Vitamin D and Gut Bacteria: More Clues and Questions

I just got back from ACTRIMS (Americas Committee for the Treatment and Research in MS), where more than 700 MS doctors and researchers shared their results, especially their work aligned with this year’s theme: Environmental Factors, Genetics, and Epigenetics in MS Susceptibility and Clinical Course. This was my first time at ACTRIMS and I found the theme and the talks really compelling.
One thing that struck me is the evolving story about how specific things we all encounter in our lives interact with the “cards” (genes) we were dealt at birth. Our genes predispose us to be susceptible to various medical conditions, but that doesn’t mean we will get those conditions. In the case of MS, now there are 200 genetic variants identified that increase a person’s likelihood of getting the disease. I’m struck by how many “moving parts” seem to be involved in whether or not a person gets MS and what their MS experience and course will be.
For example, not everyone who has MS has necessarily been exposed to the risk factors identified so far – like low vitamin D, adolescent obesity or smoking – and just because a person has been exposed to these factors doesn’t mean they will develop MS. Add to that various other things that might influence the disease, like a person’s diet or other lifestyle factors, and even the bacteria living in our intestines.
Dr. Ellen Mowry (Johns Hopkins University) described the growing evidence that low levels of vitamin D in the blood increases risk of MS (Abstract S2.1). An interesting wrinkle, she said, is that we don’t know if the blood marker we measure – 25-hydroxyD – is the right one, it’s just the easiest to test. Nevertheless, for the patients she cares for, she likes to make sure their blood levels are within a normal range of between 40-60 ng/mL, and has them take supplements of about 2,000 to 4,000 International Units (I.U.) of vitamin D per day – or sometimes more – to get their blood levels up, but not without testing how much they have beforehand. One thing I didn’t know is that vitamin D supplements start out stronger than it says on the label, and get weaker the closer they get to their expiration date. Good to know!
Dr. Mowry learned a lot about vitamin D when designing and leading a clinical trial to see whether vitamin D supplements, added to glatiramer acetate therapy (e.g. Copaxone), can reduce disease activity. I’m really eager to learn the outcomes when it’s completed, and really proud that the Society is funding this work.  
Another “moving part” is the emerging story of how the bacteria in our guts (microbiome) might talk to the brain, immune system and other organs. Dr. Irah King (McGill University) explained how many different factors, like our diets, genes, medications, stress, hygiene, infections and age, can influence the content of our gut bacteria (Abstract S5.1).  Dr. Sergio Baranzini (University of California, San Francisco) explained that new technology is enabling a whole new look at the millions of bugs in our guts and how they impact immune responses. In one study, his team transplanted gut bacteria from people with MS into germ-free mice. The mice then had much worse EAE (an MS-like disease) than mice without the transplants.
Dr. Baranzini and others are building national and global collaborations like the MS Microbiome Consortium to tease out differences in people with MS, and to see how we might alter the microbiome in hopes of turning off disease activity.  
What about probiotics? You can buy them in the vitamin aisle, but which probiotics might help? Dr. Howard Weiner of Harvard presented his and others’ work in this exciting field, but it’s still early days in this area. As he put it, “…we need a lot of science before we know what we’re doing in terms of probiotic treatment.”
Researchers are learning a lot about how the environment and genes, and even the foods we eat, play a role in MS susceptibly and clinical course. Conferences like ACTRIMS allow researchers and clinicians to compare notes and try to put it all together to advance our understanding of MS.
Check back tomorrow for a blog by my colleague Douglas Landsman, who has other observations around the ACTRIMS theme.
News: ACTRIMS Meeting Focuses on Factors Influencing MS Susceptibility and Disease Course
Read more about living well with MS.
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Elisabeth Mari, PhD

Dr. Elisabeth Mari is Director of Biomedical Research at the National MS Society. Her responsibilities include supporting the Society’s biomedical research grant portfolio and the International Progressive MS Alliance. An immunologist by training, she attended the University of Delaware and then earned her PhD at Imperial College London. Dr. Mari did a postdoctoral research fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She joined the Society in 2016 and brings over 13 years of experience in biomedical research.

