There Has Been A Lot Of Talk Recently About MS And High-Dose Vitamin D
A recent pilot study of 40 patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis published online in December suggests that high doses of vitamin D may be beneficial for people with MS. So does that mean that everyone with MS should supplement with 10,000 IU of Vitamin D every day? Let’s dig a bit deeper… the study shows that Vitamin D in high doses (10,400 IU per day) resulted in a reduction of T cell activity (the immune cells implicated in the MS disease process) and was generally well tolerated by study participants. That is a good thing, right? Yes, it is! The researchers stressed that this is an important piece of a complicated puzzle but state that they do not have enough data to guide clinical practice. In other words, the results of this study, while promising, are not enough to recommend that people with MS take high dose vitamin D. Clinical trials continue to determine if taking vitamin D improves MS symptoms or alter the disease course.
Should I Take A Vitamin D Supplement?
Because vitamin D deficiency is very common it is advised that you have your level checked. If your level is above 50 ng/mL, taking a supplement may not be necessary. If you have a vitamin D deficiency (your level is below 35 ng/mL) then supplementing with Vitamin D may be a good idea. It is harder for some people to get enough vitamin D than others. Those people include…
People with dark skin
People with limited sun exposure
People who are obese
People with kidney disease
People with digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease or people who have had gastric bypass surgery
People with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance
The amount of vitamin D required to maintain a blood level at or above 50 ng/mL will vary from person to person and can be determined by your MD when you have your level checked. Vitamin D supplements do interact with some medications and have some side effects so you should speak to your doctor about any supplements you are taking.
If Your Doctor Advises A Vitamin D Supplement
Before you purchase a vitamin D supplement, consider checking with USP or ConsumerLabs to make sure that you are getting a quality product. Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol is more potent than Vitamin D2, ergocalciferol—though this form is vegan while D3 is not (if that is important to you). And finally, take vitamin D supplements with your biggest meal of the day (the one that contains most fats and oils) as this can increase absorption by as much as 50%!