With respect to vitamin D, I believe the MS community is a microcosm of the cancer realm. Prior to this past week, there existed many statistical analyses and observational studies which demonstrated a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and cancer prevalence.
Of course there were the obvious questions about the role of vitamin D as far as cancer prevention and active cancer therapy. The necessary dosage and toxicity were also often asked as well as the biggie of where is the direct evidence supporting the wealth of circumstantial evidence.
On April 28 the Globe and Mail headline read Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light because in June, U.S. researchers will announce what they say is the first direct link between vitamin D and cancer prevention. Their four-year clinical trial found that 1,200 women taking the vitamin had a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence compared to those not taking it. This is a pay per view article now so I'll try to post it seperately over the next few days.
The next step is to determine if vitamin D is an effective active therapy for cancer intervention (there are some studies already underway that will determine this) and what an optimal daily intake is for maximum prevention and active therapy.
Of course the MS community is faced with an almost identical situation because there exists a mountain of circumstantial data implicating vitamin D deficiency as a prime element of the MS equation. (In my opinion the database relating to MS and vitamin D deficiency is stronger than that of cancer and vitamin D deficiency.)
An intentional trial demonstrating vitamin D as a valid preventative measure for MS will take years to conduct and thus we are left to using observational evidence for an immediate answer. Fortunately research by Hammond et al (2000) has been encapsulated in this discussion by Embry et al. They demonstrate that Hammond et al’s research can serve as a proxy for a purposeful study of MS prevention and vitamin D. In essence they showed that by transporting a genetically homogenous, high predisposed population from a low vitamin D environment to a high vitamin D environment, the prevalence of MS dropped by 80 %.
For those of us who are already diagnosed with MS the question of using vitamin D as a means of intervention needs to be addressed. Research such as Vitamin D and Seasonal Fluctuations of Gadolinium-Enhancing Magnetic Resonance Imaging Lesions in Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D Supplementation in the Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis suggest that the factors which make vitamin D such an effective preventative tool also contribute to making vitamin D an effective therapeutic implement for those who are dx’d.
Fortunately DIRECT-MS is currently funding two trials, one of which will give, in addition to diet revision, study participants with MS an increasing dose of vitamin D3 starting at 28,000 IU per week (4000 IU/d). The dose of vitamin D3 will be gradually increased every 2 to 6 weeks to the highest dose of 280,000 IU per week (40,000 IU per day). After the highest dose is taken for 6 weeks, the dose of vitamin D3 will be lowered to a maintenance dose of 70,000 IU per week (10,000 IU per day) that will be taken for 12 weeks. The dose of vitamin D3 will then be lowered again to 28,000 IU per week (4000 IU per day) taken for another 8 weeks.
Even though the detailed physiological actions of vitamin D differ for each condition. I believe it is accurate to comment that MS and cancer, at least with respect to vitamin D share a lot of similar characteristics, most notably that humans require much, much more vitamin D than the conventional medical system currently advises.
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 emailus 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.
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