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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Study: Vitamin D’s effect in MS may be larger than suspected

Several studies indicate that vitamin D may be helpful in reducing flare-ups of multiple sclerosis (although one trial, using D2, showed little effect). This month researchers from France, led by Dr. Pierrot-Deseilligny, discovered that the vitamin D’s effect in MS may be larger than suspected.

Pierrot-Deseilligny C. Relationship between 25-OH-D serum level and relapse rate in multiple sclerosis patients before and after vitamin D supplementation. Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders July 2012 vol. 5 no. 4 187-198.

For the last two years, this group has treated all of their MS patients who have vitamin D deficiency with enough vitamin D to obtain levels greater than 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L). They found, in an open study of 76 patients, that combined standard MS treatment with an average dose of 100,000 IU/month of vitamin D3, relapse rates decreased by 14% for every 10 nmol/L (4 ng/ml) increase in vitamin D levels.

Overall, they saw a 75% reduction in relapse rates if patients achieved a vitamin D level greater than 120 nmol/L (48 ng/ml). Unlike a previous Australian trial, the French researchers used human vitamin D (D3) instead of yeast vitamin D (D2). There was no evidence of a U shaped curve (higher relapse rates with both lower and higher levels).

My only concern in the study is that they used Stoss doses of D (100,000 IU monthly doses) instead of daily doses of vitamin D. A month may be long enough to have declining levels during the last two weeks of the month. A simple and natural dose of 5,000 IU/day would have achieved levels of 50 ng/ml in most, and since they measured vitamin D levels periodically, they could have increased the doses in those patients not achieving 50 ng/ml.

I liked the authors conclusions.

“While awaiting the results of randomized controlled trials, which will not be available for several years, it appears wise to supplement all MS patients currently in a state of vitamin D insufficiency in order to bring their vitamin D levels to just over the 100 nmol/L (40 ng/ml) level, since such supplementation already seems unavoidable from a general medical view, is safe, and might also be neurologically beneficial for the course of the disease.”

  About: John Cannell, MD

Dr. John Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council. He has written many peer-reviewed papers on vitamin D and speaks frequently across the United States on the subject. Dr. Cannell holds an M.D. and has served the medical field as a general practitioner, emergency physician, and psychiatrist.

One Response to Study: Vitamin D’s effect in MS may be larger than suspected

  1. (sound of head hitting keyboard repeatedly)
    As long as the researchers/physicians remain (apparently) fundamentally ignorant of such elements as the “natural levels” of vitamin D, the difference between cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol, and to what degree the development of our species has depended on commonplace solar radiation exposure then we are doomed to only see defective studies, flawed and unsupportable conclusions, malevolent advice from “official” panels, and ultimately outright harm to those who stand to benefit the most from true advances in knowledge about how to promote health in humans. Why can no one construct solid, productively useful, vitamin D-effect studies that say, employ a steady intake of 5 to 10K iu/day (or more, for autism, burns, morbid diseases, etc.) of cholecalciferol (with frequent determination of actual 25(OH)D levels, including objective assessments of disease states, over a reliable period of time?