MS & Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is important for people with multiple sclerosis because exposure to sunlight can reduce the incidence and severity of MS.

Many experts believe that vitamin D is important for people with MS because exposure to sunlight can reduce the incidence and severity of MS.

When the sun's UVB rays hit the skin, they produce vitamin D, a hormone that is important for good health generally, but particularly for people with MS, because it dampens overactive immune responses and also protects brain cells. This is why maintaining vitamin D levels through sunlight or supplementation is a key part of the Overcoming MS Recovery Program

But in many parts of the world, sunlight is too scarce, or UVB levels are too low, to produce enough vitamin D, so taking supplements is needed.

Research has shown that people with MS have lower levels of vitamin D, and also that vitamin D levels are lower during MS relapses.2

The importance of a vitamin D level test

We recommend that people ask for a vitamin D level test immediately upon being diagnosed with MS. This could be through your general practitioner or using an online kit. 

It is not uncommon to have low vitamin D levels, 1 billion people across the world are vitamin D deficient.3

The results of the first test often show that vitamin D levels are low, which may be what brings on the attack. It should be above 150nmol/L (60ng/mL in the USA).

If vitamin D levels are very low, it can be brought up quickly with a one-off megadose of vitamin D (e.g. 600,000IU) followed by regular capsules or sprays. 

Don't be nervous about large doses; research shows they are safe and actually necessary to raise vitamin D levels quickly.

Research includes:  

  • Geography and latitude epidemiology
  • Population studies
  • Animal studies
  • Case-control studies
  • Cohort studies
  • Randomised control trials

Further reading


References

1. Goldberg P, Fleming MC, Picard EH. Multiple sclerosis: decreased relapse rate through dietary supplementation with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. Med Hypotheses 1986; 21:193-200.

2. Soilu-Hanninen M, Airas L, Mononen I, et al. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D levels in serum at the onset of multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler
2005; 11:266-271

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4018438/ 

4. Munger KL, Levin LI, Hollis BW, Howard NS. Serum 25 hydroxy Vit D levels and risk of MS JAMA 2006; 296:2832-2838
5. Munger KL. Zang SM, O’Reilly E, et al Vitamin D intake and incidence of MS. Neurology 2004; 62 (1): 60-65
6. Cortese M, Riise T, Bjornevik K et al; 7ming and use of cod lover oil, a Vitamin D source and MS risk. EnvIMS study. Mul7ple
Sclerosis 2015;21 914): 1856-1864