Multiple Sclerosis – Living With MS

multiplesclerosis

Do You Have Multiple Sclerosis?

Living with MS is difficult for most. Once you are told you have it, your whole world changes, never to be the same again. What about your job, your income, your family…..and what about your sanity? What will you do now, how will lead a normal life? Lots of questions, and very little answers. You may well feel depressed, angry, hurt. It’s not fair, why me you say? Almost certainly you will have heard of, or know someone, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis if you live in NZ, particularly down the South Island.
I’ll tell you what you do – you just go and pick yourself up…..and like Winston Churchill said: never give in, never give in, and never give in. I’d like to show you some ways of slowing the MS progression, and I’d like to show you that there are ways for you to take control, to slow the damage and to possibly even stop the damage occurring. I can tell you that several MS patients I know are doing pretty well ok, and some of their secrets I’d like to share with you.
This will be a two-part series on MS, and the idea is to give people with MS some hope. In the second part we will be looking at the best natural treatments I currently know for this progressive disease affecting the nervous system.
No pharmaceutical drug or other medical treatments to date really exist that offer prolonged remission on MS. What I believe makes a persuasive case for integrative management of MS, is the relationships between toxic, infectious, digestive, dietary and several other factors. There are time proven diets and a specialised supplementation regime for the MS patient, which we will discuss in greater deal in Part 2. I’ll also talk about digestive mal-absorption and dysbiosis, which can be corrected. Chronic viruses and other infectious load can be treated and correct exercise should maintain muscle tone and balance. There is no doubt; early intervention with integrative modalities has the potential to make MS a truly manageable disease, not a condition where one has lost all hope and feels that a wheelchair is the only likely future.
I have added some of my clinical experiences of treating MS patients, as well as having researched treatment regimes recommended by various MS experts such as Dr. Fred Klenner, Dr. George Jelinek, Dr. Alan Gaby and Dr. Roy Swank. I have learned much more from MS patients over the past several years, than from any other source. Being the eternal student, I would like to thank the many thousands of patients with different conditions I have seen over the years. I have generally found that many patients with conditions such as MS end up doing their own research, and some really go in depth and astound me! I lever stop learning from such patients, each one teaching me something new. Thank you; you have all been a true inspiration. It is time to share some of this valuable information with the readers of my website.

Multiple Sclerosis Book Recommendations

overcomingMS
By Dr. George Jelinek
This book presents a clearly written evidence-based approach to the treatment of MS, using a combination of medical treatment and lifestyle changes.”Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis” offers real hope for people with MS – a serious, progressively disabling neurological condition for which current medical treatment is not particularly effective and exhibits many side effects. Professor George Jelinek, an experienced medical clinician and researcher, provides a genuine alternative. Through an exhaustive, evidence-based analysis of medical research, Professor Jelinek reached the surprising conclusion that MS is a disease largely determined by lifestyle factors. He has demonstrated that people with MS who modify their diet, exercise habits, and other aspects of lifestyle can stabilise the illness, and potentially recover. Professor Jelinek’s experience with his mother’s death from MS, and his own diagnosis in 1999, lend an urgency and compassion to this meticulous work. Professor Jelinek’s recommendations have the power to change the lives of thousands of people with MS and their carers
Eric’s comment: This is my favourite MS book – a MUST have for any patient who has been diagnosed.
drroyswank
Dr. Roy L. Swank M.D., Ph.D.“After considerable research, I developed a dietary plan for the treatment of multiple sclerosis that absolutely anyone can do. A lifestyle change will have to take place, which may be a challenge for you, but the challenges of living with a disability are much greater.”My 50 years of research and working with approximately 5,000 MS patients, just like you, have proven that this protocol works to slow progression of the disease as well as benefit overall health.”
Eric’s comment: This is one of the best cook and dietary books for the MS patient. Read this book too.

