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People who spend more time in the sun and subsequently have higher vitamin D levels are less likely to develop multiple sclerosis, according to a new study from a team of Australian researchers. Individuals who have a family history of the disease or other risk factors may benefit from vitamin D testing to make sure that they have healthy levels.
For the study, researchers from the Australian University of Canberra analyzed more than 200 participants who had recently experienced a symptom of multiple sclerosis, but had yet to be diagnosed with the condition. These participants were also compared to a group of individuals who showed no signs of multiple sclerosis.
During the course of the study, the researchers found that individuals who reported spending the most time in the sun and who had the highest levels of circulating vitamin D were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with the condition, whether or not they showed symptoms at the outset.
The researchers said that further studies would be needed to determine the exact reason why vitamin D appears to protect individuals from multiple sclerosis. However, they added that their findings help confirm earlier studies, which also showed a protective effect against the condition.
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