Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, progressive degenerative disease of
the central nervous system. Because nerves are delicate, highly sensitive
structures, they are sheathed in a protective material known as myelin. In
a person with MS, the myelin degenerates, leaving section of the nerves
bare and vulnerable. If nerves are damaged and scarred over, the areas of
the body that are controlled by the affected nerves will malfunction.
Although MS is not a common disorder, it does strike more frequently than
most other neurological diseases, and in recent years, the percentage of
cases has increased. It's estimated that between 250,000 and 350,000
Americans currently suffer from MS. Multiple sclerosis can develop at any
age, but onset usually occurs between the ages of twenty and forty. About
two-thirds of MS victims are women.
The course of MS is highly individual and depends mainly on which nerves
are affected and on the extent of the damage. Nevertheless, the disease
does exhibit some general symptom patterns. Multiple sclerosis always
occurs in cycles of flare-ups, called exacerbations, and remissions. The
first attack and the exacerbations that follow may consist of nothing more
than some blurred vision or unexplained fatigue. Because the symptoms are
vague and disappear after a short time-sometimes after just days-and
because a person may spend years in remission, MS often goes un-diagnosed
in these extremely early stages. Exacerbations get progressively worse,
however, and when a person experiences more obviously alarming symptoms
like facial paralysis, weak or numb limbs, or slurred speech, it's likely
that a doctor will investigate the possibility of MS.
How the disease moves on from this stage varies from person to person. Some
people will go into complete, lifelong remission. Just as rare is the case
in which the disease hits with more force, causing significant, lasting
damage after the very first attack. The vast majority of sufferers fall
somewhere in-between these two extremes. Many will recover from the first
major exacerbation and will experience only mild recurrences every ten
years or so. Some will suffer from more frequent relapses that slowly
become more severe and leave permanent disability in their wake. As the
decades go on, a person may have trouble with movement, balance, and
coordination and eventually develop the classic staggering gait. In the
advanced stages, there may be blindness, incontinence, paralysis, or
difficulty breathing. Because MS affects the brain's functions, many
sufferers also experience mood alterations, swinging up to euphoria and
then plunging down into a deep depression.
Why the sheaths of myelin degenerate in some people remains a mystery, but
there's no shortage of theories. The prevailing hypothesis is that MS is an
automatic disorder in which white blood cells mistake myelin for an invader
and attack it. Another popular theory is that MS is caused by a virus or
another latent infection, and indeed, the symptoms of MS are similar to
those of some viral infections-so similar that doctors are often not able
to distinguish a viral attack from MS in its early stages. Possibly, MS is
caused by a combination of these factors, and the virus somehow causes the
formation of antibodies that attack myelin.
Although multiple sclerosis is appearing with increasing frequency in the
United States, the disease is rare in Eastern and developing countries and
in the tropics. Any time this kind of geographical discrepancy occurs, it
makes sense to investigate lifestyle and environmental factors as potential
causes. Also, MS occurs more frequently in higher latitudes. High-risk
areas include the northern United States, Canada, Great Britain,
Scandinavia, Tasmania, and northern Europe, as examples. The reason for
this is unclear, although studies show that people who had a higher sun
exposure between the ages of six and fifteen have significantly reduced
risk of the disease. This may have something to do with vitamin D from sun
It's well known that extreme stress and poor nutrition can bring on an
exacerbation, so it's quite possible that they also contribute to the onset
of the disease. Environmental toxins, especially heavy metals, can produce
symptoms similar to those of MS and may damage both DNA and myelin. And in
the case of allergies, food allergies or sensitivities appear to be a
factor for some people with this condition. Many researchers are currently
looking into the relationship between an allergy to wheat or dairy and the
incidence of MS. One must also look at the possibility of toxic metal
accumulation, such as mercury, as a causative or aggravating factor. Good
digestion is important, as there is a link between autoimmune diseases and
mal-absorption. Several nutritional deficiencies, especially of essential
fatty acids and vitamin B12, are critical, as they are involved with a
healthy myelin sheath.
Compounding the frightening symptoms of MS is the inability of many
patients to receive a definitive diagnosis, especially in the early stages
of the disease. Doctors can perform spinal taps, testing the cerebrospinal
fluid, or do MRI scans to look for abnormal antibodies and myelin damage,
but because MS may cause damage much like that from a virus or other
autoimmune disorders, the tests are often inclusive. In most cases, a
diagnosis is made only when all other possibilities are ruled out.
If you have MS or MS-like symptoms, it's critical that you find a good
specialist and work closely with him or her. Despite the common perception,
many people with MS live long, productive lives. Disabilities caused by
severe attacks, when they happen at all, often occur several decades after
a diagnosis and can often be managed quite well. It is crucial that you
also work with a holistic doctor to address the underlying reasons for your
illness. We have had several patients with MS remain relatively
symptom-free by following a comprehensive natural approach, as described in
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of
effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when
taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to help
Multiple Sclerosis - MS:
The Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch,
M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription #1
- LifeSource Products -
See All of our Omega 3 – Fish Oil Products.
