Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition affecting your nerves and your body’s immune system. Your immune system, which is supposed to fight infections, goes haywire and attacks the nerves in your spinal cord and brain.
Recent research suggests MS and vitamin D are linked.
Studies show that people who are vitamin D deficient are at an increased risk of developing MS and people with MS have lower vitamin D levels than others in the general population.
Role of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because it’s produced in our skin in response to sunlight. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb the nutrients you get from foods, especially calcium.
We generally can get most of our vitamin D from the sun, but it is also found in some of the foods we eat, including eggs, beef liver, milk, and oily fish.
Researchers have discovered that MS is more common in places further away from the equator because individuals in those countries receive less sunlight. They also have lower vitamin D levels causing researchers to believe there is a connection between vitamin D and MS.
Vitamin D and MS are Linked
It is not clear what causes MS, but growing evidence suggests vitamin D and MS are closely related.
Some studies indicate vitamin D deficiency plays a role in the development of the disease and others show vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk for some people in developing the disease.
Other studies suggest vitamin D supplementation may reduce the symptoms of MS, but the numbers of these types of studies are few.