According to a study published in the journal Public Library of Science (PLOS) Medicine people who have reduced levels of Vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis. The study was led by Dr. Brent Richards from McGill University in Canada.
Previous studies indicate that lower level of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis, but it was not yet proved that this actually causes the disease. According to past studies in places at higher latitudes the disease is more prevalent. This is due to the fact that people who live there do not enjoy the sun light as much as people who live at lower latitudes. Sunlight exposure is an important source of vitamin D.
The research team wanted to check whether there is a real connection between reduced levels of vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. For this they used a method called Mendelian randomization which helped the scientists understand how environmental factors affect common chronic diseases.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Scientists do not fully understand its cause and cannot accurately predict how the disease progresses. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation over 400.000 people in the United States suffer from this condition. Moreover it seems to be the most common disabling chronic neurological condition which affects adults all around the world.
The study involved 2.347 participants who participated in the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium study. The researchers analyzed the levels of vitamin D of the participants. The findings of the research indicate that all of the participants who have genetically lowered levels of vitamin D had an increased susceptibility to multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Brent Richards remarked:
Ongoing randomized controlled trials are currently assessing vitamin D supplementation for the treatment and prevention of multiple sclerosis […] and may therefore provide needed insights into the role of vitamin D supplementation.”
The researchers involved in the study are of the opinion that their study calls for further research in order to better investigate the therapeutic benefits which vitamin D has in preventing multiple sclerosis. Even though there is no cure for this disease the treatments that are now available for multiple sclerosis have serious side effects.
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