Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher risk of disability in multiple sclerosis (MS), and correlates with the degree of disability in patients with relapsing-remitting MS that are fully ambulatory.
Vitamin D levels have long been recognized as a risk factor of MS. Researchers hoped to confirm the association between vitamin D deficiency and disability through a retrospective cohort analysis.
Vitamin D levels were significantly higher in patients with relapsing-remitting MS compared to those with progressive MS, reported Eric Thouvenot, MD, PhD, of the Medical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues.
The researchers studied 181 patients without previous vitamin D supplementation. They recorded age, gender, age of MS onset, MS type, MS activity, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and plasma vitamin D levels.
There was a negative correlation between vitamin D level and EDSS score (P =0.0001, r = –0.33), however in relapsing-remitting MS, vitamin D levels were only correlated with EDSS scores < 4 (P =0.0012). Patients with >20 ng/ml of vitamin D were 2.78 times more likely to have an EDSS score < 4 (P =0.0011, 95% confidence interval 1.49–5.00).
The results support the need to explore trials of early vitamin D supplementation in patients with MS to study the influence on disease progression.
Vitamin D deficiency is a recognized risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS) and is associated with increased disease activity. It has also been proposed that the lower the vitamin D levels are, the higher is the handicap.
To refine the links between vitamin D insufficiency and disability in MS patients, a retrospective cohort analysis was performed including 181 patients prospectively followed without previous vitamin D supplementation, and age, gender, age at MS onset, MS type, MS activity, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) were analysed in correlation with plasma vitamin D levels.