Multiple sclerosis is a serious progressive disease that affects the central nervous system, leading to a multitude of symptoms that reduce quality of life and could eventually cause permanent damage and disability. There is no cure, but be that as it may, there are several treatment options available through traditional medicine.
Of course, more and more people are turning to natural and alternative treatments, including people with multiple sclerosis, since there are always complications with chemical therapies. For MS patients, there are some simple solutions that can help reduce symptoms and perhaps even prolong periods of remission found in over the counter vitamin supplements, as well as in their typical diets. Take a look at eight of the most highly recommended vitamins to treat MS symptoms.
Vitamin D levels have been linked to risk for developing multiple sclerosis, though the reason is not understood. This vitamin, which promotes absorption of calcium and takes part in several regular bodily functions like cell growth and respiration, neuromuscular functionality, and immune function, can benefit multiple sclerosis patients by helping alter the way the immune system reacts, though the mechanism of this functionality is not fully understood. However, this sort of reaction proves useful to the body overall and especially in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Vitamins C and E
Vitamin C is often used to reduce the chances of catching a common cold, which means it could be helpful for patients with multiple sclerosis because an infection of any kind can exacerbate their symptoms. In addition, many take immunosuppressants, and their immune system is therefore weaker, needing the assistance. More importantly, vitamin C is often recommended for bladder health, reducing the risk of a urinary tract infection, which is a common problem for patients with MS.
Vitamin E should be consumed in lower doses by patients with multiple sclerosis, due to potential side effects. However, it’s probably going to be necessary to supplement the typical daily intake, especially if the patient is also taking omega-3 fatty acids. The way these fatty acids work cause some oxidation in the body, and vitamin E can help prevent oxidative damage due to ingesting this additional supplement.
Sourced from liver and eggs, vitamin A is fat soluble and accumulates within the body over time. The stores of vitamin A are useful in the process of normal cell growth, as well as other functions. Assuring the proper intake of vitamin A helps cells respirate and feed, getting the proper nutrients to the body, which in turn, may assist MS patients by reducing fatigue and muscle weakness. It could, by helping to feed brain cells, also improve cognition and motor control. However, despite its potential benefits, a pregnant woman should reduce her intake of vitamin A due to excess amounts of the substance increasing risk of birth defects.
Multiple sclerosis patients have issues with weakness in the limbs and fatigue that interfere with daily activities. Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps increase energy, which can greatly assist MS patients with endurance. Many patients report greater ease with completing normal activities and the ability to accomplish more throughout the day without needing as much rest. Patients should consult with their physician before starting to supplement with B6 due to the fact that high doses could lead to symptoms similar to those that arise in their disease, including numbness, tingling, and pain.
Also called cobalamin, vitamin B12 is essential to a number of processes in the body. In fact, deficiencies in the vitamin lead to similar symptoms as those experienced in multiple sclerosis. B12 supplements, as well as diets rich in B12 (sources include shellfish, dairy products, meat, eggs, and poultry) can help assure less severe symptoms due to deficiency. In addition, there is evidence that additional B12 could help improve the overall prognosis for multiple sclerosis patients, perhaps slowing the advancement of the disease. Research so far is still inconclusive.
While taking a selenium supplement isn’t recommended, assuring that a patient’s diet is rich in the mineral selenium could help reduce symptoms of multiple sclerosis, as well as prevent relapses and prolong remissions. That’s because selenium has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can remove free radicals from the central nervous system, where they bond with exposed, vulnerable nerve cells and damage them. Care should be taken, however, because too much selenium could lead to an overactive immune system, having the opposite effect desired. Selenium can be found naturally in whole grains, seafood, dairy products, legumes, and lean meat.
Calcium is crucial to several bodily processes, but most importantly, it supports strong bones and teeth. It’s the most abundant mineral found in the human body, and when it is deficient, it puts a person at risk for a great many ailments. Patients with multiple sclerosis are already at increased risk for bone loss (osteoporosis), so assuring that calcium levels remain high is essential to the overall health of these patients. Calcium is readily available in foods, including milk and dairy products, eggs, and leafy greens. A balance should be kept due to calcium in excess amounts causing kidney problems and other toxic issues. Always knowing the recommended daily allowance and making sure to discuss the use with a physician can avoid harmful effects.
When it comes to treating multiple sclerosis, working with a doctor to create the right regimen of medications, therapies, and supplements is necessary. There are interactions to consider, especially with certain herbs and minerals, and with the range of treatment types that a patient with MS could have, it could be dangerous to enter into any alternative treatment or therapy without first speaking to the physician who knows that patient’s condition intimately. However, with the right steps and a little help, certain vitamins and minerals could be the perfect addition to the variety of options implemented to reduce the effects of multiple sclerosis for a particular patient. With more and more studies completing, it’s possible the cure could be found in these alternative treatment methods.