Bergen Multiple Sclerosis Research Group
Vitamin D exposure and MS risk

New study. Vitamin D exposure and MS risk- timing seems to matter

Researchers at The National Multiple Sclerosis Competence Centre published an article about the timing of vitamin D exposure and MS risk in May 2015 in Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

Main content

Background: Low vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis, although it remains unknown whether this relationship varies by age.
Objective: To investigate the association between vitamin D3 supplementation through cod liver oil at different postnatal ages and MS risk.
Methods:In the Norwegian component of the multinational case-control study EnvIMS, a total of 953 MS patients with maximum disease duration of 10 years and 1717 controls reported their cod liver oil use from childhood to adulthood.
Results:Self-reported supplement use at ages 13-18 was associated with a reduced risk of MS (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.52-0.86), whereas supplementation during childhood was not found to alter MS risk (OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.81-1.26), each compared to non-use during the respective period. An inverse association was found between MS risk and the dose of cod liver oil during adolescence, suggesting a dose-response relationship (p-trend=0.001) with the strongest effect for an estimated vitamin D3 intake of 600-800 IU/d (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.31-0.70).

Conclusions: These findings not only support the hypothesis relating to low vitamin D as a risk factor for MS, but further point to adolescence as an important susceptibility period for adult-onset MS.


Marianna Cortese, Trond Riise, Kjetil Bjørnevik, Trygve Holmøy, Margitta T Kampman,Sandra Magalhaes, Maura Pugliatti, Christina Wolfson and Kjell-Morten Myhr. Timing of use of cod liver oil, a vitamin D source, and multiple sclerosis risk: The EnvIMS study. Mult Scler 1352458515578770, first published on May 6, 2015 as doi:10.1177/1352458515578770