS. The MS-ameliorating effects in the study were directly initiated by UVR, independent of vitamin D.

Stunningly, another study by some of these same investigators determined that vitamin D was actually necessary for EAE to take place![4]  Mice that lacked the vitamin D receptor, which causes vitamin D deficiency, had a markedly lower risk of developing EAE. In those mice that had receptors but were simply vitamin D deficient, the development of EAE was also partially suppressed. I do not look on this research as proving that vitamin D sufficiency leads to MS, but it certainly indicates that sunlight exposure, independent of vitamin D, is absolutely critical to prevent and ameliorate this frightening disease.

The bottom line? Be sure to get plenty of non-burning sun exposure!

[1] Julie Hejgaard Laursen, MD, PhD, Helle Bach Søndergaard, MSc, PhD, Per Soelberg Sørensen, MD, DMSc, Finn Sellebjerg, MD, PhD and Annette Bang Oturai, MD, PhD. Association between age at onset of multiple sclerosis and vitamin D level–related factors. Neurology 2015, Published online before print October 7, 2015.

[2] Becklund BR, Severson KS, Vang SV, DeLuca HF.  UV radiation suppresses experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis independent of vitamin D production.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107:6418-23.

[3] Wang Y, Marling SJ, Beaver EF, Severson KS, Deluca HF. UV light selectively inhibits spinal cord inflammation and demyelination in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015 Feb 1;567:75-82.

[4] Wang Y, Marling SJ, Zhu JG, Severson KS, DeLuca HF. Development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice requires vitamin D and the vitamin D receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 May 29;109(22):8501-4.

Read More

Go Ahead and Soak up some Sun! So says Dr. Holick.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Go ahead and soak up some sun! So says Dr. Holick.

It is great to have Dr. Michael Holick appearing in news articles occasionally, because he helps to stop the pervasive lies that frighten the public from partaking of life-saving sun exposure. A recent article appearing in the Washington Post, and written by Dr. Holick, makes some good points that all of us should have at our fingertips when being confronted by the anti-sun militants:

  1. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends never exposing bare skin to the sun, or even on a cloudy day, without sunscreen. [How about that for insanity!]
  2. The FDA calls ultraviolet radiation a carcinogen. [ridiculous]
  3. These messages cause widespread paranoia
  4. SPF 30 sunscreens reduce vitamin D production by 97%.
  5. A lack of vitamin D is associated with increased risk for Type 1 and 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, colon and breast cancer, influenza and tuberculosis.

Much of the rest of the article concentrates on putting the lie to the nonsense about hiding ourselves from the sun, as he talks about how vital vitamin D is for cancer, diabetes and other diseases. He then discusses the best way to get sunlight exposure. This is a must read!

This is the link to the article:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/go-ahead-soak-up-some-sun/2015/07/24/00ea8a84-3189-11e5-97ae-30a30cca95d7_story.html.

Read More

Does Sunscreen Darken Your Health? What about MS?

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

In an online Newspaper, Irish Examiner, there is a provocative headline: Why a sunscreen can put your health in the shade. Helen O’Callaghan, the author, starts out well by talking about how sunscreens block vitamin D production from sun exposure. She then progresses through a series of diseases that are related to vitamin D deficiency: bone weakness, compromised immune system, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, adverse pregnancy problems and allergies.[1]

Read More