The role of vitamin D in multiple sclerosis

Ann Pharmacother. 2006 Jun;40(6):1158-61. doi: 10.1345/aph.1G513. Epub 2006 May 9.


Objective: To evaluate the literature about the role of vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Data sources: MEDLINE (1966-April 2006) and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970-April 2006) searches were performed. In addition, pertinent references from identified articles were obtained. Key search terms included vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, vitamin D deficiency, and multiple sclerosis.

Data synthesis: Vitamin D supplementation prevented the development and progression of experimental autoimmune encephalitis, an animal model of MS, in mice. A large, prospective, cohort study found that vitamin D supplementation was associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of developing MS. Four small, noncontrolled studies suggested that vitamin D supplementation may decrease exacerbation of MS symptoms.

Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation may help prevent the development of MS and may be a useful addition to therapy. However, current studies are in small populations and are confounded by other variables, such as additional vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / prevention & control
  • Vitamin D / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamins / adverse effects
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D