Doctors know that white Northern Europeans, living far from the equator and the sunshine that produces vitamin D, often carry a gene that triples risk for multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system characterized by progressive neurological dysfunction. Scientists recently discovered that the gene that helps the immune system develop needs vitamin D to function properly. The doctors noted that this is the first study to establish a genetic link between MS and vitamin D.
Citing a related study, researchers noted that whites with high vitamin D levels had 62 percent less risk of MS than whites with low levels and concluded that pregnant women and infants should take vitamin D to help prevent MS.
Public Library of Science Genetics; 2009, Vol. 5, No. 2.