Vitamin D deficiency symptoms in newborns are linked to a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) as young adults, according to a study conducted in Denmark.
The results of the new study replicate findings of a Finnish study that was published earlier in the year, according to UPI. Advocacy and research officer for National Multiple Sclerosis Society Timothy Coetzee said that the similar results give the U.S.-based organization more confidence that the findings are accurate.
The new study looked at blood spots taken when babies are born and found that those with the highest levels of vitamin D were only half as likely to develop MS later in life. Although a link was found, however, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, UPI noted.
One possible conclusion of the research is that pregnant women with low vitamin D levels should take supplements, but scientists are not ready to recommend that pregnant women increase their vitamin D levels. For one thing, vitamin D levels tend to be lower overall in Denmark than in the U.S., according to Medscape.
Study authors urged women to discuss the benefits of supplementation with their doctors. Multiple sclerosis occurs when myelin, the fatty substance that coats nerve fibers, is damaged. Symptoms include difficulty walking, fatigue, numbness of arms and legs, and vision problems, UPI reported.
The study only looked at people 30 years old and younger, so no information is known about whether vitamin D deficiencies affect those who develop MS later in life, according to Medical News Today.
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