Finally, the mainstream is starting to use vitamin D to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). And doctors are finally admitting that low vitamin D levels increase the risk and progression of MS.
The problem is, we still need clinical protocols for vitamin D supplementation in MS treatment. In other words, we need safety and efficacy data to guide doctors in terms of who should supplement, when, with how much, and for how long.
I often point out the importance of clinical protocols in treating any condition with a dietary supplement instead of a drug. For example, in the case of Type II diabetes, many herbs can help lower blood sugar. But we don’t have a clinical protocol for who, when, how much, and how long to give them.
Of course, it requires applied clinical research to create clinical protocols. But the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — charged with doing such research — amazingly claims there is no evidence for the role of dietary supplements in treating diabetes.
Of course, they’re wrong.
And furthermore, with that kind of bureaucratic attitude, it guarantees the required clinical research will never get done!
As I have mentioned many times before, metformin is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of Type II diabetes. It derives from the ancient European herbal remedy, French lilac, known in the U.S. as goat’s rue and classified by the government as a noxious weed.
Metformin lowers blood sugar and prevents all the common dreaded complications of diabetes in the eyes, heart, kidneys, and nervous system. Plus, as an added bonus, it lowers the risks of other chronic diseases, including cancer and dementia. Metformin is now even in the process of being studied as an “anti-aging” drug for approval by the FDA. Of course, since it prevents many diseases associated with aging, I would think of it as an ultimate “healthy aging” drug.
So fortunately, there is a safe, proven and effective clinical drug protocol for the treatment of diabetes.
By comparison, there is no proven, effective drug treatment for MS. But there is clear evidence vitamin D can prevent and even slow the progression of this brutal disease.
Higher vitamin D levels cut MS risk by 50 percent
Ten years ago, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that military personnel with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D-25 levels of 100 ng/ml or more were 50 percent less likely to develop MS. Those with lower vitamin D blood levels had a higher risk of developing it. Swedish researchers replicated that study and found that people with levels above 75 ng/ml had a reduced risk.
It took another 10 years for researchers conduct another study on MS and vitamin D. This time, researchers published it in the prestigious journal JAMA Neurology. In the new study, researchers found that women with higher vitamin D levels during pregnancy had children who were less likely to develop MS.
Of course, we have known for years about the links between more sun exposure and a lower MS risk…and less sun exposure with a higher MS risk. And sun exposure clearly increases your body’s natural production of vitamin D.
Lately, I’ve also reported that sun exposure offers more benefits than just raising vitamin D levels. And the same may be true when it comes to MS.
Sunlight benefits more than just vitamin D levels
Increasing evidence shows that sun exposure does much more than just increase vitamin D levels. In fact, sunlight itself may benefit the immune system in ways that help chronic inflammatory conditions, such as thought to be the case in MS.
As always, I recommend you take 10,000 IU of vitamin D year-round in a daily, liquid supplement. But you should also get daily sun exposure, above and beyond your daily supplement.
The sun offers many benefits. And now is the time of year to take advantage of some healthy exposure. You can get 15 minutes per day without sunscreen. And as your skin tans, you can add another 15 minutes per day for a total of 30 sunscreen-free minutes in the sun, all summer long.
“Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and risk of multiple sclerosis,” JAMA2006 Dec 20;296(23):2832-8
Vitamin D Status During Pregnancy and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis in Offspring of Women in the Finnish Maternity Cohort. JAMA Neurol.2016 May 1;73(5):515-9