Discover Natural Alternatives to help stop MS relapses.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common immune-mediated demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS), and the most frequent cause of non-traumatic neurological disorder in the young and middle-age adults. Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease initially is very shocking and depressing. You immediately find out that there is no cure, and it is a disease that you will have to live with forever. But, with proper lifestyle changes you can help halt the progression and live a normal life. This article will review both conventional and natural treatments to help you live healthy with your autoimmune disease.
Many of us lead a hectic and stressful life with little time to relax. It is a perfect storm for autoimmune diseases. Nancy Mairs had just moved with her family from Boston to Tucson; she wanted to start a new life as an English Literature graduate student. She had been so busy for several months that she had barely noticed that she had gradually developed a limp. During the past year, she had countless bouts of exhaustion, but casually dismissed it as something a working mother should normally feel. She was so surprised and somewhat offended when a classmate asked her why she was limping. Did she hurt herself? It was that question that finally pushed her to consult her family doctor. Her doctor then referred her to a neurologist. The findings were unexpected as it not what she had expected to have. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Getting To Know MS:
MS is a chronic disease wherein your body’s immune system that, usually, fights infection, attacks and destroys the nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord. Specifically, the immune cells target the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is the protective covering of the nerve cells and allows faster transmission of information to and from the central nervous system. When the myelin sheath is damaged, it becomes more and more difficult for the nerve cells to work properly, hence leading to the clinical manifestations of MS patients. This disease may vary from a benign illness to a rapidly evolving and incapacitating disease that often requires a serious lifestyle change.
Risk factors for MS: Throughout the World
In the United States approximately, 350,000 people have MS, and MS affects about 2.5 million people worldwide. Whites are inherently at a much higher risk for MS than Africans or Asians. Even when residing in a similar environment. Women are two-to-three times more likely to have the disease, and will normally manifest between the age of 20-40 years, but it can be diagnosed at any age. Though it is clearly not inherited, MS tends to cluster within families. There is a 1-5% risk of developing MS if a close relative (parent or sibling) has the disease and an even higher risk among monozygotic twins.
People living in colder countries are more vulnerable to MS like Northern Europe, United States, Canada and New Zealand. By contrast, the prevalence of those in the tropics is often ten-to-twenty fold less. There have been studies that suggest that the lack of Vitamin D (sunshine) can allow your body to be more susceptible to an autoimmune disease. There are also similar studies that suggest that Vitamin D can help the systems of autoimmune diseases once contracted.
The Two-Hit Hypothesis for MS:
The two-hit hypothesis was introduced to explain the onset of a disease process as a result of an inherited susceptibility (first hit) which is eventually triggered some form of stressors (second hit). The precise cause of MS is still unknown. However, current data shows that the disease develops as a combination of vulnerable genes, possible stress and environmental triggers. These variables results in a self-sustaining autoimmune disorder that influences the recurrent immune attacks on the central nervous system.
MS susceptibility may be that a mutation of a gene linked to the immune reactivity that generates an exaggerated response to a given antigen. Leading to uncontrolled immune cell reproduction and autoimmunity. At least three sequential environmental events are implicated in the
pathway leading to MS.
The mechanism of demyelination in MS may be due to the activation of immune cells that are reactive to the nerve’s myelin sheath. These immune cells enter the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and gain direct access to the brain and spinal cord. They eventually release proinflammatory cytokines and produce antibodies against myelin.
Ongoing inflammation stimulates the immune cells to spread inflammatory chemicals and recruit more inflammatory cells that attack and destroy the nerves. With every new onset of inflammation on the nerve sheaths, there is axonal damage. The accumulation of axonal loss in the brain and any level of the spinal cord is thought to be the major cause of progressive and irreversible neurologic disability in MS.
Several studies propose that the MS risk for the patient becomes similar to the MS prevalence of the area where they reside in during their adolescence, regardless of the area where they previously lived in. By contrast, when they move again after adolescence, their MS risk remains similar to the region from which they moved.
The role of infectious agents has been identified, particularly some viral infections such as measles, polio-myelitis, and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). However, the exact causal role of infectious agents are not definitively established. By analogy, these infections produce neurologic sequelae that increase the risk for developing MS. Serial MRI studies in early relapsing-remitting MS suggest that there is either a very similar molecular structure (molecular mimicry) between viral antigens and myelin antigens and that immune cells become activated and erroneously direct their attack toward brain and spinal cord proteins.
