Vitamin D may cut risk of MS
A STUDY published in the US provides the most compelling evidence to date that vitamin D may protect against the crippling neurological disease multiple sclerosis (MS).
Harvard University researchers who reviewed the medical data of more than seven million US military personnel found the risk of MS fell dramatically as the level of the vitamin circulating in the blood rose.
The relationship was particularly strong in the under-20 age group, according to the study published in the Journal oftheAmerican MedicalAssociation.
Individuals who ranked in the top 20 per cent of the sample for vitamin D levels had a 62 per cent lower risk for the chronic autoimmune disease than those in the bottom 20 per cent.
The study also found that there was a 41per cent decrease in risk for MS with every increase of 50 nanomoles per litre in circulating vitamin D.
‘‘The study strongly suggests that vitamin D has a protective effect, and one which could potentially prevent thousands of cases of MS,’’ said Alberto Ascherio, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, one of the authors.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that vitamin D could reduce the incidence of the incurable condition.
But Ascherio said it was still insufficient to make the case for an increase in the recommended daily dietary intake of vitamin D.
Vitamin D has been dubbed the sunshine vitamin because it is naturally produced in skin that is exposed to ultraviolet rays.