What to Consider When Supplementing B Vitamins for MS Symptom Relief

What to Consider When Supplementing B Vitamins for MS Symptom Relief

     Debi WilsonBY DEBI WILSON


Faith of the Mustard Seed

Research finds that a deficiency of B vitamins may play a role in multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms. On the other hand, supplementation of the vitamins may help. There are eight essential B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. The large variety can be confusing when wondering which ones best benefit people with MS.

A 2018 brochure from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS)  recommends taking B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 (cobalamin). To raise B6 levels, eat salmon, tuna, pork, chicken, beans, bananas, and lots of vegetables, among other food sources. For B12, consume meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or shellfish. Both vitamins are available in supplemental form.

Vitamin B6 helps with the metabolism of amino acids within the body, which develops protein. Bodies need vitamin B12 to create red blood cells and ensure the nervous system’s efficient operation.

I feel good taking vitamin B complex — a combination of B vitamins. I feel it gives me more energy, and the predetermined dosing means I don’t have to worry about overdoing it. Next time I go to the doctor I will have my vitamin B blood levels checked to ensure I am in the correct range.

It is extremely important not to take too much vitamin B6 because that can actually create MS-type symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and pain. Thankfully, those symptoms usually dissipate when the supplementation ends. It is always best to speak to your physician to have your blood levels checked and ask for dosage recommendations.

The NMSS brochure states that, “A variety of observations have suggested that there may be a relationship between vitamin B12 levels and MS. For example, some studies indicate that people with MS have low levels of vitamin B12 in their blood more frequently than the general population.”

The brochure also shares that “for people with MS with normal levels, there is no evidence that vitamin B12 supplementation either improves neurological symptoms or favorably alters the course of the disease.”

However, research published in January 2019 in the journal Clinical Nutrition Researchindicates that B12 actually could help with MS symptoms. Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid or folate, is also beneficial to MS symptoms. The study showed that combining B12 and B9 supplementation can improve the quality of life for those with MS. A Multiple Sclerosis News Today article about the study states, “Vitamins B12 and B9 (folic acid) supplements can lower levels of homocysteine (a common amino acid), improve anemia status, and boost self-reported physical health in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to new research.”

Discussions with your primary doctor, neurologist, or naturopathic doctor are the best way to set up a supplement regimen for your specific situation.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.