In utero or Early Postnatal Period
A second factor seems to occur before birth. Evidences point out that there is a twofold increase in MS risk for twins as compared to siblings, hence supporting the possibility that factors affecting early life can contribute to the development of MS. In addition, a recently published population-based study supported the month-of-birth defect in subjects living in the northern hemisphere. Their findings suggested compared to babies born in other months that May babies are significantly more likely, and November babies are the least likely to develop MS.
However, in patients living in the southern hemisphere, with peaked risk for babies born on November/December, and nadir occurring for May/June babies. This provides implications that early environmental event involved in the pathogenesis of MS that is both coupled to the solar cycle and time-locked birth.
How do you know if you have MS?
Multiple sclerosis may manifest abruptly or insidiously. Its symptoms may range from what is seemingly benign to severe. True enough, the symptomatology of MS can be extremely varied and is highly dependent on the area of the lesion in the central nervous system. It is important to watch out for the following manifestations that a patient with MS can have:
Pain, Pins and Needles or Numbness: Signs of MS
More than 50% of patients with multiple sclerosis complain of pain. It can occur anywhere on the body and can change locations over time. Pain typically is not associated with less favorable prognosis and it does not necessarily impair function. However, it can have significant consequences on the quality of life. Hence, it needs to be treated appropriately.
A number of patients complain of too many sensations such as tingling and “pins and needles,” while others complain of the lack of it such as numbness, or a “dead” feeling.
Mood and Cognition: How does MS affect my concentration or cognitive ability?
Depression is experienced by approximately half of MS patients which can be reactive, endogenous, or part of the illness itself.
As much as 50-70% of MS patients present with cognitive dysfunction. These patients can complain of memory loss, impaired attention, difficulties in problem solving and abstract reasoning, slowed information processing and trouble shifting between cognitive tasks. Despite these manifestations, they are not sufficient to impair daily activities.
Eyes: How does MS affect the Eyes?
Optic neuritis (ON) manifests as diminished visual acuity, dimness, or decreased color perception in the affected eye. Patients with ON normally have abnormalities with one eye, but it may be bilateral. Eye pain exacerbated with eye movement often precedes or accompanies visual loss. Some patients complain of double vision. Much less commonly, patients may experience phosphenes (transient bursts of light or black squares) lasting from hours to months. Optic neuritis is the first demyelinating event in approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. During the course of the disease, as much as 40% of patients can develop ON.
Hearing and balance: Can MS cause Vertigo or Headaches?
Deafness is not common, but it can occur in patients with MS. Serious demyelination in the brainstem can result in severe positional vertigo, vomiting, ataxia and headache.
Stiffness in Arms and legs: How does MS affect Strength, Speed or Dexterity?
Weakness of the arms and legs may manifest as loss of strength, speed, or dexterity, or a disturbance in the pattern of movement of the limbs. Spasticity is characterized by increased muscle stiffness and resistance to movement. This occurs most frequently in muscles that function to maintain an upright posture.
Genitourinary: How does MS affect the Bladder?
Bladder dysfunction is present in more than 90% of patients with multiple sclerosis. In one-third of patients, incontinence dysfunction results in weekly or more frequent episodes This can be classified as a failure to store, failure to empty, or both. Patient with impaired capacity to store urine have a small spastic bladder with hypercontractility of the detrusor muscle. Symptoms of this are manifested with urinary frequency, urgency, nocturia, and uncontrolled bladder emptying. With advancing disability, patients with MS have a decreased activity of their detrusor sphincter muscle. This causes difficulty in initiating and/or stopping the urinary stream, urinary retention, producing hesitancy, overflow incontinence, and recurrent infection. Bladder problems are a source of great stress affecting a person’s family, social, and work responsibilities.
Patients with MS may also complain of sexual dysfunction. They may experience decreased libido, impaired genital sensation, impotence in men, and decreased vaginal lubrication in women.
Gastrointestinal: Constipation and MS
Constipation occurs in more than 30% of patients and is the most frequent bowel complaint in patients with MS. It is characterized as infrequent or difficult passage of stools. It may result from neurogenic bowel immobility, which leads to a slower bowel activity. In addition, patients attempt to manage bladder symptoms by limiting their water intake resulting in dry hard stools.
