January 2014

Vitamin D Levels Linked to Multiple Sclerosis Progression

A new study has linked vitamin D blood levels with multiple sclerosis (MS) progression.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic (long-term), progressive, degenerative disorder that affects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Multiple sclerosis is widely believed to be an autoimmune disease, a condition in which the immune system attacks components of the body as if they are foreign. Previous research has found multiple sclerosis rates to be lower in areas with greater sunlight and higher consumption of vitamin D rich fish.

In a recent study, researchers evaluated data on the vitamin D blood levels of 465 MS patients who participated in a study assessing the effects of early interferon beta-1b treatment on the disorder. Vitamin D levels were measured before the beginning of the study and then after six, 12, and 24 months of treatment. Three-hundred and thirty-four patients had measurements taken after both six and 12 months of treatment. Various outcome measures, including MS relapses and disability were evaluated.

The researchers found that participants with higher vitamin D blood levels had a slower rate of MS progression, noting that increases in vitamin D levels by 50 nmol/L was linked to a 57 percent reduced risk of developing new active brain lesions as well as a 57 percent lower risk of relapse. Furthermore, higher vitamin D levels were associated with 0.41 percent less yearly brain volume loss and a 25 percent reduced yearly increase in T2 lesion volume.

The authors concluded that vitamin D blood levels may be significantly related to the progression of MS. Further research in this area is warranted.

For more information about vitamin D, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Ascherio A, Munger KL, White R. et al. Vitamin D as an Early Predictor of Multiple Sclerosis Activity and Progression. JAMA Neurol. 2014 Jan 20. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.5993
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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