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Vitamin C and MS

Scientists have discovered that vitamin C promotes the repair of the myelin sheath surrounding neurons, making it a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis.

A research group in China have showed that vitamin C can enhance the formation of myelin sheaths and may alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Myelin sheaths—fatty layers that surround neurons—play important roles in the normal functioning of the central nervous system . In diseases such as multiple sclerosis, the myelin sheaths are damaged by immune cells and the myelin regeneration process is blocked.

Currently they’re are allopathic drugs that just suppress symptoms and don’t actually treat the condition. Those drugs are ineffective and the limited effects in preventing the progression of disability. Taking vitamin C promotes the recovery of myelin sheaths and neuronal functions.

The researchers established a high-throughput screening system to identify small molecule compounds that may promote OPC to OL differentiation. They found that vitamin C facilitates the formation of myelin sheaths in a co-culture of OPCs and neurons. Furthermore, vitamin C promoted the repair of myelin sheaths in vivo, as well as provided significant therapeutic effect in an animal model of multiple sclerosis.

Interestingly, vitamin C’s function in promoting OPC differentiation is not related to its antioxidant activity. Rather, the researchers suggested that an intracellular mechanism might be involved. Taking into account the fact the vitamin C has been safely used as a dietary supplement for many years, the researchers think that vitamin C can also be safely applied as an alternative medicine for central nervous system demyelinating diseases.

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