Before I came to live in New Zealand in 1998 with my family to live and practice naturopathy, I hardly ever heard of MS. I was in previously practice in Brisbane for 6 years, and only very rarely heard about a condition called multiple sclerosis. This condition was a bit of a rarity I thought, until I came to New Zealand. According to the MS New Zealand website, there are approximately 4000 people diagnosed with MS. I believe that there are many more people out there in NZ with MS; it’s just that they haven’t been diagnosed as yet. Because MS manifests in a variety of ways, it is this variability that can cause difficulty and accuracy in making a diagnosis.

MS involves the progressive de-myelination (breakdown of the insulation coating) of nerve fibres in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. De-myelinated nerve fibres display a variety of conduction (how the nerve signal is transmitted) abnormalities, ranging from poor speed to actual blocks, resulting in a variety of symptoms that depend on the location and the duration of the lesion. Initial symptoms can be so mild that they are often overlooked and forgotten, with no further symptoms surfacing for a period of up to ten years. Many times, symptoms are put down to stress, or many other reasons. It is extremely hard to diagnose MS accurately in many cases, particularly in the beginning, and then not generally until lesions are picked up by way of sophisticated imaging such as MRI. This can take many years to happen. Is it any wonder the patient, doctor and neurologist get confused? I can vouch for some female patients I have seen in my room over the years, wondering if they have MS after looking it up on the internet, or wondering of they are just ‘going out of their mind’, as one lady put it. Her GP said that she was just suffering from PMS and probably ‘’depression’’, which turned out to be MS two years down the track. You can’t blame the doc; he is only doing his job as a gate-keeper, sifting the serious from not so serious cases through his clinic in the five minutes allotted.

Unanswered MS questions

Being a curious & enquiring naturopath, I have often wondered about these facts relating to MS:
  • The cause of MS is unknown. Could it be a virus, an auto-immune reaction, a toxin, a genetic predisposition, or a combination?
  • MS generally strikes women, when they are aged between 20-40 years.
  • MS very rarely strikes certain racial groups e.g., Maori, Polynesians, Native Americans, and black South Africans. Why?
  • The occurrence of MS is highest in temperate zones (New Zealand and northern Europe). Why?

Scotland: probably the highest MS rates in the world

The occurrence of MS is highest in temperate zones (New Zealand and northern Europe). This is why I did not hear much about this condition living in sub-tropical Brisbane previously. I found an interesting research paper, from Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry:” Multiple sclerosis is commoner in southern parts of NewZealand than in the north. Identicalmethods were used to determine the prevalence and incidence of multiplesclerosis in two regions: Waikato and Otago. No cases were found in Maori at the time. The prevalence rate of multiple sclerosiswas 24 per 100,000 in the northernregion and 69 per 100,000 in the south”. In the northern hemisphere, Orkney and Shetland were previously thought to have by far the highest prevalence of multiple sclerosis in the world: aboutdouble that found in England and Wales. However, the prevalenceof MS in south east Scotland is 203 per 100 000 population, making Scotland one of the hottest MS spots on earth.

Suspected Multiple Sclerosis Causes

Food Allergies  

According to Dr Parris Kidd, diets high in gluten and milk are generally much more common in areas with high MS prevalence and a connection between MS and food allergies has been suspected since the 1930s. In one study of 15 patients, the avoidance of allergenic foods, tobacco, or house dust led to almost complete control of symptoms. According to Dr.Gaby, cow’s milk and sulfite food additives can trigger MS exacerbations, and in occasional MS cases the degree of improvement from an allergy elimination diet can be highly impressive.
Clinical trials in auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease have shown that avoidance of milk, grains, and legumes results in major symptom improvements. The same has been found with MS. White blood cells reactive with milk proteins are very common in persons with MS. A 1952 study found 31 percent of 49 MS patients improved significantly when they avoided foods to which they were found allergic, reintroduction of such foods caused their symptoms to recur. Remember, the temperate zones are where MS is predominant – and this is where the cow lives. Scots love the cow like we do, could there be a link? I think so.

