Dr. Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. Michael F. Holick

Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D

Posted by admin on November 27, 2008 under Multiple Sclerosis, Vitamin D | 11 Comments to Read

It is known that if you are born above 35° latitude at approximately Atlanta, Georgia, and live at this latitude for the first ten years of your life that you have a 100% increase risk of developing multiple sclerosis.  Recent studies have suggested that women and men who increase their vitamin D intake above 400 IU of vitamin D a day reduces risk of developing multiple sclerosis by approximately 40%.  


Munger KL, Zhang SM, O’Reilly E, Hernan MA, Olek MJ, Willett WC, Ascherio A.  Vitamin D intake and incidence of multiple sclerosis.  Neurology  2004; 62(1):60-5.

Munger KL, Levin LI, Hollis, BW, Howard NS, Ascheino A.  Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and risk of multiple sclerosis.  JAMA 2006; 296:2832-2838.

Ponsonby A-L, McMichael A, and van der Mei I.  Ultraviolet radiation and autoimmune disease: insights from epidemiological research. Toxocology 2002;181-182:71-78.

  • john p sisson said,

    you never mentioned S.A.D
    Columbia Presbyterian offers chronotherapy for this disease; and adds in negative ions treatment too.
    My SAD is suicidal and needs more attention from the medical community

  • Thomas J Schwindenhammer said,

    Your thinking on treating MS with HIGH dosage of D? I had taken Betaseron fir 1.5 yrs and was told that the signs of MS were still going on. I asked why try something else because I CAN’T handle the side effects anyway. For two yrs now I have been treating with high dosage of D (15,000 I. U. a day) for the last 2 years I have been told the MRI’S and all signs seem “OK” no change. I still have slight flare ups but nothing like before. Your thoughts PLEASE

  • admin said,

    Dear Thomas,
    It would be wise to have a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D determined. 15,000 IU of vitamin D a day maybe okay as long as your blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is less than 100 ng/ml. If it is above 100 ng/ml I would decrease the dose.

  • Yasar Sakarya MD said,

    Dear Dr.Holick
    my question are:
    1.In our country (Turkey), it very popular to prescribe an intramuscular vial preparation that contains 300.000 IU vitamin D3 to take orally once in month for three months ( totally 900.000 IU taken). Is this a correct usage? I mean, a vial that contains 300.000 IU vitamin d3 is ingested every mont for three months.
    2. In our country, only vitamin d3 is available.
    I advice my patients to take 12 box of vitamin d 3 preparation than contains 50.000 IU, to increase the level +30, 1000 IU for entire life. is this wise?
    best wishes
    Thank you.

  • admin said,

    Dear Yasar,
    I usually recommend taking 200,000 IUs of vitamin D monthly for 2-3 months to correct vitamin D deficiency and then to maintain my patients on 100,000 IUs of vitamin D monthly which is equivalent to 3000 IUs of vitamin D daily to maintain a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D above 30 ng/mL. We have found that 1000 IUs of vitamin D daily is usually not enough to sustain blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D above 30 ng/mL.

  • Peggy R. said,

    Dear Dr. Holick,
    What are your thoughts on the recent study authored by Dr. C.E. Hayes, Ph.D., titled, “One calcitriol dose transiently increases Helios FoxP3 & T cells and ameliorates autoimmune demyelinating disease”?
    Also, do you conduct e-consults?
    Thank you,

  • Arthur said,

    Dear Dr. Holick,
    In this article you talk abot how quantity is necessary to prevent MS in this latitude but what would be a good dosage of D in a person who is patient of MS and Arthritis and she doesn’t get a suntan.


  • admin said,

    Dear Peggy,

    This is not unexpected. It is well known that activated T cells have a vitamin D receptor and interact with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol) to modulate autoimmunity. What remains unclear however is whether calcitriol could be used to treat autoimmune diseases that are active in humans. Yes I do conduct e-consults.

  • admin said,

    Dear Arthur,
    I have all of my patients with multiple sclerosis on at least 3000 IUs of vitamin D daily and 5000 IUs of vitamin D daily is perfectly safe.

  • dorothy bastien said,

    My husband has MS .For 16 years , he has been fishing all those years .Looking at him no one could tell he has problems(feeling and pain every where . June 2013 he had his first set sure, second Feb 2014, third march 30 2014. Was just told his vitiaim D level is 8 could this help cause seizures

  • admin said,

    Dear Dorothy,

    Severe vitamin D deficiency has been associated with seizures.

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