New research has linked low blood levels of vitamin D with more severe symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis.
The Johns Hopkins University study, published in the Annals of Neurology, found increased brain lesions and signs of a more severe disease in MS patients with vitamin D deficiencies, suggesting a potential link between intake of the vitamin and the risk of longer-term disability from the autoimmune disorder.
Lead researcher Dr. Ellen M. Mowry, an assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, cautioned that more research is needed to determine if large doses of vitamin D can help without harming MS patients.Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: 3 Secrets to Never Get Sick Again. Get Super Immunity for Only $4.95. Click here.
But Mowry's study, conducted mostly when she worked at the University of California, San Francisco, shows a strong correlation between vitamin D levels in the body and the characteristic brain lesions of MS measured with MRI images.
"Even though lower levels of vitamin D are associated with more inflammation and lesions in the brain, there is no evidence that taking vitamin D supplements will prevent those symptoms," she said. "If we are able to prove that through our currently-enrolling trial, it will change the way people with multiple sclerosis are treated."
MS causes the body's immune system to attack the coating of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, which shows up as lesions that look like white spots in MRIs.
In the most common form of MS, called relapsing-remitting MS, patients may have few or no symptoms, but at other times may suffer from "attacks" (or "relapses") of symptoms such as blurred vision, numbness, disability, and weakness. There is no cure but medications help reduce the number of attacks and to ease symptoms.
For the study, Mowry and her colleagues examined data from a five-year study of 469 people with MS. The results showed that each 10-nanograms-per-milliliter increase in vitamin D levels was associated with a 15 percent lower risk of new lesions and a 32 percent lower risk of active disease. Higher vitamin D levels were also linked with lower disability.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: 3 Secrets to Never Get Sick Again. Get Super Immunity for Only $4.95. Click here.