Digestive malfunctions and poor bugs in the gut

Aside from food allergy, poor digestive function seems endemic in MS. According to Dr. Jonathon Wright, a majority of the patients he has seen with MS have poor digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Almost all have poor stomach function, with inadequate enzyme production. After examining 52 MS patients, it was found that 42% had fat mal-absorption, 41% demonstrated undigested meat fibers, 27% had abnormal absorption, and 12% experienced mal-absorption of vitamin B12. Dysbiosis has been implicated in MS. Dr.Perlmutter reported finding anti-candida antibodies or candida immune complexes in 7 out of 10 MS patients he evaluated. Eight of these patients also demonstrated poor levels of Lactobacillus species. Aggressive anti-Candida treatment together with re-colonisation of beneficial bacteria has been claimed to occasionally resolve MS symptoms.
I have personally not seen an MS case where the digestion was not affected, and the gut is always my priority in any MS case initially. Check out my candida pages.

Root canal fillings 

It has long been speculated that root canal fillings may be implicated to some extent in the development of MS. Why? Inorganic mercury in the amalgam root canal filling may be converted to an organic form of mercury that functions as a potential neurotoxin. It is interesting to note that several patients I have seen with MS have multiple root canals. One MS patient I saw some years ago had 4 root canal fillings, and also had severe facial neuralgia and sinusitis. I urged her to have the root-canal teeth pulled out, for the sake of her flagging immunity. Do you have a root canal, and suffer with a disease “of no known origin’’? Then for goodness sakes get the dead thing pulled out.
You will be thinking now: “but wait a minute, people in many parts of the world have root canals, how come they all don’t have MS or some terrible disease?”Not everybody with mercury fillings or root canals will have problems, but some do, and some have serious problems as a result. It is my belief that MS and other immune issues can be triggered by potent neuro toxins, or a combination of several merging factors – including root canals.
Actually, it’s not the root canal that causes the problem, but rather, the germs trapped inside the dead tooth. I met Dr Virender Sodhi, one of America’s foremost Ayurvedic physicians a few years ago. Dr Sodhi wrote the chapter on Ayurvedic medicine for the world renowned Textbook of Natural Medicine and was adjunct Professor of Ayurvedic medicine. This is what Virender said: “I generally refuse to treat patients with root canals if they have a wide variety of health complaints, unless they have them pulled first”. Before I get letters and phone calls, dentists please take note: In 1996, the Journal of Periodontology devoted a whole issue to the subject of root canals relating periodontal disease to an incredible variety of systemic diseases, ranging from heart disease to low birth weight in infants of mothers with root canals. And, one of the most highly respected dental journals in the world, Quintessence International, stated in 1997: “The detrimental effect of focal infection on general health has been known for decades. Chronic dental infections may well worsen the condition of any medically compromised patient.”

Dairy products

It has long been established that early exposure to bovine proteins is a trigger for Type 1 diabetes, the insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Researchers have now made that same milk consumption connection to MS. Many experts have noted a dairy link to MS. Norway has the highest rates of milk and dairy consumption in the world. A research scientist, Dr. Embry, analysed geographical regions & MS and writes: “…In Norway MS is up to five times more common in the inland farming areas than in the relatively nearby coastal fishing areas.”          Dr. John McDougall cites in the major British medical journal (Lancet), pointing out that a diet filled with dairy products has been closely linked to the development of MS. (The Lancet 1974; 2:1061)
A Texan pathologist, Dr. Lindner, involved in clinical MS experiments at Texas University College of Medicine, writes on his website: “For MS prevention, it might be prudent to limit the intake of milk and milk products…”
A worldwide study published in the journal Neuro-epidemiology revealed an association between eating dairy foods (cow’s milk, butter, and cream) and an increased prevalence of MS. (Neuro-epidemiology 1992)
Do you still want your child to have three glasses a day or their bones….will crumble? You could be potentially breeding all sorts of immune problems if you still believe that cow’s milk is actually “good for your health”.

