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Lack of the sunshine vitamin raises risk of MS: Canadian stu

Postby Nick » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:38 pm

Jimmy

I know how badly you want to see more news articles about vitamin D so this one’s for you.

Although this article doesn’t mention it, the lead researcher, Dr. Banwell, also participated in research released this January that demonstrated children with probable early stage MS central nervous system (CNS) inflammatory demyelination) and children with type 1 diabetes (ugly fraternal twin to MS) has evidence of immune activity against not only self tissue but cow milk proteins.

As a reminder Direct-MS will be releasing soon the results of one of their clinical trial: Testing the Effectiveness of the Best Bet Diet for Decreasing Disease Activity in Multiple Sclerosis. I hope you and the members of this board will be suitably impressed.

Cheers
Nick

Lack of the sunshine vitamin raises risk of MS: Canadian study

MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT

From Saturday's Globe and Mail
September 19, 2008 at 8:43 PM EDT

MONTREAL — New Canadian research is offering hope that some day preventing multiple sclerosis will be as simple as popping a vitamin D pill each day.

A study of Canadian children suffering their first symptoms of the disease has made the surprising discovery that those with low levels of the vitamin are far more likely to develop a full-blown case of it than those who have sufficient amounts.

The finding suggests that vitamin D has a preventive effect on multiple sclerosis, raising the possibility that doctors might be able to forestall the progression of the debilitating disease by having patients take the widely available nutrient shortly after diagnosis.

The discovery, presented this week at an international conference on multiple sclerosis in Montreal, has excited researchers. They say it represents one of the most promising leads for unravelling the cause of multiple sclerosis, which is currently unknown, and treating people with the condition.

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“We are implicating vitamin D insufficiency as a risk factor,” said Brenda Banwell, director of the pediatric multiple sclerosis program at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children and one of the researchers conducting the study.

Medical researchers have been studying the vitamin for a possible link to MS because of the observation that Canada and other high-latitude countries lying farthest from the equator generally have the highest rates of the disease. This geographical factor implicates the vitamin because the amounts of it in people vary with the intensity of sunlight they receive, which in turn is determined by where they live.
“There is a very consistent pattern of latitude and multiple sclerosis,” observed Cedric Garland, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Diego, who is writing a paper on the worldwide incidence patterns of the disease, comparing it to sunlight levels.

For about half the year in Canada, it isn't possible to make the vitamin the natural way – through naked skin exposed to strong sunlight – leading to widespread deficiencies. The link to light is the reason the nutrient is dubbed the sunshine vitamin – although it can be taken in pill form, and small amounts are in some foods, such as salmon and fortified milk.
“People have been looking for things in the Canadian environment that might account for why Canada has such a high MS risk, and this is one of those factors,” Dr. Banwell said of vitamin D deficiency.

Since 2004, Dr. Banwell and other researchers have been compiling a national survey of children going to hospital with symptoms indicating early signs of MS. The children, whose average age was 11, were given blood tests to establish their vitamin D status.

Preliminary results indicate that 28 per cent of those with the lowest amounts at the time of initial symptoms have gone on to develop the condition by suffering a second attack, compared with only 7 per cent of those with higher levels. There are about 250 children currently enrolled in the study.

A separate study at the Hospital for Sick Children found that 66 per cent of those with the disease have outright vitamin D deficiencies or have insufficient amounts.

The vitamin D finding “screams to all parents, ‘make sure your child's vitamin D level remains adequate … if you want to protect them from MS,'” says Ashton Embry, president of Direct-MS, an Alberta charity, that has funded research into vitamin D's role in the disease.

The results suggest there is an association between vitamin D and MS, although definitive proof that it can be used as a treatment, and the optimum amounts, would require a large-scale, drug-style clinical trial.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord that arises when the body's immune system attacks the protective myelin cells of the central nervous system, leading to such symptoms as extreme fatigue, blurred vision, muscle stiffness and co-ordination difficulties.

Researchers suspect vitamin D works to prevent MS by short-circuiting the autoimmune attack on the myelin.
About 1,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed this year in Canada, and an estimated 55,000 to 75,000 people are currently living with it. Women are far more likely to be stricken than men.
Although doctors do not yet know for sure what dose of vitamin D might protect against multiple sclerosis, it is likely to be well above current Health Canada recommendations.

