NZer1 wrote:It appears that what we are learning is that Vit D processing is one of many vital functions that interplay with many other vital processes.
Everything in the human body is part of a system and therefore, change anywhere has systemic effects. And those effects have effects. This is simply what happens in any system. Everything is in some way inter-related to everything else.
Even more, there are relationships built on feedback loops designed to maintain balance, homeostasis, of virtually everything.
Using the allopathic model of medicine we are not going to change the health at all, there needs to a board understanding and balance of the entire body system.
I only study allopathic medicine and it is what is looking at all this complexity in greater and greater detail, peeling back the onion, blocking individual genes things to find out what is happening and it certainly is well aware that this is a system, not a bunch of discrete, unrelated parts.
I assume you are contrasting allopathic with some fuzzy marketing concept called "holistic" medicine.
My brother, as an example, practices allopathic medicine. He replaces clogged arteries with grafts, fixes broken heart valves.
He knows that would be much better if his patients ate right, exercised, didn't smoke or drink alcohol to excess, but sadly, when there is impaired blood flow to the heart and the patient is dying on the table, it is usually a little late to have those "holistic" conversations.
Synergy is occurring and compounding throughout our bodies Healthy or otherwise!
Yes, it is a system. All the parts are inter-related and when something is out of balance in one part, it usually has effects on other parts of the system and like a house of mirrors, those effects in turn have effects.
Vit D supplementing appears to change the expression of symptoms but not change the the disease itself.
I don't think that is at all true. What I was saying in earlier messages was simply that it is easier to prevent a problem caused by Vitamin D deficiency, than to repair the secondary damage caused by that deficiency which itself may need something other than vitamin D to initiate the repair.
I think a good example of why this is likely true. Vitamin D manages the repair of damaged blood vessels. If there is an uncorrected breech in the blood brain barrier because there is insufficient vitamin D to carry out the repair process quickly, then it sets off a process on the brain side that damages myelin. In MS, some degree of that damage is done by the time the disease becomes clinically manifest.
Vitamin D can fix the damaged blood vessel, but it may have no role in repairing damaged myelin. (It might have a role in meylin repair. It might also set up conditions for it to be repaired by something else. We simply don't know this yet.)
That doesn't mean that it wouldn't be a good idea to ensure an adequate vitamin D level because you have MS and vitamin D may not be able to fix everything that got broken as a result of that deficiency.
Hope that makes sense. Your statement sounds as though you are saying, forget it. The horse is already out of the barn.
I think a better analogy might be that the horse is out of the stall, but not the barn yet, so there is every reason to fix the barn door, in our case by maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D.
In theory when we figure out the right levels, it should ensure that any damage to the blood vessels is quickly repaired and that the immune response which it controls is properly managed limiting progression of the disease, at least to the extent that the "disease" is the breech of the blood brain barrier, not the secondary damage that occurs when it is breeched and things that shouldn't cross it do.
And even if it doesn't directly fix damaged myelin, by stopping further breeches in the BBB, it may well allow something else to get on with repairing the damage.
Hope that is clear.
What was it we are wanting to achieve by increasing Vit D intake?
To ensure that there is adequate vitamin D for it to deal with problems with the blood brain barrier and possibly aid in the repair of damage that has already occurred, if only by stopping further breeches of the BBB.
Putting on my "holistic" hat, you can't ignore diet, exercise, things like smoking and probably other things like bacterial infections, impaired blood flows and think that taking a vitamin D pill will magically make you healthy.
If, for example, the problem with the BBB is being caused by bacterial infection, vitamin D can repair the damage and certainly manages the immune response to infection of a cell, but you probably also need antibiotics. If there is constant turbulent blood flow causing the damage, then that probably has to be fixed too. Vitamin D is no more a magic cure-all than anything else. It is part of the solution, likely a critical part.
Isn't the quest to see if there is QOL improvement by testing and increasing Vit D levels if there is a low reading, at the same time monitoring symptom changes.
Absolutely. This is going to be the only way to find out exactly what role it plays in MS. What I would be testing, were I king, would be to see if I could measure changes first in active lesions which are supposed to be signs of a breakdown of the BBB. I would think that once you have adequate levels of vitamin D, these should be greatly diminished. They may not go away entirely with just vitamin D for the reason I note above. If there is a constant bacterial infection damaging the blood vessels, then that too has to be fixed. Or if you are smoking, drinking, not eating right and so on, all these things are going to play a role in the change in symptoms.
I would not expect someone who has an EDSS of 6.5 to magically have it go down, in the short run. I would in fact hope that adequate levels would have this effect in the long run, but as far as we know, vitamin D doesn't play a direct role in repairing damaged myelin which is probably what is the biggest contributor to the EDSS.
Looking at the midterm, I would think that you would have fewer relapses if you have adequate levels of vitamin D to the extent that vitamin D is able to stop further damage.
And as Mark has mentioned some people will not be able to have testing done and he recommends supplementing as the option to see if symptoms 'change'.
I think I would go further than Mark here. I think there is enough evidence that having adequate levels of vitamin D is important to many aspects of health that we would be well advised to maintain adequate levels whether we see short term progress or not. Cancers develop over many years and go undetected. We should be "treating" that all along by maintaining adequate vitamin D levels, not wait until we see blood or a bulging tumor.
Everyone can get testing done. There are a number of organizations that will send you a home test kit and you send back a piece of paper with some of your blood on it. There is a cost, but no reason anyone shouldn't get tested at some point.