Good Vitamin D Levels: Better MRI Scans

Jan 2 2012

Low Vitamin D level leads to a greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis.  EPIC is a five-year MS study at the University of California, SanFrancisco that began in 2004. Participants had clinical evaluations, brain MRI, and blood draws every year.  Annual 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 blood levels were evaluated. A total of 2,362 brain MRI scans from 469 patients were analyzed.  The individuals with higher Vitamin D levels had less MRI activity.  For each 10 ng/mL higher the vitamin D3 level in the blood,  there was a 15% lower risk of developing a new T2 lesion and a 32% lower risk of a contrast-enhancing T1 lesion.  Higher vitamin D levels were associated with a lower relapse risk, although not statistically significant. 

Further randomized trials are needed to confirm whether Vitamin D supplements can change the course of MS.   However,  it’s not a bad idea to be tested by your primary care provider or neurologist to see if you have low levels of Vitamin D that require oral supplements. Twenty minutes of sun is a great way to boost Vitamin D levels.  Dairy products (milk, yogurt), certain fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), orange juice, eggs and fortified cereal are good dietary sources of Vitamin D.

BY: Barry Singer, MD DATE: January 2, 2012 TOPIC: MS Research News