Viruses

I found an interesting study in the Epidemiology journal. In this study, women who had glandular fever were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with MS compared with women who did not have the infectious disease. The study suggests that among women with a history of glandular fever, 6 to 8 per 1000 will go on to develop MS. In addition, the Epstein-Barr along with infection with measles or mumps after age 15 was associated with an increased risk of MS.Dr. Kidd states that viruses are obvious candidates for the infectious villains in MS because several cause demyelination in humans as well as animals. The demyelination of MS may result from direct viral damage to brain cells, or from viral infection leading to formation of antibodies, which then attack the myelin sheath. Virtually any acute or chronic stressor that weakens the immune system – a toxic attack, intensified stress, illness from a common “garden variety” virus or bacteria, a continually low-grade food allergy, malnutrition, even continual emotional stress ­ could conceivably create a time window for one of these organisms to enter the brain and establish itself. After that, interaction with person’s immunity might set the stage for eventual progression to full-blown MS.
Several microorganisms have been associated with the disease during the last 30 years of research. Recent studies have implicated both human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) and the sexually transmitted disease bacteria chlamydia in the causation of MS. Sorry, more bad news: New Zealander’s are catching chlamydia at rates up to five times higher than people in Australia, Britain and Canada — and doctors don’t know why. This disease is a “hidden epidemic,” according to a report recently released by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research. What is even worse is that it is implicated in MS.

Chemical Toxicity: Organic Solvents

A number of studies have targeted occupational exposures, including exposures to organic solvents particularly formaldehyde. Two researchers did a sophisticated analysis that covered all studies from the period 1966-1994 and found 13 published studies on MS and toxins. Their results are uniformly consistent with organic solvent exposures increasing the risk of MS. These findings, derived using solid methodology, point to organic solvents as the major toxic contender for MS causation. Other environmental factors linked to MS include pesticides, and exposure to X-rays (diagnostic or occupational).

Aspartame

Aspartame, an artificial sugar marketed as ‘NutraSweet’, ‘Equal’, and ‘Spoonful, has also been implicated in the development of MS. When the temperature of Aspartame exceeds 30 centigrade, the wood alcohol in aspartame coverts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. (Ouch, formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants.) The methanol toxicity mimics multiple sclerosis; thus people were being diagnosed with having multiple sclerosis in error, when what they really had was methanol toxicity.I have a patient who served in the Gulf war, this man is only 34 years old. He has been diagnosed with MS, but what I couldn’t get over was when he told me that about 30% of the troops in his battalion – were later diagnosed with MS or other chronic neurological disease! Was it the diet cola drink (containing aspartame, left to cook in plastic bottles in the hot Arabian desert sun) which all the American soldiers were drinking, or was it toxic gas? Perhaps we will never know. Are you still drinking…the drink I call black death? Not many people know that a silly cola company in the USA years ago ran an advertisement campaign (billboards) telling consumers to drink cola, because it was made by humans for humans. And that milk was made by cows for cows. The truth is they are probably both toxic.

Refererences

  • Akhondzadeh, S., et al. Melissa officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 74(7):863-866, 2003.
  • Chlamydia: Excerpted from: Timaru Herald (New Zealand) 06.04.02
  • Graves, A. B., et al. The association between aluminum-containing products and Alzheimer’s disease. J Clin Epidemiol. 43(1):35-44, 1990.
  • Crawford, J. G. Alzheimer’s disease risk factors as related to cerebral blood flow: additional evidence. Medical Hypotheses. 50(1):25-36, 1998.
  • Little, A., et al. A double-blind, placebo controlled trial of high-dose lecithin in Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 48(8):736-742, 1985.
  • Nijst, T. Q., et al. Vitamin B12 and folate concentrations in serum and cerebrospinal fluid of neurological patients with special reference to multiple sclerosis and dementia. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 53(11):951-954, 1990.
  • Hershowitz, M., et al. Long-term treatment of dementia Alzheimer type with phosphatidylserine: effect on cognitive functioning and performance in daily life. In: Bazan N. G., et al (eds). Phospholipids in the Nervous

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  • Dr. Terry Wahl cured hers through a paleo diet.