Schoolboy’s petition prompts move on MS link to vitamin D

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Schoolboy’s petition prompts move on MS link to vitamin D

Postby MSUK » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:11 am

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An international conference is to be held in Scotland to discuss the health effects of vitamin D — thanks to the efforts of a 14-year-old schoolboy.

Ryan McLaughlin, from Glasgow, petitioned the Scottish Parliament questioning possible links between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis after discovering that the disease — from which his mother suffers — could be prevalent in Scotland because of vitamin D deficiency caused by a lack of sunlight.

The petition called on ministers to produce guidelines on vitamin D supplements for children and pregnant women, and launch an awareness campaign. As a result of his efforts, the Scottish government recognised “an urgent need” to provide information to health professionals and mothers, and is to launch a campaign.

Ministers also agreed to host a conference on April 27 to discuss the role of vitamin D. The event, to take place in Glasgow, will be opened by Nicola Sturgeon, the Health Secretary. Leading researchers into links between vitamin D deficiency and multiple sclerosis are expected to attend.

Yesterday, as the Public Petitions Committee agreed to close Ryan’s petition, members congratulated him for his achievement. Bill Butler, Ryan’s local MSP, hailed the schoolboy’s effort, saying that “a very great deal of progress” had been made.

The Glasgow Anniesland representative praised the way “Ryan and the McLaughlin family have persuaded the government; and the government has listened to the very sensible suggestions contained in the petition.

“The government has agreed to a co-ordinated programme of action with NHS Scotland to produce guidance on vitamin D, to educate women on its importance, to consider different messages for different groups of people, and to ensure that health professionals are giving correct and consistent advice to pregnant women and new mothers. Not only should the McLaughlin family be congratulated, but also the government for listening.”

He described that as a significant success. An image of Ryan is now featured on promotional literature for the petitions committee. Speaking about the campaign, Ryan said: “After an amazing year in raising both vitamin D and MS awareness, I now have the commitments that I wanted from the Scottish government.

“I applaud the positive action taken by the Scottish government and the support from Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Shona Robison, Health and Sports Minister.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: “We’re keen to learn all we can about any possible links between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis and are keeping a very close eye on all the emerging evidence.”

• Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in the spring and autumn, and less often in the summer, leading researchers to suggest that its season-ality may be connected to vitamin D deficiency. Researchers at the University of South Carolina, who examined 2,921,714 breast cancer cases, also found that the seasonality was increasingly prominent the further away from the equator that the women lived. This implies that lack of sunshine, and therefore vitamin D, was a factor.

Source: Times Online Copyright 2010 Times Newspapers Ltd.(10/02/10)
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Postby RedSonja » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:00 am

I know some of us feel better when taking vitamin D. But I don't like the sound of this. A schoolboy got the Scottish Parliament to assume a link between MS and vitamin D. This may or may not be true. Making a petition does not make it any more true than it was before.

But it may give Parliament a reason to decide that vitamin D supplements are a good enough treatment and they can discontinue paying for the rest.

It is very good that they are having a conference - as long as they have not decided beforehand what they are going to discover. "Leading researchers into links between vitamin D deficiency and multiple sclerosis" sounds like they already know what they will conclude.

If ministers are going to produce guidelines let us hope they are guided by genuine health professionals, not some wingnuts from "Big Supplement".
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Postby gainsbourg » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:19 am

A schoolboy got the Scottish Parliament to assume a link between MS and vitamin D


I've got to agree with RedSonia about this. The vitamin D evidence seems convincing but it is far too inconclusive. There's even talk of adding supplements to food or water!

It's like having compulsory vaccinations - governments should never force current scientific beliefs on people.

It reminds me of how the UK and US governments, in the name of good health, add elemental iron powder to all flour by law (and also white rice in the US). This means whenever you buy any food made from flour - bread, biscuits cakes, etc. you are consuming large quantities of iron - even though they now know that this iron powder barely gets absorbed into the body's normal iron stores. Also there is very strong evidence that iron from fortified cereals can accumulate in the brain leading to Parkinson's Disease.


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Postby Bethr » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:03 am

Couldn't agree more about it being dangerous to add "things" to food. It might help some but backfires for others. The addition of iron is criminal in my mind. 1 in 7 Europeans have an iron overloading gene! In Ireland it is 1 in 3! My whole family have been affected by too much iron (but of course we are in the "normal" range on a blood test). Getting help with this has been a huge ordeal for us, and our health is shattered because of it. It has even affected my two children badly, which is just madness.

They even tried to DX my son with autism, ADHD, and pump some drugs in to him. The fads of the our time. My sister and I were DX'ed with MS. All the time it was too much iron which is of course toxic in excess. We have Porphyria, which will usually lay dormant unless you up the iron too much and combine that with a few pharmaceuticals.

I'm now having phlebotomys, my sister and brother will start shortly.
I feel so good getting rid of the darn stuff, I mean really good, full of energy. I can almost guarantee now there will be no more brain lesions for us! No more wobbly legs, going blind, spastic fits. When are they going to put two and two together I ask!
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From Ryans Mclaughlin's Dad on the comments made

Postby alanmcl1929 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:55 pm

I am Ryan Mclaughlin's DAD and I would like to answer some of the comments made which I think are a little unfair!

Ryan managed to get the Scottish Goverment to agree to the new guidelines after a year of campaigning and presenting evidence from around the world from some of the top MS researchers and Universities. Ryan's campaign is fully supported by the MS Society Scotland and several other MS groups.

