The Vitamin Kid

Avoiding bad medicine and finding non-toxic treatments that actually work

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Location: Ankeny, Iowa, United States

Monday, September 25, 2006

Vitamin B3 Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

In a mouse model of MS, nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, was able to protect nerves from further damage. In other words, the disease was prevented from progressing. (Story at WebMD)

The scientists indicate that the sooner neurons are exposed to this vitamin, the more likely the disease can be slowed or arrested, because nicotinamide helps create an enzyme that protects the nerves from the immune attack that normall occurs in MS and eventually destroys nerve function.

Because of the low toxicity of nicotinamide, those already ill with MS may not want to wait for human studies to commence. This appears to be a case where risk is low and potential benefits are very great.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

For the children - folic acid prevents neural tube defects

Neural tube defects - - are birth defects creating brain or spinal cord damage. Such conditions include spina bifida, hydrocephalus, or even anencephaly (brain tissue fails to develop).

The story is a simple one, best illustrated by this timeline, presented in 2000 by Dr. Andreas Papas:

1950's - Link of diet and neural tube defects suggested.

1970's - Epidemiological studies: Folic acid deficiency causes birth defects.

1980's - Folic acid reduced neural tube defects 58% (Lancet study)

1991 - CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends women with one affected child take folic acid before conception.

1992 - US Public Health Service and CDC recommends 400mcg of folic acid daily for women of childbearing age.

1993 - FDA officially approves health claims.

1996 - FDA authorizes addition of folic acid to grain products.

1998 - FDA mandates addition of folic acid to grain products.

Follow up: Data from CDC, published in the Journal of the AMA, show a "19% decline in neural tube defects and 23% decline in spina bifida from October 1998 through December 1999, compared to births prior to mandatory folic acid fortification." (Source for this quote and the timeline above: Health Gems Vol 7, Issue 1, by John and Susan Carlson.)