Studies recently conducted by researchers form the University at Buffalo show a link between low vitamin D levels with more advanced physical and cognitive impairment among people with multiple sclerosis. Although this relationship between MS and low vitamin D levels have already been suspected before, it is only recently that the association between them have been displayed in such studies. The results were reported at the latest American Academy of Neurology meeting.
The study involved an MRI analysis of 236 MS patients. About 208 of the participants were diagnosed with relapsing-remitting type of MS while 28 had secondary progressive MS, known as the most destructive type, and 22 participants with no MS. Aside from the MRI analysis, the participants also gave blood serum samples that was analyzed for total vitamin D levels and other vitamin D byproducts. Around 163 participants have their MRI scans available for analysis within 3 months of blood sampling.
The results of the said study showed that only 7 percent of the participants with secondary-progressive MS had sufficient vitamin D levels. It was 18.3 percent for Ms patients in the study who had relapsing-remitting MS. Aside from that, participants who showed higher levels of vitamin D3 and vitamin D3 metabolism byproducts also had better scores in disability tests and also had fewer lesions and less brain atrophy in their MRI scans.
According to Sarah A. Morrow, MD, US assistant research professor of neurology/Jacobs Neurological Institute and lead author on the cognitive-impairment study, "Results showed that MS patients who were impaired on tests of executive function — critical reasoning and abstract thinking — and the ability to plan and organize, were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D."
Source: University at Buffalo. "Low Vitamin D Levels Are Related to MS Brain Atrophy, Cognitive Function, Studies Show." ScienceDaily 30 April 2010. 4 May 2010 .