Vitamin D3 as an add-on treatment for multiple sclerosis

June 4, 2012 by
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

A randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial with vitamin D3 as an add on treatment to interferon β-1b in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Dr Barry Snow: “Vitamin D has attracted a lot of interest in neurology recently. As well as being important for bone health, vitamin D has immunomodulatory effects. The further away from the equator, the higher the incidence of MS. This has lead to the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency is a factor in the development and progression of MS. In this study, vitamin D was added to standard treatment with interferon, and patients developed fewer MRI lesions and a non-significant trend towards less disability. There is still not enough evidence to routinely recommend vitamin D to our patients with MS, but the evidence is accumulating.”

The Sciency Stuff: This study investigated the safety and efficacy of vitamin D3 as an add-on therapy to IFNβ-1b in patients with MS. 66 patients were randomised to receive vitamin D3 or placebo in addition to IFNβ-1b for 1 year in a double blind study. The median change in T2 burden of disease on MRI scans was 287mm3 in the placebo group and 83mm3 in the vitamin D group (p=0.NS). At study end, serum 25(OH)D levels were >85 nmol/L in 84% and 3% of patients in the vitamin D and placebo groups, respectively (p<0.0001). Compared with the placebo group, the vitamin D group showed fewer new T2 lesions (p=0.286), fewer T1 enhancing lesions (p=0.004), and tended to have reduced disability accumulation (p=0.071) and improved timed tandem walk (p=0.076). No significant between-group differences were reported for adverse events or the annual relapse rate. In conclusion, add-on vitamin D3 reduces MRI disease activity in patients with MS receiving IFNβ-1b.

Vitamin D3 supports immunity and promotes healthy macrophage activity. Now available at Spinewave.

I have started a course of vitamin D3 myself  (in the absence of MS!) and have been feeling better for it. Coming from big-sky-country and a lot of sun in South Africa – maintaining a semi-permanent tan all year round – I have found my moods to be a bit up and down in NZ. Multiple factors of course, but thought about it and figured I tended to feel better after a day in the sun, and so thought D3 levels might actually be a little low. More research is now pointing towards D3 being helpful to many conditions.

Reference: J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2012;83:565-571 doi:10.1136/jnnp-2011-301876

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