Coimbra ProtocolCoimbra Protocol

"In the treatment of a patient, where proven prophylactic, diagnostic and therapeutic methods do not exist or have been ineffective, the physician, with informed consent from the patient, must be free to use unproven or new prophylactic, diagnostic and therapeutic measures, if in the physician’s judgement it offers hope of saving life, reestablishing health or alleviating suffering."

Declaration of Helsinki

What is Vitamin D?

Despite its name, Vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is a steroid hormone necessary by our body to regulate at least 229 of our genes and thousands of functions in our cells, including the cells of our immune system. Vitamin D is found in small quantities in food and is primarily produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. This sun exposure is affected by many factors, such as time of day, the use of sunscreens and geographic location. It has been correlated that areas further from the equator have increased incidence of autoimmune conditions, specifically multiple sclerosis.

What is a physiological dose of vitamin D?
Why do patients on the Coimbra Protocol need such high doses of Vitamin D?
Why is Vitamin D effective for Autoimmune Diseases?
Is there any scientific evidence for Vitamin D and autoimmunity?
Are there side effects to the Coimbra Protocol?

Coimbra Protocol

Cicero Coimbra MD, PhD is a neurologist and professor at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil. Over the past two decades, he has created a clinical protocol to treat autoimmune diseases with the reestablishment of adequate systemic levels of vitamin D. This therapeutic approach relies on doses of vitamin D that range from 40,000 IU to 300,000 IU per day; therefore, this is a medical treatment that must always be carried out under the supervision of a trained medical professional.

In 1991, Dr. Coimbra started his post doctorate program at the University of Lund, Sweden, testing potential treatments for ischemic brain damage in rats. He needed to be as up to date as possible on the latest findings related to his field of interest, which was clinical neuroscience. It was then that he realized that much of the therapeutic progresses achieved in clinical and experimental research were never applied to clinical practice. Even in light of their immediate applicability and importance, these practices were not being taught in medical schools, even after anecdotal and corrobarative reports.

Through his research, based on the current medical literature, Dr. Coimbra came to believe that vitamin D could be a fundamental therapeutic resource, since it stimulates the production of many regenerative substances in the brain. In 2001, he began administering vitamin D in physiological doses - 10,000 IU/day - to Parkinson's Disease patients. Such a dose is the amount our own body produces when exposed a few minutes to the sun. One day, a patient came back for a return appointment after 3 months of taking 10,000 IU/day. This patient also suffered from vitiligo, an autoimmune disease, and Dr. Coimbra noticed that a large skin lesion the man had on his face on the previous visit was barely visible. The lesion had almost disappeared in just a few months of administering 10,000 IU daily.

He decided to search the medical literature for the effects of Vitamin D on the immune system, and he found a significant number of published research supporting his idea of an immune modulatory role for Vitamin D. Multiple Sclerosis is the most common neurological autoimmune disease so he started prescribing Vitamin D to MS patients. That was the beginning of what is presently known as the Coimbra Protocol.

With such doses, around 10,000 IU/day, Dr. Coimbra saw a remarkable clinical improvement in the vast majority of his patients. From that point on, the doses were further increased, always supported by laboratory tests to ensure patients would not experience side effects. The results were that many of these patients found themselves completely free of the symptoms and manifestations of the disease. During the next ten years,

Dr. Coimbra and his staff gradually modified and perfected the treatment, mostly in terms of the prescribed daily doses of Vitamin D, which grew steadily higher. After 2012, the desired level of efficacy was achieved and the Coimbra Protocol became similar to what it is today.

The Protocol is constantly being fine tuned through his research and daily observations of more than five thousand patients in his clinic.

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