A few years ago, research suggested that many MSers were deficient in vitamin D. It was even thought this could be part of the cause, explaining why northern hemisphere countries with less sunlight had higher rates of MS in the population.
We were advised to start taking supplements and make sure we were ingesting 10,000 international units (IU) per day.
With this in mind I had my blood tested and it was confirmed I was deficient, so I happily started taking a daily high dose (6000 IU) as prescribed by my GP.
I had a blood test last week and was shocked when my GP called to break the news that my vitamin D level was dangerously high! He said the normal range was around 150 and mine was 195.
Thinking I knew best I argued with him and pointed out the research, but he insisted the level was dangerous and advised me to stop taking the supplements for 6 months!
He also pointed out the risks to do with increased calcium absorption which could lead to kidney problems or even kidney failure. At this point I gulped and agreed to stop the supplements immediately.
I then googled symptoms of kidney problems and realised I’ve been experiencing some but had put it down to MS. My feet and ankles, for example, are swollen most of the time and it turns out this can be an indication that the kidneys aren’t working properly. Who knew! I thought it was because I don’t walk as far or as well as I used to.
Dry skin, stomach cramps, muscle pain and palpitations are also symptoms, and guess what! I’ve experienced all these symptoms and blamed it on MS.
I panicked and asked MSers on twitter if they’d experienced this problem and the MS Trust confirmed high dose supplements are recommended to address deficiency but should be stopped once levels are normal again. Again, who knew!
So, the moral of this story is to make sure you have regular blood tests to see where you are. Those of us who take DMT’s have regular blood tests anyway, so make sure Vitamin D is also tested. For those of us, like me, who don’t take DMT’s, ask your GP for a blood test and follow their advice.
I’m off to improve my kidney function by following advice online and I’ve learned not to blame everything on MS! Sometimes it’s not it’s fault.