Scientists as the 67th American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting heard some intriguing study results just last month. Papers are pending from some of the discoveries, but presentations regarding links between vitamins and multiple sclerosis have doctors’ more than a little excited.
In one study Stephanie Tankou, MD, and colleagues looked at how vitamin D levels interact with the gut microbiome to influence multiple sclerosis symptoms. Research had previously noted that different gut bacteria could influence the onset of brain auto-immunty. Dr. Tankou’s team found that levels of vitamin D about 40 increased the proportion of the same bacteria in multiple sclerosis patients guts. Much more research needs to be performed but there is a potential link between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis’ cause. LINK
In another presentation A. Tourbah shared the findings of a study treating multiple sclerosis patients with high dose biotin. Normally biotin, a common vitamin, is supplemented in doses of 1mg. In this study, patients were randomized to receive either 300mg of biotin or a placebo. The results were small, but significant. The French study showed that such a dose of biotin could decrease disease progression for 13% of patients. This is not a huge difference, but for a disease resistant to therapy, this avenue opens up other opportunities to explore the interaction between nutrition and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. LINK
In one more study, Sandra D. Cassard, a research associate at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine presented findings from a study revealing that multiple sclerosis patients have lower intakes of several nutrients. These include folate, Vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin, and quercetin. Though no direct causal link is claimed and some wonder if it is just due to poor appetite of multiple sclerosis patients, the study does produce more questions than it answers. Hopefully, someone will look next at actual levels rather than just diet reports. No major clinical changes should be based on this data until more evidence is produced. LINK
Again, these studies only provide fodder for more research at this point. However, those doctors like myself who are addressing the poor nutrition of our nation can rest easy knowing that science is vindicating our approach. I look forward to more answers in coming years.