Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 84
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Egeberg, Alexander Hansen, Peter Riis Gislason, Gunnar Hilmar and Thyssen, Jacob Pontoppidan 2016. Clustering of autoimmune diseases in patients with rosacea. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. 74, Issue. 4, p. 667.

    Hernández-Ostiz, S. Pérez-Ramada, M.D. Ortiz, B. Requena, C. Ribas, G. Aznar, E. and Nagore, E. 2016. Niveles de 25-hidroxivitamina D en pacientes con melanoma y factores asociados con su insuficiencia. Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas,

    Ikura, Teikichi and Ito, Nobutoshi 2016. Vitamin D Hormone.

    Smolders, J. Hupperts, R. and Damoiseaux, J. 2016. Translational Neuroimmunology in Multiple Sclerosis.

    Stolyarov, I. D. Goncharova, Z. A. Shkilnyuk, G. G. and Samoylova, N. A. 2016. The role of the solar and geomagnetic activity in the etiology of multiple sclerosis: a review of the literature and prospects of research. Zhurnal nevrologii i psikhiatrii im. S.S. Korsakova, Vol. 116, Issue. 2. Vyp. 2, p. 5.

    Berridge, Michael J. 2015. Vitamin D cell signalling in health and disease. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol. 460, Issue. 1, p. 53.

    Naghavi Gargari, Bahar Behmanesh, Mehrdad Shirvani Farsani, Zeinab Pahlevan Kakhki, Majid and Azimi, Amir Reza 2015. Vitamin D supplementation up-regulates IL-6 and IL-17A gene expression in multiple sclerosis patients. International Immunopharmacology, Vol. 28, Issue. 1, p. 414.

    Paintlia, Manjeet K. Singh, Inderjit and Singh, Avtar K. 2015. Effect of vitamin D3 intake on the onset of disease in a murine model of human Krabbe disease. Journal of Neuroscience Research, Vol. 93, Issue. 1, p. 28.

    Shirazi, Hasti Atashi Rasouli, Javad Ciric, Bogoljub Rostami, Abdolmohamad and Zhang, Guang-Xian 2015. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 enhances neural stem cell proliferation and oligodendrocyte differentiation. Experimental and Molecular Pathology, Vol. 98, Issue. 2, p. 240.

    Shirvani-Farsani, Zeinab Behmanesh, Mehrdad Mohammadi, Seyed Mahdi and Naser Moghadasi, Abdorreza 2015. Vitamin D levels in multiple sclerosis patients: Association with TGF-β2, TGF-βRI, and TGF-βRII expression. Life Sciences, Vol. 134, p. 63.

    Webb, G.P. 2015. Dietary Supplements.

    Yeshokumar, Anusha K. Saylor, Deanna Kornberg, Michael D. and Mowry, Ellen M. 2015. Evidence for the Importance of Vitamin D Status in Neurologic Conditions. Current Treatment Options in Neurology, Vol. 17, Issue. 12,

    Bacchetta, J. 2013. Vitamina D en el adolescente. EMC - Pediatría, Vol. 48, Issue. 4, p. 1.

    Bacchetta, J. 2013. Vitamine D : une hormone d’intérêt général. Archives de Pédiatrie, Vol. 20, Issue. 4, p. 333.

    Bacchetta, J. 2013. Vitamine D chez l’adolescent. EMC - Pédiatrie - Maladies infectieuses, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 1.

    Ganesh, Aravind Apel, Sabrina Metz, Luanne and Patten, Scott 2013. The case for vitamin D supplementation in multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, Vol. 2, Issue. 4, p. 281.

    Liu, Jianghong Tuvblad, Catherine Raine, Adrian and Baker, Laura 2013. Genetic and environmental influences on nutrient intake. Genes & Nutrition, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 241.

    Naugler, Christopher Zhang, Jianguo Henne, Dan Woods, Paul and Hemmelgarn, Brenda R 2013. Association of vitamin D status with socio-demographic factors in Calgary, Alberta: an ecological study using Census Canada data. BMC Public Health, Vol. 13, Issue. 1,

    Wagner, Carol L. McNeil, Rebecca Hamilton, Stuart A. Winkler, Joyce Rodriguez Cook, Carolina Warner, Gloria Bivens, Betty Davis, Deborah J. Smith, Pamela G. Murphy, Martha Shary, Judy R. and Hollis, Bruce W. 2013. A randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation in 2 community health center networks in South Carolina. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 208, Issue. 2, p. 137.e1.

