Research continues to support the role of vitamin D in both the prevention and outcome of multiple sclerosis (MS). Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to improve quality of life among those with the disease. Additionally, research suggests that children who’s mothers were vitamin D deficient during pregnancy may be at an increased risk of developing MS later on in life.
A newly published case-control study aimed to determine whether a direct relationship exists between infantile vitamin D status and MS. The researchers gathered dried blood spot samples from 521 infants with MS and 972 controls with the same sex and birth date from the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank. The blood spot samples were measured using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectroscopy, the gold standard for measuring 25(OH)D. The participants vitamin D levels were separated into quintiles in order to determine the odds of developing the disease.
Here is what the researchers found:
- Lower 25(OH)D levels in neonates were associated with an increased risk of MS.
- Those in the lowest quintile (< 8 ng/ml, 20 nmol/l) were at the highest risk of developing MS, while those in the highest quintile ( > 19.5 ng/ml, 48.9 nmol/l) had the lowest risk.
- When comparing the highest to lowest quintiles, those with the highest vitamin D status experienced significantly decreased odds of developing the disease (OR: 0.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36–0.78).
- An increase in 25(OH)D status by 8 ng/ml was associated with a 30% decreased risk of MS (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.57–0.84).
The researchers concluded,
“Low concentrations of neonatal vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of MS. In light of the high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency among pregnant women, our observation may have importance for public health.”