Fatigue and Nerve Pain.
The most common reason for work-related disability in about 90% of patients with MS is fatigue. It can be exacerbated with exposure to high temperatures due to environmental exposure or to exercise. Such symptoms are reversible and result from the elevation of the core body temperature which further impairs conduction on the demyelinated nerves.
Lhermitte’s symptom is an electric shock-like sensation (typically induced with movements of the neck) that radiates down the back and into the legs. It is generally self-limiting, but it can persist for years. This can also occur with other disorders involving the cervical spinal cord.
Multiple Sclerosis Can Be Classifying Into Four Types:
Multiple sclerosis is classified into four clinical types. The clinical types are based on criteria, including the recurrence of clinical relapses, time to disease progression, and lesion development on MRI:
Relapsing/remitting MS (RMMS)
Th RMMS group accounts for 85% of MS cases. RMMS is characterized by discrete attacks that evolve over days to weeks. There is often a total recovery over the ensuing weeks to months. However, when movement is severely impaired during an attack, approximately 50% will fail to recover completely. Between attacks, patients are neurologically stable. However, these patients have a 2% risk of developing into Secondary Progressive MS SPMS every year.
Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS)
The greater majority of RMMS patients ultimately evolves into SPMS. At one point of their course, they experience a steady deterioration in function unassociated with acute attacks. These patients produce a greater amount of fixed neurologic disability than RRMS. SPMS appears to represent an advanced stage of the same underlying illness as RMMS.
Primary Progressive MS (PPMS)
These patients account for about 15% of MS cases. They typically do not experience attacks but only a steady state functional decline from disease onset. Sex distribution is more even and manifests at a later age (~40 years) and disability develops faster.
Progressive/Relapsing MS (PRMS)
Approximately 5% of MS patients have overlaps of PPMS and SPMS. They experience a steady deterioration from disease onset. However, they also experience occasional attacks superimposed upon their progressive course.
What is the prognosis for a Multiple Sclerosis?
Most patients with untreated MS will ultimately experience progressive neurologic disability. When MS goes untreated either using conventional, natural alternative or an holistic approach, a person has a higher risk of relapsing. With each episode of a relapse, you can be causing irreversible damage. However, for unclear reasons, the long-term prognosis for untreated MS appears to have improved in recent years. There have been no good studies determining the reason, but could it be because people are educating themselves on living a healthy lifestyle?
Favorable Prognosis with ON or sensory symptoms if there are fewer than two relapses in the first year of illness and minimal impairment after 5 years.
Fewer relapses during the early years results in fewer MRI lesions and more relapses result in more MRI lesions. Importantly, it the type of MS is a benign variant then they never stop developing neurologic disability. The probability of having benign MS is thought to be <20%. Patients are likely to maintain a benign course after 15 years of entirely normal neurologic examinations.
Death as a direct consequence of MS is uncommon. Estimates of Life Span is 25-35 years, bringing most patients to an older age. Death occurring during an acute MS attack is extremely rare. Death occurs due to the complication of MS, chronic urinary tract infections, complications with breathing, swallowing, immobility, aspiration, pneumonia and bed sores. Death can also result from suicide. Please recognize that suicide is not the answer. There are MS support groups, hotlines and making some lifestyle changes can help with many symptoms you are experiencing.
Factors that are favorable for MS Prognosis:
- Long interval between first and second attack
- Complete Recovery from the first attack
- Low rate of relapse per year.
- Symptoms predominantly from afferent systems (sensory systems)
- Younger age of onset
- Low disability at 2-5 years from the disease onset
- later cerebellar involvement
- involvement of only on central nervous system at the time of onset
- Short interval between first and second attack
- Incomplete Recovery from the first attack
- Low rate of relapse per year.
- Symptoms predominantly from efferent systems (motor tract involvement)
- Older age of onset
- Significant disability at 2-5 years from the disease onset
- Early cerebellar involvement
- Involvement of more than one central nervous system at the time of onset
Conventional Treatment for MS:
The Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS) is a useful measure of neurologic impairment in MS. Most patients with EDSS of 5.5 have SPMS or PPMS, are gait-impaired, and, typically, are occupationally disabled.
Therapy for MS can be divided into several categories:
Treatment for acute attacks
- Corticosteroids are prescribed to reduce nerve inflammation. They provide short-term clinical advantage by diminishing the severity and shortening the duration of attacks.
