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The Healing Sun: Sunlight and Multiple Sclerosis

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The Healing Sun by Richard Hobday presents evidence showing an increase in disease with a decrease in sunlight exposure..  This article addresses: Sunlight and Multiple Sclerosis

  
How Sunlight Can Prevent Serious Health Problems

by Richard Hobday, taken from his book, The Healing Sun

 

Sunlight and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system in which the myelin sheaths covering nerve fibres are damaged, leading to a range of symptoms associated with disruption of nerve function, such as paralysis and tremors. There are about 80,000 people with multiple sclerosis in the United Kingdom, and 250,000 in the USA. The cause, or causes, of the disease are not clear, but it is known that the incidence of multiple sclerosis increases dramatically with latitude, and that exposure to sunlight in childhood and adolescence protects against the disease in later life.

Latitude was first identified as an important risk factor as long ago as 1922. Then in 1960 scientists discovered that multiple sclerosis was related to the amount of sunlight available annually and during the winter months. They concluded that, directly or indirectly, solar radiation has a protective effect against the disease. There is strong circumstantial evidence that vitamin D protects against multiple sclerosis, which helps to explain why in Switzerland the disease is common at low altitudes and much rarer at high altitudes where the intensity of ultraviolet radiation is much stronger. In Norway there is a much greater prevalence of multiple sclerosis inland than on the coast, where fish is consumed in large quantities, providing an excellent source of dietary vitamin D. In other parts of the world where the diet includes large amounts of fish, such as Japan, the incidence of multiple sclerosis is lower than would be expected on the basis of latitude alone.

One explanation for the sun’s role in preventing the disease is that getting sunlight into the eyes affects the immune response of the central nervous system in some, as yet unexplained, way. The authors of a recent article in the journal Medical Hypothesis put forward two possible explanations for this. One is that sunlight may inhibit the development of an eye condition called ‘retrobulbar optic neuritis’ which affects about 85 per cent of people who then go on to develop multiple sclerosis. Inflammation in the retina of the eye and in the brain is thought to be the first stage in the development of multiple sclerosis, and the sun’s rays may act on the immune system to prevent this occurring. The authors also suggest that sunlight could protect against the disease in a similar way to that in which it acts to prevent another illness related to latitude, seasonal affective disorder. Bright light prevents seasonal affective disorder because, as we saw in Chapter 1, it suppresses the secretion from the pituitary gland of the neurohormone melatonin. It seems that by inhibiting the secretion of melatonin sunlight might also protect against multiple sclerosis by strengthening the immune system and preventing demyelination.

Unfortunately, over the last forty years the association of multiple sclerosis with lack of sunlight in childhood and adolescence has not been as widely recognized as it might have been. Yet, if the disease is to be avoided, irrespective of the precise mechanism involved, there are good grounds for discouraging children from wearing sunglasses, and encouraging regular moderate sunlight exposure.

 

Source: http://www.lifestylelaboratory.com/articles/hobday/sunlight-prevent-problems.html

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009 at 8:44 am and is filed under Books.

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This website is dedicated to the free discemination of information on the healing powers of the Sun and the spiritual practices of Sun Gazing and Surya (Sun) Yoga. All information is given in the spirit of the Sun, whom shares its Light and Love without restriction. May all of humanity benefit from the enlightening energy of the Sun and the wisdom of all beings who share in this service of Sun Yoga.


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