Kirsty: How much vitamin D should MSers take?
Dr Belinda Weller, Neurologist: Right, so we do suggest to everybody coming through the clinic that they should take some vitamin D, but I also tell them that the evidence showing that taking vitamin D is definitely going to make them feel better or change the course of things is still lacking. But there seems to be a whole lot of anecdotal evidence people with higher levels of vitamin D do better with regards to MS and with regards to quite a few other health outcomes. I know a lot of people who’ve done the most work on vitamin D suggest taking 4,000 or 5,000 international units daily. I suggest to people that they take some, and I usually say between two and 4,000 units a day, because there’s lots of different preparations. Or I tell them to go and have a holiday in Australia during the winter months. And one thing we know is that anybody north of Birmingham won’t make vitamin D between October and April, even when the sun’s out, because it’s so low in the sky that any of the vitamin D making wavelengths get filtered out. So roll up your sleeves in summer and take some vitamin D supplementation as well.
Kirsty: And what about like siblings or family members of those with MS, do you recommend that they should be taking vitamin D?
Dr Belinda Weller: Where I think it’s probably a really good idea particularly is for the children of people with MS, or the siblings. We think that it may be lack of vitamin D either in utero, before you’re born, or in very early childhood that has the most influence. So for people with MS, if they’ve got children, I recommend getting them on vitamin D supplementation as soon as possible.
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