Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Importance of Vitamin D

Back in 2009, my neurologist put me on 5000IU's of vitamin D a day.  When I told people how much I was taking, most either looked at me like I was nuts (including other doctors) or questioned the safety of taking such a dose.  I was lucky, my neurologist was also a researcher and on top of the latest info, so when he told me to take the high dose of vitamin D daily I didn't hesitate to do so.

Fast forward three years:  I'm sitting in the waiting room of my primary care physician, watching the TV showing varies public service announcements and health tips to pass the time.  I was pleasantly surprised when a segment about vitamin D came on and the announcer included "to help prevent the autoimmune disease, Multiple Sclerosis".

Main stream medicine has finally caught onto what my neurologist realized three years ago- vitamin D (or lack thereof) plays a key role in the development and progression of MS.  Here's just a few interesting studies to have a look at:

High Doses of Vitamin D Cut MS Relapses
Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
Rare Gene Links Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
Vitamin D could reduce risk of childhood MS and progression of disease

I could continue posting many more links but I think you get my point.  Vitamin D plays a role in not only the development of MS but the course in which the disease takes.  I changed from Copaxone to Rebif around the same time my doctor started me on 5000IU's of vitamin D daily.  Prior to that, I was relapsing and ending up on IV Steroids every 3-5 months.  Since then, I've only been on IV Steroids twice, the most recent time being  over 18 months ago.  I have often said I suspected my increased disease stability wasn't due to switching to Rebif, but rather religiously taking my vitamin D every morning.  As more and more research is done and studies are released, I believe that to be true more than ever.

If you haven't had your vitamin D levels tested, do so.  Talk to your doctor and decide what the best dose of vitamin D is for you to take daily.  If you have children, get them on a multivitamin with 100% of the daily allowance of vitamin D.  It's such a small step but it could make a huge difference in the health of both you and children.

Until next time, be well

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