Does Vitamin D Prevent MS?

Nov 12 2008

A growing number of studies have shown a relationship of low Vitamin D blood levels with an increased risk of developing MS.  In a study of 7 million US military personnel, low Vitamin D blood levels was associated with an increased risk of MS in non-Hispanic Caucasians.  The effect of low Vitamin D levels was not seen in Hipanics and African Americans (JAMA. 2006;296:2832-2838).   A study of 267 people with MS in the Netherlands showed that people with high Vitamin D blood levels were more likely relapse-free.  In contrast, people with low levels of Vitamin D were more likely to have more disability.  (Multiple Sclerosis 2008 Nov;14(9):1220-1224).

So far we don’t have a large study to show whether Vitamin D supplements help if you are already diagnosed with MS.  A small trial done in Canada studied giving individuals with MS supplements of Vitamin D, but the number of patients was too small to make any conclusions on benefit.  Since most children of MS parents have a 3-5% risk of developing MS,  a children’s multi-vitamin containing Vitamin D daily seems like a reasonable approach at this point to possibly minimize their risk of developing MS.

BY: Barry Singer, MD DATE: November 12, 2008 TOPIC: MS Research News