Study suggests vitamin D may protect against MS

A MAJOR study suggests that taking vitamin D may protect against multiple sclerosis.


Researchers in the United States confirmed the link by comparing blood samples from more than seven million military personnel.


They included 257 individuals who were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis between 1992 and 2004. The blood samples, held in a US Department of Defence repository, were checked for levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a compound produced by the breakdown of vitamin D in the body.
Because vitamin D is strongly influenced by skin colour, separate studies were conducted among whites, blacks and Hispanics. Among whites, the scientists found a 41 per cent decrease in MS risk for every 50 nanomoles per litre rise in levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
MS risk was highest among people whose concentrations of the vitamin D marker were in the bottom fifth of all those tested.
Those in the top fifth had a 62 per cent lower risk compared with those in the bottom fifth.


Among blacks and Hispanics, who generally had lower 25- hydroxyvitamin D levels than whites, no significant links between vitamin D and MS risk were found. However, this may partly be due to smaller sample sizes for these groups.


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