Diet is thought to play a key role in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS). Medical researchers point to the fact that MS is fairly common in the U.S. and Europe and almost unheard of in countries such as Japan, Korea, and China. The answer to this mystery may have a lot to do with nutrition health. The average U.S. diet is high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and alcohol. These and other nutritional “bad guys” could help set the stage for the onset of MS.
But now scientists have found another risk factor for MS: vitamin-D deficiency. In a recent clinical trial, researchers in Isfahan, Iran, wanted to find out why there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases of MS. They recorded that, in 2009, 431 people out of 3,599 were diagnosed with MS. The researchers had a hunch that this dramatic increase in the prevalence of MS (that puts Isfahan at the highest rate in Asia and Oceania) is mostly due to changing environmental factors, including vitamin-D deficiency. They noted that vitamin D is involved in regulating calcium and men and women with MS have a higher risk of osteoporosis. They concluded that research data support a potential relationship between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of developing MS.
In another clinical trial performed at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, researchers examined whether levels of vitamin D were associated with the risk of developing MS. The researchers did a massive data review of more than seven million U.S. military personnel who had blood samples stored in the Department of Defense Serum Repository. The research group found that, among Caucasians, the risk of multiple sclerosis significantly decreased with increasing levels of vitamin D. The researchers concluded that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with a lower risk of MS. It may very well be that vitamin D is the alternative remedy everyone has been looking for when it comes to MS.
Many with MS have been statistically found to have a poor diet prior to the onset of the disease. Allergies to gluten and dairy have been suspected of playing a role in the progression of MS, too. Whatever the real cause of MS, it is obviously important to eat a healthy, balanced diet full of healing foods and to avoid harmful chemicals and pollutants as much as possible — especially for those who have a family member already suffering with the condition.