Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis an Update

Is it possible that multiple sclerosis sufferers just need a little sun?

Researchers at Oxford University appear to have reached to this conclusion. In 2006, a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that higher levels of vitamin D may decrease the risk of Multiple Sclerosis disease. Now researchers at Oxford University study support this new evidence and they are also saying that there is an important link between Multiple Sclerosis and lack of sun exposure. The study from Oxford, concludes that Multiple Sclerosis is caused by several factors which work closely and clearly correlates with lack of vitamin D.

While in recent years the phenomenon of vitamin D deficiency is seen worldwide, countries in the northern hemisphere have more cases of Multiple Sclerosis. One good example could be Scotland which has one of the largest populations suffering from this disease while Multiple Sclerosis is virtually unknown in Africa.

The study from Oxford, suggests that those who already have the disease will not only receive great results by increasing levels of vitamin D, also sunlight exposure is beneficial for preventing and controlling disease to develop more symptoms. But more importantly, sufferers will increase their immune capacity by increasing the levels of vitamin D. Other recent studies show that an adult needs much more vitamin D than is recommended as a daily dose 30-40ng/day. Thus an increased dose of 50-70 ng /day, not only can prevent Multiple Sclerosis, but also other diseases like cancer or type 1 diabetes.

Of course "health industry worldwide" will not promote a natural and safe method to prevent these degenerative diseases. Instead people are warned and frightened by ultraviolet rays and the risk of poisoning caused by vitamin supplements. While vitamin D deficiency affects 90% of the population, I think it's time to tan less.

Here are some things that everyone should know about vitamin D and her link with well-being:
1. It's free. Between 5 and 30 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week is enough to help the body produce enough vitamin D.
2. It is virtually impossible to get the necessary vitamin D from food.
3. Things like creams or lotions, made up to protects us from the sun, may block the body's ability to create vitamin D.
4. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption in the body.
5. Those who live farther from Ecuador, need more sun exposure to make enough vitamin D.
6. Vitamin D deficiency affects bone strength.
7. Vitamin D deficiency can not be reversed quickly. The body needs a few months to adjust and increase its levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency may be associated with disability and cognitive impairment more pronounced in people with Multiple Sclerosis, the study by neuroscientists at the University of Buffalo. Their results, reported at the American Academy of Neurology meeting, held in April, showed the following:

   - Most patients with Multiple Sclerosis and healthy individuals have low levels of vitamin D;
   - Clinical and MRI images showed that vitamin D serum levels of total and active metabolites of vitamin D are associated with increased disability, brain atrophy and lesional load in patients with Multiple Sclerosis;
   - There is a potential association between cognitive impairment in patients with Multiple Sclerosis and low levels of vitamin D.

MRI study involved 236 patients with Multiple Sclerosis - 208 with relapsing-remitting form and 28 with secondary-progressive form, more destructive - and 22 people without Multiple Sclerosis.

The blood was collected from all patients, in which they determined the total amount of vitamin D (D2 and D3) as well as the active metabolite of vitamin D. MRI was effective in 163 of patients with Multiple Sclerosis in the first three months of the collection analyzes. The results revealed that only 7% of patients with secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis had normal levels of vitamin D, compared to 18.3% of patients with relapsing-remitting form a less severe form of Multiple Sclerosis.

In contrast, increased levels of vitamin D and its active metabolites were associated with better scores on disability tests and a lesser degree of cortical atrophy and fewer lesions on MRI.

Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis an Update


Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, professor of neurology at the University of Bufalo and director of the Baird Multiple Sclerosis Center, is the first author of this study. Commenting on these results, Weinstock-Guttman said: "There are needed new clinical studies to evaluate supplementation strategies of vitamin D and mechanisms that underlie the progression of Multiple Sclerosis."

If subnormal level of vitamin D is known to be associated with a higher risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis, little is known about the relationship between vitamin D and cognitive impairment.

Sarah A. Morrow, professor of neuroscience and first author of the study cognitive impairment compared serum levels of vitamin D of 136 patients with results of neuropsychological tests that assessed multiple aspects of cognitive functions affected in multiple sclerosis.

"Results showed that Multiple Sclerosis patients who have failed the test executive function - critical reasoning and abstract thinking - and planning and organizing ability were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D," says Morrow.

This relationship keeps in reliability when making adjustments for the season which was measured vitamin D levels, as well as depression, which, as is known, is associated with lower levels of vitamin D. "Morrow says that there was a tendency in case of insufficient vitamin D is particularly affected verbal fluency (word generation) and visual-spatial memory (memorizing shapes and figures).

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