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  • maria Mouhtad   Feb 28, 2017 12:29 PM
    thank you for the information.
  • Deborah Glorioso   Feb 28, 2017 12:52 PM
    We believe when I was thrown from my horse and landed upside on the back of my head- at the top of my spine. We believe this traumatic hit started the long life of medical problems before I was finally diagnosed with MS in my 40's which has led to many other medical problems.
  • kimberlyburdette  Feb 28, 2017 1:23 PM
    Great article, good to know that vitamins D gets weaker as it ages! I like the fact that they are adding vitamins D to Copaxone to see if it wokrks better! Let's hope we find a cure soon!
  • Regina Quinn   Mar 1, 2017 9:41 AM
    Thank you so very much for sharing this information with us. It helps so much just to have areas that you can focus on to help yourself, even at this stage in its research -- not being completely, scientifically proven. Thank you so much!
  • Sharon Allum   Mar 1, 2017 2:54 PM
    When I had my last relapse I started researching into how to help myself and discovered the new way of thinking towards low vit d & MS. My GP agreed to check my bloods and my levels were very low. I was put on a dose of 20000iu a day for 3 months. I now take 5000iu a day and my bloods are checked every 6 months or so and they remain at the top of the normal limit despite the high dose. I'm convinced low vit d has a strong connection with ms and relapses and I have bought 1000iu tablets for my adult children to take to help prevent them from being another ms victimn.
  • Sadie   Mar 1, 2017 6:09 PM
    Thank you for this great info. I am a 57 woman who was diagnosed 8 years ago. I am currently on Plegridy for my MS. I recently had 2 mri's that did not show any new lessons. My neurologist geels that the studies show that since I don't have any newesions that plegridy isn't doing anything to help my MS. She wants to wean me off of it. I'm scared to death and don't know what to do about it. Any help would be appreciated very much!
  • Alexa   Mar 1, 2017 6:35 PM
    Thank you for your post. It's wonderful to learn what types of studies are being conducted to advance treatment options for those suffering from MS.
  • Mary Arnold   Mar 2, 2017 7:50 AM
    Does anyone know where I can get Vitamin D without Soy oil in it? My Drs say my Vitamin D is very dangerously low. I have MS. My Drs, lots of Pharmacies cannot find any without Soy oil in it. ty
  • Marci   Mar 2, 2017 7:56 AM
    Sadie, I'm not sure I understand what you wrote...did you mean you have had NO new lesions yet your doctor wants to take you off your med because you aren't showing disease activity? I've never heard of that before it's always been "no new lesions continue what you are doing" I would definitely question the reason s behind taking you off until you feel satisfied with the explanation given you! Good luck!!
  • TERRI L ANDERSON   Mar 3, 2017 7:28 AM
    Good article. I've always wondered if having an eating disorder in my early 20's and depriving my body of valuable nutrients for so long has played a role in my developing MS. Since being diagnosed I have followed a gluten free diet and stay away from as many processed foods as possible I also take probiotics and many vitamins including D. My MS symptoms have improved as well as my migraines and my arthritis.
  • pigeon  Mar 3, 2017 11:55 AM
    I also find this very interesting. Before my MS diagnosis, during a a physical my vitamin D was tested for the first time found to be "off the charts" low. This was surprising because I am employed as a landscaper(for over 20 years), have a farm and was a long distance runner. In other words, I am always outside in the sun and have never have worn sunblock. They put me on some high dose prescription of vitamin D and it still did not get much higher. I think those with MS somehow don't absorb vitamin D....
  • Cynthia   Mar 16, 2017 8:27 AM
    I've was diagnosed in 1991.I was assigned a new neurologist several years ago who specializes in MS and he told me about vitamin D being helpful to people with MS. It had shown up on my labs that I was very low in vitamin D, so I've been taking it ever since. Hopefully it's helping. It's surely not hurting!
  • Trina Waller   Mar 16, 2017 8:28 AM
    I was diagnosed with Ms last year and now I'm seeing a doctor for thyroids and I am taking vitamin D 50000 milligrams I would like someone to give me a call to explain to me if the vitamin D is good for me or not.
  • Lori Vilela   Mar 16, 2017 8:30 AM
    I have had MS for many years I was diagnosed in my early 30;s I am now 54 .
    I was on copaxon for a while , I stared with good vitamins, increased my D to 5,000 stopped all medications Just take very good all natural vitamins.

    I am fine today , no signs of MS for 6 years or more . I think the Vitamins were the trick I tell everyone about what I take. Spingola for the plaque on the brain, and many many more , because I never was a good eater. I do health shakes every morning.
    feel great now.
  • SMK   Mar 16, 2017 8:36 AM
    To Mary Armold
    Look into: Garden of Life, mykind organics, vegan D3. This is in the form of a spray. I do not see soy listed but you should do further research on this before you choose to take it. I buy this at Whole Foods.
  • Diane Kazmierski   Mar 16, 2017 8:41 AM
    Very interesting read regarding Vitamin D losing its potency as it gets closer to the expiration date.I wondering how pharmacy can change this. I take 10,000 units/day and my level is low.
    I recently started taking probiotic daily recommended by my gi dr. D/t my new dx of IBS. Looking forward to future research regarding this matter.
  • Maxine   Mar 16, 2017 8:50 AM
    It's better to get 100% results before commenting on what or what not will work. As a sufferer of over 20 yrs my hopes have been raised and dashed do many times
  • Tracy Peterson   Mar 16, 2017 8:56 AM
    I have been living with M.S. since 2004. That was the year I was diagnosed. I believe I had it for 2 years prior to my diagnosis. I had pneumonia and had a very hard time getting over it. I was never the same after that. I started having symptoms of MS, but had no idea that is what it was. 2 years later the bottom fell out and I was then diagnosed. I believe the pneumonia is the reason I cam down with Ms.
  • Susan A   Mar 16, 2017 9:14 AM
    This is very interesting information. My mother, who had MS had IBS for as long as I can remember.
  • SHELLY VIVIRITO   Mar 16, 2017 9:14 AM
    I don't have MS but I do suffer from SIBO. I have been treated for the bacterial overgrowth several times and it continues to be a problem. I have learned how much the food we eat and just our environment alone can have such an impact on this condition. It's not life threatening but it can be very debilitating and can lead to other health issues. Thank you for the information in this article above. I'm always researching and learning from others who have the same condition.
  • Jennifer   Mar 16, 2017 9:17 AM
    I was diagnosed with MS a little over a year ago. Nobody in my family as far as we can go back has had ms. So it was all new to me. When I was diagnosed they told me my b-12 was very low, but nothing about vitamin d. So I'm going to ask about that the next time I go. I'm always looking for ways to help myself. I've changed the way I eat, and exercise. I don't want ms to have me.
  • Tammy Foster   Mar 16, 2017 9:22 AM
    @Mary Arnold Rodan + Fields has a vitamin D supplement with Soy in it. It is a formula that you take once a week. It contains 10,000 IU per capsule. It does not require a prescription or a trip to the pharmacy. I'm a pharmacist and this is what I take once a week. To order you can go to the website and click on Shop skincare then click on Essentials. It is 10 capsules for a 10 week supply for $26.
  • Clint   Mar 16, 2017 9:24 AM
    Does taking anti-biotics wipe out all/most of the bacteria in our guts? That is what I read on one web site.
  • Dorethia   Mar 16, 2017 9:31 AM
    This is wonderful. My Chiropractor began me on a regimen of Vitamin D and the gut probiotics 3 months ago. She does a great deal of research to help me and another patient with MS. Thanks again.
  • Roy   Mar 16, 2017 9:31 AM
    A cousin went to an Organic diet after being hospitalized with MS several times including blindness. She has been on an organic diet and symptom free for over 20 years.

