The study, which took place in Australia, investigated whether exposure to the sun and blood levels of vitamin D are linked to first demyelinating events, or FDE. First demyelinating events are warning signs of development of multiple sclerosis (MS). Results revealed that higher sun exposure translated to a higher blood level of vitamin D and lower risk of FDE. Interestingly, while 34.3 percent of the patients took vitamin D supplements, if they did not have sufficient sun exposure, blood levels of the vitamin remained low.
While there were a few limitations to the study — namely that sun exposure was based on personal report and vitamin D levels were only measured once — the most interesting thing that this study suggests is that a vitamin D supplement alone may not be enough. Our bodies may not be utilizing vitamin D from a supplement as effectively as that achieved with moderate sun exposure.
But don’t go overboard just yet. There are definite risks to overexposure to sunlight. But there seem be benefits to moderate exposure. While more research on this topic is needed, the future looks fairly bright.