With the growth in our understanding of the factors that predispose us towards developing the disease, MS (multiple sclerosis) prevention seems increasingly within reach. These factors include genetic and environmental factors, but they vary from person to person.

Scientific knowledge about the role played by genes comes from studies which showed that individuals who had identical twins with MS had a 25% chance of themselves developing the condition. In addition, scientific studies showed that having a first-degree relative with MS significantly increased individuals’ chances of developing it. Addressing this is a challenge: Genetic heritage cannot be reversed. However, medical scientists have been able to use gene therapy to successfully reduce brain lesions in clinical trials.

Gene therapy is bound to be an expensive form of treatment if it ever becomes a mainstream form of treatment for MS patients. Hence it is worthwhile devoting time and resources to more affordable possibilities for MS prevention or treatment.


Vitamin D for the Prevention of Multiple Sclerosis


At least one study has shown that regular supplementation with vitamin D is a promising approach to multiple sclerosis prevention. In the study in question, women who ingested at least 400 international units of vitamin D (in the form of vitamin supplements) on a daily basis showed a 40% lower chance of developing MS than women who did not use the vitamin supplements.

Vitamin D is known to play a role in the functioning of the immune system. Its deficiency is involved, not just in the development of MS, but also in that of rheumatoid arthritis, another autoimmune disorder. In addition, vitamin D deficiency has been tied to diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Thus, it isn’t hard to understand why medical scientists would want to investigate the role played by vitamin D as a form of prevention for multiple sclerosis and other diseases.

Vitamin D is ordinarily synthesized by the body when one’s skin is exposed to the sunlight. However, people living at higher latitudes often don’t get enough sunlight to synthesize sufficient amounts of vitamin D during the winter months. The first ten years of one’s life are the most crucial for vitamin D synthesis where MS is concerned. When the circumstances are not conducive for the synthesis of sufficient bodily vitamin D, individuals should invest in dietary vitamin D. They could get this by drinking milk fortified with vitamin D, by eating cold-water fish, by using cod liver oil or by taking a multivitamin supplement.