Vitamin B12 and Multiple Sclerosis


What is Multiple Sclerosis? 

Multiple sclerosis is a common disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It an inflammatory condition, which is accompanied by loss of the myelin sheath (demyelination). Myelin is the material that insulates nerves allows the nerves to rapidly transmit its impulses in a smooth and co-ordinated fashion. In multiple sclerosis, the loss of this myelin sheath means that there is a disruption in the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain and this produces the various symptoms of MS. In the places where the myelin is lost little scars (known as plaques or lesions) can appear, which can be seen in brain scans. These multiple scars are described as multiple sclerosis (multiple scaring). 

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary from person to person and can change over time in the same person. Most commonly people with MS show signs of fatigue, or muscle weakness, which can also be accompanied by decreased coordination, and eye problems such as blurred, double or hazy vision, with accompanying eye pain. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include muscle stiffness, difficulties thinking and problems controlling urination. 

Vitamin B12 and Multiple Sclerosis 

Many studies have linked the occurrence of vitamin B12 deficiency with an increased incidence of MS. Whilst it is currently not known why this is, vitamin B12 supplementation has been shown to delay the onset of MS. Prolonged vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a reduced ability to control of the inflammation associated with MS, thus exacerbating the disease. High doses of vitamin B12 have the potential to reduce the pain and fatigue associated with MS, with minimal side effects. Furthermore, certain analogues of vitamin B12, have been shown to reduce or control inflammation and can provide an energy boost for tired muscles. Vitamin B12 has also been shown to reduce the signs and symptoms of neuritis and as such have the potential to help control the incontinence often associated with advanced MS. . 

Topical Vitamin B12 

The topical form of vitamin B12 developed by Mentor and associates is a specially formulated preparation that is an easy to apply, needle-free delivery system to the skin of the MS patient. This pain-free form of delivery greatly increases the patient comfort experienced during the administration of the medication and allows for self-medication without the need for medical staff or any special training. It has recently become apparent that oral supplementation with vitamin B12 does not provide enough vitamin B12 to overcome vitamin B12 deficiency due to the limited uptake capacity of the intestine for vitamin B12, hence there is a requirement for higher initial doses of vitamin B12 to be supplied either by injection or via the topical vitamin B12 formulation.  In addition, the topical formulation is particularly suited to patients who may have gastro-intestinal problems, such as gastric ulcers, atrophic gastritis, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, or who are on metformin medication, which can often lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Further Information on MS

Check out the following sites for further information on MS

Scientific publications on VB12 and MS