Can Vitamin D Help Against Multiple Sclerosis?

Recent research has shown a link between low vitamin D and increased rate of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Now researchers are trying to establish a safe and effective dose to help MS patients.

MS is a debilitating disease with no cure. The video below does a great job of explaining MS and the role of vitamin D (thanks @DougCookRD  for providing the link on Twitter).

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, about 8000 – 10000 children in the United States under the age of 18 have MS. Another 10000 – 15000 have experienced at least one symptom of MS. In general, it is difficult to have an accurate diagnosis of MS in children and as high as 5% of people with MS have a history of symptoms before the age of 18. Overall rate of MS in the world population ranges between 2 – 150 per 100,000.

A recent paper by Dr. Jodie Burton and colleagues in the journal Neurology presented some interesting results. High amounts of vitamin D over a period of nearly one year were found to be safe. Although sample size was small, and results not statistically significant,  there was a 41% decrease in the annualized relapse rate (ARR) and a slight decrease in the expanded disability status scale (EDSS) in the treatment group, which received the vitamin D supplementation compared to the control group, which did not receive the vitamin D supplementation.The full text of the article is available here.

This is an encouraging development and it appears that vitamin D can help against MS. I would love to see more research in this area, especially with pediatric MS patients.

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