Today's Vitamin D study results

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Today's Vitamin D study results

Postby Lyon » Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:20 pm

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Postby Nick » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:21 pm

Bob

I believe your supposition could be refuted by a few lines of evidence but the simplest is that people with MS can easily increase their internal vitamin D levels with modest supplementation or UVR exposure.

Allow me to post the entire press release.

Vitamin D protects against MS, large study suggests

An abundance of vitamin D seems to help prevent multiple sclerosis, according to a study in more than seven million people that offers some of the strongest evidence yet of the power of the "sunshine vitamin" against MS. The research found that white members of the U.S. military with the highest blood levels of vitamin D were 62 per cent less likely to develop multiple sclerosis than people with low levels.

There was no such connection in blacks or Hispanics, possibly because there were so few in the group studied. Also, the body makes vitamin D from sunlight, and the pigmented skin of blacks and other dark-skinned ethnic groups doesn't absorb sunlight as easily as pale skin.
The new research echoes findings in smaller studies that examined why the nerve-damaging disease historically has been more common in people who live in regions farther from the equator where there is less intense year-round sunlight.

"This is the first large prospective study where blood levels are measured in young adults and compared to their future risk. It's definitely different and much stronger evidence," said Dr. Alberto Ascherio, the senior author and an associate professor of nutrition at Harvard's School of Public Health.The study appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

"If confirmed, this finding suggests that many cases of MS could be prevented by increasing vitamin D levels," Ascherio said.
Still, he said the findings don't prove that a lack of vitamin D can cause MS, so it's too preliminary to recommend that people take vitamin D pills to avoid the disease.

Vitamin D is also found in fortified milk and oily fish, but it's hard to get enough just from diet. Sunlight is the biggest source of vitamin D, which is needed for strong bones. Other studies have linked high levels of vitamin D in the blood to lower risks of a variety of cancers. The MS researchers worked with the U.S. army and navy in analyzing blood samples of military personnel stored by the Department of Defence.

Vitamin deficiency in young people

Military databases showed that 257 service men and women were diagnosed with MS between 1992 and 2004. The increased MS risk was especially strong in people who were younger than 20 when they entered the study. The researchers said that finding suggests that vitamin D exposure before adulthood could be particularly important.
Using blood samples to measure vitamin D levels "tends to nail it down in a much more reliable way" than studies that have relied on people's memories of vitamin D exposure, said Dr. Nicholas LaRocca of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

MS is among the most common nerve disorders affecting young adults, mostly women. Canada has the highest incidence in the world at 240 cases among every 100,000 people, according to a study by a University of Calgary team published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis in 2005.
Around two million people worldwide have MS, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the fatty insulation that surrounds nerve fibres.

Ascherio said there's some evidence that its incidence is increasing in sunny regions including the South and West, possibly because people are avoiding the sun or using sunscreen to protect against skin cancer.
Some doctors think those practices also have contributed to vitamin D deficiencies in adolescents and young adults.

"There's no question that vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic in the United States," said Dr. William Finn, a vitamin D expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The MS study "is just one more reason to pay attention to it."

MS symptoms vary but can be disabling and can include tingling pain in the arms and legs, fatigue and vision problems. Doctors believe it is genetic and perhaps triggered in susceptible people by environmental causes, including possibly some viruses. Vitamin D deficiency could be another trigger.

It's unclear how lack of vitamin D might contribute. In mouse experiments, the vitamin stimulated production of chemicals that fight an MS-like disease.

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Postby CureOrBust » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:20 am

Nick wrote:I believe your supposition could be refuted by a few lines of evidence but the simplest is that people with MS can easily increase their internal vitamin D levels with modest supplementation or UVR exposure.
I dont think this invalidates lyons point; i.e. that MS might cause the lower vitamin D readings. Intervening and increasing your vitamin D does not prove that your low vitamin D was NOT because of MS.

I *think* the reason researchers think its the other way around, is because there are studies that have shown that people with MS have low vitamin D before they are diagnosed. But, I can see, maybe the low vit D is the first symptom.
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Postby bromley » Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:48 am

Here's the BBC's story on this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6191131.stm


For those with kids, it looks as if Vit D (supplements / outdoor activities) might be a sensible option.

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Postby Nick » Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:37 am

CureOrBust wrote:
I *think* the reason researchers think its the other way around, is because there are studies that have shown that people with MS have low vitamin D before they are diagnosed. But, I can see, maybe the low vit D is the first symptom.


Hello COB

If vitamin D deficiency is caused by MS, then why would a person with MS be able to increase their internal vitamin D levels to the same levels, using the same intake, as a person without MS? Having a diagnosis shouldn't change ones ability or lack thereof to produce internal vitamin D.