    Many GMO foods work in the gut. Gluten intolerance and Celiac appear to be on the rise since GMO approval. GMO's effect on MS (and Gluten intolerance) has not been studied. Give organic foods a try. They are cheaper than doctor bills.
  • Rachel Kramer   Mar 16, 2017 9:40 AM
    My mother has MS and I have Graves AND Hashimotos (also autoimmune), and my endocrinologist was downright dismissive about the benefits of Vitamin D. I have been hitting the D hard in hopes of dodging the MS bullet.
    I take 10000 IU of D daily and my Vit D levels when tested were just inside the low normal range...yet my endo said nothing. I also give my preteen daughter 2000 IU of D most days (perhaps not in summer).
    Anyone with a Vit D success story? Anyone with an endo who actually listens??
  • Aithmara Ayala Matos   Mar 16, 2017 9:44 AM
    Yo me he puesto a pensar y llegue a la conclusion, de que en el 2008 fui diagnóstico da con artritis reumatoidea. Por que aveces hay médicos que no buscan más halla. Luego en el 2012 tuve unos síntomas y gracias a un médico especialista en retina me envió hacerme un MRI con contrastes y fue quien me encontró verdaderamente lo que sucedía era Esclerosis multiple.
  • Deb Jaklik   Mar 16, 2017 9:44 AM
    @ Mary Arnold - Now makes a Vitamin D without soy oil. You can get Now vitamins at health food stores or
  • Judi   Mar 16, 2017 9:45 AM
    Has there been any research on the relation between a vegetarian diet and gut bacteria!
  • Anne Goodman   Mar 16, 2017 9:58 AM
    My husband, 39 years old, has MS. We have three sons aged 11 years, eight years, and five years old. What would be the Pediatric dosage of vitamin D you would recommend for our three children as a preventative treatment of developing multiple sclerosis?
  • Dawn Lee Smith   Mar 16, 2017 9:59 AM
    I had a very hard birth I was a blue baby. I have talked to a. Few other people with M.S. Could this be a link?
  • Diane von Hardenberg   Mar 16, 2017 10:10 AM
    This informative article sheds new light on the many interactions between genetics and environment. Genes and susceptibility to things in our environment open up new avenues for research and dialogue. I have been taking Vitamin D since my diagnosis in 2006. I do wonder if an individual has one autoimmune disease, does it make one more susceptible to other autoimmune disorders such as thyroid, anemia, etc. Gut bacteria is being investigated for many other autoimmune disorders. As a child, I had many rounds of antibiotics for various illnesses. I wonder now if there were residual effects from that. When I was diagnosed in 2006, the specialist who read the MRIs said the old plaque indicated that I might have had MS for about 20 years. I was 58 years old when diagnosed. My dad had Parkinson's, my mom had diabetes and thyroid problems. This research is intriguing to me and I hope to follow the progression of findings.
  • Shawn Killian   Mar 16, 2017 10:14 AM
    Thank you Dr. Mari for eveything you have and are now doing to find a cure for MS. My father and I both have MS and we are always very thankful for Dr.s like you and all of the others working hard to find the answers for a cure.
    Thank you very much,
    Shawn Killian
  • G. L. "Lindy" Welch   Mar 16, 2017 10:20 AM
    I look forward to receiving more information concerning this valuable research!
  • Lanie   Mar 16, 2017 10:27 AM
    Low Vit D can actually mean low Magnesium. When Storage Hormone-D is low:

    1) Magnesium is likely deficient or certainly Low...
    2) Active Hormone-D is HIGH -- they are on a seesaw!
    3) Calcium is ALSO HIGH -- again, it's on a seesaw with Magnesium

