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  Biogen Nov2017

Multiple Sclerosis Risk Significantly Associated With Vitamin D Deficiency

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Vitamin D deficiency is significantly associated with risk for multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D deficiency represents a significant risk factor for multiple  sclerosis (MS), necessitating the need for greater public outreach and interventions to improve vitamin D levels in the population, according to a case-control study published in Neurology.

Investigators performed a prospective nested case-control study using patient data from the Finnish Maternity Cohort, in which approximately 1.8 million serum samples from 800,000 women were recorded. The researchers included 1092 women with MS who had at least 1 serum sample taken prior to their diagnosis. In 511 subjects, ≥2 samples were collected, and 3 controls (n=2123) were used to match each patient according to geographic residence and age.


There was a 39% reduced risk for MS when levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) increased 50 nmol/L (relative risk [RR] 0.61; 95% CI, 0.44-0.85; =.003). A 25(OH)D level <30 nmol/L was associated with a 43% greater risk for MS compared with levels that were ≥50 nmol/L (RR 1.43; 95% CI, 1.02-1.99, P =.04). In addition, a 25(OH)D level of <30 nmol/L vs ≥50 nmol/L was associated with a 2-fold greater risk for MS in women who had ≥2 serum samples (RR 2.02; 95% CI, 1.18-3.45, P =.01).

This study failed to adjust for MS risk factors such as body mass index, smoking, or the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus infection, which might have limited the findings. In addition, the Finnish Maternity Cohort included primarily white subjects, which may reduce the findings' applicability to other races.