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Vitamin D May Benefit Multiple Sclerosis
Published Wednesday, September 3, 2008

NEWARK, N.J.-Vitamin D, the principal regulator of calcium in the body, may prevent the production of malignant cells such as breast and prostate cancer cells and protect against specific autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS) according to an article by Sylvia Christakos, Ph.D., of the New Jersey Medical School.

In the article, Christakos noted research shows the incidence of MS decreases as the amount of vitamin D available to the body increases, either through sunlight exposure or diet. The article also reported MS is "for the most part, unknown in equatorial regions" and the prevalence of the disease is lower in areas where fish consumption is high. The study is available online in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry.

"Since vitamin D is produced in the skin through solar or UV irradiation and high serum levels have been shown to correlate with a reduced risk of MS, this suggests that vitamin D may regulate the immune response and may promote a host's reaction to a pathogen," Christakos said.

Christakos' report focuses on the immunosuppressive actions of the active form of vitamin D, which may inhibit the induction of MS, and emphasizes the importance of maintaining a sufficient vitamin D level.

"Evidence has shown that the maintenance of an adequate vitamin D level may have a protective effect in individuals predisposed to MS," Christakos said. "One device of vitamin D action may be to preserve balance in the T-cell reaction and thus avoid autoimmunity."

Despite the significant evidence of the benefits of vitamin D relative to MS and other autoimmune diseases, Christakos cautioned further studies are needed to determine whether vitamin D alone or combined with other treatments is effective in individuals with active MS.

Source: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)

This abstract was provided courtesy of Natural Products Industry Insider, published by Virgo Publishing Inc.

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