Some patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) test low for iron and benefit from iron supplementation. The present study was done on MS patients to monitor their iron, ferritin, folate and homocysteine levels and to determine if replacement of certain deficiencies altered the course of the MS.
MS is considered to be an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin layers of the nervous system, interfering with nerve cell functioning. Myelin is continuously replaced in a process that requires iron and a normal “folate-vitamin B12-methylation” pathway. This pathway is necessary to provide methyl groups for myelin regeneration. Iron acts as a catalyst in this pathway to increase the speed of the reactions. Myelin regeneration is necessary for remission of MS attacks.
The iron utilization is so rapid during an attack of MS that excess free radicals are produced, causing oxidation of fats of the nervous system with rapid depletion of antioxidants. Fat oxidation is so rapid during attacks of MS that pentane, a product of fat oxidation, can be measured in the breath of these patients.
Ferritin is a natural chemical that is able to rapidly deliver iron to the cells where it is needed to regenerate myelin. Low ferritin levels provide evidence for low iron stores.
The results of the study showed that the level of serum iron concentrations correlated with the age of diagnosis in female Caucasian MS patients. That is, good iron levels delayed the onset of MS. Twelve subjects who took a combination (Raphah Regimen) to promote the regeneration of myelin improved neurologically compared to six patients who took only multivitamins. Blood tests were done to determine iron, tranferrin, C-reactive protein, hemoglobin, ferritin, homocysteine and folic acid.
Increased homocysteine blood levels are seen in the blood of patients during MS attacks as a sign of circulatory breakdown. All patients had reduced homocysteine levels at six months of treatment. Reduction of homocystine is necessary for improved myelinization.
Patients with relapsing-remitting MS showed lower levels of ferritin than did normal controls. Low ferritin levels show evidence for reduced stores of iron and were seen in MS patients as compared to normal controls.
The patients studied on the Raphah Regimen were shown to be improved and had marked relief from fatigue. The Raphah Regimen to improve myelinization consists of the following:
Iron. 15 mg./day.
Beta carotene. 3 mg./day.
Vitamin C. 350 mg./day.
Essential amino acids in a milk shake.
Vitamin E. 40 mg./day.
Vitamin B-1. 3 mg./day.
Leucine 1235 mg./day.
Vitamin B-2. 4 mg./day.
Isoleucine. 890 mg./day.
Nicotinamide. 20 mg./day.
Lysine. 995 mg./day.
Folic Acid. 5 mg./day.
Tryptophan. 175 mg./day.
Vitamin B-12. 24 mug./day.
Methionine. 315 mg./day.
Vitamin B-6. 10 mg./day.
Phenylalanine. 610 mg./day.
Pantothenate. 10 mg./day
Threonine. 570 mg./day.
Calcium. 28.5 mg./day.
Valine. 840 mg./day.
Magnesium. 150 mg./day.
Histidine. 340 mg./day.
Copper. 1 mg./day.
Zinc. 15 mg./day.
Manganese. 2.5 mg./day.
Primrose oil. 500 mg./day.
Chromium. 100 mug./day.
Salmon oil. 500 mg./day.
Molybdenum 100 mug./day.
Lecithin. 300 mg./day.
Selenium. 60 mug./day.
For one month adequate levels of methylation can be supported with weekly B-12 injections, 1 mg./day sublingual B-12 or S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) 200 mg./day.
MS patients have been shown to typically have lower levels of antioxidants, such as glutathione peroxidase and selenium. Nutrients that are essential for myelinization are B12, folic acid, iron and essential fatty acids. Choline is necessary for the production of lecithin and myelin in the body. Omega-3 and omega-6 are also important to MS patients.
CONCLUSION: A higher blood level of iron protected patients from an earlier age of onset of multiple sclerosis. Patients taking a nutritional supplement called Raphah Regimen to improve myelinization had improvement in their MS when compared to their progress without the supplement.
NOTE: Myelin is a fatty layer that acts as an insulator on the outside of nerves. Damage to the myelin results in slow conduction of electrical activity of the nerve fibers with reduced nervous system functioning. Iron dysregulation has been implicated in many studies as a factor in MS and iron is essential for myelin production.
Ferritin is an iron storage protein. Ferritin blood levels are an indication of the body’s iron stores; increased blood ferritin levels seen in active MS could be a sign of increased iron turnover. Increased extracellular ferritin is seen in inflammatory disease.
Elevated homocysteine levels have been seen in MS, but it may not be related to immune activity. Hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor for several neurologic diseases and causes hypomethylation. Methylation is necessary for myelin repair. B vitamins can be used to reduce homocysteine levels.
There is much more to learn. It does look like taking factors, orally, which are needed for myelin repair are of benefit in MS. These include adequate iron and products to improve methylation.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR FOR: Blood levels of ferritin will help determine whether you have adequate levels of iron storage. Blood levels of homocysteine will help determine if you have adequate methylation to repair myelin.