A reader shares her MS mystery

Previously, I told you about an important, new study linking multiple sclerosis with low vitamin D. For this study, researchers from Sweden analyzed blood samples from 300,000 healthy residents. In the ensuing years, researchers found that the lower the subject’s initial vitamin D level, the greater their risk of developing MS.

As I said last month, this is type of approach is very useful. The researchers measured blood levels long before the presence of any disease. So, they eliminate the chance that the disease itself would have affected the subjects’ blood levels.

However, this study only looked at one influencing factor–vitamin D levels. But like many chronic diseases, many factors probably influence the development of multiple sclerosis.

A reader of the Daily Dispatch recently brought this point up. Here’s what she had to say:

I have MS and have had it for 18 years. What may be interesting to [you] is that I grew up in Wyoming and lived at the swimming pool by the time I was four–summer only. My summers were just swimming and sunburns through age 23. I was a swimming instructor and lifeguard from ages 15 to 23. [It was] a great summer job. I was in the sun from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. all summer. I had not even heard of vitamin D or any supplements (except vitamin C). Yes, I take quite a bit now–3,000 [IU] per day.

This reader was in good shape, in more ways than one, during the summers in Wyoming! But Wyoming is too far north to get enough sun for vitamin D from November through March. The body needs vitamin D throughout the year. Not just in the summertime. That’s why I recommend a vitamin D supplement for virtually everyone–and am glad to see this reader is now taking one. It’s especially important during winter months in the northern part of the country.

We still know very little about multiple sclerosis. Even with this new information about vitamin D.

Another mystery is that one-third of people with MS get worse, one-third get better, and one-third stay the same. Many healthful activities appear to help, including swimming, and other forms of outdoor exercise. (Of course, as I talked about last week, outdoor exercise benefits everyone, not just folks with MS.) We always focus primarily on the physical activity but it may well be the sunlight also.

Another reader recently commented about coconut oil and MS. He said:

You apparently as of yet have NOT heard about the effects of coconut oil on MS.

Just because I have not addressed a topic yet in a Daily Dispatch does not mean I haven’t heard about it. Last month, the concern was about sunlight, not coconut oil, so I spent some time covering that topic instead.

But as you suggest, coconut oil is another big topic. In fact, you can read all about it in the June 2013 issue of the Insiders’ Cures. If you haven’t yet become a subscriber to my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, you can get started here!