Correlating latitude and vitamin D with multiple sclerosis

A recent review of the role of vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) concluded it was not possible to make firm conclusions because the studies included small numbers of people with lots of confounding variables.

Fair enough, but here is an epidemiological report that makes interesting reading and advances the vitamin D theory. [My additions are in brackets.]

British and Irish immigrants (adults and children) to Australia had a 75% reduction in their risk of developing MS compared to their native countrymen. Furthermore, their reduction in MS risk lessened with increasing latitude [ie, settling further from the equator increased the MS risk].

Identifying this unknown protective factor could suggest how to prevent MS in susceptible people living at higher latitudes. An important new clue in this work is that this factor must benefit both children and adults.

The authors conclude, “sunlight intensity, and consequently the vitamin D supply, varies substantially and decreases systematically with increasing latitude and sunlight exposure could benefit all age groups.”

To read more, go here.

Illustration: Brain Explorer

8/11/06 14:39 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.