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Low Vitamin D Levels are Associated With Greater Risk of Relapse in Childhood-Onset Multiple Sclerosis
Date:1/20/2010

Low vitamin D blood levels are associated with a significantly higher risk of relapse attacks in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who develop the disease during childhood, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

(Vocus) January 20, 2010 -- Low vitamin D blood levels are associated with a significantly higher risk of relapse attacks in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who develop the disease during childhood, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

“We have known for some time that vitamin D insufficiency is a risk factor for developing MS, but this is the first study to assess whether vitamin D levels influence the disease course of those who already have MS,” said lead author Ellen Mowry, MD, MCR, a clinical instructor of neurology at the UCSF Multiple Sclerosis Center.

The study, which is now published online by the “Annals of Neurology” and is available at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123246501/abstract, demonstrates that an increase in vitamin D levels by 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) corresponds with a 34 percent decrease in the rate of subsequent relapses.

In other words, raising the vitamin D level of a person with MS by 15 ng/mL, which requires about 2,000 international units of vitamin D supplementation a day, could theoretically cut a patient’s relapse rate in half, explained Mowry.

“Although we do not yet know if vitamin D supplementation will be beneficial for MS patients, the fact that there is a clear association between vitamin D levels and relapse rate provides strong rationale for conducting a clinical trial to measure the potential impact
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