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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Multiple Sclerosis May be Prevented by the Use of Vitamin D Supplements During Pregnancy

Evidence has been found that for pregnant women in the world's colder, darker countries that the use of vitamin D supplements may stave of multiple sclerosis (MS) in their offspring researchers announced Thursday.

These findings add to the evidence of a link between MS and low Vitamin D levels, which sees the body's own nerve fibers being attacked by it's own immune system.

A paper in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry said that according to data from more than 150,000 MS patients born in places north of 52 degrees, there is a heightened risk for those born in April -- a month preceded by a long period without sunlight.

British researchers wrote that of the total, 13,000 were born in April, as compared to 11,600 in November -- a lower risk month after summer in teh northern hemisphere.

"Month of birth has a significant effect on subsequent MS risk" they said.

"This is likely to be due to ultraviolet light exposure and maternal Vitamin D levels"

They added, though, it could also be "any factor that varies in a similar seasonal and latitudinal manner."

Between 1930 and 1980 data was collected from individuals born between these years for studies done in Britain, the Unied States, Italy, Israel, Finland, Scotland, Sweden, and Canada -- parts of which see little sunlight between the months of October and March.

It is believed that about 100,00 people in Britain and about 400,000 people in the United States suffer from MS. A disease affecting vision, movement, balance, sensation, bladder control, and also memory and thinking. There is no cure.

Sreeram Ramagopalan from the Queen Mary University of London, study co-author, told AFP the findings amounted to an added MS risk of five percent for people born in April -- about five extra births per million.

"Pregnant mothers need to ensure they are Vitamin D replete at all tiems" Ramagopalan said in an email exchange.

"Because Vitamin D deficiency is a massive problem at the moment due to living at high latitudes and lifestyle changes (wearing sunscreen etc.), mothers may need to take several thousand international units of Vitamin D3 to become Vitamin D replete."

Humans need Vitamin D for healthy bones. Our bodies produce Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight or extract it from food.

A lack of  Vitamin D has been the subject of medical research for many years. It is suspected of being a link for an increased risk of death from heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Researchers have also focused on its possible role in MS.

"It is thought that maternal Vitamin D levels during pregnancy affect the immune status of developing fetus, and hence modulates subsequent MS risk," wrote the authors.

Northern parts of England, the Scandinavian countries, and most of Russia and Canada lie north of 52 degrees latitude.

No studies from the southern hemisphere were included in the analysis.

Source: Interaksyon (15/11/12)
Original story: Vitamin D in pregnancy may prevent multiple sclerosis
                Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre 

Written by: William D