The Brazilian Academy of Neurology has released new guidelines and recommendations for neurologists to use vitamin D in multiple sclerosis patients.
Based on the latest research in vitamin D and multiple sclerosis (MS), the Scientific Department of Neuro- immunology (DCNI) of the Brazilian Academy of Neurology (ABN) has established a set of guidelines on the use of vitamin D supplements for neurologists who care for people with MS (1). Their recommendations and guidelines are as follows:
- Vitamin D should not be used as a sole treatment for MS. However, it can and should be used in conjunction with traditional medications.
- Vitamin D should be given to patients with MS regardless of the stage of disease.
- Vitamin D levels lower than 30 ng/ml should be corrected at any stage of MS.
- Patients should be prescribed their own vitamin D regimen based on their individual needs to reach vitamin D levels between 40 ng/ml and 100 ng/ml.
- Vitamin D levels should be determined and corrected in those with first signs of MS to help prevent conversion to MS.
MS is an autoimmune disease in which the own immune system attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This can lead to various symptoms all over the body including difficulties walking, talking, swallowing and thinking. Past research has shown that people with low vitamin D levels are most likely to develop MS later in life (2). Researchers have also found that MS is more prevalent in places farther from the equator, where there is much less UVB radiation, which induces vitamin D production in skin.