Researchers have found that individuals who are genetically prone to low vitamin D status have an increased risk of multiple sclerosis.
A team of researchers from McGill University, Canada, has found a link between decreased vitamin D status and increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS). In their study, which is published in PLOS Medicine, they compared data from thousands of participants with and without MS. As part of their research they looked at how genetic factors affected vitamin D levels in the participants. The researchers found that those people who were genetically prone to low vitamin D status were at least twice as likely to have MS. To explain their observations in more simple terms, when you increase a person's circulating levels of 25OHD (biologically active vitamin D) by 1.5-fold, it decreases their risk of developing MS by 50%.
Supports earlier research
Their findings support earlier research that demonstrates a link between vitamin D status and the prevalence of MS. For instance, observational studies have shown that in northern parts of Europe where there is less sunshine compared with the southern regions, the rate for MS is greater.
Important for public health
The scientists, led by associate professor, Brent Richards, MD, M.Sc, Departments of Medicine at McGill University, say that the identification of vitamin D as a causal susceptibility factor for MS could have important implications for public health, as vitamin D insufficiency is widespread and because vitamin D supplementation is both relatively safe and cost-effective.
Vitamin D and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis: A Mendelian Randomization Study
PLoS Med. 2015 Aug 25;12(8):e1001866.