The Vitamin D Connection


How is Vitamin D Used in the Body?

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is necessary for a number of functions in the body, including the absorption of calcium.

Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. Bone production is profoundly affected if a person does not have enough calcium absorbed into the body, especially as a child.

A vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children.

How to Get Adequate Amounts of Vitamin D

There are several sources for vitamin D, the most common being the sun (hence the name "sunshine vitamin"). Skin must be directly exposed to the sun in order for the body to produce vitamin D.

Very few foods contain adequate amounts of vitamin D, which is why supplementation is often necessary.

Vitamin D is found in the following foods:

· Dairy products such as cheese, butter, cream and fortified milk

· Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel

· Oysters

· Fortified breakfast cereals and soy milk

What's the Connection?

Connecting the dots comes in the form of research completed in April of 2011 that showed the combination of EBV and little sun exposure may combine to increase an individual's risk for developing multiple sclerosis.

In a study, lead by Dr. George C. Ebers of the University of Oxford in England, researchers examined the records of admissions into hospital of England's National Health Service over a seven year period.

More than 56,600 cases of MS and in excess of 14,600 cases of infectious mononucleosis were focused on. The information also included NASA statistics regarding levels of UV light in England in order to establish a possible connection with vitamin D deficiency.

It was found that the differences in UV intensity seemed to explain 61 percent of the geographical differences in how often MS occurs in the population. When UV intensity was combined with mononucleosis rates, the variations across the country rose to 72 percent.

The researchers were careful to state that "causative inferences must be tentative" since the results do not prove that low sunlight, vitamin D deficiency or EBV can cause MS.

A Definite Maybe

Dr. Ebers made a statement that was published in the American Academy of Neurology regarding the purpose of the research. "Since the disease has been linked to environmental factors such as low levels of sun exposure and a history of infectious mononucleosis, we wanted to see whether the two together would help explain the variance in the disease across the United Kingdom."

From the data and research, it does appear that there is a variance that indicates a connection between vitamin D deficiency, EBV and the occurrence of MS.

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