Vitamin D May Cut Multiple Sclerosis Risk
Study: Low Levels of Vitamin D May Boost Multiple Sclerosis Gene Risk
Feb. 6, 2009 -- Getting enough vitamin D early in life may cut the odds of
developing multiple sclerosis, researchers
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is more common in parts of the world far from the
equator, where the sun wanes during winter. During that seasonal sunshine
shortfall, it's harder for the body to make
vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
With that in mind, British and Canadian scientists studied a gene variant
that triples the risk of multiple sclerosis -- and they found that that gene is
sensitive to vitamin D.
"If too little of the vitamin is available, the gene may not function
properly," making multiple sclerosis more likely, Julian Knight, MBChB,
DPhil, says in a news release. Knight works at the Wellcome Trust Centre for
Human Genetics at England's University of Oxford.
Knight and colleagues suggest that because vitamin D deficiency is common,
taking vitamin D supplements early in life might cut MS risk. But they
didn't test that theory, and they're not recommending certain vitamin D doses
for MS prevention.
The study appears in PLoS Genetics. "PLoS" is short for
"Public Library of Science."