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Article: Low Vitamin D Predicts MS in Clinically Isolated Syndromes

September 21, 2012

For a long time we’ve known there is a link between polar living and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Is it lack of sunlight? Exposure to cold? Something with fat deposition? Some sort of radiation or chemical exposure or perhaps a magnetic phenomenon? Well, research into all these – and many other possible etiologies for the disease – is ongoing. 

Although a small study, this one adds evidence to the correlation of low serum Vitamin D and diagnosis/progression of MS. Remember though: correlation is not causation! The finding of an association helps us but associations are like chicken and eggs. Do these people have low Vitamin D because they have MS? Or, do they have MS because they have low vitamin D? Or… are they two linked phenomena but not necessarily causally related?

Should we all take more Vitamin D? Errr well that doesn’t follow from this paper, so for now I’ll stick with the recommended 800-2000IU per day as a Canadian between October and April. No matter where we live or how sunny it is, the Earth’s tilt in winter means we cannot get enough Vit D from the sky. And while we have no idea if it could prevent MS, we do know it prevents falls in the elderly (by helping muscles work) and helps build stronger bones for all of us. It might help with mood and other things, but the evidence is a little less convincing in those departments.

There’s still a lot of learning to do; the struggle to understand MS is well underway, and there have been so significant advances in the past few years. Let’s hope this paper spurs on more!

Low Vitamin D Predicts MS in Clinically Isolated Syndromes

[for ease, clinically isolated syndromes can be thought of as ‘first episode’ of neurological weirdness that usually is later found to be due to MS.]

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