- Plasma exchange (plasmapharesis) is a process wherein the plasma is extracted and separated from the blood cells. The blood cells are then mixed with albumin and returned to the body. This may help patients with fulminant attacks of demyelination that are unresponsive to glucocorticoids. However, the cost is high, and conclusive evidence of its efficacy is lacking.
Treatment with disease-modifying agents that reduce the activity of MS
No therapies have shown beneficial for slowing down the progression of PPMS. However, for RRMS, certain medication can lower the relapse rate and reduce the formation of new lesions. Here are several agents approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Beta interferons are known to modulate the immune system and reduces the attack rate. These drugs can cause side effects such as flu-like symptoms and injection-site reactions. A blood test to monitor the liver enzymes is needed.
- Glatiramer acetate reduces the attack rate by blocking the immune system’s damaging effects on myelin and regulates inflammation.
- Natalizumab prevents the progression of potentially harmful immune cells from the bloodstream to the brain and spinal cord. This drug greatly diminishes the attack rate and significantly enhances all measures of disease severity in MS. This medication increased the risk of a viral infection of the brain called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
- Fingolimod is a once-daily oral medication that keeps the immune cells in the bloodstream from reaching the CNS. It reduces the attack rate and significantly improves all measures of disease severity in MS. Heart rate must be monitored for at least six hours after the first dose because the heartbeat may be reduced. Other side effects include high blood pressure and blurred vision.
- Mitroxantrone hydrochloride is an immunosuppressant drug with the broadest sign of any current treatment for MS. Despite this broad indication, data confirming its ability are weaker than for other approved therapies. This drug can be dangerous to the heart and is associated with the development of blood cancers.
For all patients, it is useful to encourage attention to achieving a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a positive outlook in life, a healthy diet, and regular exercise as tolerated.
Physical or occupational therapy can teach patients stretching and strengthening exercises and orients patients to use devices that can make it easier for them to perform daily tasks.
When patients experience painful the uncontrollable muscle stiffness or spasms, muscle relaxants may be given.
Medications may also be prescribed for depression, pain, and bladder or bowel control problems that are associated with MS.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for MS
Multiple sclerosis remains a chronic neurologic illness that has a significant impact on the lives of patients and their families. The current conventional treatments, including drugs that modify the course of MS, are costly, has partial efficacy and has side effects.
Several recent surveys indicate that people with MS often explore complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments due to dissatisfaction with conventional medicine and a desire to have more self-control over disease management.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. Some CAMs that patients have found to work for MS are Health Diet, Paleo Diet, Essential Oils, Antioxidants, Dandelion Root and Leaf, Grape Seed Extracts, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D,Essential Fatty Acids, Herbs, Lymphatic Drainage, Cupping, Exercise, Cannabis and Gingko.
Precautions and Possible Interactions:
You should always consult your Doctor or Naturopathic Physician before starting any complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). If you are currently being treated with medications, you should speak with your health care provider or natural health provider to see if an interaction is possible. Supplements, Vitamins, Essential Oils and Herbs can be treating the same issue, and then you will be taking a double dose, or there could be a serious interaction or counteraction of taking CAM with prescription medication.
Surveys conducted conclude that people using CAM therapies are generally well educated and tend to use CAM in conjunction with conventional MS therapies. Common reasons why people use CAM include treating pain, spasticity, fatigue, cognitive issues, mood disorders and improvement of general well-being. Despite the high rate of CAM therapy used among people with MS and their reporting benefit from these therapies, there is a paucity of well-designed clinical trials assessing the efficacy of CAM.
Diet for Multiple Sclerosis:
- Drink plenty of water. You want to clear toxins out of your body.
- Avoid processed food, trans fats and artificial sweeteners.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
- Eat plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables.
- Get Tested!!! Ask your physician to test you for food allergies. It is common for autoimmune patients to have gluten allergies. Other food allergies can include dairy, soy, MSG, food additives, preservatives, corn, chocolate, nuts. If you have a food allergy and you are eating that food with MS your immune system is going haywire to deal with both the allergens in your body and your MS.
Can the Paleo Diet help MS?
