Question

Vitamin D

How much vitamin D do I need per day if I have multiple sclerosis (MS)?

A Answers (2)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    Vitamin D may be important in both the prevention of multiple sclerosis (MS) and management of the disease, but scientists are still trying to determine what the ideal dose of vitamin D is for people with MS. Some studies show that people with low blood levels of vitamin D are at increased risk of developing MS. In people already diagnosed with MS, low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased flares of the condition and worse disability than people with the disease who have higher vitamin D levels.

    At the same time, in one study of people with MS, half of participants received daily supplements containing 1,000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D, and the other half received a total of 7,000 IUs of vitamin D per day. At the end of six months, both groups had adequate blood levels of vitamin D. But the group that received the higher doses of vitamin D actually had more relapses and worse disability than the group that received 1,000 IUs per day. More study is needed.

    In addition to supplements, you can get vitamin D by eating foods that contain it (such as fatty fish, eggs and fortified dairy products and orange juice) or simply by going outside, where your skin can synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. Consult your doctor for more information about vitamin D and your own needs for it.
  • Both calcium and vitamin D are important in preventing osteoporosis, which is relatively common among the multiple sclerosis (MS) population. The ideal dose of vitamin D for people with MS is not known, but it may be reasonable to take 400 -1000 IU daily.
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