Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease which causes damage to the spinal cord and the brain. The disease can affect the smooth functioning of the nervous system; this is because the immune cells of the body attack the nervous system which hampers the effective communication between the spinal cord and the brain. This disease is more common amongst women than men; the disease is usually experienced by individuals in the 20-40 age brackets. Multiple sclerosis is more likely amongst individuals who have family history with the same disease. The causes of this disease are still not clear, however, environmental factors do play an important role.
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
There are many different symptoms of Multiple sclerosis this is because the location of the attack differs. The episodes can last for days or even months. Things such as too much stress can cause the attacks to worsen. The patient may suffer from pain in different parts of the body; this is because the nerves in any part of the brain can be damaged. Some symptoms include:
- Problems walking
- Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area
- Constipation and stool leakage
- Frequent need to urinate
- Double vision
- Facial pain
- Depression or feelings of sadness
- Trouble chewing and swallowing
- Slurred or difficult-to-understand speech
Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
One thing that came in to notice amidst researching Multiple sclerosis was the geographic distribution of the disease. A study conducted by David Perlmutter, M.D, Board-Certified Neurologist, showed that people who spent their live living away from the equator; northern or southern hemisphere are more prone to the disease. This brought in the theory that lack of sunshine may contribute to the disease. This theory led to a research which showed that people who suffered from Multiple sclerosis had low levels of Vitamin D. Sunshine is a major source of vitamin D; this Vitamin plays an important role in the immune system of the body.
These studies led to wider searches about the importance of Vitamin D to our body. A study conducted by researchers in Toronto showed that people who were given Vitamin D on a regular basis had 41 percent lesser chances of getting Multiple sclerosis. The study also showed that the physical functions of the group got better; there were no particular side effects of Vitamin D found during the experiment, even when the group was exposed to high dosages of Vitamin D. Hence the researchers concluded that Vitamin D can help to prevent the development of Multiple sclerosis, however, this study did not determine whether larger quantity of Vitamin D would help the patient more or not. A longer study on the usage of Vitamin D showed that the chances of disability increase if the dosage is increased, but this was only experienced by one individual in the group. Hence, this study was also inconclusive about whether larger doses of Vitamin D were beneficial or not.
Further researches are being conducted to test the affects of Vitamin D and its benefits to people suffering from Multiple sclerosis; this particular Vitamin is inexpensive and may turn out to be the solution to the disease
Even though these studies have been conducted by experts and are solid, the results still are still deemed open to doubt. Further research is needed to determine the exact relationship between Multiple sclerosis and Vitamin D; the quantity of Vitamin D needed to fight Multiple sclerosis has to be determined too. However, it is important not to expose yourself to too much Vitamin D without consulting your neurologist