Low Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis

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Oxford-based researchers, in collaboration with researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada, have found evidence that lack of vitamin D may increase multiple sclerosis (MS) risk. They report that vitamin D may interact with a specific genetic component called HLA-DRB1*1501 that is known to increase the risk of MS. Similar findings were reported in a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2006. That study involved 257 US military personnel with multiple sclerosis and found that higher levels of vitamin D in the body may reduce the risk of developing MS by as much as 62%. Multiple sclerosis is among the most common neurological diseases in young adults, affecting 350,000 individuals in the United States and 2 million worldwide. The disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells and the myelin sheath of the spinal cord. The myelin sheath is responsible for facilitating the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the body. Researchers involved in the Oxford study noted “These studies imply direct interactions between HLA-DRB1, the main susceptibility locus for MS, and vitamin D, a strong candidate for mediating the environmental effect.” This data supports the case for supplementation during critical time periods to reduce the prevalence of this MS.

Vitamin D can be found in Vitamin Health’s Viteyes Multivitamin AREDS Companion and Viteyes Complete.

*S.V. Ramagopalan, N.J. Maugeri, L. Handunnetthi, Lincoln MR, Orton S-M, et al. “Expression of the multiple sclerosis-associated MHC class II allele HLA-DRB1*1501 is regulated by Vitamin D.” PloS Genetics. 2009 Feb;5(2):e1000369. Epub 2009 Feb 6.


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