I this study demonstrates that adequate vitamin D can prevent MS (ie MS is a long latency vitamin D deficiency disease). There were soldiers who had low vitamin D values yet never contracted MS yet the difference between someone with a predisposition to MS and one without a susceptibility becomes pronounced when the vitamin D levels are too low to be effective (i.e. immunoregulatory). Remember this too of content is present in both a predisposed and non-predisposed individual.

The body's mechanisms for producing serum vitamin D are well recognised and these are not compromised by MS, according to what is known about MS.

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Postby Arron » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:50 am

If this bears out, it is right in our sweetspot-- a cheap, easy to acquire supplement that has a direct impact on the disease, in this case, prevention. Not sure who exactly will be able to confirm the results of a 7 million person study, but we should issue the refrain: "If further studies confirm these results..." ;)

Our coverage:

http://www.thisisms.com/article282.html
Disclaimer: Any information you find on this site should not be considered medical advice. All decisions should be made with the consent of your doctor, otherwise you are at your own risk.
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Postby Wonderfulworld » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:29 pm

Have there been any clinical trials of increasing vit d levels in pwms already? Or is it purely being studied in a preventative context?
A long while ago I found that rates of skin cancer tend to be lower in pwms, but can't rem where I located that piece of epidemiology............is this the payoff for increasing our vit d levels?
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Vit D

Postby gwa » Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:42 pm

Every study I have seen describes how Vit D in childhood MAY help prevent MS.

Since I have not seen any studies that conclude taking Vit D lessens or improves MS symptoms, I do not believe the vitamin does much, if anything, for people that already have the disease.

It is becoming more studied and may help in many other diseases, such as certain cancers, bone health, etc.

If I suddenly start walking better or have other symptoms vanish as a result of taking this vitamin, I will post about my results. Right now, my belief is that it is at best too little, too late for those of us already diagnosed.

It is a cheap pill to purchase and I do take about 2000 units a day, but do not see that I am better.

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Postby Lyon » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:29 pm

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Postby Nick » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:06 pm

Wonderfulworld wrote:Have there been any clinical trials of increasing vit d levels in pwms already? Or is it purely being studied in a preventative context?
A long while ago I found that rates of skin cancer tend to be lower in pwms, but can't rem where I located that piece of epidemiology............is this the payoff for increasing our vit d levels?


WW

Direct-MS is currently funding two nutrition-related clinical trials. Both are being undertaken by established MS researchers and are being done with the same scientific rigour as a drug trial. One is a small, controlled and randomized trial that will test the effectiveness of the recommended nutritional strategies for decreasing MS disease activity. The other is a dose/safety study of vitamin D for multiple sclerosis. Both these studies will yield important information on the relationship between MS and nutritional factors and will potentially lead to larger clinical trials involving the use of one or more nutritional strategies as a treatment for MS.

Summaries of each of these on going clinical trials are found here.

Ensuring an effective internal vitamin D content does not imply a person needs to develop skin cancer. If you choose to get you vitamin D from UVR exposure only short exposure intervals on a regular basis in intense enough sunlight or a tanning bed is required. Either that or taking 4,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 supplements + calcium is required.

This paper, Vitamin D Supplementation in the Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis, addresses the issue in more detail.

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Re: Vit D

Postby Nick » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:30 pm

gwa wrote:Every study I have seen describes how Vit D in childhood MAY help prevent MS.

Since I have not seen any studies that conclude taking Vit D lessens or improves MS symptoms, I do not believe the vitamin does much, if anything, for people that already have the disease.

It is becoming more studied and may help in many other diseases, such as certain cancers, bone health, etc.

If I suddenly start walking better or have other symptoms vanish as a result of taking this vitamin, I will post about my results. Right now, my belief is that it is at best too little, too late for those of us already diagnosed.

It is a cheap pill to purchase and I do take about 2000 units a day, but do not see that I am better.

gwa


G

This paper implies that lesion activity is influenced by internal vitamin content if it is in high enough concentrations.

From what is known now, an internal content of >100 nmol/L is considered to be optimum for immunoregulation. This concentration is achieved by taking 4,000 IU/d. Unless you are in a sunny clime and get exposed to the sun regularly 2,000 IU/d is not enough to elevate your 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels to >100 nmol/L.

It is important to realise that vitamin D will not heal neurological damage. At this juncture it appears as if its greatest virtue is the prevention of MS but, as the above paper illustrates, there's reason to believe vitamin D can influence the course of active MS.

If the vitamin can temper or halt the disease activity then this might allow your own body's mechanism to conduct repair of neurological damage. I believe this to be a very real possibility especially if your symptoms are a result of nerve inflammation rather than nerve damage.

Of course you could always resort to removing the causal elements AND use of therapeutic doses of vitamin D to further increase your chances of a recovery. The use of diet intervention is also being studied by Direct-MS in a trial currently underway in Scotland.

Diet revision is a technique I and many others have employed to successfully control our MS.