    2013. Dietary Supplements and Functional Foods.

  • Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Volume 59, Issue 4
  • November 2000, pp. 531-535

Vitamin D: a natural inhibitor of multiple sclerosis

  • Colleen E. Hayes (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2007

Inheriting genetic risk factors for multiple sclerosis (MS) is not sufficient to cause this demyelinating disease of the central nervous system; exposure to environmental risk factors is also required. MS may be preventable if these unidentified environmental factors can be avoided. MS prevalence increases with decreasing solar radiation, suggesting that sunlight may be protective in MS. Since the vitamin D endocrine system is exquisitely responsive to sunlight, and MS prevalence is highest where environmental supplies of vitamin D are lowest, we have proposed that the hormone, 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (1,25-(OH)2D3), may protect genetically-susceptible individuals from developing MS. Evidence consistent with this hypothesis comes not only from geographic studies, but also genetic and biological studies. Over-representation of the vitamin D receptor gene b allele was found in Japanese MS patients, suggesting it may confer MS susceptibility. Fish oil is an excellent vitamin D source, and diets rich in fish may lower MS prevalence or severity. Vitamin D deficiency afflicts most MS patients, as demonstrated by their low bone mass and high fracture rates. However, the clearest evidence that vitamin D may be a natural inhibitor of MS comes from experiments with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of MS. Treatment of mice with 1,25-(OH)2D3 completely inhibited EAE induction and progression. The hormone stimulated the synthesis of two anti-encephalitogenic cytokines, interleukin 4 and transforming growth factor β-1, and influenced inflammatory cell trafficking or apoptosis. If vitamin D is a natural inhibitor of MS, providing supplemental vitamin D to individuals who are at risk for MS would be advisable.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Vitamin D: a natural inhibitor of multiple sclerosis
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Vitamin D: a natural inhibitor of multiple sclerosis
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Vitamin D: a natural inhibitor of multiple sclerosis
      Available formats
Corresponding author
Corresponding author:Professor C. E. Hayes, fax +1 608 262 3453, email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

ED Acheson , CA Bachrach & FM Wright (1960) Some comments on the relationship of the distribution of multiple sclerosis to latitude, solar radiation and other variables. Acta Psychiatrica Neurologica Scandinavica Suppl. 147, 132147.

O Anderson , P-E Lygner , T Bergström , M Andersson & A Vahlne (1993) Viral infections trigger multiple sclerosis relapses: A prospective seroepidemiological study. Journal of Neurology 240, 417422.

C Bates , NEF Cartlidge , JM French , HJ Jackson , S Nightenhale , DA Shaw , S Smith , E Woo , SA Hawkins , JH Miller , J Belin , DM Conroy , SK Gill , M Sidey , AD Smith , RHS Thompson , K Zilkha , M Gale & HM Sinclair (1989) A double-blind controlled trial of long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 52, 1822.

DD Branisteanu , M Waer , H Sobis , S Marcelis , M Vandeputte & R Bouillon (1995) Prevention of murine experimental allergic encephalomyelitis: cooperative effects of cyclosporine and 1α,25(OH)2D3. Journal of Neuroimmunology 61, 151160.

MT Cantorna , CE Hayes & HF DeLuca (1996) 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 reversibly blocks the progression of relapsing encephalomyelitis, a model of multiple sclerosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 93, 78617864.

F Cosman , J Nieves , L Komar , G Ferrer , J Herbert , C Formica , V Shen & R Lindsay (1998) Fracture history and bone loss in patients with MS. Neurology 51, 11611165.

CB Davenport (1922) Multiple sclerosis from the standpoint of geographic distribution and race. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 8, 5158.

GC Ebers , DE Bulman , AD Sadovnick , DW Paty , S Warren , W Hader , TJ Murray , TP Seland , P Duquette , T Gray , R Nelson , M Nicolle & D Brunet (1986) A population-based twin study in multiple sclerosis. New England Journal of Medicine 315, 16381642.

GC Ebers & DA Dyment (1998) Genetics of multiple sclerosis. Seminars in Neurology 18, 295299.

GC Ebers & AD Sadovnick (1994) The role of genetic factors in multiple sclerosis susceptibility. Journal of Neuroimmunology 54, 117.

