“When we started with vitamin D and found out that it was effective, we made a life choice. We left academia behind – this thing of drugs here, drugs there, launches of drugs, testing of new drugs, allegedly satisfactory successes. We put it all aside and thought only of the interest of the patient who was there, at our office, in that moment.”
Dr. Cícero Coimbra
Cícero Coimbra, MD, PhD.
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 qualified doctor.
In 1991, Dr. Coimbra started his post doctorate program at the Univeristy of Lund, Sweden, testing potential treatments for ischemic brain damage in rats. As a general rule in research work, 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. In spite of their immediate applicability, these practices were not being taught in medical schools, even after several corroborative 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 regenerative substances in the brain. So, 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 big lesion the man had 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.
Dr. Coimbra decided to search the medical literature for the effects of vitamin D on the immune system, and found a significant number of published papers supporting an important immunoregulatory role of that powerful substance. Because multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological autoimmune disease, 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, which grew steadily higher. From 2012 on, the desired level of efficacy was achieved and the Coimbra Protocol became very similar to what it is today.
"Seeing MS patients getting back to a normal life, young people no longer at risk of
going blind or paraplegic - such experience gives great satisfaction to the doctor who
has them under his/her care. It has been very gratifying."
Dr. Cícero Coimbra