Exciting research into vitamin D and myelin repair
Every now and then I'll check-in on the research that's happening in the MS world. At the moment they're looking at drugs that have the potential to encourage re-myelination. Essentially repairing the fatty lining or insulation on the neurons and axons in the brain, which could potentially repair the damage done by an attack. The end goal is to try and prevent and reverse disability. This is something I'm really excited about because it could be such a game-changer for MS.
Speaking from experience I know one of the most difficult things about MS is the unpredictability of this illness. I could have an attack tomorrow or in 10 years, I don't know, you just have to live in the moment and pray your one of the lucky ones who it doesn't really affect. Some days I think I have my head around the whole disability thing, if it happens it happens. Then some days it breaks my heart to think that I could end up disabled. I have never been more grateful for a fully functioning body in all my life.
But that's one of the reasons I follow the OMS program, to gain back some control. As the diet and lifestyle changes have shown to slow the disease course and slow down disability rates or even halt or reverse the damage. Most patients in the Swank study who followed his regime were completely fine through to old age and if anything had a walking stick. I could handle a walking stick. If I can manage one at 31 I can manage one at 70. The Swank study didn't recommend the lifestyle changes the OMS program does so there's even more hope for us yet. And with new research every year we are learning more and more about how to handle this difficult disease.
Right now there are 11 approved disease modifiers in Australia already on the market which are designed to reduce the frequency and severity of clinical attacks, and prevent lesions in the brain and spinal cord from forming. So attention has now been turned to "what if we could reverse disability" and it's happening. They say right now we're at the fore-front of MS research and it's really exciting reading about the strides they're making finding all of these new drugs to help us.
Recently they've discovered some everyday over-the-counter medications used for common health concerns that can help with myelin repair. One being Miconazole, a topical anti-fungal, and another Clobetasol, a topical corticosteroid. These two drugs showed to reverse disability in mice models with a similar illness. Mice completely regained the use of their back legs. Another angle they're taking is with Anti-Lingo 1 which is a trial currently underway in an effort to block the lingo protein to promote re-myelination. There's also the hypertension drug Guanabenz which is showing to block the degeneration of myelin and halt MS in animal models. I find all of this research so exciting but it's so easy to get your hopes up with trials, they do say what happens in mice doesn't necessarily translate into humans, unfortunately, so clinical trials are needed and these trials take years, which is really hard to wait for.
However, the latest news on repairing myelin is also VERY exciting BECAUSE it's super easy and cost effective and you're probably doing it already. Vitamin D!... Vitamin D is showing to encourage myelin repair and dull down the over active immune response. According to the MS Society of Canada "These findings support a study from earlier this year that demonstrated that vitamin D can stimulate neural stem cells into becoming both myelin-producing oligodendrocytes and new nerve cells".
Currently on the OMS program I'm taking 5000iu of vitamin D a day plus getting out in the sunshine everyday for at least 15 minutes as recommended. Dr Jelinek recommends that those of us with MS should keep our blood levels above 150nmol/L.
So stay positive and keep fighting, research is happening and discoveries are being made constantly. There is hope!! and in the mean time, get into some vitamin D!