BACKGROUND: With the strikingly longitudinal distribution of multiple sclerosis prevalence and incidence throughout the planet, it has been suggested that past sun exposure may be implicated in the development of MS. Namely, vitamin D synthesized from sun exposure has been the main focus of this burgeoning area of research. It has been hypothesized that low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
METHODS: A systematic review of the most current literature pertaining to vitamin D and the development and pathology of MS was performed using MEDLINE-Ovid, All EBM Reviews and CINAHL. Search terms utilized were “vitamin D” and “multiple sclerosis” combined with the “and” command. A modified validity score (0-9) was assigned to the articles in order to objectively measure the validity of the overall results of each paper.
RESULTS: Nine studies met inclusion criteria, and were subsequently utilized in the review. Four studies were case-control type, three were cross-sectional studies and two were large cohorts.
CONCLUSION: Based on this systematic review, it appears that there is an inverse relationship between circulating vitamin D levels and risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Moreover, it appears that vitamin D not only acts as a disease determinant, but also a disease modifier, as is evidenced by its correlation with relapses and in its newly discovered specific immunomodulatory properties.
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