The OMS research team is nearing the end of the publications from the first phase of the HOLISM study. In the latest HOLISM publication, published in the major neurology journal BMC Neurology, Professor Jelinek and his team at the Neuroepidemiology Unit in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne have shown strong and significant associations between vitamin D supplementation and health outcomes for people with MS.
For quality of life, increasing average daily doses of vitamin D were associated with graded improvements in quality of life, such that those taking the highest doses had the best quality of life. Similarly, those taking vitamin D supplements had around a third fewer relapses.
Latitude was also shown to be associated with health outcomes, presumably because of increased sun exposure in the lower latitudes closer to the equator. With increasing distance from the equator, the likelihood of more major disability rose, as did the average number of relapses.
The team concluded that rigorous clinical trials on vitamin D supplementation are urgently needed, as OMS has been calling for over the last decade and a half.
This cheap, safe therapy should be embraced by people with MS and their treating clinicians in the meantime, given the strength and congruence of the population-based data, including now our own HOLISM study data. OMS continues to recommend vitamin D supplements of around 5,000-10,000IU a day, aiming for a blood level of at least 150nmol/L (60ng/mL). Many major MS authorities now regard this as a standard of care.
► Jelinek, GA, Marck C, Weiland TJ, van der Meer, et al. Latitude, sun exposure, and Vitamin D supplementation: Associations with quality of life, and disease outcomes in a large international cohort of people with multiple sclerosis. BMC Neurology 2015;15:132. doi: 10.1186/s12883-015-0394-1 View pdf