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Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis: Myths and Facts

Vitamin D is often associated with multiple sclerosis, a disease of the nervous system that results in damage of the nerves and neurological symptoms. Those with lower vitamin D levels have higher diagnose rates than those with adequate vitamin D levels.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the primary disease of the nervous system. It develops slowly and it can be noted by the build-up of plaques. This is the result of the loss of myelin, the electrically insulating material that forms into the myelin sheath, that covers the axon of a neuron.

The loss of myelin occurs in the spinal cord and the brain and leads to neurological symptoms.

When the myelin sheath is damaged, the nerve impulses are slower or have stopped. Nerves can be damaged in any area of the spinal cord or brain, resulting in a wide range of problematic areas.

Individuals with MS may have abnormal nerve reflexes as well as decreased ability to move in certain parts of the body. In addition, the nerve damage may cause a loss of sensation in the body. This nerve damage is the result of inflammation, which occurs when the cells of the body’s immune system attack the nervous system.

Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis are correlated, as those with higher levels of vitamin D levels in the blood had lower diagnose rates of multiple sclerosis in comparison to those with lower levels. Several tests can be done to diagnose multiple sclerosis, such as MRI scans of the brain and lumbar puncture (spinal tap). Multiple sclerosis is more common in countries of northern latitude, further away from the equator.

Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis may be correlated, but those at risk of vitamin D deficiencies may prevent it by ensuring that they increase their levels. This can be done by either getting enough vitamin D in their diets or getting sufficient sun exposure.

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