A number of genetic and environmental factors
influence whether a person will get MS. These factors may also impact the severity of the disease. Research is increasingly pointing to a reduced level of vitamin D in the blood as a risk factor for developing MS, and studies are underway to determine if vitamin D levels influence MS disease activity. Recent research also points to a possible role for vitamin D in neuroprotection
and myelin repair
National MS Society drives vitamin D research
The National MS Society has led the way in this research, funding early preclinical studies, and now funding a clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation.
Should I have my blood levels of vitamin D checked?
Probably, agree most doctors.
Current research on vitamin D
Studies funded by the National MS Society:
- Johns Hopkins University investigators are recruiting people with relapsing-remitting MS to compare the effectiveness of the current recommended amount of vitamin D supplementation versus high dose vitamin D supplementation at reducing MS disease activity, when added to standard therapy with glatiramer acetate (Copaxone®, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries). Read more This study builds on the results of a small pilot trial.
- The team at Hopkins also are conducting studies characterizing how vitamin D protects individuals from getting MS and looking at genetic predictors of changes and progression in MS using measures of the eye.
- University of Vermont researchers are using mice with MS-like disease to look at interactions between genes and the environmental factors Vitamin D and exposure to UV/sunlight for clues to preventing or treating MS.
- Cleveland Clinic researchers are exploring extensive data to determine the feasibility of a trial testing vitamin D in people with progressive MS.
- A team at Ohio State University is studying whether low vitamin D in early life increases the risk of developing MS because vitamin D plays a role in in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) that protects it during childhood.
Clinical Trials: Vitamin D and MS