Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic but Vitamin D may help prevent MS relapses November 16, 2009Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Supplements - what you need to minimize MS symptoms.
Can Vitamin D help prevent multiple sclerosis (MS)? The evidence certainly seems to point in that direction. MS is rare where people get adequate Vitamin D. Even more exciting, Vitamin D may turn out to be central in treating multiple sclerosis.
One study reported in 2009 compared MS patients who took 14,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 each day with those who took only 1,000 I.U. of the vitamin. The group taking 14,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 cut their relapse rate by 41% compared with only 17% for those taking the lower dose. The 41% is amazing! This beats the MS drugs such as the interferons — they reduce the frequency by about 30%. At the same time, studies have shown Vitamin D3 is safe!
It is no wonder the Australian MS society has now issued an advisory recommending one very high dose of Vitamin D3 for MS patients who have low levels of Vitamin D3 in their bodies. That society now recommends that a one time dose of 500,000 I.U. be used, when appropriate, to increase levels of Vitamin D in those with MS.
Medical journals are filled with articles about the current Vitamin D deficiency epidemic both in the United State and Europe, and some researchers have found that 60% of those with MS have a Vitamin D deficiency. A Vitamin D deficiency is very problematic for those with MS because many researchers have long believed a Vitamin D shortage helps cause MS and some researchers have long believed adequate levels of Vitamin D may help prevent MS relapses. Also, a shortage of Vitamin D causes weakness — which is the last thing someone with MS needs.
If you have MS and you feel weak, your problem might not be MS but a Vitamin D deficiency. What should you do?
You can ask your doctor to test the amount of Vitamin D in your blood. This simple test can help prevent all kinds of problems. Scientists believe Vitamin D not only plays a role in MS, it also helps prevent cancer, heart attacks and bone loss.
Some experts believe that your Vitamin D level should at the high end of the normal range between 50 and 60 ng/ml (or about 200 nmol/L if the nmol/L scale is used) . Others believe a lower amount will do but why take a chance when you have MS. Those who believe the smaller amount will suffice are not experts in the treatment of MS.
Do be careful because, while overdoses are rare, you can get too much Vitamin D. A reasonable dose might be between 1,000 and 2,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 (not D2 which does not absorb well) per day but this varies by person and it is unlikely this low amount will be enough. This amount, for example, is not enough for me. If I take only 2,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3, my blood level of Vitamin D3 begins falling. I have to take between 3,000 I.U. and 4,000 I.U. to keep my blood level of Vitamin D stable and research shows that this amount is required for many persons. Currently, I take between 4,000 I.U. and 5,000 I.U. each day. Many experts believe that those with MS need to watch their Vitamin D levels very carefully and to keep this level at the higher end of the normal range.
It is important to talk to your doctor, have your level tested and monitor your Vitamin D level. A test every three to six months for a few years and then once a year will give you the information you need to learn to regulate your Vitamin D level. Also, please remember that Vitamin D3 is a fat soluble vitamin so it should be taken with some fat from olive oil, fish oil. sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc. A half teaspoon of oil, a tablespoon of sunflower seeds or a few half walnuts of fat is sufficient.
If you are one of the 60% of those with MS who have a Vitamin D shortage, just this one simple thing is going to make you feel better. Best of all, some scientists think enough Vitamin D will help prevent relapses as mentioned above. You can also get Vitamin D3 by spending time in the sun with your arms, legs and face exposed (use no sunscreen). Ten to 15 minutes per day at noon (when the sun is most direct) is all that is needed for a fair-skinned person; more for a darker person. Do avoid burning, though, because that can lead to cancer.
Also, when you start taking Vitamin D3 supplements or spending time in the sun, please be patient. It takes at least three to six months to increase the blood level of Vitamin D to the desired range. If you want faster results, some doctors recommend the mega dose now recommended by the Australian MS society.
Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.
Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.
Copyright 2009 Rebecca Hoover
Tags: Class, Fatigue, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Prevent, Relapses, Science, Sizzle, Vitamin D