Multiple Sclerosis :: Vitamin B12 and Multiple Sclerosis, MS

A Durham GP is calling for people to be routinely screened for B12 deficiency as he believes that this is the cause of symptoms that are often ascribed to other conditions.

Dr Joseph Chandy’s surgery has so far diagnosed 750 patients, 10% of those on his list, as B12 deficient. In 2003, Easington Primary Care Trust became alarmed at the amount of B12 being prescribed and carried out a review of Dr Chandy’s records. The result was that he has been allowed to continue prescribing, but with stricter controls. Dr Chandy is resisting calls to have his work subjected to a full clinical trial as he claims it would be unethical to give placebos to some patients who could benefit from B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the optic nerve and spinal cord, producing symptoms similar to some of those associated with MS. A small proportion of people with MS may also have B12 deficiency for which supplements are available through a GP. There are anecdotal reports of some people finding vitamin B12 improves fatigue, another very common MS symptom, but these are yet to be supported by research.

The MS Trust is disappointed that Dr Chandy is unwilling to subject his beliefs to a clinical trial. Meanwhile, misreporting of this – including suggestions that B12 can in some way be a ‘cure’ for MS – is extremely irresponsible.

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