From Dr. Mercola:
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, neurodegenerative disease of the nerves in your brain and spinal column, caused by a demyelization process. In MS, your immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin, which is a protective coating around your nerve fibers.
This leads to disruptions in the messages sent around your brain and spinal cord, leading to symptoms such as trouble balancing, muscle weakness, tremors, pain, and fatigue.
Researchers have long been searching for a method to repair this damage to the myelin, and thereby slow, stop or even reverse the course of the disease.
While your body does have the ability to repair myelin naturally, this process tends to become less effective as you get older. Now, however, researchers have uncovered a natural option that might play a major role in boosting the repair of damaged myelin in people with MS: vitamin D.
Vitamin D Might Help Regenerate Damaged Myelin
The RXR gamma receptor protein is known to be involved in the repair of myelin. Researchers from the University of Cambridge revealed that the vitamin D receptor protein is also involved and pairs with RXR gamma during this process.1 According to the University of Cambridge:2
“By adding vitamin D to brain stem cells where the proteins were present, they found the production rate of oligodendrocytes (myelin making cells) increased by 80 percent.
When they blocked the vitamin D receptor to stop it from working, the RXR gamma protein alone was unable to stimulate the production of oligodendrocytes.”
The researchers noted that the study “provides significant evidence that vitamin D is also involved in the regeneration of myelin” once MS has developed, and they hope to create a myelin repair drug that works by targeting the vitamin D receptor (currently, the typical prescription for MS focuses on highly toxic medications like prednisone and interferon).3
Susan Kohlhaas, head of biomedical research at the MS Society, stated, however, that she’d like to see more studies to reveal whether taking vitamin D supplements could be an effective treatment for MS.4
Vitamin D Deficiency Is Prevalent Among People with MS
There’s no need to wait for further research to optimize your vitamin D levels, especially if you have a condition like MS.
Research presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) shows that vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly prevalent both among those diagnosed with MS and patients suffering other neuromuscular conditions.5
In this case, vitamin D deficiency was defined as a 25(OH)D3 level of 30 ng/ml or less. Of patients diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition, 48 percent were deficient in vitamin D.
Only 14 percent were above “normal,” which here constituted a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml (to maximally benefit from vitamin D, you likely need a level of 40 to 60 ng/ml). According to one of the authors:
“While the connection between vitamin D deficiency and neurologic disease is likely complex and not yet fully understood, this