Up­ping vi­ta­min D dose may fight MS

Cape Argus - - NEWS -

IT IS be­lieved the “sun­shine vi­ta­min”, Vi­ta­min D, also found in eggs, red meat and oily fish, may help to sup­press im­mune cells that at­tack the body to cause MS (mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis). The dis­ease can leave peo­ple wheel­chair-bound by se­verely dam­ag­ing their mus­cles. US re­searchers ex­am­ined blood sam­ples from more than 3 200 women, who are two to three times more likely to be di­ag­nosed with MS than men.

Those de­fi­cient in vi­ta­min D had a 43% higher chance of get­ting MS than women with ad­e­quate lev­els. The risk was 27% higher for those de­fi­cient in vi­ta­min D as com­pared with those with just in­suf­fi­cient lev­els.

Lead au­thor Dr Kas­san­dra Munger said: “We do know there is a higher in­ci­dence of MS in more north­ern coun­tries, the fur­ther you move away from the equator. One hy­poth­e­sis put forth for this is that these pop­u­la­tions have a lack of vi­ta­min D due to a lack of sun ex­po­sure.

“Our study adds to the ev­i­dence that vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency is a risk fac­tor for MS, and that cor­rect­ing this in women of re­pro­duc­tive age may re­duce their risk of de­vel­op­ing it. Peo­ple should dis­cuss with their doc­tor whether they need a sup­ple­ment.”

Of­fice work­ers, preg­nant women and the el­derly are among those said to be at risk of fall­ing dan­ger­ously low on vi­ta­min D.

The sun­shine vi­ta­min is mea­sured in nanomoles and peo­ple are de­fi­cient if they have less than 30 nanomoles per litre of blood. This can be raised to ad­e­quate lev­els of 50 nanomoles with a daily tablet.

The US study used blood sam­ples from women in Fin­land.

Munger said: “More re­search is needed but striv­ing to achieve vi­ta­min D suf­fi­ciency over the course of a per­son’s life will prob­a­bly have mul­ti­ple health ben­e­fits.” – Daily Mail

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