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vitamin D deficiency

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Almost two years ago my multiple sclerosis (MS) nurse, at one of my six-month check-ups, suggested that taking a vitamin D supplement might be a good idea, even though my vitamin levels had not been measured. He said it was not proven to help people with MS, but it couldn’t hurt.

Well, that last part wasn’t true then and remains untrue today. Looking into it, I found that too much vitamin D can have nasty side effects in terms of kidney damage. And, as he correctly said, the advantages are still unproven.

However, analysis of the geographic prevalence of MS does point to the fact there is less risk of developing it the closer you live to the equator. That equals more sunshine and so more naturally-occurring vitamin D.

I never did take that nurse´s advice and thought the whole vitamin D issue would take care of itself after moving last year to live in the sun. However, despite an all-year suntan, I now know my vitamin D level is too low.

Vitamin D deficient

While the various national MS Societies seem reluctant to give their full endorsement, the Vitamin D Council is not so reticent. On its website, it says: “Those with higher vitamin D levels are less likely to develop MS. In addition, higher vitamin D levels predict reduced MS activity and a slower rate of progression. Higher vitamin D levels are also associated with lower degree of disability for those with MS,” it states.

Regular readers will remember that a month ago I visited the Hematology and Stem Cell Therapy (HSCT) center in Moscow to undergo tests to see if that treatment was suitable for me. One thing they tested for was — surprise! — my vitamin levels. And, surprise again, my vitamin D is not just low, it’s classified as “deficient.”

When explaining all Moscow’s findings, Dr. Fedorenko advised that I should begin taking vitamin D supplement and, this time, I have heeded the advice and now take 4000 IU (international units) daily.

Will it make any difference? Only time will tell, but already, there some changes are being noticed. No falls for over a week as my weak left knee has not given way. I can stand up from my armchair and walk to the bathroom without using furniture or walls for support. This, for me, is major progress.

Is it the vitamin D? Will it continue? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

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Ian Franks is Managing Editor of the Columns division of BioNews Services. He has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media; during which he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain and uses his skills to write his own flourishing specialist MS, Health & Disability blog at www.50shadesofsun.com. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.
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11 comments

  1. David Pepe says:

    Nowhere in the article is the recommended level.
    I have been supplementing with 3000 I.U. everyday. Is that enough? Too much?

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Hi David. Great question. The dosage is really something that you and your doctor should work at in finding the level that works for you. If you are doing well on 3000 IU, then that seems alright.

    • Ian Franks says:

      Hi David, the maximum advised daily dose for an adult is 4000 IU BUT, please, only take that after consultation with a doctor as there may be a reason why a lower dose may be right for you.

      • Michelle Williams says:

        Hello all,
        I take D3 2000ui x2 daily. My doctor said my vitamin d level is too low. I haven’t seen a difference with the way my body moves. I have been taking them for 6 months now but I trust my doctor and she constantly has my levels checked. I can’t complain its just remembering them everyday

  2. There are 3 sets of protocols that suggest massive amounts of Vitamin D to help people with Multiple Sclerosis, but it must be done in a way that avoids too much calcium. The Vitamin D does not damage the kidneys, but the excess calcium causes major problems

    Search for:

    1. Coimbra Protocol
    2. Wahls Protocol
    3. Overcoming MS

    Read more at:
    http://terrywahls.com/
    Book: The Wahls Protocol
    https://overcomingms.org
    Book: Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, by Prof George Jelinek
    http://www.vitamindwiki.com/Overview+MS+and+vitamin+D
    https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/

    You can find high strength Vitamin D by searching for “BioTechPharmacal”

    • Ian Franks says:

      Hello Rufus, thank you for the information on high dose vit D. I do realise that it is calcium that is the risk factor but vit D does have the effect of increasing calcium in the body – great in some ways but not in others.

    • Yes, George Jelinek’s Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis shows a great deal of evidence based recommendation for Vit D3 Supplemenation. But he also demonstrates the need for the right balance of omega3 v omega6 essential fatty acids. And the need to seriously reduce the amount of saturated fats (which our body can make itself) and to eliminate trans fats completely.
      His book by the way can be ordered free of charge and free of post charge too!! if you live in England or Ireland. It is a fabulous book, and so inspiring.
      John-David Biggs

  3. Adrian says:

    Hi, I took 5000 IU a day for 6 months had my D3 levels checked and was 144 mmol
    B12 normal Cholesterol 4.7 when i take extra D3 my joints creak/crack all the time could this be the excess calcium going into my soft tissue ???

    • 144 nmol/L is not as high as recommended by some of the 3 protocols I mentioned previously, but it is just within the range of 100-150 nmol/L in the Call-To-Action that I follow.

      In case you or your doctor worry about your level, you can down load it from: http://grassrootshealth.net/epidemic

      There is another book worth reading:
      Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox
      By Kate Rheaume-Bleue

      She describes how Vitamin D and Calcium are liable to cause calcification, and how Vitamin K2 helps to direct the calcium into the bones

      Finally, I don’t know if your Vitamin D & Calcium levels are the cause of your creaking joints. I have a friend who takes high doses of Omega-3 natural fish oil and that has resolved his joint pain and saved him from knee surgery.

      This is certainly a major part of the MS Protocol from Prof George Jelinek ( https://overcomingms.org )
      .

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