There was a common theme at a couple of events I attended recently yet what I heard was nothing new to us, especially if you are reading the news, set up on Google Alerts for Multiple Sclerosis, and hanging out in social media chat rooms. What’s the advice from our favorite neurologists, professors, nurses, MSers, and friends of the MS community?
If you live with MS and are not already taking the "sunshine vitamin", call your neurologist on Monday morning and ask for guidance on Vitamin D.
The benefits of the sunshine vitamin have been talked about for a while and if you cannot relocate to sunny San Diego to absorb more sun rays, it is certainly worthwhile having a conversation with your neurologist about how much Vitamin D to take. Me? I take 50,000 U every week, as prescribed by my awesome neurologist. He monitors me closely and we talk about Vitamin D each time we visit together.
|If you cannot relocate to sunny San Diego to |
absorb more sun rays, call your neurologist
to talk about the "sunshine vitamin"
More and more research is pointing to the fact that low levels of Vitamin D in our blood is a risk factor for developing MS. Conversely, studies show that in MSers, high levels of Vitamin D may be linked to lower chances of attacks and less severe disability[i]. This sounds amazing to me!
Additionally, it has been suggested that Vitamin D deficiency may impact bone health, as MSers are more prone to osteoporosis. Another concern? MS associated weakness may be associated with low levels of Vitamin D. Also, there’s some talk that low levels of Vitamin D could worsen MS disease process.
I got these bits of info from the “Vitamin D and MS: Implications for Clinical Practice bulletin put out by Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD via the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Have a read as it contains great info about Vitamin D deficiency, the effects on MS, costs associated with the “sunshine vitamin”, and what to do in clinical practice.
This all being said, incorporating Vitamin D into your life is certainly worth exploring.
5 easy steps to take when considering Vitamin D:
- Call your neurologist on Monday morning to set up an appointment
- Read the bulletin about Vitamin D and MS (here) - empower yourself with knowledge
- Get your blood levels of Vitamin D checked with your neurologist
- The blood tests and Vitamin D prescription should be covered by insurance yet it’s worthwhile calling your provider to ensure coverage
- Once on a Vitamin D regimen, monitor, monitor, monitor by working closely with your neurologist. She/he will evaluate your blood levels and give guidance on how much Vitamin D to take
Of course, everyone’s case of MS is different so it is very important that you have discussions with your neurologist about how best to incorporate (or not) Vitamin D into your lifestyle. We know more studies are required to truly understand the fact-based benefits of Vitamin D and several researchers, doctors, et al are seriously committed to analyzing this relationship between the “sunshine vitamin” and Multiple Sclerosis.
I hope this post helps you in your journey.