Vitamin D may help MS patients

April 18, 2001 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin D may help MS patients

Taking vitamin D supplements may positively influence the immune systems in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to researchers from Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

MS causes the immune system to attack the body's own cells as "foreign," causing vision changes and muscle weakness. MS may progress steadily, or acute attacks may be followed by a temporary remission of symptoms.

Vitamin D status affects certain chemical compounds that modulate the immune system called cytokines, and these changes may perhaps benefit patients with MS. The researchers drew their conclusions after analyzing samples from 10 MS patients who took a supplement of 25 micrograms of vitamin D daily for 6 months. The patients showed increased levels of vitamin D in their blood, as well as a change in cytokine levels.

However the investigators note that the study has not been in progress long enough to observe changes in the clinical symptoms of the participating MS patients. Although this project is ongoing, the results suggest that 6-month vitamin D supplementation does affect the cytokine profile of MS patients.

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