Study shows increased levels of vitamin D may lower risk of disease.
A new large study suggests that people with a genetic disposition to have lower levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to contracting Multiple Sclerosis.
According to an article on bbc.com, researchers at McGill University in Canada looked at a large group of Europeans, that were determined to have a genetic predisposition to low vitamin D, and compared the rate of MS with those without a vitamin D deficiency.
The results indicated the lower vitamin D blood level subjects were significantly more like to have MS than the others in the study group. The findings were published in the journal PLoS Medicine.
Researchers cautioned that the relationship is casual and other factors might contribute to the results.
The major source of vitamin D for the body is exposure to sunlight. Studies around the world have already noted the rate of MS for populations increases as you move farther from the equator and its direct sunlight.
A debate is currently underway about the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements, with some experts saying the normal person gets all they need from sun exposure, while others favor additional amounts.
Vitamin D is relatively inexpensive and some doctors say we would all be healthier if we could increase our vitamin D levels to the presumed levels of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who spent a great deal of time outside in the sun.
Immunologist Prof Danny Altmann, from Imperial College London, said it may be too much to expect vitamin D to treat or reverse the effects of MS, but added the study supports the argument for additional supplements as a public health measure.
Medical professionals say you need to consult with your family physician before starting to take large amounts of vitamin D. Too much can cause side-effects and can be dangerous to the body as well.
Experts say they welcome more research in this area and it is hoped that more study can lead to a breakthrough in fighting MS.