08/02/2011 07:00 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Sun Exposure Reduces Multiple Sclerosis Risk

While we're used to experts telling us about the dangers of too much sun exposure, more studies that suggest getting some sun may have it's advantages are being published too. And by that we don't just mean the advantages of getting a tan, but that being exposed to a certain amount of sun may have significant benefits for our health.

Small amounts of sun exposure may help prevent MS. Photo: Corbis

Today a new report claims people who spend more time in the sun may be less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS), the disabling neurological condition that affects around 100,000 people in this country.

Writing in the journal Neurology, Australian researchers compared people who had just started having the first symptoms of the disease with those who had no signs of MS.

After calculating how much time each had spent in the sun the experts concluded that, on average, those who were suffering from the first signs of MS had been exposed to less UV throughout their lives up to that point.

The volunteers were also tested for the level of vitamin D in their blood. The results showed that the people with early MS had levels that were 5-10% lower than those without MS.

The experts do, however, stress that this doesn't prove that being exposed to very little sunlight or having low vitamin D levels actually causes MS. But it could lead the way for further research into how sun exposure and vitamin D may help prevent the disease, they claim.

Again, the main message seems to be that small and frequent amounts of sun exposure - that is, small enough so that you don't go red or burn - may be good for you.

Do you feel healthier after spending some time in the sun?

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