According to a new research, taking a high dose of vitamin D may be an inexpensive and easy way to treat people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain and spinal chord. The essential vitamin – made when the skin comes into contact with sunlight – is also found in foods such as egg yolks, cheese and fish oil. Low levels of the vitamin, which is linked to bone health, have previously been linked to MS, which affects about 2.5 million people across the globe.
Multiple sclerosis might be ameliorated by vitamin D
Now scientists believe providing patients with vitamin D supplements could reduce the number and severity of flare-ups.Multiple sclerosis is high up there with those afflictions you don’t want anywhere near you. So, of course, doctors are always looking for ways to stop it, to treat it, or just to make it more bearable to those suffering from it. In recent study from the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center, scientists revealed that multiple sclerosis might be ameliorated by vitamin D.
The study, run by Peter Calabresi, the United States Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center’s director, focused on 40 patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, or MS, and without vitamin D deficiencies.
The 40 adult patients were split into two groups, and over the course of six months, one group was administered 800 international units of vitamin D (200 more than the national recommended maximum of 600), while the other group took 10,400 international units.
Blood tests were performed on the patients at the start of the study, three months into the testing, and when the study was over.
The first group didn’t show any results, but the second one showed a drastic reduction in the levels of the inflammatory protein interleukin-17, which is a factor in multiple sclerosis.
Despite relatively useful results, the lead researcher is still hesitant to recommend any sort of vitamin treatment to MS patients.
He says that the only things proven by the tests are that a very large daily dose of vitamin D reduces the numbers of some cells implicated in the MS process, and that they give the researchers some new notions of how exactly MS and vitamin D interact in the human body.
The study was too short and small-scale to actually accomplish anything more than just theoretical; however additional studies have begun following the results showed by the first study.
The current studies taking place are still in an inceptive state, some of them even still looking for participants.
They will focus on administering various doses of vitamin D, both in hopes of finding out more about how it affects multiple sclerosis, and in an attempt to see if long-term exposure to very large doses of vitamin D, 5,000 to 10,000 international doses per day, can help fight MS symptoms.
However, despite the apparently positive results, the researchers advise against taking more than the national recommended maximum dose of 600, as vitamin D excess can lead to its own array of issues, including but limited to constipation, kidney stones, poor appetite, and generalized weakness.