Journal of Neurology

, Volume 258, Issue 3, pp 479–485

Dietary intake of vitamin D during adolescence and risk of multiple sclerosis

  • Kassandra L. Munger
  • Tanuja Chitnis
  • A. Lindsay Frazier
  • Edward Giovannucci
  • Donna Spiegelman
  • Alberto Ascherio
Original Communication


Adolescence may be an important etiological period in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), and studies suggest that adequate vitamin D nutrition is protective. Here, the authors examined whether dietary intake of vitamin D during adolescence decreases the risk of MS in adulthood. In 1986 in the Nurses’ Health Study and in 1998 in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII), women completed a food frequency questionnaire regarding their dietary intake during adolescence. From this, daily intake of vitamin D was calculated. Adolescent diet was available for 379 incident MS cases confirmed over the combined 44 years of follow-up in both cohorts, and for 67 prevalent cases in the NHSII who had MS at baseline (1989). Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate relative risk estimates and 95% confidence intervals. Total vitamin D intake during adolescence was not associated with MS risk. Intake of ≥400 IU/day of vitamin D from multivitamins was associated with a non-statistically significant reduced risk (RR compared to no intake = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.50–1.07, P = 0.11), whereas intake of whole milk, an important source of dietary vitamin D, was associated with an increased risk. The possibility of opposite effects of vitamin D and milk intake on MS risk should be considered in future studies.


Multiple sclerosis Vitamin D Cohort study Epidemiology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kassandra L. Munger
    • 1
  • Tanuja Chitnis
    • 2
  • A. Lindsay Frazier
    • 3
    • 4
  • Edward Giovannucci
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Donna Spiegelman
    • 5
    • 6
  • Alberto Ascherio
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of NeurologyBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pediatric OncologyDana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Channing Laboratory, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of BiostatisticsHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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