The role of diet in MS can be addressed from at least two different perspectives:
1. Involves investigating if ones diet as a possible culprit in the causation of MS.
2. Involves halting relapses and eliminating the side-effects of MS.
There has been special interest in looking at the fatty content of the diet and the role of specific essential fatty acid supplementation, antioxidants, and various nutritional supplements in MS. A case-control study which involved 197 MS patients and 202 control subjects suggested plant-derived components such as vegetable protein and dietary fiber has a protective role of toward the risk of MS. This study also revealed a significant positive association of high-caloric diet including animal fat intake and the risk of developing MS. Researchers thus agreed that intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids is possibly beneficial and that the idea of dietary modifications can influence the outcome of MS after the onset of the disease.
There has been many success stories of MS Patients following the Paleo diet and putting the MS into full remission. Following a Paleo has a very high success potential for people living with MS. The Paleo diet consists of eating a low-carb, high-fat and moderate “organic” protein diet. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables and limiting processed foods.
Best Essential Oils for MS.
The most common essential oils used for MS are Basil, Clary Sage, Copaiba, Cypress, Frankincense, Peppermint, Sandalwood, Sweet Marjoram and Roman Chamomile.
Basil Essential Oil for MS
Basil essential oil is very helpful in the treatment of nervous disorders such as multiple sclerosis. Basil provides mental clarity, increases concentration, and reduces fatigue, which are all symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Clary Sage Essential Oil for MS
Clary Sage Essential oil provides a calming effect on the nervous system. It is used for treatment of multiple sclerosis because of its calming and sedating effects. Clary Sage essential oil dropped in baths or used in massage oil will help reduce muscle pains and release nervous tension.
Copaiba Essential Oil for MS
Are you aware that copaiba essential oil is one the best oils to use as an antiinflammatory because of it has one of the highest levels of beta-caryophyllene on earth? Yes, it continues to be recorded to include 50 percent beta-caryophyllene. Clove essential oils, which can be recommended for their antiinflammatory compounds and Helichrysum, have 5 percent! Because of its amazing effect on inflammation, it remarkably reduces pain. Disorder linked to inflammation including Lupus, Fibromyalgia, arthritis and MS react perfectly to Copaiba use. If your mission is to reduce inflammation with essential oils try Copaiba.
Cypress Essential Oil for MS
Cypress essential oil provides a calming effect on the nervous system. It is used for treatment of multiple sclerosis because of its calming and sedating effects. Cypress essential oil dropped in baths or used in massage oil will help reduce muscle pains and release nervous tension.
Frankincense Essential Oil for MS
Frankincense essential oil can cross the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) it allows optimal communication at the cellular level, facilitating oxygenation of the cells. Frankincense is good to reduce inflammation, great for the brain, helps with nervous tension, anxiety and stress. I love many herbs and essential oils; Frankincense is my-go-to essential oil. It seems like it can fix anything.
Juniper Essential Oil for MS
Juniper essential oil is also used to calm nervous tension it can be diluted in the bath or blended with massage oil. It also helps with bladder problems (inability to pass urine) associated with multiple sclerosis. For bladder issues simply create a massage oil 20-60 drops of Juniper essential oil to 4 oz. of carrier oil and rub on low abdomen 2-3 times a day.
Peppermint Essential Oil for MS
Peppermint essential oil is beneficial in treatment nervous disorders. It is excellent for relieving mental exhaustion, which is a symptom connected to multiple sclerosis. It is also very effective at stimulating the mind and improving concentration. Peppermint essential oils are also beneficial for digestive issues. Constipation is very common with MS and applying peppermint essential oil to the abdomen helps with constipation.
Sweet Marjoram essential oil for MS:
Sweet Marjoram essential oil has a relaxing and sedating effect on muscles are arthritic pain. It is also known to be a neurotoxic and can overcome multiple sclerosis symptoms such as muscle pain.
Roman Chamomile essential oil for MS:
Roman Chamomile essential oil induces a sedative response. It is also high in esters that are know for their antiinflammatory properties. It has also been known to relax spastic muscles of the colon walls.
To make a massage oil you can use one of a combination of essential oils mixed with a carrier oil.
Multiple Sclerosis Massage Oil (Blend 1):
15 drops-Roman Chamomile
25 drops-Sweet Marjoram
Dilute with 4 oz carrier oil
Have someone apply this to your spine or back of the neck. Apply to bottom of feet before bed.