    Are magnesium levels being tested as well as Vit D levels?
  • Helen Harber   Mar 16, 2017 10:35 AM
    I was diagnosed with MS in 2005 & have been on stomach meds since that time for all sorts of G.I. issues. My Gastroenterologist told me years ago that there was a correlation between MS and the gut but he could only treat the symptoms. 😔
  • John T   Mar 16, 2017 10:42 AM
    Diagnosed in 1998 and on Rebif. In the past I would get sunburned pretty easily so several years ago I started making a point of getting a little bit of sun at a time to build up a base tan. I know, I know, people are thinking USE SPF! but read up on it, sun in itself is not a bad thing, it's when you get too much or get sunburn. We know very well that sun exposure causes the skin to produce vitamin D. Well guess what, proper levels of vitamin D is a good thing. So over the last several years with *some* sun in the summer and vitamin D supplements during the other times of the year I have been feeling far better than I was in previous years and have far less problems. One tiny lesion in the last nine years. I'm a firm believer that vitamin D plays a big part in our health.
  • Susan Schlindwein   Mar 16, 2017 10:44 AM
    Very interesting article. I am 57, diagnosed since 23.
    Mycourse of MS has been very mild, though I had new lesions last year. I am interest to find out about the role of diet in MS. A low calorie diet is what I prefer, and hope it has had a positive effect in progression of the disease
  • Kathleen Adler   Mar 16, 2017 10:45 AM
    I'm very interested in getting more info about the role of magnesium and probiotics for folks who have MS. In addition to secondary-progressive MS, I've had IBS-like symptoms / diarrhea for years now, and have experienced some mild improvement with probiotics -- but every time I go to buy a new supply, I am truly befuddled about which brand to choose, and why. More research in that area would be a gift! Thanks.
  • NANCY SEIP   Mar 16, 2017 10:45 AM
  • Sheri Hopper   Mar 16, 2017 10:48 AM
    Dr. Mari, Thank you so much for your dedication to the research of this disease. I appreciate the knowledge you share on this blog. I have three small children and know what role nutrition can have into their adult lives. Food is not the same as when I was growing up (I am 50). We were blessed to eat out of our grandparents garden almost daily and we spent countless hours outside in the sunshine playing with everyone in the neighborhood. My grandparents lived healthy lives, my parents do not have any major health issues and nor do I. I do fear for my children due to all the conveniences in the food industry and the constant "on the go" of family life in todays society.
  • cris belanger   Mar 16, 2017 11:20 AM
    What probiotics do you suggest we take?
  • Kent Miller   Mar 16, 2017 11:37 AM
    I started to have symptoms of MS shortly after Navy boot camp. The shots that I received in boot camp made me very sick. I believe this triggered the MS. I was told all my life that a bad back was the cause of my symptoms. I was diagnosed in 2007 with a major case of MS & they said I had it for at least 30 years.
  • Debbie Cosner   Mar 16, 2017 11:42 AM
    I was diagnosed with MS about 17 years ago but have not had a relapse since the diagnosis. I always wondered if it was truly MS since my MRI show no new lesions. I have been on copaxone but have not been told about vitamin D. I want to get off my medication but am concerned if I do. I need guidance as to what I do since I'm getting ready to get on Medicare and the copaxone is so expensive.
    Very interesting information about your article. Thank you
  • Elizabeth Hazelmyer   Mar 16, 2017 11:43 AM
    I've always known I have had SAD. I take 10000IU in the winter per day and 5000IU in the summer. I also use a UV light twice a week. I didn't know the supplements deteriorated over time. Good to know.
  • Larry   Mar 16, 2017 12:00 PM
    I actually read relevant and educational MS research that is easy to understand, do not stop.
  • Naomi Mitchum   Mar 16, 2017 12:11 PM
    I am 87 and currently diagnosed with axon neuropathies but from 1995 until now was diagnosed first with lupus (two years) then multiple sclerosis. I would be a good subject for research because all the lesions in my brain have disappeared leaving no scar tissue. This is all documented, and I was treated by a noted M doctor, Victor Rivera. I believe my MS was caused by breast implants which I had after a double mastectomy and were later removed. I still have issues of MS but no lesions. They all disappeared over time, the 6m frontal lobe one first, then the others. I am not looking for a money settlement (I do not need the money), but think there might be some pertinent information regarding foreign bodies in my body environment that contributed to my MS. I also have diabetes, thyroid problem, colon cancer, but I am an informed person who deals with chronic illness in healthy ways.

    Most research is on younger persons, and, as I have said before, no one is looking at us oldsters to find out why we are getting old while others are dying.

    I tried all the MS drugs to no avail except for 4 aminopryidine that was discontinued because of kidney stones.

    I am a legitimate person. See my website or see my book on reinventing oneself.

    Thanks for considering my comments.
    Naomi Mitchum, president
    Rampsn'things Press
    Houston, TX
  • Darryl Clements   Mar 16, 2017 12:28 PM
    It is about time that MS funneled some money into food and health rather than big farma
  • Lynne Abramovich   Mar 16, 2017 12:28 PM
    I was told by a pharmacist that all drugs get weaker as they age and to assume -10% for every year past a drug's freshness date. Is this a good rule of thumb?
  • Nancy Carr   Mar 16, 2017 12:39 PM
    What is your opinion of Dr. Wahls Protocol?

    You have no idea how much I appreciate what you are doing. I'm 68 with MS and was diagnosed in 1981.
  • Sandra   Mar 16, 2017 12:41 PM
    By the suggestion of my PCP I have been taking Restora probiotic for a year, I also started my third therapy Rebif at the same time. My very recent MRIs of brain, cervical & thoracic show no new activity. My neuro says stable MS. I eat all organic fruits and vegetables which can be had at Traders Joes or Aldi very reasonably.
  • Michelle Adams   Mar 16, 2017 12:54 PM
    Hi Mary Arnold,

    I use Solgar Vitamin D3 Cholecalciferol 5000 IU Vegetable Capsules, 240 Count which makes the following claims on the Amazon web site.

