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Independents' Day

Vitamin D cuts MS risk 40 per cent

Vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis by 40 per cent, according to research from Harvard University.

Researchers examined the diets of 190,000 women who took part in two large Nurses Health Studies between 1980 and 2001 after reports that MS incidence may be linked with exposure to sunshine and levels of vitamin D. They found intake of vitamin D from supplements was inversely associated with the risk of MS but there was no protective effect of vitamin D intake from diet alone.

Study leader Kassandra Munger said she expected to find a protective effect of vitamin D but not such a large risk reduction.

'If it turns out to be true that the amount of vitamin D in a multivitamin (400 IU) can reduce the risk of MS by 40 per cent, thousands of cases could potentially be prevented,' said Ms Munger.

Mike O'Donovan, chief executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, said the research was very 'interesting' and 'warrants further investigation'.

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