Vitamin D3 Deficiency in Autoimmune Disease – Multiple Sclerosis

Evidence is increasing for proof that vitamin D3 may be a determining factor in positive changes in the immune system, thereby benefiting basically all patients with any autoimmune disease.  There have been some recent studies related to multiple sclerosis and vitamin D3 that are showing promising results.

 What is multiple sclerosis?



 Multiple sclerosis, or MS as it is frequently called, is an autoimmune disease.  Autoimmune diseases are marked by the body’s immune system reaction in certain areas of the body.  With MS, the immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerve-endings called the myelin sheath. The areas of the body most affected are the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves.  The most common symptoms are:

  • Changes in vision

  • Numbness and tingling in extremities

  • Weakness

  • Paralysis

  • Vertigo

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Incontinence

  • Urinary retention

  • Muscle spasticity

Treatment thus far has been successful in relieving symptoms and delaying the progression.  A cure has not been found.  But there is hope.

Vitamin D3


Vitamin D3 has been shown to be effective in treating many other autoimmune diseases.  I know personally that it is very helpful with eczema and psoriasis.


I have a friend who states that vitamin D3 played a very major role in overcoming cancer in his body.  Cancer that doctors said there was nothing more they could do that would help him or cure him.


Researchers do know that people who grow up in areas with less sunshine such as those further from the equator seem to be more likely to have multiple sclerosis. They have discovered that there are vitamin D receptors in cells in the nervous system as well as in the immune system.


Research has even found that, when people move to another country, their risk factors for multiple sclerosis depend on their age at the time they leave their native land.  If they leave during childhood the risk seems to be similar to risk factors in their new country.  If they leave when they are twenty or older the risk is more associated with the risk factors of the country where they were born.

Here is a world map showing incidences of multiple sclerosis:

The lighter colors indicate fewer incidences.  The darker would indicate higher incidences.



The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that, in patients with lower levels of vitamin D were actually 62% more likely to develop multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.


Recently, studies have been done on the effects of large doses of vitamin D3 in patients with MS.  It has already been determined that low levels of vitamin D3 are responsible for greater risk of developing MS.


Research has also shown that as many as 90% of multiple sclerosis patients are found to be vitamin D deficient.


Because of these growing revelations, doctors are beginning to look at the possibility that vitamin D3 might be of some benefit to patients suffering with multiple sclerosis.  Some studies have already been done.


Oxford University identified a link between vitamin D3 and a specific gene associated with multiple sclerosis in 2009.  The gene associated with multiple sclerosis seemed to be weaker when vitamin d levels were higher.


According to Dr. Peter Calabresi, Director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center, high doses of vitamin D3 were given to patients for six months.  The result was a reduction in the percentage of inflammatory T cells.


Patients were given 800 international units of vitamin D3 in supplement form for a period of six months.


Patients with severe vitamin D deficiency were not included in this study.




Another study done in Finland in 2012 showed that patients given vitamin D3 supplements showed a significant reduction in lesions on their brain scans after twelve months. These lesions are an indicator of damage to nerve cells in various areas of the body.


Now I don’t know about you, but all this makes me want to call everyone I know with any autoimmune disease and tell them to get on vitamin D3 yesterday!!  Especially anyone I know that suffers with multiple sclerosis.


But folks, it gets even better than that.  Because of all these findings, more and more doctors are beginning to take a serious look at vitamin D3.

This is going to be studied further to see just how much improvement can be reached and/or whether or not this could be the answer to the debilitating symptoms of MS.


Newer information suggests that patients may need anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 IU of vitamin D3 to bring their blood levels up to a level where vitamin D3 is helpful and benefit gained.


How Do We Get Vitamin D3 Other Than In Supplements?

Sun, Cool, Sunshine, Glossy, Smile, Summer, Heat


Vitamin D3 is known as the sunshine vitamin.  Exposure to sunlight can help the body’s natural production of vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 can be found in some foods.  Milk and butter often have vitamin D added to “fortify” them.  Some yogurt has vitamin D in it and some cereals also have vitamin D3 added.  It can be found in small amounts in foods such as eggs, meat and oily fish such as salmon.


