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Vitamin D May Regulate Hyperactive Immune Response In Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Update Date: Jan 02, 2016 08:32 PM EST
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High doses of vitamin D3 is safe for patients of multiple sclerosis (MS), and also regulates the hyperactive immune response of such patients, according to scientists from John Hopkins University

"These results are exciting, as vitamin D has the potential to be an inexpensive, safe and convenient treatment for people with MS," Peter Calabresi, one of the study's authors, said in a press release. "More research is needed to confirm these findings with larger groups of people and to help us understand the mechanisms for these effects, but the results are promising."

Those who take low vitamin D shots tend to be more at risk of contracting MS, and also exhibit more disability and higher disease activity.

Scientists probed 40 people who showed relapsing-remitting MS, with each getting either 10,400 international units or 900 international units of vitamin D3 supplements every day for six months. Those who showed extreme vitamin D deficiency were not part of the study.

Blood tests in the beginning of the study as well as after three and six months were taken, while vitamin D levels in the blood and the response of the immune system's T cells, were also measured. They were all part of the MS tests.

Hence, those who took high levels of vitamin D showed reduced levels in the percentage of inflammatory T cells linked with MS severity. Subjects who took low-dose vitamin D supplements showed no major changes in their T cell subsets.

"We hope that these changes in inflammatory T cell responses translate to a reduced severity of disease," Calabresi said. "Other clinical trials are underway to determine if that is the case."

The findings were published in the Dec.30, 2015 online issue of Neurology.

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