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Vitamin D Shows Negative Association With ALS Progression

Mechanisms underlying the relationship between vitamin D and ALS still unknown

WEDNESDAY, July 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Higher vitamin D levels were associated with a negative effect on prognosis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study published online June 20 in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics.

Hélène Blasco, Pharm.D., Ph.D., from the Université François-Rabelais in Tours, France, and colleagues prospectively collected vitamin D serum concentrations from 125 consecutive ALS patients. Levels were assessed in relation to clinical parameters and survival.

The researchers found that the mean vitamin D concentration was below the study laboratory's lower limit of normal (P < 0.0001) and did not change during the course of the disease. In patients with bulbar onset, the concentrations were higher (P = 0.003) and were negatively associated with body mass index (BMI; P = 0.0095). Vitamin D concentrations predicted worse prognosis in models with ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised and BMI as covariates.

"Our study adds to the growing literature on the relationship between neurological disorders and hypovitaminosis D. In this study, there was a negative effect of higher vitamin D levels on the course of ALS, a finding at odds with some previous studies," the authors write. "The mechanisms underlying the relationship between vitamin D and ALS are still obscure; well-designed prospective studies are needed to better understand the involvement of vitamin D in ALS."

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