Are there any benefits of taking Vegan Vitamin D3 and Omega-3 with people with Multiple Sclerosis?
As you may know, dietary supplements are formulated to support the nutritional needs of healthy people. For people who have MS or other diseases, we recommend consulting with their personal physician to discuss how supplementation can fit into their individual treatment plan.
As background, it may be helpful to note that the role of vitamin D in the treatment of MS is an active area of research. Vitamin D has immune-modulating effects, and people with MS often have suboptimal levels of vitamin D. Recent research suggests that correcting a vitamin D deficiency is associated with less disability in people with MS. In one 5-year study involving over 460 people with MS, researchers found that those who were vitamin D deficient (e.g., they had a serum 25(OH)D level of less than 20 ng/mL) at up to 1 year had more disability during the subsequent 4 years.(1) However, more research is needed to confirm whether vitamin D plays a direct role in this improved clinical outcome.
Measuring serum 25(OH)D is the only way to determine vitamin D status. It’s the major circulating form of vitamin D in the body and reflects vitamin D produced in the skin and obtained from food and supplements. It is a simple blood test that a doctor can order.
Regarding other nutrients, the National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society have been actively supporting research to explore alternative therapies. Researchers suggest that a low-fat diet, omega-3 fats, lipoic acid and/or vitamin D are among therapies that warrant further investigation, but more research is needed to confirm potential benefits.(2)
1. Ascherio A, Munger KL, White R, et al. Vitamin D as an early predictor of multiple sclerosis activity and progression. JAMA Neurol. 2014;71(3):306-314. PMID: 24445558.
2.Kes VB, Cesarik M, Matovina LZ, et al. The role of complementary and alternative medicine in therapy of multiple sclerosis. Acta Clin Croat. 2013;52(4):464-471. Review. PMID: 24696997.