According to recently published research
, vitamins B12 and B9 can lower levels of homocysteine, improve anemia status, and boost physical health in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
Current MS research has focused on the role of vitamin 12, folate, and homocysteine. Patients with MS have higher serum homocysteine levels than that of healthy individuals, which is associated with heart disease and can lead to detrimental effects in the nervous system. Lack of vitamin B12 can lead to a disruption in myelination, which is commonly associated with MS.
Researchers enrolled patients with RRMS in a double blinded trial in order to determine how adding vitamin B12 and folic acid would affect serum homocysteine, anemia status, and quality of life.
The study authors enrolled a total of 50 patients with RRMS who had not received vitamin B12 and folate supplements in the past 6 months. All participants completed 2 qualty of life questionnaires, 1 for physical health and the other for mental health, at the start and end of the study. Blood samples and blood pressure readings were collected from every participant, and the group was then split into 2 arms, the vitamin group and the placebo group.
In the vitamin group, patients took 5 mg folic acid tablets daily and 3 doses of 1 mg injected vitamin B12 once per month for 3 months. After completion of the intervention, patients underwent a blood test to determine serum homocysteine levels.
Researchers found a drop in the average homocysteine blood serum levels in the vitamin group, which could indicate an improvement in nervous system health. Importantly, the investigators also demonstrated a decrease in mean corpuscular volume (MCV) in the vitamin group, indicating an improved anemia status.
At the conclusion of the study, the vitamin group showed improvement in both physical and mental health fields reported by the quality of life questionnaires. However, RRMS patients in the placebo group also reported an increase in the quality of life questionnaire for mental health, obscuring any significant conclusions on the effect of vitamin supplements on mental health.
The study authors found that “Results of the present study have shown that homocysteine levels, anemia status, and eventually quality of life of patients with MS can be significantly improved by administration of 1 mg of vitamin B12 monthly and adding rich food sources of folic acid on their diet.”
Nozari E, Ghavamzadeh S, Razazian N. The effect of vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation on serum homocysteine, anemia status, and quality of life of patients with multiple sclerosis. Clin Nutr Res.