Exposure to low levels of sunlight is linked to high risk of MS. Because sunlight exposure produces vitamin D, this risk has been attributed to insufficient production of vitamin D.
So it has been proposed that people with MS, especially those who live in countries with low exposure to sunlight, might benefit from vitamin D supplements.
Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University at the University of Philadelphia studied the effect of various concentrations of vitamin D on neural stem cells in mice. (Neural stem cells are important because they can become neurons and oligodentrocytes, the myelin-producing cells in the brain.)
The researchers isolated the neural stem cells from the brains of mice and left these cells to grow with or without vitamin D.
The study showed that vitamin D directly promotes proliferation and transformation of neural stems cells in oligodentrocytes.
The results show a direct effect of vitamin D on central nervous system development and differentiation and, consequently, on neuroregeneration and repair.