Treatments are available to help stop the progression of multiplesclerosis, a disease that has no cure.

As part of your MS treatment plan, you may have heard about supplements, like folate and vitamin B12, that may complement your medications and offer benefits.

Some people may be able to get enough of the vitamins B12 and B9 from the foods they eat.

If you have a deficiency or an underlying condition that affects the absorption of these vitamins, a doctor may recommend taking supplements.

Folate and B12 are important for the health of people with Multiplesclerosis.

While experts caution there’s not enough evidence to suggest any supplement can necessarily treat MS, emerging research shows that folate and vitamin B12 supplements could offer some benefits.

In one 2019 study, both folate and vitamin B12 were found to reduce levels of homocysteine while improving anemia status in a group of participants with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

The effects improved the physical and mental well-being of study participants.

It is thought that the benefits of these two vitamins could be related to the levels of homocysteine. B vitamins can help break down the amino acid.

A deficiency of vitamins B12 and B3 may cause problems with the nervous system. There are also similar symptoms in the disease.

High homocysteine levels may worsen MS

In general, high homocysteine levels in the body can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers also believe that high homocysteine levels may worsen MS and damage the nervous system more generally.

Animal studies have shown that folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) may help promote nerve growth factors while also repairing peripheral nerve injuries.

More research is needed to determine how such effects may play a role in humans with MS.

“Let’s look at what vitamins and supplements are found in food groups and how much you can take.”

Natural food sources of folate

Folate is naturally present in a variety of foods, such as:

  • dark greens
  • The sprout from Brussels.
  • asparagus
  • oranges
  • orange juice
  • There are nuts.
  • There are beans.
  • beef stomach

Folate supplements

Adults need about 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate per day. If you don’t get this amount through diet, you may be able to take a folate or folic acid supplement. Folate is also available in multivitamins and B-complex supplements.

Natural food sources of vitamin B12

Food sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • meat
  • fish
  • poultry
  • beef stomach
  • dairy products
  • Eggs.

Vitamin B12 supplements

B-complex supplements and multivitamins also contain vitamin B12. However, you may also take this supplement on its own, too, especially if you don’t get the daily recommended amount of 2.4 mcg.

As a supplement, cyanocobalamin is the most common form of vitamin B12. It may also be available as:

  • Adenosylcobalamin is a drug.
  • hydroxocobalamin
  • .

When first starting a folate or vitamin B12 supplement, keep in mind that the full effects may not be seen for a few weeks. Until then, you may start experiencing slightly better energy and other improved symptoms.

In the previously mentioned 2019 study of folate and vitamin B12 in people with MS, researchers believed there may be some benefit in eating more folate-rich foods along with taking 1 milligram (mg) of vitamin B12 monthly.

The exact amount of the drug depends on your needs, the course of your MS, and any lab results that show deficiency.

Always talk with your doctor before starting any supplements

It’s important to talk with a doctor before trying any supplements on your own. That’s particularly true for people with chronic conditions such as MS.

You’ll want to check in about the proper dosage and make sure there are no potential interactions with the medications you’re taking.

You can discuss the potential of other underlying deficiencies with a doctor if you need to take other supplements.

One other common deficiency is vitamin D, but more studies are needed to determine whether vitamin D supplements may help MS more specifically.

However, current research does suggest that low levels of this fat-soluble nutrient may worsen MS symptoms and progression.

Complementary practices for MS

Only when you work with a healthcare professional can you use the following practices to manage symptoms of Multiplesclerosis.

  • Acupuncture may help reduce pain and discomfort throughout the body.
  • Reflexology may help reduce burning sensations caused by nerve damage in MS.
  • Yoga may increase energy and boost your mood.

It’s important to talk with a doctor before starting any new supplements. They can help determine whether there’s a risk of interactions with your current MS medications and help provide correct dosing guidance.

Before you take folate supplements for MS, it’s also important that a doctor checks your vitamin B12 levels with a blood test. Folate may mask an underlying vitamin B12 deficiency, and possibly make related symptoms worse.

There’s not enough evidence to support any of the following herbs and supplements for MS:

Research is starting to explore the link between certain vitamins and supplements and the symptoms of multiplesclerosis.

Folate and B12 supplements can help reduce homocysteine levels in the blood.

Before trying any supplements, be sure to talk to a doctor about their risks and benefits. They can help determine if there are any possible deficiencies.