by: Elizabeth Renter
July 23, 2012
It’s believed that up to 350,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Each week, around 200 new cases are diagnosed. But scientists may have found an easy solution to help in the prevention of this disastrous disease. Luckily, overcoming multiple sclerosis may be as easy as soaking up some sun.
Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis with a Vitamin
MS is an autoimmune disease; it affects the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. While symptoms vary widely from person to person, many people with MS suffer from muscle weakness, spasms, and cramping, problems walking, speech difficulties, hearing and vision loss, memory loss, pain, and depression.
A group of Canadian and British scientists have found hope for people who have yet to be diagnosed in the form of vitamin D. This vitamin— obtained naturally through the sun, through fortified food and supplements— is said to affect the gene that increases MS risk, ultimately helping individuals in overcoming multiple sclerosis.
This isn’t the first time vitamin D and multiple sclerosis have been linked. And because there is no clear cause of the disease—medical professionals, scientists, and patients alike will take any new revelations as progress.
A gene variant, known as DRB1*1501, significantly increases your chances of developing MS. According to the BBC:
“While one in 1,000 people in the UK is likely to develop MS, this number rises to around one in 300 among those carrying a single copy of the gene variant – known as DRB1*1501 – and one in 100 of those carrying two copies.”
Vitamin D activates proteins in the body. These proteins are found to bind to a DNA sequence next to the gene, changing how it functions.
The study indicates that vitamin D may be key to overcoming multiple sclerosis, as the vitamin deficiency could lead to multiple sclerosis.
So, how can you increase vitamin D consumption?
- Get some sun every day. Remember to go outside while the sun is strongest, and don’t shower after bathing in the sun as the vitamin D will essentially wash off.
- Eat salmon. (Salmon is the richest natural food-source of vitamin D)
- Take a supplement if you don’t think you are getting enough through your diet and sun exposure.