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Vitamin D Supplements Fail to Prevent Bone Loss in MS Patients

July 27, 2017

Previous research has shown that low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of a person developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Vitamin D has also been believed to prevent loss of bone density. But a new study has found that Vitamin D supplements do not prevent bone loss in multiple sclerosis patients who are not vitamin-D-deficient. The study was published in the journal, BMC Neurology and is titled “High dose vitamin D supplementation does not affect biochemical bone markers in multiple sclerosis – a randomized controlled trial.”

Researchers investigated the effect of weekly doses of vitamin D3 on patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) verses patients receiving a placebo. The study consisted of 68 participants who received 500 mg a day of calcium, which is also important for bone health. The team measured the effectiveness of the supplemental vitamin D by analyzing biomarkers of bone health in blood. These included levels of the proteins PINP, or procollagen type I N propeptide, and CTX1, or C-terminal cross-linking telopeptide. At the start of the study, levels of PINP and CTX1 were not significantly different between the two groups. And that continued to be true at week 48 and week 96 of the study. Overall, vitamin D supplementation did not change bone health in patients with MS after 96 weeks.

The results were different from previous studies supporting the beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation in MS patients. The researchers said they believed the discrepancy was due to differences in the studies’ patient characteristics, sample size, and duration of follow-up. “This does not exclude that particular subgroups with increased risk of osteoporosis due to immobilization, inadequate nutrition, medication or disease may need vitamin D supplementation to maintain bone health,” the team wrote. “Our study population had rather low disease activity and their ambulation was only moderately impaired. MS patients with more advanced disability are more prone to both accelerated bone loss and vitamin D deficiency, and could benefit more from vitamin D supplementation than those included in this study.”