Statins or sunshine?

Multiple Sclerosis

One surprising finding was that ". . . simvastatin has been used successfully to treat patients with multiple sclerosis."[1]

But this is another case where lowering cholesterol plays no part in the treatment as no study has ever found that lowering cholesterol is of benefit in either the treatment or the prevention of MS.

Howver it is known that vitamin D is useful in preventing MS. For example, "Multiple sclerosis shows a latitude gradient in Europe, with the world's highest incidence reported in Scotland,"[2] according to work conducted in the 1970s. (n other words, as one moves further from the equator and the strength of the sun gets weaker, the incidence on MS rises

So, here again, we have the statin working as a surrogate for vitamin D.[3] And as in the other diseases and conditions, it is entirely likely that exposure to sunlight - in the midle of the day, when UVB is strong enough for the synthesis of vitamin D - would do the same job, more safely, more cheaply, and without the statin's side effects.


1. Vollmer T, Key L, Durkalski V, et al. Oral simvastatin treatment in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Lancet 2004; 363: 1607-08.
2. Kurtzke JF. A reassessment of the distribution of multiple sclerosis. Acta Neurologica Scand 1975; 51: 137-57.

3. Grimes DS. Are statins analogues of vitamin D? Lancet 2006; 368: 83-86

Back to Statins, Part 5
Go to Sunshine and: Cancer, diabetes, transplants, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, coronary heart disease

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Last updated: December 9, 2011