As others have stated, this Danish study confirms what we already know or think we know. It is incumbent upon the MS community to critically examine this well established link between the two AI diseases and integrate it with the other data to make some sense of the why and how of these diseases and how to prevent/treat them.
It is a shame that these important lines of evidence are often considered apart from each other and not considered as part of a grand unifying theory.
There are heaps of tangents between the two conditions and I hope that by examining the ones below you too will recognize a very likely cause and prevention to both MS and Type 1 diabetes by the end of this post.
CAUSAL ENVIRONMENTAL ELEMENT: DIET
Most leading research identifies the MS equation to be: genetic susceptibility + causal environmental element – protective factor. The causal vehicle for auoimmunity is oft cited as molecular mimicry whereby the immune system launches an immune response against a foreign antigen and also self tissue. The reason for the response to both an antigen and self is the inability of the immune system to differentiate between the two.
Critical evidence of this phenomenon is found in the research by Guggenmos et al
by showing mimicry between self tissue and dietary proteins. They found that one third of their study group of PwMS had antibodies in their cerebrospinal fluid and blood that were cross reactive to each other. These antibodies were sensitized to both a protein from cow’s milk and to myelin protein; this is a very precise line of evidence supporting the mimicry process. Consider that one third of the participants had this evidence of mimicry to just one of the hundreds of proteins found in milk. Had they tested for the many more proteins in cow’s milk what would they have found?
It is worth noting that there are other food proteins with the potential to elicit an immune response against self. Celiac disease is one such beast and I would love to see Guggenmos and his cadre conduct a similar trial looking for a cross reactivity to myelin protein and gluten (or more precisely gliadin).
strongly implicates dairy as a causal element in MS and very strongly implicates dairy as a causal element in type 1 diabetes. It also demonstrates the presence of antibodies reactive to self for both diseases in a significant percentage of the study group.
Another project which corroborates the MS and Type 1 diabetes link is this study
by Winer et al in 2001 that found striking similarities between IDDM and MS. In essence, the two diseases are, by virtue of chemical markers, virtually identical. It’s only their final expression of what self tissue is attacked which differs.
A plausible explanation of the link between MS and Type 1 diabetes is that the necessary elements (genetic susceptibility + causal environmental element – protective factor) are the same for each disease save the final expression of what self tissue is assailed. Given the uniqueness of each individuals’ immune system interpretation of the perceived foreign antigen (i.e. milk protein) and how that is transcribed into an immune response, the difference in what self tissue (e.g. myelin, pancreatic GAD protein) is targeted can account for the very similar yet not exactly identical pattern of the diseases.
PROTECTIVE FACTOR: VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is another commonality between MS and Type 1 diabetes:
It has been demonstrated that an 80 % drop in Type I diabetes prevalence results in infants given 2,000 IU/d of vitamin D
A 75% drop in Type I diabetes in infants given cod liver oil in Denmark
Migrants from a vitamin D deficient, high MS prevalence country that relocated to vitamin D rich Queensland Australia had an 80% reduction in MS prevalence
These are hefty drops in prevalence, admittedly though they are observational evidence but for this kind of evidence to exist and not be the number one research initiative of an MS oriented organization is bordering on incompetence and or negligence or …
Direct-MS produces information booklets on various aspects of multiple sclerosis. These booklets are listed below and a PDF of each one can be opened and downloaded by clicking on the title.
Alternately we can mail you a hard copy of any of the booklets. Just write or email
us and let us know which ones you would like sent to you. Don’t forget to include your mailing address. There is no charge for this service.
Booklet #1 Take Control of Multiple Sclerosis
This booklet discusses the main causal factors of MS and, with this information as a guide, it lays out our recommendations for nutritional strategies to help control MS.
Booklet #2 Protect Your Family from Multiple Sclerosis
This booklet emphasizes the high risk for contracting MS of first-degree relatives of persons with MS. It discusses the causal factors of MS with special emphasis on vitamin D deficiency as a primary cause. Finally it demonstrates that adequate vitamin D can likely prevent MS in most cases and provides a recommended supplementation regime.
Booklet # 3 Multiple Sclerosis: The Alberta Disadvantage
This booklet demonstrates that the province of Alberta, the home of DIRECT-MS, has by far the highest rates of MS in the world: Prevalence 340/1000,000; Incidence 20/100,000.
Data and arguments are provided to support the argument that the main reason for the MS Epidemic is that all the main causal factors are present in Alberta, with low vitamin D supply being especially problematic.
We have found that a Voiced PowerPoint presentation (‘Webcast’) is an effective way to communicate the science and the recommendations for nutritional strategies for controlling MS and preventing it in the first place.
The first presentation is Prospects for Vitamin D Nutrition
. The discussion is narrated by Reinhold Vieth of the departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto.
Dr. Vieth addresses the topics of:
Vitamin D and Human Evolution
Clinical relevance of higher vitamin D intakes
Toxicology of Vitamin D
The second webcast is entitled Preventing Multiple Sclerosis
and is the second in a series of web casts regarding nutrition and Multiple Sclerosis. The focus of the Prevention presentation is how MS can be easily, safely and inexpensively prevented by focusing on protective factors. This is a must see for those people with MS who have children.
Our first webcast, Nutritional Strategies for Controlling Multiple Sclerosis,
addresses similar issues. It presents the probable causes of MS and how to effectively control those elements. A review of the protective factors and how to incorporate them into your lifestyle is also covered.[/quote]