    About the Product

    • Solgar vitamin D3 helps produce vitamin D for those who lack on sun exposure
    • It helps support healthy bones density, teeth, muscle, & a healthy immune system
    • while promoting a healthy blood pressure as well
    • Our vitamin D3 product is made in a vegetable capsule so its easier for the body to absorb & digest it
    • Kosher, Non-GMO & Free of Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Soy, Yeast, Sugar, Sodium, Artificial Flavor, & Sweetener
  • Lorna Phillips   Mar 16, 2017 1:03 PM
    Hi, just wanted to share my experience. I was diagnosed with M.S. In 2000. It started with some numbness and since my dad had it they did scans and said I have M. S. At one point I was prescribed high doses of vitamin D because my levels were low. While taking it, my numbness from a prior exacerbation went away and my fatigue disappeared as well. Needless to say I am not taking any M.S. Medication only making sure my D4 levels are good and I have stayed exacerbation free for about 4 years. Hope this. Are study helps. sincerely Lorna
  • Dellise H.   Mar 16, 2017 1:37 PM
    Thank you so much for relaying this most beneficial and enlightening information. It is very encouraging to know the outcomes and paths of research being conducted in this area. I will continue to look for updates. I am very interested in finding out more information on how possible external viruses possibly contracted through sub-dermal penetration... if that makes sense... can in some way be a contributing factor to the development of or onset of MS symptoms. My belief is that a bacteria or virus - parasite possibly - may cause the disease is some cases. Any thoughts would be hugely appreciated. Thank you
  • Pamela Lang   Mar 16, 2017 1:49 PM
    I was diagnosed in 2006 and am 62 years old now. I have always said and told my doctor that food plays a big part in how I feel especially with my MS symptoms showing their ugly face. I now eat healthy gluten free and it helps tremendously. My doctor never agreed that food would be an indicator of flare ups. Thank God you are now realizing what I always thought! And I am off MS medication and I say my medicine is my healthy eating and exercise!
  • Big Red   Mar 16, 2017 2:38 PM
    Has any research ever ruled out Mycoplasma as the/a cause of MS? Mycoplasma is the smallest known self-replicating entity known to man, visible only under high powered microscope, 60,000 magnifications or more. From what I can tell, Mycoplasma is all over the world, and has been since the beginning of time. It has been found , according to sources like the NIH, in every known autoimmune disorder. Also, according to the NIH, it is the bacteria that causes TB
  • Gilly Sharpnack   Mar 16, 2017 3:22 PM
    I am glad that we are finally thinking outside the box now. I had told one of my doctors years ago that tuna fish and eggs made me feel better and he laughed at me and said that I was just imagining that. I left that Doctor. I am trying to go more gluten free, but it has been hard with my husband on a different diet as well. I am trying to get off sugar too for it causes inflammation. I am the fourth generation in my family that has MS and would love to see a cure. I was 33 when I was diagnose and I will be 67 this summer. I also have acid reflux too which a lot of fruits kill me. Maybe this is part of the gut problem as well. The vitamin D has helped me to. MS has been around for a long time, but now we have better test to diagnose it quicker. Thank you for studying diet and not laughing at the patients that said they felt better after eating certain things in their diet. Now I am going to try probiotic now.
  • Barbara Hoffman   Mar 16, 2017 3:24 PM
    What an informative article!
    I take 4000 mg. of additional VitaminD3 as a daily regimen plus I take Avonex.
    I wonder if this new research study will include that in their findings of how it works with Copaxone?
  • Linda Luchetti   Mar 16, 2017 3:31 PM
    We can never share/learn too much on any one given topic. Loved this article and !took forward to future ones a!long this line. Thank you.
  • Mary   Mar 16, 2017 4:29 PM
    I share the sentiment about low Vit D levels; taking 1000 IU /day supplement of Vit D3( be sure it is D3 which is more easily absorbed) & I put a bottle in my 3 adult daughters Xmas stockings every year!
    I am also convinced there is a strong disposition to MS if you had Mono as a young adult (exposure to the Epstein -Barr virus) that affects your immune system .
  • linda engler   Mar 16, 2017 5:14 PM
    Thank you for sending this info to me. I am a 69 plus woman with MS and many other problems that seem to keep multiplying . I lived a very stressful life as a child and in my career. So many well meaning people think I can just stop taking everything and I would be okay. People just cannot understand what goes on in our bodies. Thank you again for your work on our behalf.
  • susan paris   Mar 16, 2017 5:16 PM
    so glad to read this article. I have trouble with my gut. my level of vitamin d has always been low. as a kid and young adult verythin to thin. very active sports ect. grew up with good garden grown food and local butcher shop meat. plenty of sun shine in summer months. live in Indiana. want to learn more. thanks
  • Heather Lacroix-Greeley   Mar 16, 2017 6:21 PM
    I was very excited to read this information and would love to be kept updated.
  • Kevin   Mar 16, 2017 6:31 PM
    Vit D is essential to take and everyone is low - look up the history - in the old west it was not uncommon to find 50k IU's OTC - when the medical community started using that as a chemotherapeutic dose they changes it from mg's to IU's which made everyone question the super high dose and they started lowering the OTC dose so now it's hard to find anything higher than 10k iu's - high dose Vit D is considered 125k iu's per day - for every 10k IMU's you need 1k of K2 to prevent calcium from leaching out of bones! The measured levels where also reduced way back when so that 40-60 is still way too low and your level should be > 100 at all times - it is also fat soluable and so gets stored in fat which can affect your levels for an extended period once your over 100 but does not mean your blood level is still adequate similar to b12 which everyone is deficient in - especially if vegan! High dose D or B12 is not as harmful as your doctor might think if you know what your doing! There is a lot more to diet and the microbiome than big pharmacy and our governmental agencies would have us believe! Do your research - make the changes especially for your kids before their addicted to bad fats i.e. Omega 6 in vegetable oils and sugar! Both killers! DHA/EPA = fish oils are critical as is curcumen and many other supplements for inflammation and anti-oxidation and the immune system while alchalinizing the system so that your urine and or salivary ph is as close to 8 or 8.5 as you can get it - the majority when tested will be 6 which is very acidic and pro inflammatory! Be well to all and good luck! I've done my research as a past prescribing medical provider who has graduated from hospice with a terminal neuro degenerative disease - I was in a wheelchair and am now walk with a cane among other improvements - there is no treatment for my disease - a Parkinsons Plus Disorder but my research and self prescribed treatment plan has keep me alive past two different expiration dates!
  • Judy Crutchfield   Mar 16, 2017 6:32 PM
    I take vitamin D now, but can not understand for the life of me why or how I was deficient. I was always in the sun tanning and playing sports until heat began to be a factor. I probably over did it to as far as my skin was concerned.
    I do agree about diet. I am always learning what seems to affect my body, spasms/tremors. I try to stay away from those foods or seasonings.
  • JANE H CICIARELLI   Mar 16, 2017 7:26 PM
    In my daughter's teen years she started having severe bloat. It became so severe that I had to buy her maternity clothes because her regular clothing was too restrictive. She developed MS after being in a car accident while a college student in her early twenties. She is now 43 years old, unable to work, and bloats unbelievably. This is, in my mind, a medical problem, but no one has ever addressed it. Just wanted you to know.
  • Nicholas   Mar 16, 2017 7:51 PM
    Thank you for this informative article.
  • George M Wynne   Mar 16, 2017 8:48 PM
    I find your article on vitamin D. When I started having tripping issues (foot drop) I was put on a Bioness electric shock unit to help lift my leg. It cost over $5000 I had to pay as insurance refused. It helped for less than 60 days. I was also given 50,000 units of vitamin D twice weekly. This did make me feel better because my level was below the minimum. It have tried every current MS drug that I medically could. I have had no success with any of them and am now 2nd stage progressive. I feel that I have had very good care from the doctors at USC and Casa Colina rehab hospital.
    Do you have any suggestions as I have been off all MS medicine for six months and continue to loose the use of the left side of my body any already have lost the use of the right side.

