Read about a study suggesting that vitamin B12 and folic acid (vitamin B9) supplements can be beneficial for certain MS patients.
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.
The study suggests a potential role for these two vitamins in improving the quality of life of MS patients.
The research article, “The Effect of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Supplementation on Serum Homocysteine, Anemia Status and Quality of Life of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis,” was published in the journal Clinical Nutrition Research.
Despite treatment, MS patients often experience symptoms that interfere with their daily lives. Many patients have turned to dietary supplements with the hope they would reduce the severity of their symptoms.
There is substantial literature suggesting the benefits of various supplements for MS, including vitamin B12 and folic acid.
Homocysteine, of which high levels are associated with heart disease and detrimental effects in the nervous system, can be more prevalent in MS patients compared to healthy individuals. That suggests homocysteine is “one of the causative factors in the pathogenesis [development] of MS,” researchers wrote.
Lack of vitamin B12 — naturally found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products — can lead to a disruption in myelination, the process of forming a protective myelin coat around nerve cells. The loss of myelin is a hallmark of MS.
A lack of folic acid, together with too little vitamin B12, has been linked to neurological symptom onset in MS patients. Meanwhile, vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements have shown promising results among these patients.
In addition, MS patients are known to have an increased risk for the development of megaloblastic anemia — a condition in which the bone marrow produces unusually large, immature red blood cells referred to as megaloblasts. The most common causes of megaloblastic anemia are a deficiency of either vitamin B12 or folic acid.
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