On Saturday, I attended the 19th Annual Fannie & Charles Penikoff Research Symposium presented by the National MS Society. There, University of Chicago Medical School Neurology Professor Dr. Anthony Reder, discussed a possible correlation between Vitamin D intake and MS. Below is summary of his main points.
– Vitamin D benefits bones, effects immunity and is a therapy used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). While sun is the best way to receive Vitamin D, food ranks second and supplements third for those looking to increase intake.
– The recommended daily dosage is 600 units of Vitamin D and the maximum dose for ages 9-71 is 4,000 IU of Vitamin D3. The most common side effects of too much (more than 40,000 units) are kidney stones, hyper parathyroid and renal disease.
– Vitamin D-rich foods include cod liver oil, herring, salmon, oysters and mushrooms. A 1952 study reported that there exists a lower incidence of MS in Norway where fish is popular at the dinner table.
– Of course, as we all know the sun can be harmful so prudence should prevail when outside; gradual exposure to the sun is healthy.
– MS cases are very low at the equator and increase in frequency as you move both north and south. Researchers surmise that this difference may be attributable to Vitamin D intake, variations in temperature, hygiene and migration patterns amongst other variables..
– A very interesting study showed that Tasmanian children who spend much of their day outside were 1/3 likely to develop MS. Similarly, it stated that people who work outside and work in rural areas are less likely to get MS. The study also reported that children under 19 who take Vitamin D daily are less likely to develop MS.
We are told to stay away from the sun, yet in the case of MS, increased exposure may actually be beneficial.
Do you get enough Vitamin D?