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Low vitamin D test scores may increase a person's risk of developing multiple sclerosis, particularly if they are African-American, according to a new study out of the University of California, San Francisco.
The researchers said that while multiple sclerosis is less common among African-Americans, it tends to be more severe. This population is also at a greater risk of having dangerously low levels of vitamin D, which may account for the increased severity when they do develop the disease.
For the study, the researchers compared the vitamin D levels of 339 African-Americans with multiple sclerosis to those of 342 disease-free individuals. While 71 percent of those without the disease had low levels of the nutrient, 77 percent of affected participants were deficient.
The findings should spur individuals who may be at risk for developing multiple sclerosis to talk to their doctors about vitamin D testing and the potential benefits of nutritional supplements, the researchers said. This could be a major factor in helping many people avoid the potentially dangerous health condition by attaining more appropriate levels of the nutrient.
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