It is essential to have healthy bones. Falls are common with lack of leg strength and balance. Here is a good article focusing on bone health.
Achieve In Spite of Having MS!
It is probable that those with Multiple Sclerosis are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than those without MS and this may be a factor in the poor bone health of people with MS. This is possibly worse in more severe cases of MS. This appears to be independent of dietary intake of vitamin D. Further investigation is needed into the reasons why. For example, is it a result of reduced absorption, reduced synthesis or increased metabolism?
Large clinical trials are needed to ascertain the effect of increasing dietary vitamin D particularly on bone health, but in the meantime it would be prudent to ensure dietary intake meets the recommendations for other at risk populations i.e. 10mcg/day.
There is insufficient evidence from clinical trials to show that supplementing with vitamin D will directly improve the severity of the condition of people with multiple sclerosis. Larger, well designed clinical trials are needed before any recommendation can be made.
However, it could be argued that the symptoms of this side effect of MS, specifically poor bone health, could be improved with consumption of Vitamin D. Taking vitamin D in its active form carries a high risk of adverse effects, such as raising levels of calcium in the blood and should only be done under medical supervision. Therefore, it may be more prudent to discuss increasing your dietary intake of Vitamin D within food with your health professional.
So where can you go to find reliable information on how nutrition can help mitigate the risks associated with Multiple Sclerosis? The internet provides considerable resources to enable this to happen. However, one needs to be careful as there are many spurious sites with information that is mainly geared towards selling vitamin supplements etc.
I would advise that you check the credibility of any sites offering nutrition advice by determining who has compiled the information. Only accept information from sites that have engaged Registered Dieticians, or qualified doctors (preferably neurologists) to compile their knowledge. It is important that you test this by seeing if the site has a link to the organisation that the health professional is registered to.
If you come across a website that has been compiled by “one man and his dog” or is offering a “one size fits all solution”, and there is no way to validate the quality of the information, I would suggest you ignore it, as it may cause more harm than good.
The charitable institutions are a good first port of call, such as The MS Society or the National MS Society. There are also other organisations on the internet that have credible and evidence-based information available on how specific nutrients help or hinder the management of Multiple Sclerosis. I would suggest that you conduct a Google search using the following search terms: food for MS or food for Multiple Sclerosis. You’ll be glad to know that our site will soon be amongst the search results.
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