Take as directed on bottle. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce
inflammation and are required for healthy nerve
functioning. Studies show this to be a great help when
Super Prescription #2
- LifeSource Products
Take 1,000 mcg of the sublingual form daily. Vitamin
B12 is involved in the formation of the myelin sheath,
and we find B12 helpful for people with this condition.
Super Prescription #3
Multivitamin – High Potency
– LifeSource Products - See All of our
Take as directed on the container. It contains a base
of the nutrients needed for healthy immune and nervous
Super Prescription #4
Phyto Greens - Super Greens
- LifeSource Products - See All of our
Phyto Green Products.
Take as directed daily on an empty stomach. These
naturally occurring plant chemicals have been shown to
have a balancing effect on the immune systems of people
with autoimmune diseases.
Super Prescription #5
Enzymes – Super Enzymes
- LifeSource Product
Take 1 to 2 capsules of a full-spectrum enzyme product
with each meal. Enzymes help you to digest food more
efficiently and lessen autoimmune reactions. Protease
enzymes can be taken between meals to reduce autoimmune
complexes and inflammation.
Super Prescription #6 Borage Oil
Take 300 to 500 mg daily. It is found in evening
primrose and borage oil. GLA is a fatty acid that has
an anti-inflammatory effect.
Super Prescription #7
- LifeSource Product
Take 400 IU of a mixed complex daily. Vitamin E is a
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studies for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis occurs in cycles of remission and exacerbation. Symptoms
may occur singly at first, but late on, they usually appear in groups of
two of more.
Numbness or weakness in the limbs
Loss of balance
Nausea and vomiting
Bowel and bladder incontinence
Doctors aren't sure what causes MS, but the leading theories are listed
Chronic infection (viral, bacterial, candida)
Long periods of extreme stress
Stress hormone imbalance
Poor nutrition (especially vitamin D deficiency)
Free radical damage
Eat meals and snacks made with whole, unprocessed foods. Try to prepare
meals yourself so you know what goes into them. Buy organic products as
often as possible.
Have several helpings of deeply colored fresh fruits and vegetables every
day. These foods are high in antioxidants, which fight free radical damage
to your cells. They're also high in fiber, which will keep your colon free
of wastes and will help you avoid constipation.
Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation of the nerve fibers and
strengthen myelin. Eat fish from a clean water source three or more times a
week, and have a tablespoon of flax seeds or flax seed oil every day.
Lecithin may also help to strengthen the myelin sheath. Good sources
include tofu and other soy products, bean sprouts, and cabbage.
To reduce stress, add whole grains, wheat germ, and brewer's yeast to your
meals. The B vitamins in these foods are calming to the nervous system.
Foods to Avoid
Reduce your exposure to chemicals and pesticides by eating organic foods.
Do not eat junk food or packaged food that contains artificial flavoring,
colorings, or preservatives.
If you're allergic to any food, you need to find out now. You should make
it a priority to look for allergies to gluten (what and other grains) or
dairy, but corn, yeast, sugar, peanuts, soy, and eggs are also common
Eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet that may make your nerve damage
and muscle problems worse. If you've stopped eating red meat and dairy,
you've already made great strides toward this goal. You should also avoid
other foods that are fatty, fried, or greasy.
Keep up your resistance to infection by restricting your sugar consumption.
If you're feeling well, the occasional treat is fine, but for the most
part, you should avoid colas, sweet baked goods, candies, cakes, and other
items made with refined sugar.
If you want to fight MS, you need all the nutritional support you can get.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which deplete vitamins and minerals from your
body and worsen inflammation.
Frequent short-term fasts will help you cleanse your body of toxins and
will give you a lighter, more energetic feeling. During periods of
remission, try a juice fast once a month. Be sure to supplement the fast
with a wide variety of fruit and vegetable juices and broths.
Fasting during exacerbations is not recommended, as you need to keep up
optimum nutrition at those times. Instead, supplement your regular
healthful diet with lots of vegetable juices.
Gingko biloba has potent antioxidant activity for the nerves and
improves circulation. Take 60 to 120 mg twice daily of a standardized
product containing 24 percent flavone glycosides and 6 percent terpene
Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum) balances the stress hormones. Take
1,000 to 3,000 mg daily.
Take a super green food supplement, such as chlorella or spirulina, or
a mixture of super green foods, each day for detoxification and pH
balance. Take as directed on the container.
DHEA is a stress hormone that is helpful for many autoimmune diseases.
Have your levels tested, and if they are low, start with 15 mg daily
under the supervision of a doctor. Higher doses of up to 100 mg are
It is important to avoid stress, so keep a stash of calming herbal teas
on hand. Skullcap, hops (Humulus lupulus), and passionflower are all
Gentle exercise will keep your muscles in good shape, improve
circulation, keep your digestive system regular, and help you release
stress. Swimming and walking are especially helpful for MS patients, as
are stretching exercises.
Rest whenever you feel the need. If you think you might be getting ill
or experiencing the beginning or an exacerbation, get to bed right away
and stay there for a few days. You might be able to head off the worst
of the symptoms.
Don't forget that tobacco smoke is an environmental toxin best avoided.
Consult with a holistic dentist to make sure there are no chronic root
canal infections, mercury-filling problems, or other dental issues that
may be triggering the immune system.
Get 15 minutes of sunlight exposure daily.
Bruce Brightman – founder
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