It is commonly known that oily fish and fish oil supplements contain the two omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that are good for the brain. Now, scientists from Singapore have discovered a special omega-3 fatty acid that is of particular importance to brain cells that are surrounded by a protective myeline sheath. The scientists say that their discovery may help prevent brain ageing and lead to the development of new therapies aimed at treating neurological disorders like sclerosis that are associated with myelin damage. Their new study is published in Journal of Clinical Investigation and it appears that fish roe is the best source of these special omega-3 fatty acids that are needed to stimulate the myeline sheath.
Children and youngsters who are exposed to lots of sunlight and have plenty of vitamin D in their blood are much less likely to develop sclerosis later in life, according to a new study. In fact, there is a reason why sclerosis is more prevalent at northern latitudes. During the winter, the sun sits too low in the sky for us humans to be able to synthesize vitamin D in the skin. However, one must also realize that the intensified use of sunscreen can block the skin’s production of vitamin D. It is therefore essential to get plenty of vitamin D from sun exposure or to take a vitamin D supplement, as this may help prevent diseases such as sclerosis that take years to develop.
American scientists have demonstrated that measurements of vitamin D levels in patients with early stages of sclerosis may predict how fast the disease will progress. If levels are low it may be a sign of faster disease progression and also a sign that this development may be slowed down if the patients increase their vitamin D intake.
The study is published in the science journal JAMA Neurology and was carried out on 465 patients from more than 20 different countries. The results showed that patients with highest levels of vitamin D had fewer brain lesions (57%) and less recurrence (75%) compared with the group that had low vitamin D levels.
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%.
It is no coincidence that sclerosis is more prevalent at the northern latitudes. A major factor is lack of vitamin D, a nutrient that we only synthesize from sunlight during the summer. A new study published in the scientific journal Neurology shows that the risk increases even more if people are overweight, and children are particularly vulnerable. As part of the strategy for preventing sclerosis, we must pay more attention to weight management and make sure to get plenty of vitamin D all year round and throughout life. Furthermore, various campaigns that warn against sun exposure and recommend the use of sunscreen should at the same time advise children and adults how to get enough vitamin D from other sources.
Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, certain gastrointestinal infections, and a host of other diseases are so-called autoimmune diseases that occur as a result of the immune defense overreacting and attacking the body’s own tissues. Scientists from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have now mapped out exactly how vitamin D regulates the immune system. In fact, vitamin D may have a positive effect on autoimmune diseases such as sclerosis. But at our latitude, this provides that we get enough vitamin D from the sun in the summertime and take vitamin D supplements in the winter period. Besides, it is a problem that being overweight both increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency and sclerosis, while lack of magnesium makes it difficult for the body to activate vitamin D.