Can vitamin D supplementation prevent bone loss in persons with MS? A placebo-controlled trial

J Neurol. 2011 Sep;258(9):1624-31. doi: 10.1007/s00415-011-5980-6. Epub 2011 Mar 13.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a possible cause of secondary osteoporosis. In this phase II trial we assessed whether a weekly dose of 20,000 IU vitamin D(3) prevents bone loss in ambulatory persons with MS age 18-50 years. ID NCT00785473. All patients managed at the University Hospital of North Norway who fulfilled the main inclusion criteria were invited to participate in this double-blinded trial. Participants were randomised to receive 20,000 IU vitamin D(3) or placebo once a week and 500 mg calcium daily for 96 weeks. The primary outcome was the effect of the intervention on percentage change in bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip, the spine, and the ultradistal radius over the study period. Of 71 participants randomised, 68 completed. Mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels in the intervention group increased from 55 nmol/L at baseline to 123 nmol/L at week 96. After 96 weeks, percentage change in BMD did not differ between groups at any site. BMD decreased at the hip, by 1.4% in the placebo group (95% CI -2.3 to -0.4, SD 2.7, p = 0.006) and by 0.7% in the treatment group (-1.6 to 0.2, 2.7, p = 0.118), difference 0.7% (-1.9 to 0.7, p = 0.332). Findings were not altered by adjustment for sex or serum 25(OH)D. Supplementation with 20,000 IU vitamin D(3) a week did not prevent bone loss in this small population. Larger studies are warranted to assess the effect of vitamin D on bone health in persons with MS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / metabolism
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cholecalciferol / administration & dosage*
  • Cholecalciferol / metabolism
  • Cholecalciferol / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements / standards
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Placebos
  • Young Adult


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Placebos
  • Cholecalciferol

Associated data