Vitamin D levels predict better recovery for damage to the eye

Burton JM, Eliasziw M, Trufyn J, Tung C, Carter G, Costello F. A prospective cohort study of vitamin D in optic neuritis recovery. Mult Scler. 2016. pii: 1352458516642315. [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND: Vitamin D sufficiency is associated with better inflammatory outcomes in multiple sclerosis (MS). We hypothesize that it is also associated with better long-term neurodegenerative measures.

OBJECTIVES: To show that vitamin D sufficient patients (25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) > 80 nmol/L) have better optical coherence tomography (OCT) neuroaxonal measures of ganglion cell layer (GCL) and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness after optic neuritis.

METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, acute optic neuritis patients underwent OCT and serum 25(OH)D assessments at baseline and at month 6, with comparisons between vitamin D sufficient and insufficient patients, and men and women. Potential confounding variables were evaluated.

RESULTS: Of 49 enrolled, 36 had complete, analyzable data. At baseline, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with greater RNFL thickness (134.3 vs. 95.2 µm; p = 0.003) in affected eyes. At month 6, insufficient patients had greater GCL thinning (GCL inter-eye difference: 14.2 vs. 4.0 µm, p = 0.008). Men had greater RNFL and GCL thinning than women (GCL: 61.2 vs. 69.6 µm, p = 0.036).

CONCLUSION: Acutely, in optic neuritis, RNFL thickness is increased with vitamin D insufficiency. Chronically, neuronal, and possibly axonal loss are associated with vitamin D insufficiency and male gender, suggesting vitamin D and female gender may confer neuroprotection in optic neuritis, and possibly, central nervous system (CNS) inflammatory disease.

This study looks at the outcome of optic neuritis in people with and without sufficient vitamin D in their system. In this study they found that people with the higher level of vitamin D did better functional in terms of nerve loss than people without vitamin D. ProfG will say I told you so, and more reason to ensure that you have sufficiently normal levels of vitamin D in your system. I’m off to eat my hat.

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  • As I talk to a lot of people with MS, both in Brazil and in other countries, I have noticed is that those who make the combined use of vitamin D3 and any DMT, are better (have fewer injuries and less disability and relapse) than those using only the D3 or using only DMTs.
    A research would be interesting looking at this "observation"…

  • There a lot of studies and a mounting evidence about vitamin D3 importance in MS and other autoimmune conditions, but doctors are still missing official guidelines, so that the decision about the needs of an eventual D3 supplementation is leaved to their personal feeling and beliefs, or still worse, to patient knowledge and initiative.

  • There are countless studies pointing to the benefits of vitamin d in MS. Why don't all neuros by now use it as an add-on DMT? Why don't you guys suggest it as part of your treat early and aggressively approach?

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