    Thank You,
    George Wynne
  • Susan Beard   Mar 16, 2017 10:55 PM
    Hello and thank you for all that you do!
    I know the majority of "thought" is that MS and trauma have nothing to do with each other. However, about 26-27 years ago, I had a really bad fall, landing on asphalt flat on my back and slamming my head so hard that my eyes rolled back, and I had a concussion. MRIs show "old" lesions along my spine.....
    Other MS folks have never had an injury, but no two cases are alike...
    I'm willing to be a guinea pig for any kind of trial, (especially stem cell); so please feel free to contact me.
    I have R/R, DX. in 2010. I take LDN, Low Dose Naltrexone 4.5mg daily. I'm 61 years old, use a walker, L side weakness is the biggest issue, fatigue is probably 2nd.
    Thanks again and God bless you for all of your hard work and compassion.
    Susan A Beard
  • 3beej  Mar 17, 2017 12:17 AM
    Like Terri A., I also had an eating disorder in in my twenties. Drank lots of Aspartame (diet soda), too. Was diagnosed with MS at the age of 43. Did those earlier terrible eating habits cause it?
  • Deb snyder   Mar 17, 2017 5:24 AM
    I have been diagnosed with MS for about 10 years now , i was 36 . In the past year i have learned that 2 of my childhood neighbors that grew up directly from where i did at the same time have also been diagnosed with MS . All 3 of us females and within a few years years apart in age and all 3 of us living in this very very small neighborhood until we were adults . I have always wanted to share this and i find it very interesting and wonder if anyone else had a similar story .
  • Jennifer   Mar 17, 2017 7:27 AM
    Thank you for this information! I have been pleading with doctors to tell me exactly what multi-vitamin my fiancé suffering from MS should take and that I strongly think he should have his vitamin D especially tested in his bloodwork. Thank you!
  • wanda bain   Mar 17, 2017 7:45 AM

    Vitamin D without soy
  • Dwayne Liverman   Mar 17, 2017 7:48 AM
    This article reassured my drug intake, 40mg Copaxone 3x a week, 6000iu vitamin D daily, 1200 mg fish oil daily, garlic. I was diagnosed in 2000 with RRMS.
  • Dixie Moss   Mar 17, 2017 8:25 AM
    I find your blog on "Bacteria In The Gut" very interesting. I am 71 years old, and was diagnosed with MS about 10 years ago, but am not on any treatment program at the moment. In the beginning of my diagnosis, I was put on Avonex to with I was allergic to. I am also Celiac and have Osteoporosis. I currently take 2400 mg of calcium, 1200 mg magnesium, and 5000 IU of Vitamin D-3. I am in the yard a lot in the spring & summer so I don't think I am deficient in Vitamin D. I am very curious about the foods I eat that could trigger MS because I am careful to eat food without gluten.
  • angellloyd  Mar 17, 2017 10:39 AM
    Nutrigold Vitamin D3 Gold. Or, Nordic Naturals. Both companies are held to high standards. Verified by 3rd party labs. Both use olive oil.
  • Valerie Noren   Mar 17, 2017 12:21 PM
    I was diagnosed with MS When I was 40 and am now 81. I have not taken any of the medicines for MS except for Baclofen. I consider my self very fortunate. I have been using a rolling walker for about 8 years and my legs are getting worse now. I have not even used a neurologist but once and he didn't help me. I believe this disease runs its course with or without meds depending what version you have. Everyone is different. I believe mine was triggered when I got a divorce so emotions play a big part. Mine also started with optic neuritis. I have been hospitalized with MS just once in all these years. As I said I consider myself very fortunate. I worked until I retired at 65.
  • Cheryl Lilly   Mar 17, 2017 1:45 PM
    I was diagnosed with MS in 2001 at the age of 46. I have had only two exacerbations but I do suffer with muscle spasms at night and extreme fatigue in hot weather. My mother had MS (deceased), my sister has MS, my first cousin has MS, and I can track back to a great, great uncle who in his 30's went from riding a horse to walking on crutches (not diagnosed at the time).

    In addition, when I was a child, my mother, a woman one block over, another woman three blocks away, and yet another woman four blocks away had MS. All four women were in their 20's.

    So, I have seen the genetic and the environmental connection in my own family. I have never taken any MS drugs. I do not have a gluten problem; however recently my Vitamin D level was VERY low and so, I am taking supplements.

    My mother suffered with MS from age 23 to age 68 when she died. She spent 25 years in a wheel chair. God took her home when she had become so paralyzed that she could no longer hold up her head.

