Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis: A Comprehensive Review

Neurol Ther. 2018 Jun;7(1):59-85. doi: 10.1007/s40120-017-0086-4. Epub 2017 Dec 14.


Numerous observational studies have suggested that there is a correlation between the level of serum vitamin D and MS risk and disease activity. To explore this hypothesis, a literature search of large, prospective, observation studies, epidemiological studies, and studies using new approaches such as Mendelian randomization was conducted. Available data and ongoing research included in this review suggest that the level of serum vitamin D affects the risk of developing MS and also modifies disease activity in MS patients. Newer Mendelian randomization analyses suggest there is a causal relationship between low vitamin D level and the risk of MS. Post-hoc evaluations from two phase 3 studies, BENEFIT and BEYOND, support the findings of observational trials. Study limitations identified in this review recognize the need for larger controlled clinical trials to establish vitamin D supplementation as the standard of care for MS patients. Though there is increasing evidence indicating that lower vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk of MS and with greater clinical and brain MRI activity in established MS, the impact of vitamin D supplementation on MS activity remains inadequately investigated.

Keywords: Autoimmune disease; Health outcomes; Mendelian randomization; Multiple sclerosis; Optic neuritis; Pregnancy; Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS); Supplementation; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review