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Genetic study strengthens reduced vitamin D, MS link


The authors of a new study conclude that genetically lowered vitamin D levels are strongly linked with increased susceptibility to multiple sclerosis. The findings support observational evidence that lower vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk of MS.

Researchers, led by Brent Richards, of McGill University, Canada, used a genetic technique called Mendelian randomization to examine if there was a link between genetically reduced vitamin D levels and susceptibility to MS among participants in the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium study, which involves 14,498 people with multiple sclerosis and 24,091 healthy controls.

The authors found that a genetic decrease in the natural-log-transformed vitamin D level by one standard deviation was linked with a two-fold increased risk of multiple sclerosis.

The authors note, "Whether vitamin D sufficiency can delay, or prevent, multiple sclerosis onset merits further investigation in long-term randomized controlled trials. Ongoing randomized controlled trials are currently assessing vitamin D supplementation for the treatment and prevention of multiple sclerosis ... and may therefore provide needed insights into the role of vitamin D supplementation."

The findings were published in PLOS Medicine.

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