Vitamin D Shines Light on Multiple Sclerosis

303429_vitaminsWe all remember the days of the Flintstone vitamin craze, but how else have vitamins progressed over time? Well not much at all really, they still look, act and taste the same. However, what has progressed is the research and knowledge that recently has been brought to the forefront of what the right vitamins can do for people with chronic diseases, specifically how they can help lessen the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

Various studies have shown that the appropriate levels of Vitamin D can potentially decrease symptoms and risks of MS. As many of us know, MS is a disease that causes our immune system to wage an attack on our central nervous system. The link here is that Vitamin D can be a strong foundation for establishing a strong, health immune system. There is also a pattern linking individuals who have lower levels of Vitamin D, along with those who have MS — based on their geographic location in the world. Epidemiologists are scientific researchers who specifically study disease patterns and trends and they have found a correlation to this exact theory. Their discoveries have shown that there are significantly less cases of MS in people who live closer to the equator due to the amount of Vitamin-D producing sun that they receive.

Sunshine produces Vitamin D in your body, so if you're not getting enough of it, consider taking a vitamin too.
Sunshine produces Vitamin D in your body, so if you’re not getting enough of it, consider taking a vitamin too.

You may be wondering, how can this help me if I already have MS?
Great question. Epidemiologists are suggesting that by taking recommended doses of Vitamin D (600 IU’s daily for users ages 19-70, 800 IU’s for 70+ — Source: Institute of Medicine), Multiple Sclerosis symptoms could be less frequent and not as severe.

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The National MS Society shedding some light on the link between MS and Vitamin D

Dr. Ellen Mowry is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins and she has completed some preliminary research on this topic. “We looked at a group of 469 people with MS who had had clinical exams, brain MRI scans, and blood draws every year for 5 years. We measured the vitamin D levels in the blood each year and looked to see if the level at the beginning of each year was associated with having new MS spots in the brain (seen on MRI) by the end of that year. What we saw was that higher levels of vitamin D did in fact correspond with lower numbers of new spots over the course of the five-year study.” (Cashin-Garbutt 1*)

While this research is still preliminary and by no means a cure, it’s still fascinating that by taking a daily dose of a vitamin that can be picked up at the local grocery store could potentially make a big difference in someone’s life that has MS. What we do know however is that vitamin D boosts the immune system, and could provide some relief to those who do in fact have MS.

Vitamins may still look and taste the same as they have always been, but the research, people, and passion behind their potential health benefits is higher than ever. So if you know someone with MS or if you are living with MS yourself, pay it forward and share this article with them, as taking a vitamin D supplement just literally “brighten” their day.

* It should be noted that before beginning any health program, it is imperative to check with a doctor or health care provider. Wheel:Life articles are for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice.

 Justin1About the Author: Justin Racine, from Boston, serves as a Category Manager for Invacare Supply Group. He graduated from Western New England University with a B.S.B.A in Marketing Communication/Advertising. When he’s not busy with Marketing, Justin enjoys competing in 10K races, Boston sports, and spending time with friends and family.

 

 

1*Cashin-Garbutt, April . 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121031/Vitamin-D-and-multiple-sclerosis-an-interview-with-Ellen-Mowry.aspx>.

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