Vi­ta­min D may cut risk of MS

Townsville Bulletin - - Your Health -

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.

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