It has long been known that genetics and environment play a part in risk of developing MS.
It has also long been known that risk of MS goes up as people live further and further from the equator.
Now a study has come out showing that proteins activated by Vitamin D interact with genes on Chromosome 6 that have been shown to have the strongest effect on development of MS.
Specifically, people carrying a copy of the gene variant DRB1*1501 are more likely to develop MS. Those carrying two copies of this variant are even more likely to develop this devastating disease.
This study suggests that the aforementioned proteins that are activated by Vitamin D bind to the DNA sequences adjacent to the DRB1*1501 gene and alter it’s function.
On the surface at least, this seems to make sense.
Adequate skin exposure to particular wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is a major source of Vitamin D in humans. Folks living further from the equator tend to get less of this exposure, and tend to have lower levels of Vitamin D.
So, it certainly would not surprise me if Vitamin D is playing a role in the increased MS risk seen in these folks.
You can read more about this study here.
There is a lot of debate regarding Vitamin D, effects of low levels, appropriate testing guidelines, appropriate guidelines for “normal blood levels, appropriate treatment of high levels, etc.
Perhaps, if there is any interest, I’ll devote a future post to some of these issues.
How ’bout it readers? Would you like to see a more detailed post about Vitamin D?