A new study shows that two specific compounds found in common sunscreen are actually effective as multiple sclerosis symptom suppressors. These two substances are salate derivatives and are also part of a group of compounds called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Researchers recently published these unexpected findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Turns out, the correlation between the sun and multiple sclerosis has dated back to a while ago. Beginning in the 1970s, scientists have hypothesized that greater exposure to sunlight, which in turn increases vitamin D levels, could possibly reduce the rate of multiple sclerosis. Studies that proceeded after this hypothesis, however, were promptly labeled as unlikely.
But after that, scientists did some more thinking. They believed that the reason why multiple sclerosis is less common in tropical areas is because habitants there are exposed to large amounts of ultraviolet light.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin then wondered whether or not sunscreen would then inhibit the ultraviolet light multiple sclerosis suppressor. The research team was led by Dr. Hector F. DeLuca, a professor in the university’s biochemistry department.
To carry this out, the team bought six different types of commercially available sunscreens. After doing this, they exposed the mice to ultraviolet radiation. Just like scientists found in previous studies, the UV radiation significantly decreased the severity of multiple sclerosis in the mice.
But in less expected findings, the research team also discovered that some of the sunscreens were capable of suppressing the mice’s multiple sclerosis for up to one month, even when those mice were not receiving UV radiation.
Further analysis allowed researchers to pinpoint homosalate and octisalate are the responsible multiple sclerosis suppressors. Even more, research found that homosalate was enough to suppress the MS by itself, however octisalate was still needed in combination with it in order to produce significant results.
In addition, the team found that the salates’ effectiveness was directly proportional to the dosage; the more homosalate applied, the better. So far, the only notable negative side effect of the octisalate and homosalate combination is skin irritation.
So what comes out of this research?
Researchers concluded that this may offer new insight into potential mechanisms of managing and controlling autoimmune disease, which is very exciting news.
I guess sunscreen is useful in many more ways than one. To read more about this discovery in mice, click this link.