From what I can recall of previous talk of vit D on the forum, it may be a factor in determining who develops MS and may be linked to the correlation between distance from the equator and frequency of the disease. But to the best of my limited knowledge, there is not much conclusive evidence about treating MS or MS symptoms with vitamin d.
I also think that low vitamin d is pretty common in the US.
I'm sure someone better versed will speak up. Hope nothing I said here is horribly off in accuracy!
I'm not versed in the vitamin D either, but know we've had great discussions on it. I'll try to find one and bump it up for you. Elaine, knows quite a bit about it along with the absorption requirements, etc.
HI. Yes, vitamin D3 levels are very important in MS. First, the role of D3 is to act like a hormone that modulates the immune system. Back in 1997, it was found that when mice were given D3, they did not develop the mouse model of MS. As studies have progressed, the evidence strongly points to the role of D3 in preventing MS.
That seems to be the link in the statistics that show that there is less MS as you get closer to the equator. Sunshine, (the synthesis of D3 occurs when exposed to the sun), is more plentiful the farther south you go.
There was just a study presented at a neurology conference last month which showed overwhelming evidence that taking D3 can prevent MS. Also, if you give D3 to your children, they have a higher chance of not getting MS, and their myelin is stronger.
When you have an autoimmune disease, or even cancer, that is caused by the immune system breaking down, then D3 can theoretically help to prevent its occurrence. Off topic, there was a study which showed that D3 can help prevent breast, prostate, and colon cancer.
People with autoimmune disease usually have low vitamin D3. Their immune system is broken. I have been giving Craig 15,000 units of D3 each day for almost a year. His level is only 53, Your blood level should be a minimum of 30 if you are healthy, and should be up near 50 if you have an autoimmune disease. Once Craig's level got to 50, he felt better. There have been studies where people's levels are 85 and they have no toxic effects. Toxicity doesn't occur till you are near 100 in the blood. However, when you have MS I'm not sure it could ever get that high. The immune system needs all the help it can get.
The jury is still out as to whether or not taking D3 once you have MS will stop its progression. But with breast cancer, a study was done that showed that you have a better chance of survival if you take D3 after diagnosis. I would have to think taking D3 can't hurt. It is beneficial to the immune system, and it helps with the neurological functioning in the body. So what is the harm?
LA....do you mind telling me what your level is??
I hope this quick explanation helped. I posted a much more detailed one in the summer.
I was going to check to see if there had been discussion about this, so glad you posted! I had my level checked in May and it was 35. My nurse practioner told me to increase it to 4,000 IU daily. So, I subtracted what I was already getting in my calcium and daily vitamin and figured I woud get as close to 4,000 as I could. I probably get 1,200 in the supplements. A few months ago at a check up she told me I should be taking the 4,000 IU on top of the other! So I am in actuality getting about 5,200 IU a day. I just had blood work done earlier in the week and have my annual physical on Monday with a recheck of the the Vitamin D3 as well. I will be curious to see what it is and will report!
I live in the Pacific Northwest where our sunshine levels are rather low, so she wasn't too surprised that my levels were low. They are finding that Vit. D3 is important for a lot of things, as Elaine mentioned. My co-worker has had breast cancer and she is taking 50,000 IU once a week.
The paperwork that I got back on that blood test (I just went and looked) says that levels are highest in late summer and lowest in early spring, and that as we age the level tends to drop, too due to our skin not processing Vit. D as well.
Thanks GrannyJo for your input. I would think that 4,000 IU would be a good dose for you.
LA...yes, you should try to get it to 50. I would start at taking 2,000 units a day on top of whatever you get in supplements now. Especially since winter is coming. See if you feel any differently in three months.
I hope your physical therapy helps too.
This discussion is very interesting to me as well, as I was just tested low for vitamin D. My level is 28 and the "safe" level on my print-out was 30-100. My doctor said that since I'm low, I must have been low for a long time. I'm now taking prenatal vitamins and drinking at least two cups of milk per day. I'm also looking for other ways of incorporating vitamin D & calcium into my diet, especially now that I'm pregnant. And I live in Florida, the sunshine state, so I just need to get outside more often! I'm not sure whether or not I need to take a Vit D supplement in addition to my pre-natal, as I do not want to overdo it. I will ask my OB/GYN what he thinks at my next appt.
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