The Scottish Government have carried out there own research projects into vitamin D and he has presented all his evidence from the main research groups and MS groups from around the world.

Ryan has met with the heads of the NHS in Scotland on several occassions and any evidence has been presented to them. However far more exists that has to be presented and 3 studies are due in the next few weeks.

Ryan is focused on providing and finding quality research, not advice from wingnuts or people from 'big supplements ' and the International Summit of experts will be from proven scientific backgrounds and MS bodies such as Harvard, Oxford and the MS Society UK research team.

The comments made about Iron is a completely different issue from vitamin d which is a good health addition to the diet and would have to be taken in extremely large amounts to be unsafe - it is totally different to Iron.

Danish researchers only last month published a study showing a direct interaction with the T- cell the details are on the website !

Vitamin D is added to milk in the USA and is very safe and it was an idea to offer national protection to Scots children not for everybody only schoolmilk, the answer was NO on this and so we continue to tackle the RDA issue head on for pregnant mothers and young children!

In Ryan's own words :

We can either sit around and wait for the outcome of a long term clinical trial (10 to 30 years) which nobody will fund, as the drug companies cant get a patent so they will not fund such a trial, meaning more kids from the next generation will continue to get the disease or we can make some progress and act on it NOW, we can act on something that is safe and relatively cheap to provide to the public (by choice) and we try and tackle the disaese head on and try and reduce suffering. (1p per child per day)

No decision has been made at all by the Scottish Goverment they are looking carefully at the evidence from all the scientists - It will be carefully evaluated with all the evidence on the table and that is the reason Ryan asked for the Summit!

Ryan didnt just present a petition he has fought tooth and nail to prevent MS for all of our children in what has been a long and gruelling campaign working with some of the best scientists in the field, working day and night !

Perhaps if you read ALL the evidence on vitamin D and the published medical articles on his website and others you would understand why almost every major MS Charity in the UK has supported his work and he has been quite rightly congratulated for his research, campaigning to raise awareness of all MS issues not just vitamin D and of course his fundraising efforts.

While you and I sit posting comments about liking or not liking what he is doing, Ryan sits every day reading up on new medical research papers to try and find the answer! He never moans about it , he doesnt get paid for it, but he listens and reads the comments made about him and some like the ones made above that are a bit unfair and sometimes taking on issues not really relevant to what he is trying to do for MS and that is totally unfair!

He is 14 years old and his way beyond his years in maturity but that said he has faced tests for MS himself and has also watched his mum get worse from the disease!

I wish you all the very best and I am sorry having a moan myself !!!
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Postby jimmylegs » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:45 pm

alan, i'm afraid here at TIMS we practise selective skepticism.

i personally am on board with the several decades of literature on the importance of vitamin d, and am confident that your son did not come up with this idea for the first time in a school project.

a lifetime of consuming d3 fortified foods in canada has not protected canadians, like myself, from ending up well under the recommended levels for ms patients.

never mind the government i think the first thing patients need to do is get tested. then they can figure out whether they need to consume supplemented foods or not. i think the answer will be yes - and then a whole lot more because it won't be enough.
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Postby alanmcl1929 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:08 pm

Hi Jimmy legs

I am all for selective skepticism !

I fully agree that people have to be tested and thats why Ryan has fought for a new research project to test every pregnant women level of vitamin D in a major city in Scotland over a period of a year - so we really know the true scale of the problem in Scotland!

The project is going to be conducted by Edingburgh University in the coming year!

My point was that the argument over Iron was totally different to vitamin D and that some of the comments where a little unfair!
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Postby gainsbourg » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:22 pm

Alan,

I'm sure most people on this forum (having been affected by MS is one way or another) sympathise with your son and have tremendous respect for his hard work and determination to spread the word about vitamin D and save people from this horrible disease. Also, many share his strong feelings about the benefits of this vitamin.

But that aside, the main issue here is not so much about whether or not vitamin D (of the correct kind and quantity) is of benefit, but about whether taking it as a supplement, or adding it to basic foods is the right way to go. If it ends up being added to milk or other food by law, then it takes away individual choice of those who should rather be encouraged to get it the natural way as much as possible, from the sun. Most people I speak to are unaware of this natural source of vitamin D.

Plus there is the risk of overdose for some sectors of the population, the risk of of it being added in the wrong, or cheap hormonal form, and the possibility there are other, as yet unknown risks of consuming this vitamin unnaturally.

A targeted information campaign could be relevant at some stage. Information is fine but It should be balanced rather than biased - so the public are fully informed and can make their own choice!


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Postby jimmylegs » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:38 pm

i agree that putting iron and d in the same basket is quite a stretch, alan.
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Postby gainsbourg » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:58 am

I raised iron because it illustrates the possible unknown dangers of compulsory food additives.

Iron powder is already compulsorarliy added to flour and rice; flouride is already compulsorarliy added to water and now they are suggesting that vitamin D should be compulsorarliy added to milk. In some places where vitamin D is already added they have been using the wrong kind.

Iron powder supplementation is relevant to this debate, because it illustrates how food additives usually turn out to be disasterous mistakes in the long run. Any committee proposing the addition of any further additives to food, such as vitamin D, should know about the recent 20 year survey following 120,000 people that showed iron in fortified cereals leads to a 30% increased chance of developing Parkinson's Disease.


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Postby alanmcl1929 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:44 pm

On my part i jumped the gun to protect my son not considering that you had not read all the information and articles written on his campaign !

sorry everyone !
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