Create Your Own Sunshine!
As we farewell Summer in Australia and head into those cloudy Winter days it is important for most of us, but especially for those with Multiple Sclerosis, to keep up our Vitamin D levels.
Today, we're going to take a bit of a different approach to our normal food posts and chat about Vitamin D and the possible link to Multiple Sclerosis.
I am definitely not a qualified professional, so please don't think that I know everything, or anything, about Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis. Far from it! I will just be telling you the role of Vitamin D pertaining to Yianni's case, since he was diagnosed in 2013 when the neurologist informed us of the possible link between Vitamin D deficiency & MS.
I am constantly reading about the advances that the fantastic researchers are making in MS treatments and I have kept myself informed as much as possible. Hoping that one day they can unlock what causes MS and more importantly how to rebuild the myelin sheath.
Yianni & Vitamin D
Prior to his diagnosis, Yianni was a greengrocer and worked very long hours in the Adelaide Central Market. He would wake to darkness, work indoors all day and often come home in darkness. The sun and Yianni were distant acquaintances and as much as he loves the outdoors, he was just too tired to make an effort to even sit outdoors for a while.
Needless to say, when Yianni was going through the initial blood tests to determine why he was so fatigued and dragging his right leg, it was discovered that his Vitamin D levels were extremely depleted at 4 ng/ml.
My understanding is that any reading under 20 ng/ml (this number varies depending on the source) means that you have a Vitamin D deficiency. He was given Vitamin D in liquid form to bring his levels up and now takes daily Vitamin D supplements.
But why is Vitamin D so important?
Glad that you asked!
Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the “Sunshine Vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight.
Our bodies produce Vitamin D naturally when we are directly exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D can also be absorbed through certain foods and supplements.
Vitamin D has several important functions. The most fundamental functions include the development of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function and reduction of inflammation.
Vitamin D is also necessary in regulating the absorption of calcium. Without sufficient Vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen.
To read more about the recommended sun exposure in Australia, we suggest this Osteoporosis Australia article https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/vitamin-d
VITAMIN D FIGHTS DISEASE!
I've heard that Vitamin D packs a punch!
Many studies have been conducted into the link between Vitamin D deficiency and the role it plays and the possible benefits in relation to diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, heart disease, diabetes and even the flu.
Studies that I have read, regarding Multiple Sclerosis, which is mainly our concern, to date are at times contradictory and inconclusive. However every study that I have read, regardless of the outcome usually makes reference to the importance of avoiding Vitamin D deficiency.
The latest article that I read today made a discovery regarding high doses of Vitamin D.
According to study published, 2nd March 2020, Multiple Sclerosis News Today claim that high doses of Vitamin D can worsen MS symptoms.
Excerpt from #ACTRIMS2020 – Vitamin D at High Dose Can Worsen MS
"High-dose vitamin D supplements appear to aggravate inflammation and myelin loss in the brain and spinal cord, and worsen the disability associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), a study in a mouse disease model reported.
Excessive use of vitamin D causes calcium levels to spike, which directly increase the inflammatory state of immune cells and their capacity to infiltrate the central nervous system (CNS; the brain and spinal cord), the researchers observed.
Supplements given in moderation, however, may help to ease disease symptoms." - Ana Pena, PhD
As usual, everything is good for you in moderation! I'm keeping my mind open that there may be some type of benefit by taking daily Vitamin D supplements