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Vitamin B-12 & Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is characterized by loss of the myelin layer, the protective sheath that surrounds nerve cells. Symptoms of MS include muscle weakness and rigidity, vision problems, urinary and bowel dysfunctions. Some vitamins, including B12 have been researched for possible benefits for the management of this condition and positive findings have been recorded. If you suffer from MS and are considering taking vitamin B12, you should first talk to your health care provider.

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Similarities Between MS and B12 Deficiency

B12 deficiency and MS share similar symptoms and MRI findings, indicates a medical research team from Israel, in a study published in the June 2005 issue of “Journal of Neurological Sciences.” The authors further explain that B12 plays an important role in the production of myelin, helps maintain nerve function and modulates the immune system. This study suggests that a B12 deficiency may be a risk factor for multiple sclerosis and that supplementation with B12 — in addition to standard therapy — may prevent the progression of this disease.

B12 Deficiency in MS

Another study published in “Journal of Clinical Neuroscience” in March 2009 found that B12 vitamin levels and the related compounds folate and homocysteine were deficient in individuals with MS who participated in the study. Thirty-five individuals during an acute attack of MS were compared with 30 healthy participants in this project. The authors found a significant correlation between a B12 deficiency and abnormal blood and nerve tests of those participants with MS who were evaluated during the study.

B12 Sources

Food sources of vitamin B12 include eggs, meat, fish, dairy products and fortified cereals. The B12 vitamin is also available as an over-the-counter supplement either alone or in combination with other B vitamins. Oral and injectable forms of B12 appear to be equally effective in correcting a B12 deficiency, according to the National Institute of Health.

Considerations

Consult a qualified health care provider and ask for a blood test to determine whether or not you have a B12 vitamin deficiency. Based on the results, your doctor will recommend the optimal dosage that may help your condition. B12 works in tandem with other B vitamins and minerals, so B12 supplements should be taken along with a multivitamin and multimineral formula. Keep in mind that B12 vitamins do not replace and should not be used to replace any conventional drugs recommend by your doctor for MS. The B12 vitamin is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat MS, but it is approved to correct a B12 deficiency that may be associated with this condition.

Via : livestrong

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