New research suggests that there is a direct link between vitamin D deficiency and a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MA), so vitamin supplementation might prevent the debilitating disease.
The study, which appeared in the journal Neurology, found that every 50 nmol/L in the blood stream can lower the risk of MS by 39 percent. Women with vitamin D deficiency had a 43 percent higher risk of the condition than non-deficient women.
Researchers are confident that keeping vitamin D levels high can prevent the disease. They explained that our bodies need the “Sunshine Vitamin” to metabolize different nutrients, but the most effective way of boosting vitamin D levels is through direct exposure to sunlight.
Dr. Geeta Sidhu-Robb noted that several reports found that countries located farther away from the equator have populations that are more vitamin D deficient than sunnier countries. In less sunny countries, MS rates are higher, which suggests a possible causal link between vitamin D and MS risk.
Dr. Sidhu-Robb recommends a higher vitamin D intake as we enter the winter months. We can get vitamin D from oily fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel. Eggs and meat are also important sources of vitamin D.
Nevertheless, diet is not enough for maintaining healthy vitamin D levels. Supplementation is badly needed in the absence of sunlight. Official guidelines recommend 10mcg of vitamin D per day.
“For some people obtaining enough vitamin D from our food is difficult so supplementation ensures you reach adequate levels,”
According to a Multiple Sclerosis Foundation report, there are 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.5 million worldwide diagnosed with MS, an autoimmune disease that impacts the spinal cord and brain. Symptoms include problems with balance, vision, and limb movement. About 90 percent of MS sufferers said the disease affected their working lives.
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