The sunshine vitamin may help fight multiple sclerosis. Researchers are testing vitamin D supplements in multiple sclerosis patients So far, they've only studied it in animals.
In mice, with a rodent form of multiple sclerosis, vitamin D appears to block immune cells that cause damage from migrating to the central nervous system, reserachers say that could explain why so-called "sunshine vitamin" may prevent or ease symptoms of MS.
"With this research, we learned vitamin D might be working not by altering the function of damaging immune cells but by preventing their journey into the brain," says study leader Anne R. Gocke, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "If we are right, and we can exploit Mother Nature's natural protective mechanism, an approach like this could be as effective as and safer than existing drugs that treat MS."
The quest to understand the role of the nutrient began with the observation that the disease is more prevalent in regions of the world farthest from the equator where there is less sunshine, the main natural source of vitamin D.