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HEADLINE STORY: More evidence links vitamin D with lower rates of lupus, multiple sclerosis

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

SEPT. 9, 2009 — A research paper in the September Annals of the New York Academy of Science has added more evidence to the connection between low vitamin D levels and higher incidence of autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis.

2009-09-09-more-d-news-copy.jpg“Vitamin D (also called cholecalciferol) is important in both men and women, and at first glance it would seem that it should behave the same way in both sexes. It has no role in sex-specific hormonal regulation like some of the sex hormones, but it has recently been discovered that a special molecule, called a receptor, that binds to one of the forms of vitamin D is more abundant in women than men. The receptor to which vitamin D binds is important in the activation of the innate immune response,” Bryan Ness wrote in the Napa County Science News Examiner.

According to Ness, “The key to how vitamin D plays its part is to understand what the VDR does. When the correct form of vitamin D (a form known as 1,25-D or calcitriol) binds to VDR, VDR then directly causes the expression of over 900 genes to occur. Two of the genes that are turned on produce proteins that are directly responsible for kicking the immune response into active mode. The reason for VDR in the endometrium is that it provides protection against infection for the developing fetus.”

To read the Examiner story click here.