Increasing evidence suggests that low vitamin D levels affect a wide variety of health concerns, from mood and bone health to increased risk of a variety of diseases. In addition, our increased diligence in sunburn protection and a decrease in ability to convert to D naturally have led to a rise in lower vitamin D levels, leading many to add vitamin D levels to their routine blood panels. The results of these studies suggest that low vitamin D levels may play a role in autoimmune diseases as well as mood.
Vitamin D, Moms, and Multiple Sclerosis
Children born to mothers who don’t have enough vitamin D while pregnant are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) as adults.
In this study, doctors compared 176 men and women with MS to 326 similar healthy men and women. All were children of mothers who had participated in an earlier study that measured vitamin D levels during pregnancy. Those whose mothers were deficient in vitamin D—with levels lower than than 8 nanograms per milliliter of blood—particularly during the first trimester, were 90 percent more likely to develop MS compared to those whose mothers were not deficient in vitamin D while pregnant.
Reference: JAMA Neurology; 2016, Vol. 73, No. 5, 515-19
Vitamin D and MS
In multiple sclerosis (MS), the immune system attacks the protective layer surrounding nerve fibers, disrupting signals from the brain to the body. The ability of the body to repair this protective myelin layer decreases as MS progresses.
In this lab study, doctors were able to activate vitamin D receptors in special cells that help rebuild myelin, promoting myelin repair. When doctors blocked the vitamin D receptors, the myelin rebuilding process stopped.
These preliminary results suggest vitamin D may both lower the chances of developing MS, and have additional therapeutic benefits in treating the condition.
Reference: Journal of Cell Biology; 2015, Vol. 211, No. 5, 975-85
Lupus and Vitamin D
Lupus, the autoimmune disease with systemic inflammation and serious long-term health problems, is much more likely to affect women than men. In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 890 people who had lupus for an average of 13.5 years.
Three in four had low levels of vitamin D and were more likely to have high blood pressure, elevated lipid and C-reactive protein levels—an inflammatory factor—and higher lupus disease activity scores than those with adequate vitamin D.
Doctors said vitamin D plays a role in autoimmune diseases because of its ability to regulate the immune response and its anti-inflammatory effects.
Reference: Arthritis Care & Research; 2014, Published Online
Young Women Feeling Better: Vitamin D improved mood in adolescent females
Doctors wanted to see if vitamin D in high doses could reduce the intensity of premenstrual-syndrome (PMS) related mood disorders in young women severely deficient in vitamin D. In the study, 158 women, aged 15 to 21, with severe PMS symptoms and vitamin D levels no higher than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL), took a placebo or an initial dose of 200,000 IU of vitamin D followed by 25,000 IU every two weeks for four months.
After one month, the vitamin D group reached normal vitamin D levels of 35 to 60 ng/mL, and remained there throughout the study. After four months, while there were no measureable improvements for placebo, anxiety scores decreased to 20 from 51; irritability scores to 70 from 130; crying easily to 30 from 41, and sadness scores to 31 from 51 for the vitamin D group. In a measure of “disturbed relationships,” scores improved to 70 from 150 before vitamin D.
Reference: Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology; December, 2015, S1083-3188; Published Online
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement, especially if you take medication or have a medical condition. For example, vitamin D may be contraindicated for those with hypercalcemia.
Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well Being. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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