Dr. Banwell said it is a simple matter for people with the illness to have their blood levels of vitamin D checked, and then correct any deficiencies through supplements. But she said the level Health Canada recommends for children and adults under 50 – 200 international units a day, or the amount in two cups of milk – is too low to raise blood levels much.
Paul O'Connor, a professor of neurology at the University of Toronto, has conducted research giving adults with MS up to 40,000 IU a day, and found no adverse impacts. He said the testing showed those receiving the vitamin had fewer relapses than a control group that didn't receive the nutrient. “That was exciting,” he said of the finding.

The possibility that vitamin D may protect against MS is already being embraced by those at risk of the disease.

Vanessa Taylor, whose eight-year-old son Jordan temporarily lost sight in his right eye when he had initial symptoms in March, says she's been giving him some every day. Since the first attack, he has recovered almost all his sight and hasn't had any more signs of the ailment.
“I tell everybody, ‘Give your kids vitamin D,'” she says.

[url]http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080919.wmsvitaminD0919/BNStory/National/home[/url]

http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=show&pageid=1334&CFID=7318564&CFTOKEN=46817468
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Postby jimmylegs » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:42 pm

;) thx nick
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Postby mrhodes40 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:35 pm

what's awesome about this is if you have kids or grands and have ms yourself, it gives you SOMETHING to do, to recommend and to follow up on. The fact I have MS is sad, but I could bear it less well if it were my little ones.... 8O
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Postby Wonderfulworld » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:10 pm

This is great to see.
My little son is 7 months old.

I found some children's vitamin d drops, each administers 100 iu per drop.

If anyone can advise - should I just give him the vit d drops or do you need to balance it with cal/mag/zinc? The last thing I want to do is to give him hypervitaminosis d.........

I am pretty confused about the ratios and amounts but then I'm even more unsure about a baby's requirements. In my own case I am just taking a multi vitamin now and I am sure my own vit d has dropped even further, I know I need to address the whole supplement issue - I know I asked this before but my brain is complete porridge after my last relapse 6 weeks ago. Help :(
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Postby gwa » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:24 pm

Please don't give your baby a vitamin regimen based on what people online tell you. Your pediatrician would be the best source of info for you.

If he is on a formula, there should be needed vitamins, fats, proteins already in it as well as calcium, etc.

There are a lot of opinions about topics you are questioning and no real consensuses even among medical people.

gwa
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Postby mrhodes40 » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:31 pm

i am totally with gwa; i meant something you can do with your doctor's guidance! it's easy enough to get a vitamin d test with a doctor's order and simple enough to supplement if needed that it should be possible to keep in a healthy range....for older children and adults at least. what a boon to have something to check and keep in range, maybe even possibly preventing development of MS.

i know my kids, 29 and 23 are very interested in how they might prevent MS, being able to check for and supplement d is pretty easy and safe with monitoring.

as for babies like my grandchildren, get a pediatrician who is interested in nutritional things and talk over how you can assure optimal healthy levels. I wouldn't give a baby anything without the express evaluation and recommend of a doctor. for mine, that means plenty of outdoor time: not supplements.
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Postby cheerleader » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:41 pm

Hi WW....
Sorry about the recent relapse. I agree with the other gals... Don't worry about D supplements for your baby right now. Just get outdoors and get some fresh air and sun for at least 30 minutes a day. Good for both of you. Next trip to the pediatrician you can ask about formulas and D levels.

From all I've read, it seems like puberty is the really crucial time for vit. D. I give my 13 yr. old son 2000IU vit. D a day, and he's out in the California sun everyday.
AC
Husband dx RRMS 3/07
dx dual jugular vein stenosis (CCSVI) 4/09
http://ccsviinms.blogspot.com
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:42 pm

enfalac makes a baby liquid d3 drops product with recommended daily dosages on the label. is that the one you've found?
i used to take it but it was too expensive trying to get the levels i needed, which was when i started researching on how to get my current megadose liquid product.
i don't recall the enfalac product being balanced with other minerals but i think for babies it's probably best to just go with plenty of excellent baby food sources of needed minerals.
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:50 pm

keep in mind that D3 deficient moms give birth to deficient babies. you were recently tested at 54 nmol/L if i'm not mistaken, WW?
we know that you need to be at least 75 or 80 for musculoskeletal health, and more like 100-250 for immune system health.
i should think it would be extremely wise to have your baby's current 25(OH)D3 level tested before you decide on the best blend of sunshine, food, and supplementation for your little one.
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:10 pm

an interesting study:

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(6):505-512.
Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Among Healthy Infants and Toddlers

Results The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (=20 ng/mL) [JL edit: 50nmol/L] was 12.1% (44 of 365 participants), and 146 participants (40.0%) had levels below an accepted optimal threshold (=30 ng/mL) [JL edit: or 75 nmol/L - musculoskeletal optimal as opposed to immune optional]... breastfeeding without supplementation among infants and lower milk intake among toddlers were significant predictors of vitamin D deficiency. In vitamin D–deficient participants, 3 participants (7.5%) exhibited rachitic changes on radiographs, whereas 13 (32.5%) had evidence of demineralization.

