In a recently published exploratory study, mortality from multiple sclerosis (MS) was found to be reduced by exposure to sunlight. Depending on the degree of sunlight exposure, the risk of death from MS was reduced by up to 76%. No theory on the precise mechanism of action in this reduction was proposed by the authors.
Occup Environ Med 2000;57:418-421
The commonly spread word is that sunlight is not good for us and will only cause cancer. We are encouraged to slap on sunscreens to protect ourselves. Well, it is important to know that there are contrary views. One clearly needs to exercise caution with the sun and avoid ever getting sunburnt, but this is relatively easy to do. This study confirms one of the central issues that sunlight is actually healthy for us. Lack of sunlight has also been associated with high blood pressure. It seems as though there are both benefits and risks to sunlight exposure.
However, someone with MS is probably much less concerned with the risks of skin cancer than the risks of the MS and therefore the benefits of the sunlight would be much greater. One strong possibility for the benefit with MS patients could be the increased vitamin D levels in those with the greater exposure to sunlight.