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Nick
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Postby Nick » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:13 am

Lyon wrote:Hi Nick,
Numerous studies have shown that Vit D doesn't alter the course of MS. A closer look also shows that D only fits the geographic gradient if someone is very creative and wishful. Vitamin D preventing MS? I've read of lots of runners, bikers, mountain climbers and other health nuts who've gotten MS. Surely some of them took Vitamin D and other vitamins long before being diagnosed and it didn't help them.


Hey Bob

Aside from this paper by Embry, I am not aware of any research that used an effective enough amount of vitamin D3 to determine an influence, one way or the other, of positively affecting MS. Of course our ongoing trials found hereshould detrmine this.

Lyon wrote:I can't comment because I don't understand why you think a person with MS being able to raise their vitamin D to the proper level proves anything one way or the other.

I wrote this because you postulated that perhaps it is the disease of MS that causes individuals with MS to have low vitamin D contents rather than the indivduals having low vitamin D with MS as a consequence. It’s the chicken and the egg thing, which came first?

I have MS and I can easily elevate my internal vitamin D levels with adequate intake, ergo my condition of MS does not determine my body’s ability to biochemically produce MS.

Lyon wrote:As I'm sure you're aware, a diagnosis is only the point in which a doctor recognizes that you have MS and has absolutely no relationship to the actual inception of the MS disease process, which some researchers think might have began years or decades before presenting the signs that we recognize as MS

My sentiments exactly.

Lyon wrote:We know NOTHING about the underlying process leading to the permiable bbb..etc. It's foolish and most likely inaccurate to think or say that a process we know nothing about is capable or incapable of anything.

I am confident we know enough about the MS disease process to state it does not interfere with the production of vitamin D.

Lyon wrote:In reality, the entirety of what this study shows is that people who were later diagnosed with MS had lower levels of Vitamin D when they were tested at a younger age. Whether or not the MS disease process was already well underway at that point, we currently have no way of knowing. Don't get me wrong, I think this study is valid, provides meaningful information and the researchers worded it cautiously enough "If confirmed, this finding suggests that many cases of MS could be prevented by increasing vitamin D levels," Ascherio said. so it's only your interpretation of what the study implies that I disagree with.

True enough. I do get carried away with the vitamin D and MS stuff because I incorporate the wealth of data from previous studies which when taken together with every new study, portrays a very convincing relationship between the two.

Lyon wrote:First, that statement isn't saying that people with the highest levels didn't get MS but that they were 62% less likely than the people with the lowest Vit D levels. In this type of statistic, 62% less likely isn't a huge amount.

I contend that this a huge amount for a risk reduction. Consider that these individuals were not necessarily getting vitamin D for the sole purpose of immunoregulation. Their vitamin D levels were incidental.

I’m also thinking of the 80% drop in MS risk in English and Irish migrants from their high MS prevalence homelands to their new home in Queensland Australia. These migrants also did not purposefully get immunoregulatory amounts of vitamin as well but the sun is so intense in semi-tropical Australia that even incidental exposure to the sun is effective for prevention.


Lyon wrote:I've never seen anything which would justify that statement but if you provide it I would be grateful.

I can’t spoon feed you on this one Bob. You’ll have to read a pile of research found in our library to come to your own conclusions. I’d recommend you start with Vieth’s research found here.

Thank you for your comments.
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Postby Wonderfulworld » Thu Dec 21, 2006 4:02 am

Thanks Nick for that info on the direct MS trials, very very interesting.

I definitely don't know as much as you experts on this forum, but after dx I spent a few years doing my own digging into epidemiology etc to see could I make sense of all this. I personally felt it all kept coming back to uric acid levels (raised by pregnancy, niacin intake, interferons, steroids, sunshine). Eventually it got so complicated I just left it all.

Purely anecdotally, my first HUGE attack that left me at an EDSS of 9 for a few weeks, happened in the first summer that I worked indoors. Up until age 26 I had spend every summer outdoors in lots of sunshine. Ok, it's just a coincidence probably, but I felt it was significant.[/b]
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uric acid/complexity/d3

Postby jimmylegs » Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:39 am

hi ww i hear you re: uric acid. it is something i am monitoring and working on.

calcitriol is also very high in the last trimester of pregnancy, a time known to be protective against ms. calcitriol is that most active metabolite of vitamin D3, after hydroxylation in the kidneys. i read a study where the calcitriol levels were found to have more than doubled in that last trimester of pregnancy.

it's a tick-off that it's all so complicated and i am definitely not as involved as i used to be because you keep coming back to the same pieces of research and the release rate of new info can slow you down. but yea i think there is some hope for halting disease progress by maintaining a good vitamin D status over and above the 75 - 80 previously proposed.
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Postby Lyon » Thu Dec 21, 2006 9:42 am

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