A group of Canadian scientists found that people that have a high genetic risk of vitamin D deficiency, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” are also more likely to develop multiple sclerosis, a debilitating autoimmune disease.
Vitamin D is created by our own bodies when they are exposed to sun light, so staying indoors may affect vitamin D levels and even boost your risk of multiple sclerosis. Yet, scientists were unable to tell whether vitamin D supplementation lowered the risk of disease.
The recent study confirms past scientific papers that suggested a link between vitamin D deficiency and high risk of multiple sclerosis. People that are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis unfortunately witness their own immune systems turning against them and attacking their nerves. Multiple sclerosis is believed to have genetic causes but its real cause has yet to be found. Additionally, there are no cures for it.
Study authors recommend people who believe that they don’t get enough vitamin D due to their lifestyles should go and see a doctor. There are ways of increasing vitamin’s levels through supplementation or a healthy diet.
Good sources of vitamin D are whole grains, eggs, and fatty fish. Some people however at are risk of not getting enough vitamin D. This includes the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those that spend too much time indoors. For these categories, experts recommend vitamin D supplements.
Past research had revealed the multiple sclerosis is more frequent in countries that do not receive that much sunshine. Nevertheless, until this recent study, it was unclear whether lack of vitamin D generated the disease or whether there were other factors involved.
Some researchers said that multiple sclerosis patients fueled their vitamin D deficiency because they stayed indoors so much for not feeling well. Other researchers claimed that people who took supplements had a lower risk of multiple sclerosis because (maybe) they had other healthy behaviors that kept them put of the harms way.
But the recent study clearly shows that there are some genetic underpinnings that fuel vitamin D deficiency, and those underpinnings were common to multiple sclerosis patients, too.
Researchers from the McGill University in Canada sifted through genetic data on thousands of Canadians and Europeans that reported low levels of vitamin D.They found four genetic markers that made patients more prone to the deficiency. Surprisingly the same genetic markers dubbed by the team “vitamin D genes” were present in the genetic code of multiple sclerosis patients.
As a follow-up, the team plans to learn whether there are other factors that combined with the markers may lead to the diseease.
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