Checking Vitamin D3 Levels


You should certainly ask your doctor or health care professional to check your vitamin d levels, especially if you want to begin taking vitamin D3.  It’s best to be certain that you are deficient.  Most doctors agree that these levels should be checked in patients with autoimmune disease.

There are still questions to be answered in the relationship between vitamin D3 and multiple sclerosis but, as I stated, more research is being done. I believe that we need to take a much closer look at vitamin D3 deficiency in autoimmune disease in general, not just for treating multiple sclerosis.






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  1. Elsa says:

    Hi Debby

    I love the natural approach you took in writing this article on the potential of using Vitamin D to help with autoimmune conditions. It looks very promising and hopefully they do continue to put research into it! I was actually diagnosed with ms about 3 years ago – Vitamin D is one of the supplements that I ensure I take every day.

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thank you so much for your response Elsa. I have a good friend with MS who also uses D3 and another who has psoriatic arthritis using it ( I told her to start it, then she went to a new Dr. who asked her whether or not she was using it on the first visit). I use D3 for psoriasis as well. I think future research will show its usefulness for many more conditions too! Thanks again.



  2. Paul says:

    Hi Debby
    Impressive findings that Vitamin D3 may have a major role in MS. I often wondered if I am getting enough vitamin D in my diet or getting enough sun during the winter. I live in Canada, and the days are pretty short. then the foods that we get during the winter are not all that fresh. Do you think having food that isn’t fresh or imported has less Vitamin D in them, compared to in season/local foods? Do you recommend any particular supplement that would ensure an adequate amount of Vitamin D3 during the winter months?
    Very informative, keep up the great work.

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for your comments Paul. We make our own natural vitamin D from sun exposure so, based on where you live, you are most likely deficient. I honestly think you probably need a good D3 supplement. Talk with your doctor about getting your levels checked. If you do take D3 get a quality product. I have been told that vitamins and supplements in Canada are better quality than in the US.

      Please come back and let me know what you find out and whether this has helped in any way.



  3. Ian says:

    Interesting article and one that affects me personally since my mother has secondary progressive MS which means that she is wheelchair bound and her cognitive abilities have declined drastically.

    She does take vitamin D daily, as there are no drugs that treat secondary progressive MS.

    Which type of MS was studied in the studies that you mention? Relapsing/Remitting?

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for sharing Ian. Most studies are being done on relapsing/remitting MS and in the hope of preventing MS altogether in people with higher risk factors. However, I think it would be a good idea for her to get her doctor to check her vitamin D levels and to investigate the possibilities of what it could do for her. It certainly would not hurt to get it checked out. She may need to try a more aggressive dosage of D3. I’m sure her doctor could help with that.


  4. Stu says:

    Enjoyed your post on vitamin D3. Also found the cancer stuff that you touched on very interesting. Have you ever heard of the whole foods plant based diet as a means of healing these various diseases? In the China Study, they conduct a massive amount of research that says a lot of these common ailments can be cured by avoiding animal proteins, and eating a diet rich in carbs and vegetables, which provide the source of protein rather than meat. Let me know what you think about this. They also advocate a strictly Vitamin D and B12 regimen. Goes hand in hand nicely with this article..

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for your comments and your interest Stu. I believe very strongly in the Chinese theory of medicine – that food is used as medicine in addition to other regimens. I recommend a whole foods diet for all autoimmune diseases. I think it’s a good diet in general. As for animal proteins, I do know that many of our animal proteins today are so unhealthy due to injected hormones and other factors, that it probably is a great idea to remove them from the diet, or at least consume only organic proteins in smaller quantities. There are also many issues with our vegetables such as genetic modification and other factors today. All of this plays a role in health and wellness today, especially with any autoimmune disease. And, while vitamin D3 is not necessarily a cure for autoimmune disease, studies do show that it plays a major role in fighting these illnesses.


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