Vitamin D doses and Multiple Sclerosis treatment

26 October, 2011

An article published in the journal Neurology today suggests there is little difference between high dose and low dose Vitamin D supplementation for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

It has been known for some time that there may be a link between Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. In particular, there is increasing evidence that blood levels of Vitamin D are related to prevalence of the disease and the amount of relapses a person with MS may experience through the course of the illness.

The current study was funded by The Myer Foundation and conducted by Dr Mark Stein and colleagues at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

Twenty-three people with established relapsing-remitting MS, were randomly assigned to receive either low dose vitamin D2 (1000 IU) or high dose vitamin D2 that elevated blood vitamin D to the levels seen in sunny climates. Patients and assessors were blinded as to which dose patients were receiving. The majority of the patients were also receiving interferon or glatiramer acetate immune-modifying therapies.

Over a 6 month period patients were assessed by MRI, EDSS (disability) score and relapses.

Blood serum levels were raised from 54 to an average of 69nM in the low dose group and from 59 to 120nM in the high dose group. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in the number of lesions visible by MRI. People on high dose vitamin D2 showed a slight increase in disability score and number of relapses but this was of only borderline statistical significance.

Dr Stein said, “We saw no additional benefit from high dose vitamin D2 over and above that seen with ongoing low dose vitamin D2 supplementation.”

“This small study really needs confirmation with a much larger trial,” continued Dr Stein, “A consortium of Australian neurologists, statisticians and vitamin D experts are already working to establish a trial of a range of vitamin D doses in patients in the earliest stages of the disease when supplementation may offer maximum benefit.”

Current therapies for MS, while effective in reducing relapses, are not a cure, are expensive and most must be injected.

Jeremy Wright, Executive Director of MS Research Australia said, “Vitamin D represents a potentially cheap, safe and convenient oral therapy to reduce the impact of MS, but a large scale clinical trial is vital to establish its efficacy and the optimal dose. Through the Trish Foundation for MS Research and the MS Societies we have already secured $1.5 million to establish this trial. But more funding is needed.”

People with MS with questions are urged to contact the MS Australia office in your state and their treating Doctor.

To read a patient information page please click here.

Source: MS Australia