May 4, 2004
News from Harvard Medical School indicates that a higher intake of vitamin D from supplements may lower a woman's risk for multiple sclerosis, which is caused by damage to the myelin sheath that protects nerves. Researchers examined data collected from more than 187,000 women participating in the original Nurses' Health Study and the Nurses' Health Study II, begun 10 years later. Women with the highest vitamin D intake from supplements - 400 IU or more per day - were 40 percent less likely to develop MS than those who took no supplements.
And according to research published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism (January 2004), a higher intake of vitamin D also may lower postmenopausal women's risk for rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease marked by progressive joint deterioration.
Researchers with the Iowa Women's Health Study obtained information
about vitamin D and calcium intake from questionnaires returned by nearly
30,000 women, ages 55-69, who were free of rheumatoid arthritis when the
study began in 1986. After 11 years, women with the highest vitamin D intake
from food, compared to those with the lowest, were 28 percent less likely
to have rheumatoid arthritis. Supplemental vitamin D was associated with
a 36 percent decrease in risk.
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