(HealthDay News) — Maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) deficiency in early pregnancy is associated with increased risk for multiple sclerosis (MS) in offspring, according to a study published in JAMA Neurology.

Kassandra L. Munger, ScD, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective, nested case-control study involving 193 individuals with a diagnosis of MS whose mothers are in the Finnish Maternity Cohort. One hundred seventy-six cases were matched with 326 controls to examine the correlation between serum 25(OH)D in early pregnancy and the risk for MS.

The researchers found that the mean maternal vitamin D levels were in the range of vitamin D insufficiency, and were higher in maternal controls vs cases (15.02 vs 13.86 ng/mL). The risk for MS in offspring was increased nearly 2-fold with maternal vitamin D deficiency in early pregnancy compared with women without vitamin D deficiency (relative risk, 1.90; P=.006). The risk for MS was not significantly associated with increasing serum 25(OH)D levels (P=.12).

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“Correcting maternal vitamin D deficiency in early pregnancy may have a beneficial effect on risk of MS in the offspring,” the researchers wrote.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.


  1. Munger KL, Åivo J, Hongell K, et al. Vitamin D Status During Pregnancy and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis in Offspring of Women in the Finnish Maternity Cohort. JAMA Neurol. 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.4800.