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Vitamins & Supplements: An interview with Dr. Brenda Banwell

Blog Summary

Following last week’s webcast, Living Well with MS: Lifestyle, Diet and Complementary Therapies, we sat down with Dr. Brenda Banwell, MD, to get answers to your questions about vitamins and supplements that are potentially helpful and harmful for people with MS.

In addition to Vitamin D, what other vitamins or supplements do you recommend taking on a daily basis to help MS?

There really isn’t anything else that’s even close to vitamin D in terms of research support for its use in MS. However, I do a blood test of the serum levels of vitamin B12 to make sure my patients aren’t deficient. Vitamin B12 deficiency has a negative impact on myelin, which is important for neurological function and is a particular target in MS. In fact, B12 deficiency can actually look like MS in some patients, and having low B12 if you have MS can further compromise the brain and spine. That said, healthy people who are eating a regular diet are rarely deficient in B12, and if you have normal levels, taking additional B12 has no proven value. People who are on some extreme diets or don’t eat red meat are more likely to have low levels and should be treated if that’s the case.

Vitamin D & MS: An interview with Dr. Brenda Banwell

Blog Summary

During last week’s webcast, Living Well with MS: Lifestyle, Diet and Complementary Therapies, we received a number of questions about vitamin D. We sat down with Dr. Brenda Banwell, MD, following the webcast to get answers to some of the most popular questions you submitted.How much vitamin D should a person with MS be taking? The graph below shows the current recommendations, for the general population, according to the Canadian Food Guide. If you are living with MS, I would recommend that you work with your healthcare provider to obtain your Vitamin D blood levels (also called a 25-hydroxy Vitamin D), which is a measurement of the circulating Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D levels should be around 75 nanomals per liter (Canada) or between 40-80 nanograms per milliliter (United States).