1) What is your opinion in the role Vit D may play in the development of MS? Vit D deficiency is sometimes seen in MS patients. Is this a proven fact?
2) Do people with normal Vit D levels develop MS too? In other words, if they had the proper Vit D levels their whole lives, would they go on to develop MS?
3) And what causes Vit D deficiency in a person?
4) Do you think that high doses of Vit D may help to alleviate symptoms and/or disease progression? If yes, what doses?
I’m going to switch topics here.
5) Are babies born to mothers with MS at a greater risk in developing MS?
6) Is it safe for MS patients to drink alcoholic beverages? Is drinking a few alcoholic beverages a month ok? What are the limitations/restrictions?
3) In addition to lack of sunlight and dietary causes, Vit D deficiency can be caused by disease of the liver or kidneys, fat malabsorption (as this vitamin, which is a actually a hormone, is fat soluble), and possibly drug interactions.
4) Actually, there is emerging evidence to support the notion of the therapeutic use of Vitamin D to treat MS and its symptoms, as well as other autoimmune diseases. More research in larger scale trials is needed so this is preliminary, but promising. Further, in small scale human studies Vit D has been found to be tolerable at doses significantly higher than the current RDA (in Canada, the RDA is 400 - 800iu, and safe upper limit is 1000 - 4000iu /day, depending on age). I take 6000iu /day, initially to correct a deficiency; ongoing monitoring indicates my level remains within the currently defined optimum range.
6) Having MS need not preclude one from drinking in moderation, though it depends on the individual patient's MS symptoms, medications, and individual tolerance. Those on an interferon DMD are at risk of elevated liver enzymes which can ultimately lead to serious liver disease, and alcohol consumption can worsen this problem.
Likewise, side effects of meds used to treat MS symptoms may worsen with alcohol and may not be tolerable. Fatigue, dizziness, poor balance, poor coordination, blurry/double vision, depression, poor concentration, etc are not only side effects of some meds but also symptoms of MS itself. What is tolerable and safe for one may be excessive for another.
In my case, I normally drink a glass of red wine with dinner each night; sometimes less often, rarely more than this. I had trouble with my liver enzymes while on Rebif (without alcohol even being a factor); I'm now on Copaxone and my levels are normal. Other meds I take regularly are gabapentin and amitriptyline for neuropathic pain; side effects and symtpoms do not worsen with alcohol. In fact sometimes alcohol helps to alleviate the pain in my left hand; the pain doesn't remit entirely, but the tight, constricting sensation seems to relax a bit, temporarily.
"The data supporting a role for vitamin D in the development of MS are overwhelming. The worldwide prevalence of MS positively correlates with latitude (3). Essential for the production of vitamin D, ultraviolet B (UVB) light radiation is the factor that most likely mediates such a correlation, and this is especially clear in national studies from France and England (2,4).
Vitamin D intake significantly decreases the risk of MS, and vitamin D levels inversely correlate with risk of MS later in life (5,6). Furthermore, CYP27B1, the gene encoding 1α-hydroxylase (the enzyme that activates vitamin D) is associated with MS susceptibility (7).
In addition, vitamin D can also influence MS course. A recent prospective investigation of a large cohort of MS patients has demonstrated that vitamin D status is inversely associated with disease activity over the subsequent 6 months (8).
However, vitamin D is not the only environmental factor implicated in MS. EBV is a B-lymphotropic human DNA herpes virus associated with lymphoproliferative and immune disorders (12). Although more than 90% of the general population appears to encounter EBV at some point during their life, several lines of evidence highlight its role in the pathogenesis of MS. Large independent studies have shown that nearly all MS patients have been infected with EBV. Furthermore, both high anti-EBV antibody titers and a history of infectious mononucleosis (IM) increase the risk of developing MS (1,13)." Vitamin D Wiki | Hypothesis:Vitamin D Epstein-Barr interaction increases MS risk – Sept 2011
Causes of vitamin D deficiency include:
* Lack of sunlight
* Not enough sunlight (dark or black skin needs up to 10 times the amount of sun than light skin to absorb vitamin D in their skin)
* Living north of 35° latitude (eg: Europe, Canada, two thirds of the US). There are no UVB rays (that create vitamin D) between the months of November through March due to the angle of the sun
* Wearing sunscreen - prevents absorption of UVB rays needed to create vitamin D
* Lack of vitamin D co-factors - magnesium (most important co factor), zinc, vitamin K2, boron, and a tiny amount of vitamin A
* Too much calcium will lead to a magnesium deficiency and in turn will lead to a vitamin D deficiency
* Kidney and liver disease - vitamin D is processed (metabolized) by the liver and kidneys into an active form of vitamin D
* Low cholesterol - cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is made in the skin when 7-dehydrocholesterol absorbs UVB ultraviolet light at wavelengths between 270 - 300 nm
* Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (autoimmune hypothyroidism) - genetic defects in the receptor site for vitamin D. More vitamin D is needed than the average person
* Parathyroid conditions (parathyroid - glands in front of the thyroid). PTH (parathyroid hormone) regulates calcium in the blood. As the calcium level increases, the level of vitamin D decreases
* Malabsorption problems like Celiac's disease, Crohn's disease
* Very large or obese body, as a larger body requires more vitamin D
* Very low fat diet; in order to absorb vitamin D the body needs to have fat (vitamin D is fat-soluble)
* Conditions that impair fat absorption such as Cystic Fibrosis, IBS, IBD, gall bladder, liver disease
* Older age, as the skin converts less vitamin D from sunlight
* High cortisol levels (caused by stress, medications like steroids or medical conditions such as Cushing's Disease). When the body is in an active stress response, most of the cholesterol is used to make cortisol and not enough is left over for vitamin D production
* Inflammation of any type reduces the utilization of vitamin D
* Strict vegetarian diet - natural food sources of vitamin D are animal-based
* Hereditary disorders
- Renal 1 alpha-hydroxylase deficiency (also called type I hereditary vitamin D-dependent rickets)
I just want to say what great informative answers you have had here and I have learnt a lot from these posts..particularly Redflame so I just wanted to add my thanks for the time they have taken to respond.
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