To investigate the effects of cholecalciferol supplementation on the progression of motor disability in a cohort of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients with low blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH)D] levels, on the basis of the hypothesis of potential neuroprotective effects of vitamin D supplementation.
Forty-eight ALS patients, 34 with deficient (<20 ng/mL) and 14 with insufficient (20–29 ng/mL) serum levels of 25(OH)D, were randomized and treated by 3 different doses of cholecalciferol [50.000, 75.000 and 100.000 international units (IU) /month] and evaluated after 6-months. Assessment of motor dysfunction at baseline and after 6 months included ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALFRS-R) and upper motor neuron (UMN) scores and blood samples for 25(OH)D levels.
Clinical data of 33 patients were available after 6 months. Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA), with pre-treatment measurements included as covariate, did not show statistically significant differences in the ALSFRS-R (p > 0.05) and UMN (p > 0.05) among the patient groups who underwent 3 different doses of cholecalciferol. Conversely, the treatment with 75.000 IU/month or 100.000 IU/month induced a significant increase in serum levels of 25(OH)D in comparison with the supplementation with 50.000 IU/month; no significant differences were found between 75.000 IU/month and 100.000 IU/month.
Our findings highlighted that 6-month supplementation of vitamin D in ALS patients had no significant effects on motor dysfunction. However, it is recommended to prevent medical complications of vitamin D deficiency in ALS patients as well as in other populations of neurodegenerative patients, characterized by low mobility and decreased sun exposure.
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The authors are grateful to all patients with ALS who kindly agreed to take part in this research.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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