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The Light Side of MS

February 26, 2008 | 72,401 views
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sunlight, sun exposure, vitamin DAlthough the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) is often blamed on genetics, there are significant geographic variations in MS frequency, which suggests strong environmental factors may be at play.

One such factor is sunlight exposure and vitamin D. MS is rare in Asia, the tropics and the sub-tropics, and strong correlations exist between MS, location, and duration and intensity of sunlight.

In short, sunlight exposure has been linked to a reduced risk of MS, and vitamin D deficiency (caused by a lack of sun exposure) has been suggested as a cause of MS.

A review of epidemiological studies found a protective role of vitamin D for MS. Meanwhile, animal studies have found that an injection of vitamin D3 can prevent experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), which is an animal model of MS. Vitamin D deficiency accelerated the onset of EAE in animals.

The researchers concluded that vitamin D supplementation, at levels higher than are currently recommended by the Institute of Medicine, may help to reduce the risk of MS.

Other environmental factors that may also increase the risk of MS include infection with the Epstein-Barr virus and cigarette smoking.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It is widely known that your risk of MS increases the farther away you live from the equator.

Quite simply, one of the best things you can do for your health -- getting enough regular exposure to sunshine on your uncovered skin so your body can produce optimal amounts of vitamin D -- can greatly reduce your risks of developing serious autoimmune diseases like MS.

In fact, a lack of sunlight was identified as a risk factor for MS as early as 1922. Vitamin D has been shown to positively affect MS by changing the status of chemicals called cytokines, which modulate your immune system and can either fight or increase inflammation.

One study found that sunlight exposure reduced the death rate from MS by as much as 76 percent!

Within the United States, you are roughly twice as likely to develop MS if you spent your childhood in northern states than if you did so in more southerly states. The "cutoff" age appears to be 15; your likelihood of developing MS remains higher if you lived as a child in a less sunny climate, even if you move farther south as an adult.

Still, one of the most important things you can do at any time in your life is to make sure your vitamin D levels are where they should be (The OPTIMAL value that you’re looking for is 50-55 ng/ml (115-128 nmol/l).)

Ideally, you should get the vitamin D you need by getting regular sun exposure. If you live somewhere where this is impossible year-round, you can use a safe tanning bed that has the potentially harmful X-rays and electromagnetic fields eliminated.

Alternatively, you can take a high-quality vitamin D3 -- this is the ONLY safe form of vitamin D supplement -- but you should have your levels checked regularly to make sure you don’t overdose.

You can find out all the important details about sunlight and vitamin D in my upcoming book Dark Deception, which is coming out soon.

Tips for Preventing, and Normalizing MS

Prevention is the best option for MS, as this disease is not a simple thing to put into remission. The chance of going into remission with conventional treatments is close to zero, but your chances increase considerably when employing intelligent natural therapies including:
  • Getting plenty of sunshine and optimizing your vitamin D levels. If you have MS, I would have your vitamin D level checked every month or two until it is in the optimal range.
  • Taking a high-quality omega-3 fat, such as from krill oil, while cutting back on omega-6 fats from vegetable oil. This will help to optimize your omega-3:omega-6 ratio.
  • Eliminating sugar and following the nutrition plan, which will help to normalize your insulin levels.
  • Removing heavy metal toxins like mercury from your body.
Further, in my experience with MS patients, there is nearly always a precipitating traumatic emotional event that causes your immune system to crash, leading to the disease. Through my experiences, I have found that they are typically related to close family members. Troubled relationships with spouses, parents, siblings, deaths and divorces are very common triggers for MS.

Issues related to this event need to be addressed by using an effective energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), but only with the help of an experienced practitioner.

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