High-Dose Vitamin D Improves Indicators and Outcomes for Multiple Sclerosis Patients
Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No. 5 (April 11, 2016)
with Dr. James Meschino
Research Topic: High-Dose Vitamin D Improves Indicators and Outcomes for Multiple Sclerosis Patients
Source: Journal – Neurology, December, 2015
Evidence over the years has shown that people with higher blood levels of vitamin D show a reduced risk for Multiple Sclerosis. This may be due to positive effects of vitamin D on immune function or other influences.
A ground-breaking study in the journal, Neurology in December, 2015, showed that MS patients given high-dose vitamin D supplementation (10,400 IU per day) for 6 months had a reduction in the type of inflammatory immune cells that are known to cause progression of MS and produce greater severity of the disease. In this study, vitamin D supplementation dramatically reduced the percentage of these damaging T-cells, and MS patients taking 10,400 IU of vitamin D per day also saw a substantial rise in their blood vitamin D level, into what is considered a more optimal range. At present, the range of 40 to 60 ng/ml has been proposed as a target, which is also equivalent to 100 – 150 nmol/L. Participants taking the 10,400 IU vitamin D protocol reached these levels, whereas the low-dose vitamin D group (800IU) did not reach these optimal blood levels and showed no sign of a decrease in inflammatory immune cells.
Presenting at the American Academy of Neurology in 2009, Dr. Jodie Burton reveled the results of another vitamin D trial in MS patients. This study showed that high doses of vitamin D (14,000 IU per day for one year) dramatically cut the relapse rate in MS patients compared to MS patients given only 1000 IU per day of vitamin D over the same time period. More specifically, the results showed that only 16% of 25 MS patients in the high-dose vitamin D group suffered relapses during the one year period, compared to 40% in the low-dose vitamin D group, which was comprised of 24 MS patients. As well, patients taking high-dose vitamin D suffered 41% fewer relapses than the year before the study began, compared with 17% fewer relapses in those taking the 1000 IU vitamin D regiment.
Up untill now, neurologists have been recommending only 1000 IU vitamin D per day for MS patients, but in light of these recent studies, neurologists are being encouraged to think about using higher doses of vitamin D (in the 10,000 – 14,000 IU range) for MS patients. Of note is the fact that patients taking these higher doses did not suffer any significant side effects during the study periods.
For general prevention of osteoporosis, certain cancers, MS, and other some other health problems, I suggest you maintain a blood vitamin D level above 85nmol/L or 30ng/ml. (but not exceeding 200 nmol/L or 100 ng/mL).
Eat smart, live well, look great,
Dr. James Meschino
- Sotirchos, E. S., Bhargava, P., Eckstein, C., Van Haren, K., Baynes, M., Ntranos, A., et al. Safety and immunologic effects of high- vs low-dose cholecalciferol in multiple sclerosis. Neurology, 2015 (http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2015/12/30/WNL.0000000000002316)