Boosting Vitamin D Intake Can Slow Down MS Progression

8There have recently been several studies that seem to back up the benefits of vitamin D intake on multiple sclerosis. Although a cure for the disease still remain to be discovered, researchers are trying to find ways of trying to slow down the progression of the said disease among sufferers. One study indicates that vitamin D may be effective in doing so.

Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health in collaboration with Bayer HealthCare suggests that patients suffering from the early stages of MS may be able to slow down the disease symptoms by increasing vitamin D intake. Study results are published on the online journal JAMA Neurology.

Previous studies have indicated that MS and low levels of vitamin D may somehow be connected. But most of those studies included patients with longstanding MS whose vitamin D levels may not necessarily be a predictor of disease severity. The new study looked into vitamin D intake among MS patients at the time of showing the first symptoms of the disease.

The researchers looked into the data from 465 MS patients hailing from18 different European countries, Canada and Israel who took part in the BENEFIT (Betaseron in Newly Emerging Multiple Sclerosis for Initial Treatment) trial, which compared the effectiveness of early versus late treatment of the disease using interferon beta-1b. The researchers looked into the patients’ vitamin D levels, which were measured during the start of showing MS symptoms and then at regular intervals for a period of two years. They wanted to know how vitamin D levels correlated to the MS symptoms and disease progression over a 5-year period.

The researchers found out that MS patients who had adequate levels of vitamin D showed a 57 percent lower rate of new brain lesions, a 57 percent lower rate of relapse, and a 25 percent lower annual increase in brain lesions as compared to MS patients with lower levels of vitamin D. The results of the study suggest that vitamin D may play a protective role in the disease process of MS, well enough to help slow down the progression of the disease. It may also help underscore the importance of addressing vitamin D deficiency among people at risk of developing MS.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health. “Boosting vitamin D could slow progression, reduce severity of multiple sclerosis.” ScienceDaily, 20 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2014


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