We don't yet know what causes MS, but it's likely to be a complex link between genetic and environmental factors. So far, research has flagged up viruses, smoking and vitamin D as triggers that could affect your risk.
However recent research published in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine greatly strengthens the evidence that low vitamin D plays a causal role in the development of MS. It brings us an exciting step closer to understanding the biological nature of that connection.
The new study, led by researchers at McGill University, Canada, suggests a causal link for the first time - showing that people who are genetically predisposed to having low vitamin D levels are more likely to develop MS. However, it still remains to be seen whether supplementing with vitamin D can prevent the development of MS in people at high risk.
Deidre Mackechnie, Interim CEO at MS Australia said: “There are many unanswered questions as to what causes MS so this research brings us an exciting step closer to understanding the connection between the environmental and genetic factors at play. It’s an incredibly crucial area of research and these recent findings should give people with MS hope that we are gradually finding out more so that one day we can find a cure for this condition.”
To find out more about this study read MS Research Australia’s commentary here.
MS Research Australia are holding a webinar at 10am on Monday 14 September to discuss this topic in more detail. Just how important is vitamin D when you are living with MS? What is the optimum level? Is direct sunshine better or supplements?