It's only taken 15 years! We knew the evidence would finally make its way into clinical practice. Brazilian Academy of Neurology in new Consensus Guidelines now recommends people with MS keep blood vitamin D levels between 100-250 nmol/L
Rebecca Hoover, in her Blog Central offering last year reminded us that it takes on average 17 years for new scientific discoveries to translate into accepted clinical practice.
So we should probably be grateful that it has only been 15 years since Professor Jelinek first began advising people with MS to take vitamin D supplements and to keep their blood levels of vitamin D in the upper part of the normal range, because new 2014 Consensus Guidelines from the Brazilian Academy of Neurology recommends just that.
In a wide-ranging review of vitamin D supplementation conducted by their Scientific Department of Neuroimmunology, expert neurologists and researchers examined the vast literature on vitamin D supplementation in MS.
Their guidelines for neurologists mirror almost exactly what the OMS Recovery Program has now been saying for many years. They recommend, noting that doses up to 10,000 IU are safe and might be needed: "individualized doses until reaching serum levels between 40 ng/ml and 100 ng/ml". These are US units; in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, 40-100ng/ml equates to 100-250 nmol/L.
At OMS we would still recommend, based on observational studies, that the lower part of this range should really be 150 nmol/L (60ng/ml), however, it is heartening to see that at least one large group of neurologists will now be encouraged to prescribe adequate doses of vitamin D for people with MS.
One important omission from the guidelines though is how much sunlight exposure we should aim for. There would appear to be additional benefits from getting one's vitamin D through sunlight; at OMS we recommend 10-15 minutes exposure on a UV index of 7 day, as close to all over as possible, three to five times a week.
It may take some time for other countries to follow and produce similar guidelines, but we can all be encouraged that the days of arguing with our healthcare advisers about vitamin D doses and levels should soon be over.