Low Vitamin D linked To MS

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Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many health problems. And now, researchers are one step closer to proving that low vitamin-D intake is linked to multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study , published in PLoS Medicine journal, discovered that people who have a genetic predisposition towards low vitamin D levels have a significantly increased risk of developing MS.

What did the study involve?

A research team at Canada's McGill University investigated a big group of people living in Europe. Within the group were people with a low vitamin D predisposition, and people without a low vitamin D predisposition.

The people with the disposition were far more likely to also have MS, than the people without the predisposition.

Why do we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential to our health and well-being. Unfortunately, many people experience a vitamin D deficiency without even knowing it. The steroid hormone has been shown to lower the risk of chronic conditions, treat infections, and boost our immunity. It also keeps our bones healthy.

While we get a big dollop of D from the sun and our food, many of us need to take supplements. Especially as many Aussies have heeded the message of skin cancer campaigns and slather on sunscreens that block sunlight absorption.

Interestingly, vitamin D deficiency is rife in less sunny countries. And research also shows that MS rates are higher in less sunny spots.

A step in the right direction

The study is a positive step forward for scientists, who still have questions around the causes of MS. However, health experts say more research is needed, and it?s unclear why low vitamin D levels are linked to MS.

That being said, an article published on BBC online reports that scientists have since started testing vitamin D supplements as an MS preventative treatment or option for managing MS symptoms.

The BBC quoted Dr Susan Kohlhaas from the MS Society: There are many unanswered questions around what causes MS, so this large scale study is an exciting step towards understanding more about the complex nature of the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to it

Kohlhaas continues, There are government guidelines around how much vitamin D people should take, and taking too much can lead to side effects, so we'd encourage people to talk to their health professional if they're thinking of doing this.

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