Research in the last few years has indicated that Vitamin D may be a useful supplement for those suffering from MS. This stemmed from studies that showed that:
- Countries further away from the equator have less sunshine and therefore less Vitamin D, thus assuming that this is a contributing factor to the higher incidence of MS in the these countries.
- A 2012 study carried out in Finland on relapsing remitting MS patients showed that the group that were given Vitamin D supplementation in addition to β – interferon had fewer lesion after 12 months than the control group, but there was no differences in the number of relapses. Other similar studies have shown no advantage of Vitamin D supplementation in MS patients.
However, researchers in Dec 2015 from the MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair published evidence that a protein activated by vitamin D could be involved in repairing damage to myelin in people with MS. This is an exciting discovery. In addition, a pilot complementary medicine research study carried out in the US involving 40 people with relapsing remitting MS has shown that high doses of Vitamin D may be beneficial in MS. They concluded:
1) High Vitamin D supplementation (10,400 IU) is safe and tolerable in MS patients.
2) In vivo pleiotropic immunomodulatory effects in MS caused the reduction of interleukin-17 production by CD4+ T cells.
3) decreased proportion of effectors memory CD4+ T cells.
Therefore, Vitamin D supplementation is a viable integrative healthcare solution for MS patients who have low Vitamin D levels.