hi cim and welcome to the forum. sorry to hear about your mum. i'm not sure if your mum will want to hear treatment info given that she is still processing the diagnosis, but for when she does come out of it a bit, here is some more info:
there are quite a few nutritional issues associated with ms. of these, vitamin b12 deficiency is the oldest and most widely known. it is an established differential diagnosis for ms. dietary deficit is one potential reason for b12 insufficiency or deficiency; pernicious anemia is another major one.
b12 is definitely NOT the only thing to consider and certainly should not be emphasized to the exclusion of other essential nutrients.
i am not sure which of these could be the most important to someone with a primary progressive ms diagnosis, but regardless here is a list of specific serum nutrient levels seen in average healthy controls - the average ms patient's levels are lower than these:
serum vitamin B12: aim for at least 500 pg/mL or 370 pmol/L.
serum vitamin 25(OH)vitaminD3: aim for at least 100 nmol/L (40 ng/mL). preferably 125-150 nmol/L (56-60 ng/mL). ...
serum zinc: aim for 18.2-18.4 umol/L. (~120 ug/dL)
serum copper: aim for 17.3-18 umol/L (or 100-114 ug/dL). ...
serum magnesium: aim for .95-1.1 mmol/L. (or 2.3-2.7 mg/dL).
serum selenium: two reference ranges found..
1..........0.90 to 2.00 µmol/L (adults)
..........< 0.3 µmol/L (in adult) - supplementation may be required
..........> 2.5 µmol/L (in adult) - possible toxicity
2..........1.02 to 1.91 µmol/L, OR 80 to 150 µg/L (molecular weight of Se is 78.96)
serum calcium: just a link to p. 11 for now, more later: regimens-f22/topic2489-150.html#p57111
serum uric acid: aim for 290-300 umol/L (about 5 mg/dL).
serum hemoglobin: at least 13
serum ferritin: i used to go for 100, now I go for 80 because some studies have shown increased disease risk at levels 80 and higher.
just to unpack the b12 side of things a little, here are some links:
earlier TiMS discussion on the b12/pernicious anemia distinction
2006, establishing 500 pg/ml as a lower serum cobalamin targetpost14161.html?hilit=pernicious#p14161an example of why we don't want to look at single nutrients without considering interactions:
Zinc Metabolism in Hepatic Dysfunction: Serum Zinc Concentrations in Laënnec's Cirrhosis and Their Validation by Sequential Analysishttp://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NE ... 8302550901
The serum zinc concentration has been reported to be decreased in several diseases, notably pernicious anemia
Metalloenzymes and myocardial infarction: malic and lactic dehydrogenase activities and zinc concentrations in serumhttp://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM195609062551001
The serum concentration of zinc is decreased in several other pathologic states, notably cirrhosis of the liver and pernicious anemia.
so. all that said, i am wondering whether you have any influence on what your mum eats? if you are helping out by taking food, you could perhaps have some influence on her state of mind and body without really having to talk about it. any chance you could introduce a few dietary changes, aimed at improving her mood at the very least?
my approach: no meds so far - just nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory whole foods, and supplements where needed
info: www.whfoods.com, www.nutritiondata.com