Researchers have found links between vitamin deficiencies and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and AIDS.
An association between multiple sclerosis and vitamin B12 deficiency was recently found in a London hospital.
King's College Hospital reported 10 patients with unusual vitamin B12 deficiency, eight occurring before the age of 40. Since this is an unusual age for such a deficiency, the researchers speculate that MS victims may have a bodily defect having to do with the ability to absorb this particular vitamin. (The Journal of the American Medical Association, 23/30 October 1991).
At another hospital in Montreal doctors believe they've found an association between AIDS and moderate to severe deficiency of thiamine, another B vitamin.
This supposition follows four reports describing Wernicke's encephalopathy, a degenerative disease of the brain, characterized by double vision, lack of muscular coordination and decreased mental function, in AIDS patients.
Wernicke's encepha lopathy is caused by thiamine deficiency.
The Montreal doctors at Hospital Saint Luc examined 39 AIDS patients and found 23 per cent moderately to severely thiamine deficient. "Our results suggest that substantial numbers of patients with AIDS . . . are thiamine deficient. . . Thiamine supplementation in HIV positive patients might be helpful," they wrote.