The beneficial effect of vitamin D was recognized in the latter phase

Lack of light in winter not only puts a strain on your mood, but can also negatively impact the immune system and the onset and progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers at the Med University of Graz have now for the first time investigated how vitamin D affects the late stages of the disease. In any case, the university announced on Thursday that the experiment with mice had good results.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common inflammatory disease of the central nervous system in which the myelin sheaths of nerve cells are attacked and destroyed. An estimated 13,500 people have been affected across Austria. In the early 1960s, it was recognized that people living in areas with strong sunlight were less likely to develop MS. At about the same time, vitamin D is said to have a positive effect on autoimmune diseases, and deficiency of the “sunshine vitamin” is cited as one of the possible causes of the disease, along with genetic risk factors, smoking. and oxidative stress.

Late stage MS

There is rarely any typical course of the disease. The still incurable disease of the central nervous system can be roughly divided into inflammatory, relapsing early stage and late stage – in which degenerative processes predominate. “The early stage is already well-researched and various drugs are available. Unfortunately, it is not yet in the late stage,” said Mikaela Tanja Heindl of the Grosse University Neurology Hospital, lead author of the most recent study published in the journal Nutrients.

Haindl and her colleague Muammer Üçal, led by Sonja Hochmeister, have already developed a laboratory model that better reproduces the cellular aspects of late-stage MS. Using this model, a recent study looked at the effects of vitamin D in mice late in the course of the disease. Specifically, the impact on the cerebral cortex was analyzed. Rat brains were examined using immunohistochemical markers.

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Further research is necessary

It was shown that significantly more cellular structures were preserved in mice given extra vitamin D. In addition to better protection of myelin and nerve cells, the cells undergo a degradative process (apoptosis) and tissue macrophages decrease. At the same time, there were significantly fewer neurofilament light chains in their blood. These are considered biomarkers of MS progression.

Vitamin-treated animals had significantly more protective polyphenols and greater capacity against oxidative stress (TAC). Since oxidative stress is, among other things, considered a potential trigger and aggravator of MS, the observed effect of vitamin D could certainly be replicated in further research, the Graz researchers were optimistic. However, it was emphasized that more research is needed, as other studies have not shown an effect of high doses of vitamin D on multiple sclerosis – which we have reported here.

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