Researchers say that vitamin D might be a key to preventing multiple sclerosis and have called for a special federal grant to finance a trial to prove it.
A recent study from Oxford University found that taking vitamin D supplements in childhood and pregnancy could reduce the cases of MS in the UK by 80 percent, speculating that the vitamin controls the activity of a gene that increases the odds of MS.
Previous studies revealed the so-called “latitude effect”: a Tasmanian is seven times more likely to develop the condition than someone in northern Queensland.
This, and other evidence suggest that sunshine, which is a high source of Vitamin D has a protective effect against the disease, and that vitamin D supplements from an early age could help shield those at risk.
MS Research Australia has put the case to the Government for an extra $5 million in Commonwealth money to accelerate research, claiming that “it would be an opportunity for the Government to help Australian MS researchers in ground-breaking discoveries which will affect millions worldwide.”
- An estimated 18,000 Australians have MS.
- Those with close relatives with MS (such as brothers and sisters) are thought to be 20 to 40 times more likely to develop the disease.
- You may reduce your risk by upping your vitamin D levels through 10-15 minutes of sunlight exposure or from consuming foods rich in the vitamin including oily fish, liver, eggs and fortified products like milk.
- Up your fruit, vegetable and fish intake! Antioxidants (found in fruits and vegetables) and omega 3 fatty acids (found in oily fish) contain anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce inflammation and possibly autoimmune activity.