Researchers recently found that vitamin D status is correlated with disability status, specifically in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D deficiency is a recognized risk factor for MS and low vitamin D levels have been associated with increased disease activity.
Researchers are interested in vitamin D’s role in handicap symptoms. Vitamin D influences balance, walking, and risk of falls and fractures.
Preliminary research has shown that low vitamin D levels increase the risk of handicap symptoms.
Recently, a research team from France wanted to determine if vitamin D influenced mobility disability in 181 ambulatory MS patients, a group at high risk for both vitamin D deficiency and difficulties walking.
Relapsing-remitting MS is characterized by relapses, called flare-ups, followed up by a period of partial or complete recovery. Progressive forms of MS are characterized by a steady worsening in neurological functioning.
The researchers looked at the relationship between the vitamin D levels of the patients and the degree of disability, assessed using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). EDSS is a method of quantifying disability in multiple sclerosis, with higher scores (7-10) signifying a greater degree of disability compared to lower scores (1-4).
In relapsing-remitting MS, vitamin D levels were correlated with disability scores. Patients with levels greater than 20 ng/ml were 2.78 times more likely to have an EDSS score of less than 4.
The researchers concluded, “These additional results support the pertinence of randomized controlled trials analyzing the interest of an early vitamin D supplementation in MS patients to influence evolution of disability.”