Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease that attacks the brain and central nervous system, causing numb or spasming muscles, prolonged bouts of fatigue, and general coordination issues. According to most estimates, MS currently affects more than 2.3 million people around the world. In the United States alone, 200 new cases of MS are diagnosed every week.
As yet, there is no known cure for MS. Fortunately, thanks to the tireless work of medical researchers, individuals with MS now have access to a wide assortment of treatment options, both for lessening symptom severity and for reducing symptom recurrence.
One of the more surprising entries on the list of MS treatments is vitamin D supplementation. According to Sunrise Medical Group, a protracted deficiency in vitamin D is not only associated with an increased risk of developing MS, it’s also associated with a generalized deterioration in symptoms for people already diagnosed with MS.
These potentially ground-breaking associations have since been subjected to more intensive research. Specifically, neurological researchers at UC Irvine Health have conducted several studies on the relationship between vitamin D levels and MS symptoms.
According to Dr. Michael Sy, a neurologist at UC Irvine Health, these studies suggested that “MS patients had lower vitamin D levels in the winter, and that the lower vitamin D levels correlated with increased risk of relapse and worse disease progression.”
While further studies are certainly required, sustained early research broadly indicates that people with MS should be aiming for higher-than-average levels of vitamin D, especially in the winter months. If your diet and sunshine exposure do not accommodate for a sufficient intake of vitamin D, you may need to discuss supplementation options with your general physician.