Get Some Sun and Prevent MS
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Getting enough vitamin D each day can benefit your health, but it may do even more for pregnant women and their soon-to-be-born children. Researchers have found that children born to women who received enough vitamin D throughout their pregnancy have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
The study attempted to find a link between exposure to vitamin D during pregnancy and the risk of multiple sclerosis by looking at various populations living at latitudes 52° above the equator; areas that don’t have sufficient amounts of sunlight, which is a crucial source of vitamin D, between October and March.
In order for the body to make enough vitamin D during the winter season, a certain amount of ultraviolet light of the correct wave length needs to be able to reach the skin. However, at latitudes 52° above the equator there is not enough ultraviolet light during these months so often times people do not enough vitamin D.
Previously published data on close to 152,000 people with MS with expected birth rates for the disease was also used in order to determine if birth place, in particular locations at latitudes 52° above the equator, did in fact play a role in the risk of MS.
The results showed an extra risk of MS of 5% for people born in April, meaning that the majority of the pregnancy would have taken place between October and March when the body is not making enough vitamin D.
For people born between October and November, where the majority of the pregnancy would have been during the late spring and summer months, there was a 5 to 7% lower risk of MS.
To further support the study’s findings researchers also looked at populations living in countries at latitudes 52° and below; a similar trend was found with people born in October and November having a significantly lower risk of MS than those born in April or May.
Further research needs to be done in order to substantiate these results, especially since the no analysis was done of people living in the southern hemisphere.
However, the findings could help to develop methods in order to prevent MS early on as well as give expecting mothers the knowledge that if they aren’t getting enough vitamin D from sunlight they may want to use supplements.
Source: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, November, 2012