A new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that women who are deficient in vitamin D are 43% more likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) than those with normal levels of the vitamin.
The findings suggest that correcting this deficiency, particularly among young and middle-aged women, may reduce the risk
The study was published September 14, 2017 in Neurology.
MS is a debilitating neurological disease affecting an estimated 400,000 people in the United States.
For this study, researchers looked at health data from more than 800,000 women in the Finnish Maternity Cohort. In their analysis of blood samples, they defined vitamin D deficiency as under 30 nanomoles per liter; insufficient levels, between 30 and 49 nanomoles per liter; and normal levels, 50 nanomoles per liter and above.
“More research is needed on the optimal dose of vitamin D for reducing risk of MS,” lead author Kassandra Munger, research scientist in the Department of Nutrition, told Medical News Today. “But striving to achieve vitamin D sufficiency over the course of a person’s life will likely have multiple health benefits.”