In part two of my series on multiple sclerosis (MS), I hone in on one nutrient in particular. It is the heavyweight vitamin in terms of disease prevention and treatment. Vitamin D, it has been found, may prevent or disrupt this difficult disease.
First, let’s revisit MS and the symptoms that it develops:
— Weakness, loss of muscle coordination
— Tingling, numbness, dizziness
— Blurred vision
— General pain
— Heat sensitivity
— Loss of bladder control
— Memory loss, problem-solving difficulties
— Mood disturbances
Published recently in the journal “Neurology,” a study found that women who took vitamin D in their multivitamins were 40% less likely to develop MS. That’s a big difference. From two long-term “Nurses’ Health” studies, women’s diets and use of vitamin supplements were assessed every four years. Out of nearly 190,000 women, 173 developed MS during the study. Divided into
groups, those who had the highest daily intake of vitamin D supplements were 40% less likely to develop the disease than those who took no supplements. There was a difference when it came to vitamin D found in food, as those who had a reasonable intake of vitamin D from their diets were no safer from MS.
Previous studies have hinted at a role of this vitamin: one involving mice with an autoimmune disease similar to MS showed that D supplements may disrupt the course of the disease. Another with humans proved that MS patients had low levels of vitamin D and very low levels around the time the disease flared up badly.
The rest of the supplemental world has yielded mostly conflicting, or poorly understood results. However, there’s no doubt that complementary medicine is getting more and more popular among people who face chronic illnesses like MS. Proof of effectiveness is simply hard to find.
Supplemental therapy for this has three main goals: act as antioxidants and protect nerve cells from the dangerous chemicals called “free radicals;” increase the body’s supply of substances that build up nerves (i.e. fatty acids); and reducing inflammation around the nerves and their protective “sheaths.” They should never be used in place of drugs, but rather as their name implies.
As you can see, vitamin D is a promising possibility.
To read my previous article in this series, click here.