A recent trial utilizing high-dose vitamin D in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients suggests that there are no added benefits over and above ongoing low-dose vitamin D supplementation. Low vitamin D levels are reported be associated with an increased risk of developing MS and the study reportedly sought to determine if high-doses would work more efficiently than low-dose.

Mark S. Stein, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, of The Royal Melbourne Hospital and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Parkville, Australia, led the study. Stein reiterates that researchers found no added benefit from high-dose vitamin D compared to low-dose vitamin D supplementation, however, “…these results need to be confirmed with larger studies”, he says.

The 6-month study focused on 23 participants with the relapsing-remitting form of MS. Low-dose vitamin D was administered to the participants to prevent any vitamin D deficiency. Researchers say that half of the participants were also given high-dose vitamin D2 to elevate their blood vitamin D to high levels while the other half received a high-dose placebo.

The study reports that MRI scans were performed on the participants’ brains before and after the 4-, 5-, and 6-month mark. Researchers say that there were no significant differences between the two groups in the new abnormalities formed in the brain after 6 months or in the change in total volume of brain abnormalities. 

According to researchers, 37% of the individuals taking the high-dose vitamin D had a relapse where their MS symptoms elevated during the study, while none of the 12 patients taking low-dose vitamin D had any relapses. 

Stein acknowledges a possible study limitation, “It’s possible that studies of high-dose vitamin D at an earlier stage of MS may have lead to different results.” Stein says that on average participants in the study had been living with MS for 6 years.

The study was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Source: American Academy of Neurology