Researchers at University of California, San Francisco set out to determine if there is a link between vitamin D status and developing new lesions in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).
The researchers used data from a 5 year longitudinal study of MS patients. The participants have clinical evaluations, a brain MRI, as well as blood work annually.
The measured 25(OH)D levels were assessed for an association with T2 lesions on brain MRI, clinical relapses, and disability. T2 images from an MRI show both old and new inflammation on the brain since onset of MS.
The authors collected a total of 2,362 brain MRI scans from 469 patients. The researchers found that with each 10 ng/ml increase in 25(OH)D level, the risk of new T2 lesions in the brain decreased by 15%. Also, the 10 ng/ml increase was associated with a 32% lower risk of gadolinium-enhancing lesions, representing “active” lesions. They also found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with lower relapse risk, although this finding was not statistically significant.
The authors encourage future randomized trials looking into the relationship between vitamin D and brain lesions in MS.