North v South

Hi Tina, I remember a very interesting programme on years ago about the incidence of MS in Canada being related to the migration generations ago of Scottish people, which is suggestive of genes.

Obviously Vit D is another component of the causal jigsaw and there is recent updated research confirming its role.

Vit D supplements in large doses, taken weekly is now being prescribed by GPs but additionally you really need to be taking magnesium and calcium to metabolise it.


Hi Susi,

I did know about the high incidence in Canada (similar to Scotland), but wasn’t aware it had been linked to ancestral migration.

Yes, my neuro has been “positive” for a long time that Vitamin D (or the lack of it) would turn out to be implicated, and I think the evidence is getting too overwhelming to ignore (not that I ever did).

Isn’t one of the more recent findings that one of the (several dozen and growing!) genes implicated in predisposition to MS is to do with the metabolism of Vitamin D? I can’t remember the exact details, and too lazy to Google, but it could point to either difficulty making, or difficulty efficiently utilising Vitamin D - which in turn has a role in regulating the immune system. I’m summarising very vaguely something only half-remembered!

I do believe in supplementing, but the optimal dose is less easy to find - even from the horse’s mouth (the neuro!)

I’d been diagnosed three or four years before anyone even remembered to ask whether I was supplementing. I told him that yes, I’d begun even before the diagnosis was confirmed - as soon as MS was looking at all likely. (Good job I did a bit of research myself, and didn’t wait four years to be told, isn’t it?)

He then asked how much I was on. I hadn’t made a note, as I’d not anticipated the question, so told him I couldn’t remember, but thought it was about 1000 I.U. per day, which he said was absolutely fine.

Next visit, I was able to correct myself, and tell him I’d checked, and it was, in fact, 2000 I.U. - which was also “absolutely fine”.

So it seems a bit like “think of a number”, and they’ll tell you it’s fine!

Personally, I wouldn’t like to go higher, as I got my Vitamin D checked - by cheekily asking the blood test nurse (phlebotomist, I think they’re properly called) when I was there for something else! She didn’t hesitate.

Luckily for me, my lovely GP, whom I’m losing next week, didn’t take umbrage about being bypassed, and agreed my request had been reasonable. But she also said the result was the highest she’d ever seen - in anyone suspected of having a problem, that is - they wouldn’t usually be testing otherwise.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the figure, but it was well in excess of the admittedly low and out-of-date NHS guideline. I did explain that was with supplements, and it wasn’t so high she told me to stop, but obviously, I would not like to go much higher, if it’s already high enough to prompt surprise.

I did know about the calcium & magnesium, and am on those too, but no idea if I’m getting the proportions right. There comes a time when you get sick of all the maths, and just think: “Well, something’s better than nothing!” I just take an ordinary, over-the-counter dose, from Boots, or wherever’s handy.

Compared to some supplements, they’re all relatively inexpensive, but I certainly think the Vitamin D, in particular, being recommended by the neuro, should be on prescription. Bit of a cheek, in my opinion, to say you should be taking something, then leave you to go off and buy it yourself!

True, if I paid for my prescriptions as I went, instead of on an annual prepay, the cost of a Vit. D prescription would be several times the price of just buying it. But as my prepay still costs the same, regardless how much stuff is bunged on it, it would effectively be free, if he prescribed.