Conclusions Suboptimal vitamin D status is common among otherwise healthy young children. Predictors of vitamin D status vary in infants vs toddlers, information that is important to consider in the care of these young patients. One-third of vitamin D–deficient participants exhibited demineralization, highlighting the deleterious skeletal effects of this condition.


where does your doc stand on this issue ww? i know my little nephew's doc has put him on d3 but i don't know how much or whether he's been tested. or whether his mom's been tested for that matter...
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Postby Wonderfulworld » Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:03 am

Thanks for the replies.

I feel a bit at sea because my GP has decided I'm bonkers. :oops:
His last piece of advice was "you're a perfectly healthy young woman, so get on with things". 8O Eh, pardon? - I have MS, asthma, ezcema, coeliac disease...and he thinks I'm perfectly healthy. I think he is annoyed because I asked him could he check my ANA again as there is a familiy history of Lupus. And he seemed irritated when I asked him to check Vit D/calcium levels too. I have seen this GP for 10 years and to be honest there are very few GP's that would be happy about taking me on I suspect.

I find that most GP's are clueless about this level of information on MS and research around it and docs don't like to be told stuff. They like to be the experts. They are fine for colds/coughs kind of illness.

My son has a differenet GP so perhaps I could ask him to test DS soon for vit d levels....but again I feel like I'm proposing something that is not well known.
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Postby jimmylegs » Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:01 am

that's a shame ww. i know it's catching on some places but it's certainly not status quo yet.
you are right, sometimes GPs seem to be there to assess which specialist you should be referred to when things go too far off the rails. i did have to teach my doc but she is very receptive. there was a point quite early on where my questions got to a certain level and she said straight up to me that i probably knew more about ms at that stage than she did.
your doc sounds quite a lot like my childhood family doc. when i moved back 'home', i wasn't even sick at the time but i went to lengths to ensure i didn't get slotted back in with that previous doc. so glad i went to the trouble!
i don't know if it would help in your case now, but for me in the start i always went to my doc armed with research abstracts and ask for her thoughts before stating my case. at least, i used to - she is used to it now so i don't have to work as hard. although she's taking a leave of absence at the moment so i may have to do a little extra pedaling around her stand-in!
maybe if you try out a few other docs that could help? is that an option for you?
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Vit D levels in your son

Postby lyndacarol » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:00 am

WW--With ALL the research on D and new reports on suspected links to MANY conditions coming out every day, I think doctors are hearing requests for D level checks from many people--even parents for their children. Because you have the MS diagnosis is no reason you should not be treated the same as these others. With the suspected connection between low D levels and MS, your request may be MORE justified than others'!
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Postby Nick » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:24 am

Good discussion people

WW

While I consider it very important to have your children on adequate vitamin D you should try to get your post exacerbation affairs in order. Once you are back to functioning well it is worthwhile corroborating the mumbo jumbo from internet folk such as myself with a medical practitioner.

Bear in mind, as jimmy points out, her knowledge surpassed that of her GP so watch out for unlearned doctors who dispense poor advice based on their ignorance and or condescending attitude.

The medical community has much to learn about vitamin D so you have to factor in the absence of knowledge with you own expertise. The internet offers much (often too much!) well referenced and documented information to peruse. This the same stuff medical practitioners access for their own use.

