Epub ahead of print: McDowell et al. Sun Exposure, Vitamin D Intake and Progression to Disability among Veterans with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Neuroepidemiology. 2011 Aug 5;37(1):52-57.
Background: Early life events influence MS susceptibility and potentially modulate its clinical course. This study assessed vitamin D-related exposures from childhood to disease onset and their associations with MS progression.
Methods: Among veterans in the MS Surveillance Registry, 219 reported having the progressive form and met the inclusion criteria. Participants reported their past sun exposure, vitamin D-related intake and age at disability milestones using the Patient-Determined Disease Steps (PDDS).
Results: Low average sun exposure in the fall/winter before disease onset was associated with an increased risk of 2.13 of progressing to a PDDS score of 8, whereas use of cod liver oil during childhood and adolescence was associated with a reduced risk of 0.44.
Conclusions: These results suggest that exposure to vitamin D before MS onset might slow MS-related neurodegeneration and thus delay progression to disability among patients with the progressive subtype.
“This study supports other studies that vitamin-D may not only influence MS disease susceptibility but disease course as well. Please remember that cod liver oil is not simply a vitamin D supplement but also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which may be beneficial in MS as well.”