Some preliminary data has indicted that Vitamin A may help alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and more research is on the way.
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation recently awarded the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) a $900,000 grant to study the role of serum Vitamin A in halting – or at least slowing – disease progression in people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). About 80 percent of the people with MS have RRMS, a type of MS in which new symptoms flare up and then go into remission.
“This grant will jump start this area of research in the United States,” said Bijal Mehta, M.D., MPH, the lead researcher for the LA BioMed study into Vitamin A. “This will be the first large-scale study of whether higher levels of Vitamin A in the bloodstream may lead to improved outcomes for people who have relapsing-remitting MS. If the study finds MS patients with higher levels of Vitamin A have reduced progression of the disease, we could then examine using Vitamin A as an additional treatment.”
LA BioMed researchers plan to recruit 100 volunteers with RRMS to measure the Vitamin A levels in their blood. The researchers also will study Vitamin A’s role in promoting repair to the myelin sheaths, which cover the nerves, a process known as remyelination. The research will examine Vitamin A’s effectiveness in correlation with two commonly used MS medications: interferon-beta (Avonex®, Rebif®, and Betaseron®) or glatimer acetate (Copaxone®). For more information, please email VitaminAstudy@gmail.com.