    Please keep working on a cure for this disease.
  • ARL   Mar 17, 2017 3:09 PM
    I have had MS for over 25 years. I swear by the raw food diet and revert to it whenever my symptoms flair. This diet really lowers your inflammation and has done wonders for me. I've been a lifelong vegetarian except for a couple of years (during which I was at my worst and diagnosed).
    If you are struggling, just give the raw food diet a shot for 2 weeks. What have you got to lose?
  • Suzanne Paulson   Mar 17, 2017 4:21 PM
    I have primary progressive MS. I was diagnosed in 2003 at the age of 61. I take no prescribed medications for my MS. I do take 10,000 units of vitamin D daily. My MRI'S for the last 10 years have shown no further lesions and my MS has not progressed. All my blood tests are normal for the amount of this vitamin supplement.
  • Rebecca Steinhauer   Mar 17, 2017 5:35 PM
    Thank you for your research. My husband is 55 and takes Copaxone injections for his MS, plus Vitamin D, fish oil and other supplements. He also has a regimen of Metamucil, colace and Miralax to try to "go" regularly. I hope the probiotics...gut bacteria, are part of the answer.
  • Diann McMaster   Mar 17, 2017 10:45 PM
    relationship of relapsing and primary progressive MS
  • Lorraine Schmitz   Mar 18, 2017 2:08 AM
    I am 79 years old and diagnosed at age 52. Prior to the diagnosis, I had recurring diarriha for about 2-3 years. Not enough to go to doctor but explosive, what I thought unexplained episodes. In retrospect, I had gained a lot of weight and was eating fatty foods. Now I have been taking liquid probiotics for the past year (prior to this I had eaten a lot of both soy and milk yogurt) - American Health Acidopholus and intend to continue taking 2 tablespoons of it every day. I have lost the weight as soon as I was diagnosed but struggle now with constipation due to muscle weakness and diarriha at times when I take something to relieve it.
  • tricia mccomb   Mar 18, 2017 10:40 AM
    Very interesting and informational...please continue to send me updates having to do with this particular 36 year old son has MS and was diagnosed 2 weeks after his 17th birthday...
    this study/research sounds wonderful and so hopeful, cannot wait for some conclusions/answers. no matter what they will be nice to have definitive answers either way. ya know answers to questions are the difference between doing things right or wrong or in between.
    T Y Tricia
  • Tricia   Mar 18, 2017 12:54 PM
    This is not new, although most of you only look at how to treat symptoms instead of promoting the many studies published that promote healing by way of treating our gut, where most disease starts. (see Dr. John Bergman/you tube).
    Too bad pharmaceutical companies are winning and people are still suffering despite natural, proven treatments for MS and many other auto-immune dis eases.
  • Jennifer Ates   Mar 18, 2017 5:13 PM
    I was in car accident May 4,1994, immediately afterwards I lost a lot of memory. I had many headaches.... finally diagnosed with MS on 11-15-2016
  • Jennifer Hewish   Mar 18, 2017 5:47 PM
    Thank you for doing this research, bc i believe this will help with my MS therapy and fight with this disease.
  • Terry   Mar 19, 2017 12:01 PM
    I was diagnosed in 1988. Nobody checked my D levels until 5 years ago. It was 25. Started taking 4000 IUs of D-3, not D, as it processes in system better. Now at 70 and holding steady so have dropped IUs to 1000. Too much of a supplement can be toxic as well. Check all vitamins you're taking to calculate contents of D.
  • Heather Wright   Mar 19, 2017 1:17 PM
    Thank you for this information. I was especially surprised and thankful to learn that vitamin D supplements start out strong, but lose their potency as the expiration date approaches.
  • Christy   Mar 20, 2017 8:05 AM
    Thanks for this update. Over the past few years, one of the MS doctor's at our medication product sponsored meetings has spoken about the two topics. It was not as in-depth and this brings some clarity to the studies and findings. I'd really like to know if gut microb transplants will become an option for us. Sounds gross but the question is will it help reset our immune system.
  • Michael Meeks   Mar 20, 2017 5:36 PM
    This thing with gut bacteria has me wondering is it why I have stomachs problems. I have rrms
  • Cathy Chester   Mar 21, 2017 10:32 AM
    I have been sidelined for months with pain in my abdomen and constant diarrhea. After a battery of tests including an endoscopy, 2nd colonoscopy and a breathalyzer test my gastro concluded I had bacteria in my small intestine. I am on my 2nd round of antibiotics (which I hate taking) and am looking into food as medicine (no gluten, sugar and possibly dairy)

    I contacted Howard Weiner's office hoping I could get a 2nd opinion but they said, as the author did, their science is not complete. I'd love to follow this conversation.

    My battle with all of this has kicked in my MS. I was told twice there is no relationship between MS and gut but I am not convinced.

    I'd like to reach out to the 2 doctors the author mentioned to gather some comments. Any help would be appreciated.
    Cathy Chester
  • Kathleen Romeo   Mar 23, 2017 5:30 PM
    Did not say enough. Vitamin D. 50000 IUs weekly produced over the top excessive urination. At night after going to bed every fifteen minutes by the clock.
  • Karen   Mar 23, 2017 8:17 PM
    Very helpful! Thank you.
    I am taking D3; 4000 IU a day. My level in Sept. of 2016 was 23, for D3 specifically. Is it beneficial to double the dose when the capsules are close to expiration, or have already expired? Also, at age 63, I am thinking I should take Calcium to help with the absorption? I have had Relapsing Remitting MS for fourteen years.
    Thank you.
  • Sheree Bodary   Mar 24, 2017 1:03 PM
    Is there any studies in the works using fecal transplants?
  • Karen Johnston   Mar 25, 2017 9:28 AM
    Interesting to know about the expiration date and Vit D. I also have not been a great eater growing up and wonder about MS. Also experienced a trauma in my adult years. Wonder how much that might have affected it.
  • Wendy   Mar 31, 2017 6:37 AM
    Hello I have MS and I was waundring if there is anything to do for the MS hug it is really painful ? I have it all the time.
  • Ann   Apr 1, 2017 1:54 PM
    I appreciate receiving this concise, easy to read and understand recap of current research on MS. I'm especially pleased to read the information regarding vitamin D, which my functional medicine specialist recommended to me some time ago.
  • Kim Bressingham   Apr 2, 2017 11:15 AM
    Like Deborah Giorioso I too was thrown from a horse in my teens. I landed on my back and the back of my head. I did sustain any injuries other than soreness and bruising.I was not diagnosed until I was 35 but wonder if this trauma had anything to do with my having ms.
  • wayne person   Apr 11, 2017 5:49 PM
    has anyone looked at water with bacteria? we live on farm land that had cows. and my daughter died from m.s. & my wife has m.s. also .Presently she drinks bottled water. and medication anvonex. but it is still relapsing.
  • Ralph Canillas   Apr 12, 2017 5:08 PM
    My wife developed MS in her 30s. I've always believed that her encounter with Eastern Equine Encephalitis as a teen oped the door for later episodes of relapsing MS. She's now in long term care. It's been most difficult on both of us.
  • Susan   Apr 14, 2017 3:48 PM
    Wonderful information. I will ask for these levels to be checked soon. I currently use Tecfidera for treatment for two years now. no new lesions, shrinked 4 of the lesions, and one in brain is completely gone. I recently had an increased activity. I also take a Milk Thistle w/Tumeric supplement for liver functions..and Vit B
  • Glenn Cornelius   Apr 21, 2017 1:33 PM
    Colitis and Diverticulosis - Just a comment. About the time I first to have symptoms of something happening to my health that was not usual for me, I had a bout with colitis and diverticulosis. This occurred around the last week in November of 2005. I went into the month of March 2006 before I managed to get my stomach settled back down and the pain to subside. Since November of 2005 until I finally went to see a Neurologist in 2007, I continually was experiencing symptom that I never had issues with prior to November 2005. I am not one to go on the internet to try to be my own Doctor. But I started to keep a journal of the symptoms as they were occurring. I made an appointment with a local Neurologist who sent me for a sleep study, said I had sleep apnea and once he got that under control for me, everything else would be taken care of. I worked with him for a year before He did my first MRI. I had the MRI taken and they gave me a copy of it to carry to my Neuro appt the next day. I am a curious by nature person. When I got home I put the CD in my computer. Now I know that I am not a Doctor by any means. So as I looked at the MRI prior to the contrast I just thought I was looking to a normal brain. But when the after contrast images came up, my brain lit up like a Christmas tree I had so many lesions. Long story to get to this. I left this Neuro and went to see Dr. Christopher Laganke In Cullman, AL. After my first meeting with him, I knew that I should have been with him the whole time. I was given a definitive diagnosis of MS in October of 2009. So having said all of that, I have always wondered if the bout of colitis and diverticulosis could have been a factor in my having MS? Thanks for listening to me .If you have time to share your thoughts with me on this, I would appreciate it. If not, then maybe it will be a little food for thought on your end.
  • Rita Hillstead   Apr 24, 2017 11:28 PM