Direct-MS offers a wealth of articles and I can offer, via personal email, the latest recommendations for intake amounts by leading vitamin D researchers such as VITAMIN D: A Growing Perspective whose abstract is below:


Vitamin D deficiency has been widely reported in all age groups in recent years. Rickets has never been eradicated in developed countries, and it most commonly affects children from recent immigrant groups. There is much evidence that current vitamin D guidelines for the neonatal period, 5–10 μg (200–400 IU)/day, prevent rickets at the typical calcium intakes in developed countries. The annual incidence of vitamin D-deficiency rickets in developed countries ranges between 2.9 and 7.5
cases per 100,000 children. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in mothers and their neonates is remarkable, and the results of one study suggest that third-trimester 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)
is associated with fetal bone mineral accrual that may affect prepubertal bone mass accumulation. Beyond infancy, the evidence indicates that 5 μg (200 IU)/day of vitamin D has little effect on vitamin D status as measured by the serum 25(OH)D concentration. Two randomized clinical
trials show that higher vitamin D intake improves one-year gain in bone density in adolescent girls. The functions of vitamin D extend beyond bone to include immune system regulation and antiproliferative
effects on cells. Early life vitamin D inadequacy is implicated in the risk of bone disease, autoimmune disease, and certain cancers later in life; however, long-term interventional studies do not exist to validate the widespread implementation of greater vitamin D consumption. Here we
review the available data concerning vitamin D status and health effects of vitamin D in pregnancy through to and including adolescence.


Keep in mind the disease type 1 diabetes is often recognised in children because autoimmunity can begin early in life and the pancreas has so few tissue that needs to be damaged before the disease is recognised. MS however requires much more damage to greater amount of tissue and is thus diagnosed later in life. Ergo there exists more research into vitamin D and essentially fatty acids (omega 3) in children with type 1 diabetes than children with MS.

The two diseases have been identified as having the same disease process so it makes good sense to use the information regarding type 1 diabetes and children and apply it to your child. For instance the Finns found that 2,000IU/d via cod liver oil in infants resulted in 80% less type 1 diabetes. Wow. Below is a clip from Vitamin D and type 1 diabetes mellitus:state of the art at Direct-MS.

Vitamin D intake and type 1 diabetes prevention The intake of vitamin D, either as a supplement or via food, has been the subject of recent studies examining populations with a high risk for type 1 diabetes. Hypponen et al. found a significantly reduced risk of 0.22 for type 1 diabetes in a birth-cohort study when high-dose vitamin D supplementation (O50 mg dK1, 2000 U dK1) was given regularly or irregularly [56]. By contrast, those children with
suspected rickets during the first year of life had a threefold increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes during later life.
Similarly, increased vitamin D intake during pregnancy significantly reduced b-cell autoimmunity in offspring as detected by islet autoantibodies [57]. However, this effect was restricted to vitamin D intake from food. In a Norwegian study, the use of cod liver oil
either during pregnancy or in the first year of life was associated with a lower incidence of type 1 diabetes [58]. Whether this was the result of the content of vitamin D or long-chain n-3 fatty acids (or a combination) merits further investigation [59]. Furthermore, a EURODIAB (European Community Concerted Action Programme in Diabetes) subgroup multicentre study of cases and controls found that the risk for type 1 diabetes was significantly reduced in countries
with vitamin D supplementation during childhood [60].


I apologise for being so verbose but in closing please be observant of the correlation between cow milk proteins and MS and type 1 diabetes and the identification of immune response to dairy proteins in populations with MS and type 1 diabetes(see above in my initial post). As a "good" parent we've duped into believing milk is good for children so if you are using formula than I feel it is incumbent to offer the protective vitamin D (and calcium and mag) and essential fatty acids to counteract the causal aspects.

lyndacarol

It is interesting that you mention everybody and their dog wanting to get their vitamin D levels assessed. Here in the land of cancer and autoimmune disease (Calgary, Canada)the medical laboratories have been inundated with requests for assessments.

When I first embarked on having my own levels checked 5 years ago:
-the labs would only assess batches every two weeks because it was such an uncommon request
-the doctor-issued form for a lab request didn't have a category for serum vitamin D testing so my doc wrote it in by hand
-the recommended upper limit of serum D was 80 nmol/L which is today the recommended LOWER limit

The times they are a changin'

Cheers
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Postby MattB » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:26 pm

Speaking only from personal experience I don't think MS is caused by a vitamin D deficit--or at the very least it's only one of many different possible causes. I grew up drinking lots of milk which, at least in the US, has a reasonable amount of Vit D added PLUS I spent almost all of my time outside yet I still have MS. I honestly feel that I grew up in a very nutritionally and physically desirable environment. The only thing that made my childhood rough was multiple family members whom I was very close to passing away over the span of 3 years, I know I'm still emotionally scarred from that.

I'm more of the school that it's either a genetic defect of some kind, set off by a virus/bacteria, or exposure to some type of chemical or microbial. Just my two cents if it's even worth that much.
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