controls calcium metabolism
regulates the immune system
controls the expression of over one thousand genes
For more surprising information, see the
Vitamin D facts page.
How does that relate to MS and Vitamin D?
Well, it’s been long known that people in more Northern climates have higher incidences of Multiple Sclerosis, but it has long baffled researchers as to what the risk factors are that make an individual susceptible to getting MS.
It didn’t seem to run in families, so what could it have been? Where does the theory of MS and Vitamin D deficiency come into play?
One thing that stuck out in the research was that most people with MS generally had a previous serious infection
such as the Epstein- Barr virus or measles. Interestingly, for a long time it was even believed that MS was a communicable disease because of the way “epidemics” of MS would strike in certain areas all at the same time.
Now they were getting somewhere. It makes sense that the immune system was stressed after a previous illness and was a factor in triggering the autoimmune disruption. But there was still something missing. Why didn’t other people with similar illnesses develop MS also? Some important information came in the 1960’s when a neurologist and researcher named Dr. Walshe made the observation that MS was more prevalent in areas with the least amount of sunshine.
Unfortunately, no one paid any attention to his observations.
But 50 years later, we are again realizing the implications of this fact. It makes sense that Vitamin D deficiency is the key missing ingredient because Vitamin D is an extremely important immune system regulator.
This also explains the ‘epidemic’ theory of MS because Vitamin D levels tend to be similarly low in people of the same geographic regions at the same time. Vitamin D deficiency causes dysregulation of the immune system that can lead to an improper immune response –especially after the immune system has been stressed to the brink by a previous infection.
Voila! A theory about Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D deficiency at last!
“Prevention of MS by modifying
an important environmental factor
(sunlight exposure and vitamin D level)
offers a practical and cost-effective way
to reduce the burden of the disease
in future generations”
-Dr Abhijit Chaudhuri
- Institute of Neurological Sciences, Glasgow, Scotland
Too bad that no one has been paying attention while new Vitamin D research has been taking place that is giving more and more weight to this theory. And most people are still being diagnosed with MS without any thought to their
Vitamin D levels.
That doesn’t prove that there is any connection
between MS and Vitamin D
While it doesn’t prove that there is a connection, there is other Vitamin D research that adds a lot of weight to the theory that Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D deficiency are linked:
1) Scotland has the highest incidence of MS in the world, yet people of Scottish descent living in sunny areas of Australia and India have much lower incidences of MS
2) On a related note, people born in Scotland who move to sunnier areas have a much lower incidence of MS than family members who remain in Scotland
3) People who have MS are much more likely to have worsening symptoms or relapses in the spring when Vitamin D levels are at their lowest
4) Outdoor workers who get more than average amounts of sun exposure are much less likely to get Multiple Sclerosis
5) Large studies have shown that people born in the late spring, when Vitamin D levels are at their lowest, are more likely to develop MS as adults
6) A large study that had nurses take a multivitamin with 400 IU’s of Vitamin D per day had a 40% less likelihood of developing MS than those who never took vitamins
7) Several trials of people with MS who were given varying amounts of Vitamin D had improvement in their symptoms and fewer relapses
Again, while this doesn’t PROVE that Vitamin D deficiency causes Multiple Sclerosis, Vitamin D researchers are convinced that MS and Vitamin D deficiency are indeed associated.
So what do you do to prevent
deficiency of Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis?
MS is on the rise in many countries, especially those in Northern Countries like Scotland and Canada. And it is particularly on the rise for WOMEN in those countries.
Theories abound, but the one that makes the most sense is that we are just spending a lot less time outdoors and in the sun. Women tend to spend even less time outdoors than men,
and when they do they often wear makeup that blocks the UV rays required to make Vitamin D with exposure to the sun.
But even if there were not large bodies of Vitamin D research relating Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D deficiency, there is plenty of evidence linking Vitamin D deficiency with many many other diseases.
is the cheapest and most efficient way of getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Full body exposure to the sun until JUST BEFORE the point of getting any amount of skin pinkness will provide close to 20,000 IU's per day.
Unfortunately, this is not available nor is it practical for everyone, so supplementation with this readily available and inexpensive supplement is the next best way to prevent both MS AND Vitamin D deficiency.If you HAVE Multiple Sclerosis already, it is IMPERATIVE that you have adequate Vitamin D levels in your blood!
There have been Vitamin D research studies showing that supplementation with 10,000 IU’s of Vitamin D per day has actually reduced the number of lesions on the spinal cord and other studies showing that keeping the Vitamin D Level in the blood at approximately 100 ng/ml significantly reduces flare-up's of symptoms.
But in order to optimize your Vitamin D blood levels, you MUST have regular Vitamin D testing done under the supervision of a health practitioner skilled in the use of high dose Vitamin D. MAKE SURE that you read the guidelines on the
Normal Vitamin D Levels
page and the
Vitamin D requirements
page so that you can CORRECTLY determine your Vitamin D needs. MOST DOCTORS WILL NOT HAVE THIS INFORMATION , so it is imperative that you DO have it so that you can assist your doctor in making the best clinical decisions with you!!
Vitamin D Main Page
MS and Vitamin D Resources