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Vitamin D in Pregnancy Might Help Prevent MS in Offspring

Infants born with low levels of vitamin D may be more likely to develop multiple sclerosis later in life

pregnant woman

FRIDAY, Dec. 2, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Newborns with low levels of vitamin D may have higher odds of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in Neurology.

Researchers identified everyone in Denmark born since May 1981 who were diagnosed with MS by 2012 and had dried blood spot samples stored in the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank. The researchers compared the blood spots of 521 patients diagnosed with MS with samples from 972 Danes of the same gender and birthday but no MS diagnosis.

Dividing the samples into five groups based on vitamin D concentration, the investigators found that individuals with the highest levels (≥48.9 nmol/L) were about half as likely to develop MS as those in the lowest group (<20.7 nmol/L)) (odds ratio for top versus bottom levels, 0.53). The researchers also found that a 25 nmol/L increase in neonatal 25-hydroxyvitamin D resulted in a 30 percent reduced risk of MS.

"The study does not prove that increasing vitamin D levels reduces the risk of MS," study leader Nete Munk Nielsen, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, told HealthDay. "Further studies are needed to confirm our results."

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