Multiple Sclerosis Massage Oil (Blend 2):
20 drops-Roman Chamomile
Dilute with 4 oz carrier oil
Have someone apply this to your spine or back of the neck. Apply to bottom of feet before bed.
Multiple Sclerosis Massage Oil (Blend 3):
Dilute with 4 oz carrier oil
Have someone apply this to your spine or back of the neck. Apply to bottom of feet before bed.
Multiple Sclerosis Massage Oil (Blend 4):
20 drops-Juniper Berry
Dilute with 4 oz carrier oil
A nice blend to use for a gentle back massage, apply on spine, neck and bottoms of feet.
Multiple Sclerosis Massage Oil (Blend 5):
Dilute with 4 oz carrier oil
Apply the oil to brain reflexology points.
On the forehead, temples, mastoids that are right behind ears then follow the bone to the back of the neck and feel the indent in the back of your skull. You will apply oil from the back of your ear to the indent at the base of your skull in back of your neck. Then apply oil down you spine. If you do not have someone to do your whole spine, reach as much as possible. If alone you can place oil on a cotton ball attached to a back scratcher.
Diffusing helps calm nerves. Diffuse any of the essential oils above, not with carrier oils, just straight essential oils.
Massage is considered to be of advantage for pain to get many different reasons. It’s thought to stimulate the nerve fibres that reduces pain impulses transmission. It’s also believed to help people relax and increases blood flow to the muscles and usually feel a lot better in themselves, all of which might help them cope on their chronic pain.
Essential oils may inhale through vaporization. It is done by using oil burners. From a bowl of warm water, in the same way, for those who also have colds, inhaling menthol or from a tissue or handkerchief can be of high relief.
A lot of people find using aromatherapy oils helps them to relax and alleviate their pain. It is because of the mixture of the relaxing impacts of the aromatherapy oils as well as heat in the bath. Several drops of essential oils needs to be added to your bath.
A handkerchief or small square of cloth can soak into the essential oil. Dilute in a bowl of water and applied directly to the painful region.
The essential oils are taken by many people internally by using them in drinks or adding them to some recipes. Taking essential oils internally should be done ONLY under direct supervision of an experienced natural health physician or aromatherapist as some essential oils can interfere with medication and can be hazardous.
Can Antioxidants help with my MS?
One common pathway of tissue injury in MS is oxidation of brain tissue that eventually contributes to the pathogenesis in MS. Because of the interest in free radical injury in MS, it is not surprising that various antioxidants are being explored as having a potential role in the prevention or treatment of MS.
Lipoic acid (LA) is a natural antioxidant. It has been shown to be effective in treating animal models of MS. In addition, LA has been shown to inhibit human immune cell migration into the Central Nervous System (CNS) and became an attractive candidate for a possible immune modulator in MS.
Dandelion Root and Leaf
Dandelion has been used in herbal remedies for energy improvement, general health, digestive issues and skin problems. Animal trials suggest dandelion may decrease fatigue and increase immune health (Lee, Lee, & An, 2012). Research also suggests that dandelion has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (Gonzalez-Castejon, Visioli, & Rodriguez-Casado, 2012). No research has examined the impact of dandelion on multiple sclerosis, but the plant does seem to have some medicinal properties that could be valuable to individuals with MS symptoms.
Grape Seed Extracts for MS:
Grape seed extracts protect brain and spinal nerves against free radical damage and moderates inflammatory process. Grape seed extracts can also help reduce pins and needles and numbness and increase nerve conduction.
Vitamin B12 for MS:
In a survey of Oregonians with MS, about 30% of respondents has tried vitamin B12 supplementation, but only 9% found it to be “highly beneficial.” The relationship of vitamin B12 and its role in MS remain controversial. Studies conducted revealed that although there was an improvement in the Guy’s Neurological Disability Scale (GNDS) of patient’s taking vitamin B12 as compared with the control group, the results were insignificant. Another study done using a combination therapy of beta interferons and vitamin B12 found significant clinical improvement and suggested a possible role of this combination in MS treatment. Despite the lack of objective data, many individuals still used vitamin B12 supplementation.
Vitamin D for MS:
Vitamin D deficiency in MS has been shown to increase the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. Prophylaxis with vitamin D and calcium is widely recommended. In addition, there has been emerging evidence for vitamin D as an environmental factor affecting autoimmune disease prevalence. Evidences point out that vitamin D has potential for modulation of the immune system in MS. Prospective case-control studies claim that it has a protective effect for patients at risk for developing MS. This intervention is found to be safe and tolerable.
