American scientists have demonstrated that measurements of vitamin D levels in patients with early stages of sclerosis may predict how fast the disease will progress. If levels are low it may be a sign of faster disease progression and also a sign that this development may be slowed down if the patients increase their vitamin D intake.
The study is published in the science journal JAMA Neurology and was carried out on 465 patients from more than 20 different countries. The results showed that patients with highest levels of vitamin D had fewer brain lesions (57%) and less recurrence (75%) compared with the group that had low vitamin D levels.
The research is carried out at the Harvard School of Public Health in collaboration with Bayer HealthCare and suggests that vitamin D may provide some protection against the development of sclerosis. Furthermore, the study shows that vitamin D levels are useful as markers for the disease progression.
Professor Alberto Ascherio, who headed the study, says that low vitamin D levels are very common, and because it is easy and safe to use vitamin D supplements to increase the intake of the nutrient, the results of this research may help improve the quality of life for numerous sclerosis patients. Also, the researchers recommend screening patients for vitamin D deficiency and even introducing routine regulation of vitamin D levels as part of standard therapy for early-stage sclerosis patients.