If you or someone you know suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), you probably know how unpredictable life can be. Some may go long periods with mild or no symptoms at all, while others can experience frequent symptoms such as blurred vision, fatigue and unsteadiness. Unfortunately, some with severe cases can eventually lose the ability to walk. Although there is no cure, current medical treatments include potent pharmaceutical drugs as well as invasive procedures. However, many people look to complementary and alternative therapies to help manage and treat symptoms. Among them, one vitamin may offer the most promise. Vitamin D is one of the most intensely studied supplements for MS. Mounting evidence suggests that high levels of vitamin D in your body may lower your chances of getting MS. Furthermore, research also suggests that if you have low vitamin D levels and already have MS, you may have higher odds of getting a flare-up. Even more compelling, evidence suggests that vitamin D may be a missing link in virtually all autoimmune diseases, including MS. Vitamin D can be obtained easily from the following sources:
- Sunlight Exposure: Spending 30-60 minutes per week in the sunshine can provide your body with all the vitamin D it needs, so get outside when you can.
- Diet:Adding foods such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel) and fish liver oils, beef liver, fortified milk, cheese and egg yolks can boost your intake
- Supplements: Vitamin D supplements can help meet your needs (and you avoid the risk of skin cancer with UV rays). Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, taking vitamin D supplements with meals and snacks that contain some healthy fats can help ensure optimal absorption.
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(2) Brent A. Bauer, M. (2017, November 10). Vitamins for MS: Do supplements make a difference? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/expert-answers/vitamins-for-ms-do-supplements-make-a-difference/faq-20112502
(3) Multiple Sclerosis: Life Extension. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lifeextension.com/protocols/neurological/multiple-sclerosis/Page-01
(4) Munger, K. L., Hongell, K., Åivo, J., Soilu-Hänninen, M., Surcel, H., & Ascherio, A. (2017). 25-Hydroxyvitamin D deficiency and risk of MS among women in the Finnish Maternity Cohort. Neurology, 89(15), 1578-1583. doi:10.1212/wnl.0000000000004489
(5) Natural Remedies for MS: 59 Vitamins and Supplements. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/going-herbal-vitamins-and-supplements-for-multiple-sclerosis#21