Gestational Vitamin D and the Risk of Multiple Sclerosis in Offspring

Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Annals of Neurology (Impact Factor: 9.98). 07/2011; 70(1):30-40. DOI: 10.1002/ana.22456
Source: PubMed


Vitamin D may have a protective role in the etiology of multiple sclerosis (MS), but the effect of gestational vitamin D on adult onset MS has not been studied.
In 2001, 35,794 mothers of participants of the Nurses' Health Study II completed a questionnaire inquiring about their experiences and diet during pregnancy with their nurse daughters. We studied the association of maternal milk intake, maternal dietary vitamin D intake, and predicted maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) during pregnancy and their daughters' risk of developing MS.
MS was diagnosed in 199 women. The relative risk of MS was lower among women born to mothers with high milk or vitamin D intake during pregnancy. The multivariate adjusted rate ratio (RR) of MS was 0.62 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.40-0.95; p trend = 0.001) for nurses whose mothers consumed 2 to 3 glasses of milk per day compared with those whose mothers consumed <3 glasses per month, and 0.57 (95% CI, 0.35-0.91; p trend = 0.002) for nurses with mothers in the highest quintile of dietary vitamin D intake compared with those in the lowest. The predicted 25(OH)D level in the pregnant mothers was also inversely associated with the risk of MS in their daughters. Comparing extreme quintiles, the adjusted RR was 0.59; (95% CI, 0.37-0.92; p trend = 0.002).
Higher maternal milk and vitamin D intake during pregnancy may be associated with a lower risk of developing MS in offspring.

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Available from: Michele R Forman
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    • "In a large prospective case-control study of 7 million US military personnel, high circulating levels of 25(OH)D3 were found to be associated with a lower risk of MS, in which every 50 nmol/L increase in serum 25(OH)D3 led to a 41% decrease in MS risk.145 Another prospective study of 35,794 mothers of participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II has shown that the relative risk of MS was lower among women born to mothers with high milk or vitamin D intake during pregnancy.147 In addition, serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations in patients with MS were also found to be related to the relapse of the disease. "
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    • "In a prospective Australian study of 145 patients with RRMS, each increase of 10 nmol/l in baseline serum vitamin D level was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of a further relapse [13]. Vitamin D deficiency may increase susceptibility to MS even in utero; higher maternal vitamin D intake during pregnancy was associated with a 38% lower risk of MS in offspring [14], and maternal vitamin D levels greater than 75 nmol/l were associated with a 61% reduced risk of MS in children [15]. Month of birth studies showing an increased MS incidence in those with spring versus autumn births also provide evidence of the role of maternal vitamin D [16]. "
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    • "[24] In England, low vitamin D during pregnancy in mothers predicted adiposity in their 6 year old children. [25] Low vitamin D during gestation has also been associated to risks of schizophrenia [26] and multiple sclerosis [27]. Given the high prevalence of vitamin D-deficiency in pregnant women as seen today in many parts of the world [21], [28], [29], its potential role in adult-age mortality is of interest to investigate further. "
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