March 8, 2018 (Medical News Today)
Risk factors for multiple sclerosis not only include genetic makeup, but a host of environmental factors which include both diet and geography.
New research has uncovered one factor that may help lower MS risk: geographical location in childhood and early adulthood. This study has been published in the journal Neurology.
This study is different than the previous studies that showed that sun exposure decreases the risk of MS. This new study went even further and studied the impact of geography over a person’s life span. The study analyzed 151 women diagnosed with MS, with a control of 235 women without the disease.
The study focused on women living in the United States in locations with differing climates. Sunny geography is key in the process by which our bodies generate vitamin D, the vitamin that has been identified as having protective abilities against MS.
One key finding of the study was the age at which a sunny climate can most help a person. Women who spent ages 5 to 15 either outdoors in a sunny climate or lived in a sunny climate had over a 50% lower risk of developing MS.