Vitamin D deficiency in women was shown to be a risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published in Neurology

Researchers evaluated whether vitamin D deficiency was associated with the risk of MS, and to what extent the risk was increased. They conducted a prospective nested case-control study among females in the Finnish Maternity Cohort, which consists of 1.8 million serum samples taken during the pregnancies of >800,000 women. Of the total cases, 1,092 women with MS and ≥1 serum sample collected prior to diagnosis and 511 women with ≥2 serum samples were included for analysis. Cases were matched to up to 3 controls based on birth date and area of residence. Researchers measured 25-hydroxyvitaminD (25[OH]D) levels using a chemiluminescence assay. 

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Data showed that a 50nmol/L increase in 25(OH)D correlated with a 39% decreased risk of MS (relative risk [RR] 0.61, 95% CI: 0.44–0.85; P=0.003). Specifically, a 43% increased risk of MS was seen in women with 25(OH)D levels <30nmol/L vs. women with levels ≥50nmol/L (RR 1.43, 95% CI: 1.02–1.99; P=0.04).

Among women with ≥2 stored serum samples, the risk of MS was twice as high in women with 25(OH)D levels <30nmol/L vs. women with levels ≥50nmol/L (RR 2.02, 95% CI: 1.18–3.4; P=0.01). 

Lead author, Kassandra L. Munger, ScD, stated, “These results directly support vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for MS and strengthen the rationale for broad public health interventions to improve vitamin D levels.” 

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