There is a fascinating study about Interferon B (which I think Betaseron may be a type of?) and Vitamin D.
If you haven't read up about vitamin D3 you may want to. Small studies have shown reduced relapse rate and fewer new lesions in MS with high dose vitamin D supplementation, and have also at least hinted at a link between vitamin D levels and breast cancer (for example: http://www.bci.org.au/news-events/529-vitamin-d-latitude-study-in-the-press.html
. Because D3 is a natural substance that is not patentable and is quite inexpensive, drug companies do not tend to fund studies on it.
Many if not most people who live in northern and southern latitudes (far from the equator) have low vitamin D because it is produced by outdoor skin exposure to direct sunlight (without sunscreen). The further you live from the equator in either direction (and the more time you spend indoors), the shorter portion of the year your skin is capable of synthesizing vitamin D. Vitamin D fortified foods only provide a tiny amount of vitamin d (enough to prevent rickets). Evolutionarily, we were designed to get vitamin D from sun exposure.Here's one recent study from Harvard about vitamin D levels an MS: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/01/vitamin-d-could-slow-ms-progression/
Then this study from 2012 really fascinated me. Its the one about Interferon B and vitamin D. I'm not a medical professional and you should make your own decisions after seeking professional medical advice
, but as a person with MS reading this study, it seems to me that its saying that Interferon B only reduces relapse rates if vitamin D levels are high enough, and that its possible that some or even all of the reason why Interferon B works to reduce relapse rates is BECAUSE it increases the rate at which a person absorbs vitamin D. Here's the MS study on Interferon B and Vitamin D:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22700816
If nothing else that study makes a strong case for adding vitamin D supplements to Interferon B regimens if you don't get enough outdoor sun exposure year round without sunscreen near the equator.
My own question after reading this study was: Since vitamin D is so much less expensive than interferon B and has so many fewer side effects, why not just increase my vitamin D levels through supplementing with D3, instead of taking interferon B? And that's what I've done.I'm not giving out medical advice and I really support everyone's right to use the medical therapies they choose
, but I'm happy with using vitamin D instead of the disease modifying drugs for myself. I try to keep my level up in the 60 to 80 ng/ml range. Which is about the same as the 150 to 200 nm/l range (the unit of measurement used in Canada and some other countries).Here's another small study showing that high dose supplementation of Vitamin D3 reduces MS relapse rates:http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/news/20090428/high-doses-vitamin-d-cut-ms-relapses
Also I second what someone else said about getting blood work to make sure that your liver is doing o.k. since I think liver issues can be a side effect of the at least some of the disease modifying drugs.
And to determine where your vitamin D level is and how much to supplement, its good to get a vitamin d blood test, then supplement for several months and get tested again, and adjust the amount you supplement as needed, till you get your level where you'd like it to be. I started out taking 10,000 IUs a day because my levels tested quite low. Once I had them in the range I wanted I maintain that level with 5000 IUs a day. But since everyone is different, its important to get tested and retested after supplementing and as needed to check on how your level is doing over time.