Sun Exposure, Vitamin D Supplement Impact on QoL in MS

By Kaitlyn D’Onofrio - Last Updated: March 4, 2021

A study examined whether sun exposure and the use of vitamin D supplements impacted quality of life (QoL) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Using data from the HOLISM international cohort, the researchers assessed sun exposure and vitamin D supplement use at baseline and 2.5 years of follow-up. The Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54 score was used to determine QoL, including physical and mental health QoL composite scores. Linear regression was used to evaluate characteristics of QoL; adjustments were made for age, sex, socioeconomic status, treated comorbidity number, MS type, disability, clinically significant fatigue, prescription antidepressant medication use, ongoing relapse symptoms, and, when appropriate, baseline QoL score. Adjusted coefficients (aβ) were estimated.

At 2.5-year follow-up, patients taking vitamin D supplements had higher QoL scores in both the physical (aβ, 3.58; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.35-5.80) and mental health domains (aβ, 3.08; 95% CI, 0.72-5.44). This was most notable among patients whose average daily dose was >5,000 IU. A correlation was observed between baseline-reported vitamin D supplementation and a greater increase in physical QoL (aβ, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.22-1.81) but not mental QoL (aβ, 0.11; 95% CI, –1.00 to 1.23). Sun exposure was cross-sectionally associated with higher QoL scores at follow-up, but it was not correlated with change in QoL.

“Self-reported vitamin D supplement use was a predictor of improved QoL, adding weight to current hypotheses about MS pathogenesis and progression,” the study authors concluded. “Were these results substantiated in other longitudinal studies, particularly those using objective measures of serum vitamin D, and thence by randomized clinical trials, vitamin D supplementation would be an inexpensive and safe intervention that could improve QoL in people with MS.”

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