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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Vitamin D deficiency in transverse myelitis patients

Transverse myelitis is a feared neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord, the inflammation occurs for generally  unknown reasons.  It can cause a multiple sclerosis type loss of the myelin insulation that allows nerves to conduct electrical signals.

Recovery from transverse myelitis is common, several months after it starts, but some patients never show signs of recovery. There is no treatment other than glucocorticoids, but it is not clear if they help.

Another, very similar disease is “neuromyelitis optica,” or “Devic’s disease,” which can cause temporary, and sometimes permanent blindness. No cure exists for Devic’s disease. Some patients recover, but many end up with severe problems with vision and limb control, which can be very severe.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University announced on 11/14/2011 that these patients have low vitamin D levels, and they suspect that low vitamin D levels allow the inflammation to occur.

Maureen A. Mealy, Scott Newsome, Benjamin M. Greenberg, Dean Wingerchuk, Peter Calabresi, and Michael Levy. Low Serum Vitamin D Levels and Recurrent Inflammatory Spinal Cord Disease. Arch Neurol. published 14 November 2011

For a good lay article, read: Vitamin D May Be Linked to Spine Disease.

Transverse myelitis can occur once or repeatedly and what the researchers found is that those in the one-episode-only group had much higher (33 ng/ml) vitamin D levels than those with recurrent attacks (18 ng/ml). Moreover, wouldn’t you know, Blacks have more frequent attacks and worse cases. How many people would get it if their levels were 50 ng/ml? Remember, at 33 ng/ml, about 50% of people still have chronic substrate starvation, which means their body wants more vitamin D. At levels of 50 ng/ml, the body appears to be fully satisfied.

Don’t get transverse myelitis, it may forever change your life.

  About: John Cannell, MD

Dr. John Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council. He has written many peer-reviewed papers on vitamin D and speaks frequently across the United States on the subject. Dr. Cannell holds an M.D. and has served the medical field as a general practitioner, emergency physician, and psychiatrist.

One Response to Vitamin D deficiency in transverse myelitis patients

  1. ahoskrn says:

    Dear Dr. Cannell,
    I am shaking with excitement as I read your blog today! I had autoimmune “myelitis” attack in 2007. I kept pushing and pushing for the “why” as I demanded every test in the book. It was only when a forward thinking rheumatologist decided to run my D level…17. This was back before anyone in the mainstream media had begun to pay attention to D. Thank you for the amazing work you do. Please keep the momentum going.

    Forever Grateful!