Sunlight, vitamin D and cod liver oil and their impact on disease progression

Background: Early life events influence MS susceptibility and potentially modulate its clinical course. This study assessed vitamin D-related exposures from childhood to disease onset and their associations with MS progression. 
Methods: Among veterans in the MS Surveillance Registry, 219 reported having the progressive form and met the inclusion criteria. Participants reported their past sun exposure, vitamin D-related intake and age at disability milestones using the Patient-Determined Disease Steps (PDDS). 
Results: Low average sun exposure in the fall/winter before disease onset was associated with an increased risk of 2.13 of progressing to a PDDS score of 8, whereas use of cod liver oil during childhood and adolescence was associated with a reduced risk  of 0.44. 
Conclusions: These results suggest that exposure to vitamin D before MS onset might slow MS-related neurodegeneration and thus delay progression to disability among patients with the progressive subtype.
“This study supports other studies that vitamin-D may not only influence MS disease susceptibility but disease course as well. Please remember that cod liver oil is not simply a vitamin D supplement but also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which may be beneficial in MS as well.”

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.


  • I think cod liver oil contains vitamin A which is not good in high quantities- ok for a spoonful, but probably doesn't contain enough vitamin D3. I think the recommended dose is 400iu's, but a lot of people think MSer's should be on at least 1000iu's per day(that's D3)

  • I agree with the previous comment. We recommend a daily dose of 5000iu of vD3 per day. Please see previous posts on vitamin D.

  • Situation: taking 5000 iu Vit D daily for over a year, test showed Vit D level 60+ and total calcium 10+, doctor says calcium is too high and it might be contributing to some symptoms, so pls stop your vit D.
    Intake of dairy products is already low.

  • Re: "total calcium 10+"

    How much above 10+? Up until 10.5 is normal.

    The normal range of plasma calcium is = 2.2-2.6 mmol/L or 9-10.5 mg/dL.

    Physiological doses of vitamin D don't cause a raised calcium on their own. A raised calcium usually means that you are taking additional calcium or there is another reason for it. Please don't accept one blood result; labs can make errors.

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