    I would like to thank you for all your hard work and sharing your research. I lost my brother in 2015 due to MS. I my self and children have Auto Immune,Lupus,etc. I would like to have you thought if I may ask, Our father worked at y-12 and k-25 in Oak Ridge TN helping with clean up while they were building the Atom bomb (Hemoshemia dropped on Japan) during that time the wore street clothes and shoes. No protective gear. Our eldest sister is fine, she was born prior to his employment. My brother was born approx 9 years later and was diagnosed with MS at 16 years old. I have hurt since I was a child.I am 52 now and I am checked every year for MS because of symptoms and Lupus etc, I have other family members that worked with my father at the Oak Ridge plants and their children are as sick as my brother and I and with the same diagnoses. I have all the records from the plants specifying all chemicals such as Uranium-235 and Plutonium and many others chemicals our fathers worked with daily. Our fathers couldn't hardly move without pain by their late 30's. They all had to take early retirements due to not being able to function. All of them died of cancer along with most of their wives. K25 and Y12 Contaminated the Clinch River that runs all the way through to Kentucky and further with Plutonium. I have often thought the Oak Ridge plants broke our Immune systems causing these Diseases since our Sister to which was born prior to employment is 67 and still just fine. They make these bombs through out the U.S. not just Oak Ridge. They need water to cool the Uranium and for other preparations they use River or Lake water and it back washes. I would truly like your input on my thoughts, There is not a way to stop the Government from doing this,It is what it is! Just maybe, if this may have some inkling to cause; maybe the body could be cleaned as they do for high Lead levels or cleaning the blood system and restoring what the body is low in or has lost. such as Vitamin D, Myelin Cells,Platelets etc.
    Thank you & Kind Regards
  • Greta   Apr 25, 2017 10:32 PM
    Anyone have experience with gastric bypass and MS?
  • Roy Apuzzo   May 7, 2017 8:14 PM
    Dear Elisabeth: I a Patient in Las Vegas at age 55 was misdiagnosis and had 2 failed spine surgeries for a right leg drop foot. Having a hard time getting doctors to listen to me and was hoping you could help with my condition. My home phone is 702-233-6854. I will be willing to travel anywhere to get well. I'm now turning 62 and need help.
    If you would be so kind as to please contact me and possible assist me in getting the correct health care. I had a great lady named Sally trying to help also.Below is one of her emails.
    I am the author of "Could It be B12? An epidemic of misdiagnoses." I have a
    B 12 aware of the site, a patient wrote me and is having problems getting
    B12 injections. Could you recommend a physician in the Las Vegas, Nevada
    area for him to receive hydroxocobalamin injections. We use this form in
    numerous patients including children with inborn errors of B12 metabolism
    and this is the most cost-effective route for patients. It is also made by
    a pharmaceutical company and not a compounding pharmacy.

    He is having financial difficulties, and is having problems with traditional
    MDs & DOs.

    Thank you for your time,

    Sally Pacholok, RN
    Jeffrey Stuart, DO
  • Carol Lisenbee   Jun 6, 2017 3:45 PM
    Can I get updated info on m.s.
  • Rob Smith   Jul 24, 2017 12:05 PM
    I know of many positive outcomes with MS and other conditions mentioned here. Cutting edge studies of genetics indicate that human thought affects the gene expression! Also there is no single answer, but many right ones. Vitamin C high dose, sun gazing, (which includes vitamin D and Detox among other things, positive thinking and actions, detox using zeolites, energy devices such as the Russian Star Trek devices, and many different diet considerations including fruits berries and vegetables, can be a foundation to good health, hyperbaric oxygen and energy healing modalities can all accelerate positive results of these aforementioned points. Many have benefitted. Belief is the beginning and action is the catalyst for positive change. Do what you can, but DO take action! No situation is ever hopeless, we weren't made that way.