Needed for a healthy myelin sheath and nervous system, vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for those with Multiple Sclerosis as part of their MS diet. Lack of B12 can impair the processes of the immune system and is thought to actually contribute to the development of MS. It is common for people with MS to be deficient in B12 and so it is important to get your levels tested and take a supplement to keep them high.
Please remember, I’m not a doctor so please ensure you consult with a medical professional to see whats right for you – I’m just someone who wants to share what has worked for me!
What Makes Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) Essential For Those With MS?
Here are a few signs and symptoms which can be associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency :
- Low energy, chronic fatigue
- Mental fog, forgetfulness, memory loss
- Pernicious anemia, megaloblastic anemia
- Numbness, tingling in hands or feet
- Neurological damage
The interesting thing is that these are all very common symptoms for people with MS. It seems that there could be a connection here.
Three Types of B12
I started taking vitamin B12 at the recommendation of a well known nutritionist because she had advised a meat free MS diet for me. Almost a year later I saw a medical doctor who specialises in nutrition and he also recommended B12 but in a different form that is more suitable for my condition.
I had no idea that there were different forms of B12 but apparently I had been taking the wrong one! I was a little annoyed to say the least because I had been paying money to take something that wasn't very effective. So, let's sort out this misunderstanding once and for all! Here is a breakdown of the three different types of vitamin B12:
Cyanocobalamin: This is the most commonly used form in the medical world and is often given as `B12 shots`. However, cyanocobalamin is actually the least effective choice, especially for people with MS. Despite this, doctors are more likely to prescribe it over any other form. It's quite surprising that most doctors just go along with whatever the rest of the medical community is doing instead of really evaluating what is working and what is not. Not only does Cyanocobalamin require a higher dosage for the same effectiveness of Hydroxycobalamin, but it is completely ineffective for several different conditions related to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Hydroxycobalamin: A better formulation which is a little more effective than Cyanocobalamin. It is, however, very expensive and is rarely found in supplements.
Methylcobalamin: This is the neurologically active form of B12. It is technically a `coenzyme` of vitamin B12 and it is almost never prescribed by doctors despite being effective, readily available and inexpensive. It is also available in an injectable form. Degenerative neurological conditions are where methylcobalamin shows its greatest benefits over other cobalamin preparations. Brilliant news for us MS'ers! Not only has Methylcobalamin been shown to work in neurologic diseases, it also helps with the elimination of toxic substances in the body.
What I Use
Methylcobalamin (B-12) 5mg by Swanson Ultra
This vitamin B12 supplement is a little different in that it is not meant to be swallowed, but rather dissolved underneath your tongue (sublingual). This is meant to increase and speed up absorption, but does take a while to dissolve completely.
Some other B12 supplements out there don't taste that good. This one does. It has a natural strawberry flavour, which really helps as its in your mouth for a couple of minutes.
I dont have any doubts with the quality or manufactuing process, as Swanson backself with a 100% money-back guarantee. If a customer is not satisfied with it for any reason, they will refund the total cost when returned within one year from the purchase date, including return shipping and handling on domestic orders, which you don't see every day. They also offer to price match if you find it selling for less elsewhere. Swanson is also subject to 3rd party voluntary manufacturing audits.
Overall, this product does what it is suppose to, and I know exactly what I am getting.
What Does This MS Supplement Contain?
- 5000mcg Vitamin B12 as Methylcobalamin
- Sorbitol (a natural sweetener)
- Mannitol (form of fructose)
- Microcrystalline Cellulose (plant fiber)
- Stearic acid (a naturally occurring fatty acid which helps to stop the tablets sticking together)
- Magnesium Stearate (magnesium and steric acid compound used to lubricate the tablets and prevent them from sticking together)
- Silica (a naturally occurring mineral already in our bodies)
- Natural Strawberry Flavour
Why I Recommend This Specific Brand
Swanson Ultra provides me the right form of Methylcobalamin. It tastes great and is easy to source online, and fits in very nicely as part of my MS diet. Swanson Health Products has a great reputation and is one of the largest privately held vitamin catalog retailers in the USA. It is a safe and natural product and complements other ms supplements in my MS diet.
Once again, its always best to consult with your doctor or neurologist before taking any supplements as part of your MS diet. The recommended dosage (which I use) is as follows:
Tablets: My supplement comes in a 5mg dose and I cut one tablet in half to have 2.5mg dose every day. If your levels are low then start off with the full 5mg dosage and then reduce it to 2.5 when your levels are stronger.
Expected Monthly Cost
Vitamin B12 is readily available and inexpensive, so it won't break the bank to ensure you are getting what your body needs. MS supplements dont have to cost a lot, and more more you buy, the cheaper they generally are, so always try buy bulk where possible.
Tablets: A bottle of 60 tablets should last 120 days if you are only taking a 2.5mg dose, but with a full dose, this will last 60 days. The bottle costs roughly $10 (£10). This works out to about $5 (£5) per month at the 2.5 mg dosage and $10 (£10) at the 5mg dosage.
Where Can I Get This Supplement?
Swanson Ultra is available online, either directly from their store, or even via Amazon, just following the links below:
You should be able to source a supplier in your local area, alternatively, find one online. There are many MS supplements out there, so please make sure you are getting Methylcobalamin and not Cyancobalamin!
I hope that gives you a bit more insight into what MS supplements I use, for a complete list of all the supplements I take as part of my MS diet, visit the Supplements page. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a comment below, I will respond to every one.