EURODIAB Substudy 2 Study Group (1999) Vitamin D supplement in early childhood and risk for Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. Diabetologia 42, 5154.

T Fukazawa , I Yabe , S Kikuchi , H Sasaki , T Hamada , K Miyasaka & K Tashiro (1999) Association of vitamin D receptor gene polymorphism with multiple sclerosis in Japanese. Journal of Neurological Sciences 166, 4752.

P Goldberg (1974 a) Multiple sclerosis: Vitamin D and calcium as environmental determinants of prevalence (a viewpoint). Part 1: Sunlight, dietary factors and epidemiology. International Journal of Environmental Studies 6, 1927.

P Goldberg , MC Fleming & EM Picard (1986) Multiple sclerosis: decreased relapse rate through dietary supplementation with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Medical Hypotheses 21, 193200.

SR Hammond , DR English & JG McLeod (2000) The age-range of risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Evidence from a migrant population in Australia. Brain 123, 968974.

CE Hayes , MT Cantorna & HF DeLuca (1997) Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 216, 2127.

MF Holick (1998) Vitamin D requirements for humans of all ages: new increased requirements for women and men 50 years and older. Osteoporosis International Suppl. 8, S24S29.

MF Holick , HK Schnoes & HF DeLuca (1971) Identification of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, a form of vitamin D3 metabolically active in the intestine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 68, 803804.

JI Inobe , Y Chen & HL Weiner (1996) In vivo administration of IL-4 induces TGF-beta-producing cells and protects animals from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 778, 390392.

JF Kurtzke (1967) On the fine structure of the distribution of multiple sclerosis. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 43, 257282.

AP Kuruvilla , R Shah , GM Hochwald , HD Liggitt , MA Palladino & GJ Thorbecke (1991) Protective effect of transforming growth factor b1 on experimental autoimmune diseases in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 88, 29182921.

JM Lemire & DC Archer (1991) 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 suppresses the in vivo induction of murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Journal of Clinical Investigation 87, 11031107.

MF McDermott , A Ramachandran , BW Ogunkolade , E Aganna , D Curtis , BJ Boucher , C Snehalatha & GA Hitman (1997) Allelic variation in the vitamin D receptor influences susceptibility to IDDM in Indian Asians. Diabetologia 40, 971975.

A Malabanan , IE Veronikis & MF Holick (1998) Redefining vitamin D insufficiency. Lancet 351, 805806.

FE Nashold , DJ Miller & CE Hayes (2000) 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 treatment decreases macrophage accumulation in the CNS of mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Journal of Neuroimmunology 103, 171179.

AW Norman , JF Myrtle , RJ Midgett , HG Nowicki , V Williams & G Popjak (1971) 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol: identification of the proposed active form of vitamin D3 in the intestine. Science 173, 5154.

JH Noseworthy (1999) Progress in determining the causes and treatment of multiple sclerosis. Nature 399, A40A47.

J Nieves , F Cosman , J Herbert , V Shen & R Lindsay (1994) High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and reduced bone mass in multiple sclerosis. Neurology 44, 16871692.

PK Olitsky & RH Yager (1949) Experimental disseminated encephalomyelitis in white mice. Journal of Experimental Medicine 90, 213223.

HS Panitch (1994) Influence of infection on exacerbations of multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology 36, S25S28.

RTC Pratt , ND Compston & D McAlpine (1951) The familial incidence of multiple sclerosis and its significance. Brain 74, 191232.

J Presthus (1960) Report on the multiple sclerosis investigations in West Norway. Acta Psychiatrica Neurologica Scandinavica Suppl. 147, 8892.

JL Steckley , DA Dyment , AD Sadovnick , N Risch , C Hayes , GC Ebers and the Canadian Collaborative Study Group (2000) Genetic analysis of vitamin D related genes in Canadian multiple sclerosis patients. Neurology 54, 729732.

RL Swank , O Lerstad , A Strøm & J Backer (1952) Multiple sclerosis in rural Norway: Its geographic and occupational incidence in relation to nutrition. New England Journal of Medicine 246, 721.

AR Webb , L Kline & MF Holick (1988) Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 67, 373378.

K Westlund (1970) Distribution and mortality time trend of multiple sclerosis and some other diseases of Norway. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 46, 455483.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • ISSN: 0029-6651
  • EISSN: 1475-2719
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *