Multiple sclerosis is a devastating disease. Your own immune system turns on you, targeting your brain and spinal cord. And it soon robs you of your quality of life.
There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) and it gets worse over time.
As damage occurs to the protective coating on your nerves, scars or lesions form which interrupt some of the chemical messages your body sends. Pain, fatigue, vision loss, tremors and worsening balance problems are the result.
Until one day, you end up in a wheelchair, no longer able to take care of your own daily needs.
It’s a bleak picture. And now scientists say your risk for MS could skyrocket if you’ve been in contact with some common chemicals that many of us encounter regularly.
Multiple sclerosis risk skyrockets 50%
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found exposure to paint and varnishes was associated with a significantly higher chance of developing multiple sclerosis.
The scientists compared 2,042 patients with MS to 2,947 folks who didn’t have the condition. They started with blood tests on all the volunteers to determine who had certain genes which would increase or decrease their chance of developing the disease.
Next researchers questioned participants about their exposure to paints or varnishes. Plus they asked everyone whether they were smokers or not.
And the results shocked everyone.
Folks who lacked the genes which put them at higher risk for MS, but who had been exposed to paints and varnishes, were 50 percent more likely to have developed the condition.
And the news gets even worse.
Terrible tag team raises multiple sclerosis risk
The unlucky volunteers who carried the genes which made them more susceptible to the disease in the first place, were a shocking seven times more likely to have developed MS when they‘d been exposed to the solvent chemicals in those products.
But the volunteers who were genetically more susceptible to multiple sclerosis AND who smoked had the worst odds of all. Their risk was 30 times greater, according to the study published in the journal Neurology.
More research is needed, of course. But experts say we already have enough evidence linking MS to smoking and solvents to advice folks to quit and reduce their contact with paints and varnishes.
Vitamin D may help protect against multiple sclerosis
But those aren’t the only steps you can take. Other research has suggested that increasing vitamin D intake to over 400 IU a day could slash your risk of developing multiple sclerosis too.
In fact, scientists say vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk for MS by over 40 percent. And as a Healthier Talk reader, you already know that many of us don’t get nearly enough of this critical hormone. With seniors being the most vulnerable to D deficiencies.
The easiest way to increase your vitamin D level is to spend 15 to 20 minutes in the sunshine every day with no sunscreen on, and as much skin exposed as possible. But depending on where you live, or your lifestyle, sunbathing might not be an option.
Eating more vitamin D rich foods such as wild-caught fatty fish including mackerel, tuna and salmon, cheese, eggs, beef liver and fortified dairy products can help. And supplements are available as well.
Scientists are still working on unraveling the mysteries of multiple sclerosis. But there are already steps you can take which could significantly reduce your risk for this devastating disease. So go ahead and take them, starting today.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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