A study appearing in Neurology suggests that pregnant women with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood may have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) when compared to women with lower levels of vitamin D, however their babies may not see the same risk reduction. During the study, researchers report that they reviewed information about 291,500 blood samples from 164,00 individuals collected since 1975 in the northern half of Sweden.
The results indicate that 192 individuals developed MS an average of 9 years following the drawing of the blood sample, this included 37 blood samples drawn during pregnancy from mothers whose children developed MS later in life. Researchers note that women who exhibited high levels of vitamin D in their blood maintained a 61% lower risk of developing MS when compared to women with lower levels of vitamin D. The results also suggest that 4% of the individuals reviewed exhibited high vitamin D levels, compared to 8% in the control group without the disease.
Researchers say they were unable to pinpoint a link between the mother’s vitamin D level and whether her child would later develop MS. Jonatan Salzer, MD, Umeå University Hospital in Sweden, adds, “Since we found no protective effect on the baby for women with higher levels of vitamin D in early pregnancy, our study suggests the protective effect may start in later pregnancy and beyond,” Salzer says. Salzer also notes that the study results indicated that vitamin D levels gradually lowered with time from 1975 and on.
“It is possible that this decline in vitamin D status is linked to the increasing numbers of MS cases seen worldwide,” Salzer suggests.
Source: American Academy of Neurology