A new report looking at the effect of Scotland's damp and cloudy climate on
health highlights vitamin D deficiency as playing a role in a number of
conditions - including MS.
'Scotland's Health Deficit - An Explanation
and a Plan', launched today by long-time vitamin D campaigner Dr Oliver Gillie,
draws parallels between Scotland's weather and indicators of disease. Dr
Gillie's thesis is that the high prevalence of MS in Scotland can be explained
by less exposure to the sun and a move away from a fish-based diet high in
Dr Lee Dunster, head of research at the MS Society, said: "MS
is more common further away from the equator and the lack of intense sunshine as
you head north may lead to people getting less vitamin D, but the link with MS
is not explicit and we need to know more.
"Current research doesn't
support vitamin D as a therapy for MS, but there are reasons people with MS
should look at their intake. It can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which is
important if you are less mobile, spend a lot of time indoors, or take long
courses of steroids.
"It's only natural that people with MS may see this
study and think about giving their children extra vitamin D, but goverment
guidance is that you should be able to get all you need from a good diet and the
sun. The best advice is talk to your GP or MS nurse before starting to take lots
of new supplements, and the same advice applies if you are thinking about the
health of your children."
You can read about vitamin D and MS in an
article from the May / June edition of MS Matters, the MS Society's membership
magazine, below. To subscribe to MS Matters, you can join us here.MS Society