Vitamin D is often talked about as an important vitamin that helps the body stay fit and strong, but it could also help in the fight against multiple sclerosis (MS). While there still needs to be more research into the beneficial effects of vitamin D, there are some things to know about its relationship with MS.
It may slow the progression of multiple sclerosis.
There is some evidence that suggests people with multiple sclerosis who have higher levels of vitamin D in their bodies are likely to suffer less severe symptoms. According to Web MD, a study noted the symptoms of a group of people with MS and then found that five years later, those with higher levels of vitamin D experienced fewer problems. While this shows promise, more research needs to be conducted into whether vitamin D can actually slow down the progression of MS.
It may prevent the disease from developing.
Other studies have found that vitamin D may be helpful in the prevention of the disease. Researchers discovered that children who spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine were less likely to develop the disease later in life.
This is also backed up by the fact that the further away from the equator you live, the higher your risk of developing MS becomes, as the amount of sunshine diminishes.
To date, no-one is really sure what role vitamin D plays in protecting people against MS. Many think that vitamin D enhances the immune system, making it less likely for a person to develop an autoimmune disease like MS.
How much vitamin D do you need?
A simple blood test can determine your levels of vitamin D. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society suggests that people living with the disease get between 200 and 600 IUs (international units) a day.
How can you improve your vitamin D intake?
You can either take a supplement (if recommended by your health care team), spend 15 minutes each day in the sun, or eat more food containing vitamin D such as oily fish, beef liver, cheese, eggs and foods fortified with vitamin D such as cereals, milk and orange juice.
MORE: Four things to know about vitamin D and multiple sclerosis
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