Vitamin B12 Intake Correlated to Physical and Mental Improvements in Multiple Sclerosis Specific Quality of Life

Kevin J. Pietro, Alexander M. Jensen, Julie R. Schumacher, Julius W. Anderson


Current literature fails to provide individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) specific dietary recommendations to advance quality of life (QOL). Due to the important structural and functional roles of vitamin B12 in the nervous system, the purpose of this research was to determine possible correlations between dietary intake of vitamin B12 and self-reported quality of life (QOL) among individuals with MS. The National MS Society and MS Foundation were used to recruit volunteers age 18 and older with a clinical diagnosis of MS. After the initial response (n = 89), 46 participants completed an online demographic survey/questionnaire and the MS Quality of Life-54 (MSQOL-54). Additionally, participants (n=23), completed a 3-day food record utilizing MyPyramid Tracker. Increased consumption of vitamin B12 (M=4.63 ± 3.44 µg) was positively correlated to the MSQOL-54 Subscales, Emotional Well-Being, Health Perceptions, Health Distress, and Overall QOL, as well as, to the QOL Composite Summary score for Mental Health. Individuals who consumed 5.0 µg or more of vitamin B12 exhibited significantly higher QOL scores for eight of the twelve Subscales, including Pain and Overall QOL (p<0.01). Additionally, both of the QOL Composite Summary scores (Physical and Mental) were significantly higher (p<0.01) than individuals who consumed less than 5.0 µg of vitamin B12. Dietary intake studies like this one can assist in producing dietary guidelines for individuals with MS, which are currently absent from the Nutrition Care Manual. Since MS currently has no known cure, efforts of healthcare professionals should focus on influencing QOL through specific micronutrient intake recommendations, especially vitamin B12. Increased vitamin B12 requirements may be needed for individuals with MS to achieve greater QOL.


Multiple Sclerosis; Quality of Life; Vitamin B12

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