Does Low Vitamin D Cause Multiple Sclerosis – What Is The Connection?
The sunlight Vitamin is essential for the growth and development of bones and teeth. It is equally important in both adults and children. Vitamin D is also known to play an important role in stimulating the immune system and fight against infection and inflammation. You can get Vitamin D by sufficient exposure to sunlight; by taking dietary supplement or food rich in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is available in two forms Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). These forms of Vitamin D can be easily available from yeast and some mushrooms, oily fish, liver and from eggs. Our body generates Vitamin D3 from skin cells upon exposure to sunlight. You can also obtain Vitamin D from fortified foods which are easily available from the market in the form of cereals and white flour. Vitamin D is utilized by the human body in the form of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25D). The levels of Vitamin D are ascertained by calculating 25 D levels.
Does Low Vitamin D Cause Multiple Sclerosis?
Deficiency of Vitamin D has also been associated with a number of diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. It is not only considered as a causative factor but also with frequent relapses. People with multiple sclerosis associated disabilities are known to have Vitamin D deficiency. Although it is established that people suffering from multiple sclerosis have Vitamin D deficiency researchers are still working if giving Vitamin D can be helpful in improving symptoms or preventing the relapses and if yes what dose of Vitamin D should be given. (1)
The cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown; a number of factors can act as a trigger factor for multiple sclerosis such as environmental factors viruses, genetics, etc. According to a study, there has been genetically lower Vitamin D in people suffering from multiple sclerosis. The prevalence of Vitamin D is more in temperate climate regions. People living near the equator will get sufficient sunlight and hence Vitamin D in their bodies and can help fight against multiple sclerosis. It is also evidenced people who are born with Vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk of multiple sclerosis as they are genetically susceptible to it which means winter pregnancies are at increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Few people have less exposure to sunlight during childhood which increases the risk to multiple sclerosis. Also people who are born from twin pregnancies have one sibling deficient in Vitamin D.
What Is The Connection?
Although the exact mechanism with which Vitamin D affects multiple sclerosis is not known there do exists some correlation between the two. People who include sufficient amounts of Vitamin D in their diet are at decreased risk. The diet rich in oily fish is a good source of Vitamin D.
The easiest and inexpensive way to get Vitamin D is sunlight. Early morning exposure to sunshine does not produce any heat but it helps in getting enough of Vitamin D without burning your skin. Exposure to the hot sun can produce sunburn and other skin diseases. While exposing to sunlight show most of your skin, obese people may not be able to generate a sufficient amount of sunlight.
Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with:
- Faster progression of the disease
- More prone to relapses
- Faster EDSS rate
- Nerve cells produce more lesions in the brain and spinal cord
- Brain volume is alters
- The disease is more active and progressive and increases Vitamin D deficiency further
Vitamin D supplements are usually prescribed after the first multiple sclerosis attacks as it is assumed to decrease the progression of the disease. Vitamin D is safe to consume and do not interfere with the action of disease-modifying drugs of multiple sclerosis.
There are studies which indicate the deficiency of Vitamin D can result in multiple sclerosis. Decreased levels of Vitamin D are associated with faster progression of the disease, increases relapses, and CNS lesions.
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