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Manganese and Vitamins to Treat Myasthenia Gravis

11/10/2009

Question:

I have read that research showed patients given manganese sulphate plus vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, A,& E.. have went into remission. Is this widely known and does it work for all types of MG? The type I refer to is localized to swallowing, which is okay in the morning but very difficult by evening.

Answer:

Often we hear that "research showed such and such ..." We all must be careful to make sure we check the facts. That is why we have peer (other experts) reviewed medical journals -- to check the facts and claims. If I hear something new from a colleague, I usually ask them to send me the article reference to my email. That way I can read that article carefully. The claims about vitamin treatment sounded fishy to me, so I looked in the medical literature. I could find no studies in peer reviewed medical journals that showed that manganese sulphate and Vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12 or Vitamin A and E were effective in treating myasthenia gravis. If anyone can find such an article, please send me the reference (Journal title, volume number, pages, date of publication). The great thing about medical journals is that expert doctors in the specific areas review the research to make sure that it is solid. It is important to avoid recommending treatments that lack good evidence. Now mind you, when I looked in areas where people are making money selling products that claim to be MG cures, there were tons of products with many promises and a lot of "research proven" claims. It is important to remember that drugs that are FDA approved must be shown to have at least some effectiveness. Nutraceuticals are not tested with the same rigor. They do not need to be shown effective. If they put in the right disclaimer language (you know -- the small print part) they can make all sorts of claims (the large print part). Bottom line: Buyer beware. Hope this helps.

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Response by:

John G Quinlan, MD John G Quinlan, MD
Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati