Pregnant Moms with Vitamin D Deficiency May Increase MS Risk in Offspring

Researchers evaluate the link between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis development.

There has been an association found between elevated levels of vitamin D and the decreased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) in adulthood, however, a new study suggests that vitamin D deficiency in pregnant mothers potentially increases the risk of their children developing MS as an adult.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and was published in JAMA Neurology.

Researchers looked at 193 individuals, 163 of which were female, who were diagnosed with MS and whose mothers were part of the Finnish Maternity Cohort (FMC). For comparison, they matched 176 patients with 326 control individuals.

In order to measure serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), 70% of blood samples from the mothers were collected during their first trimester. The average maternal vitamin D levels were in the insufficient range.

The results of the study showed that children of mothers who were vitamin D deficient (25(OH)D levels less than 12.02 ng/mL) had a 90% higher risk of developing MS as an adult compared with children whose mothers were not vitamin D deficient.

“While our results suggest that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy increases MS risk in the offspring, our study does not provide any information as to whether there is a dose-response effect with increasing levels of 25(OH)D sufficiency,” the study authors wrote. “Similar studies in populations with a wider distribution of 25(OH)D are needed.”