For almost half a century scientists began to recognize that there were higher rates of chronic disease for those peoples who lived outside of the tropics. Researchers concluded that the higher intake of vitamin D had some protective qualities.

In the January issue in the journal Neurology researchers at Harvard School of Public Health reported from a two-phase Nurses’ Health Study. The use of multi-vitamins and monitoring of diets of more than 190, 000 nurses were tracked over a twenty year period.

A total of 173 cases of MS were reported. Two significant results were as follows:

  • Women, who had the highest intake of supplementary vitamin D,had 40% reduced risk of developing MS compared with the group that took no supplements at all.
  • Risk was not reduced by women who had vitamin D from food sources but took no supplements.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Kassandra Munger, told BBC news, “It’s exciting to think something as simple as taking a multi-vitamin could reduce your risk of developing MS.”

In addition to prevention, vitamin D may also be an essential element in the treatment of MS after the disease has been diagnosed. In one study patients took 5000 iuVit. D, 1000mg Calcium and 600mg Magnesium. Subjects showed a clear decline in the rate of disease activity and symptoms after supplementation began.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease and research shows that people who live further away from the equator are thought to be at a higher risk for other autoimmune diseases as well.

In the November 2003 issue of Nutrition and Healing, Dr. Jonathan Wright, MD, discussed the importance of supplementation as the suns’ rays do not penetrate as deeply in the winter months. The estimated cut-off area is about 35 degrees. In other words if you drew a line from Los Angeles to North Carolina everyone north of that line would benefit from Vitamin D supplementation during the winter months.

Dr. Wright recommends for those who do not get enough winter sun a supplement of 2000-4000ui on a daily basis. Recent research suggests upward limits of 10,000ui per day are within safe dosages.

Sources: Vitamin intake and Incidence of MS – Neurology vol. 62, Nutrition & Healing, Jonathan Wright MD, HIS Newsletter