Is Essential Fatty Acids good for Multiple Sclerosis?
Omega-3 fatty acids, namely the eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and deocosahexaenoic (DHA) unsaturated fatty acids inhibit the production of proinflammatory compounds. Some studies have reported that EPA can exert protective mechanisms against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, such as MS. Examples of omega-3 fatty acids that are being used as complementary medications in MS include fish oil and flaxseed oil.
Fish oil, a known major source of omega-3 fatty acid, has both anti-inflammatory and anti-autoimmune (due to inhibition of immune cells) effects. It has been shown to be significantly helpful to the immune, and biochemical status in animal and human models. Supplementation with fish oil has shown protective effects against kidney damage.
Flaxseed oil contains 70% omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to have a direct effect on the antibody profile of autoimmune patients. It reduces kidney damage by suppressing autoantibodies and the deposition of immune complexes on tissues. It also inhibits platelet activation, which is commonly elevated in an inflammatory response in Multiple Sclerosis patients. Further studies have also demonstrated that flaxseed oil has another protective component that is not completely identified. A daily dosage of 30 g was well tolerated and conferred the most benefit without side effects in terms of kidney/renal function, atherogenic mechanisms, and inflammation in the pathogenesis. However, despite these findings, patients should be cautioned about the possibility of allergic reactions to flaxseed.
Foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids are grass-fed Meats, Omega-3 enriched Dairy Food (Organic, grass-fed cows), Omega-3 enriched Eggs, Edamame, Wild Rice, Walnuts, Canola Oil, Flaxseed, Chia Seed and Beans.
Are Herbs good for MS?
During the past 30 years, thousands of patients suffering from autoimmune diseases have claimed to be cured by taking a herb named tripterygium wilfordii hook F (TwHF). It was found to inhibit proinflammatory chemicals in the body. In 5 open a total of 249 patients, patients treated with this herb showed clinical improvement from multiple sclerosis, lupus manifestations such as fatigue, arthralgia, fever, skin rash, hepatomegaly, and laboratory abnormalities. In another study, TwHF treatment reduced the use of prednisone. The results suggest that TwHF might be an alternative or additional drug for multiple sclerosis patients in whom steroid therapy is insufficiently effective or contraindicated. The most common side effects of this herb are dryness of mouth, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, hair loss, leukopenia, low platelet count, rash, skin pigmentation, oral ulcers, gastritis, abdominal pain, weight loss, diastolic hypertension, and vaginal spotting.
Is Dry Body Brushing good for MS?
Dry Body Brushing is INCREDIBLE! Your lymphatic system is very important for good health and is often ignored. Your lymphatic system does not move on its own; it needs you to move to get it running optimally. Even though, it is not exactly known what causes Multiple Sclerosis, it is suggested that having a clogged lymphatic system can be a main contributor to autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis. The skin is the largest organ in your body and works as a third kidney when functioning properly. The organs that are constantly working to detoxify our bodies are the skin, kidneys, liver, lungs and colon. Do your body a big favor and try to incorporate some of these into your life: Body brushing, exercising, lymphatic drainage, rebounding, (near and far) infrared saunas or detox baths, they all can all help take the burden off of the main detoxifying organs.
Is Lymphatic Drainage good for MS?
Lymphatic drainage is beneficial to all autoimmune diseases. Lymphatic drainage helps eliminate stored bacteria, viruses, proteins, cancer cells, and harmful substance in your body. This results in less burden on major organs such as your liver and kidney which allows these organs to heal and work more efficiently to restore your health. Lymphatic drainage also helps reduce pain, improve joint mobility, reduce swelling and inflammation.
Can cupping, fire cupping or wet cupping (Hijama) help my MS?
All types of cupping are helpful for almost any ailments. Cupping is touted to be one of the best remedies for Lupus. It helps control blood cells, eliminates pain, activates the lymphatic system, improves circulation, helps clear any colon blockage, releases toxins, activates and clears veins and activates the skin.
Reduction of pain
Cupping improves blood flow in the body, the muscles become more elastic and flexible and hence a reduction in pain. In this way very quickly, since the therapy is short, you can remove the pain in the back and neck. However, cupping can be applied to the joints, increasing circulation around the joints and synovial fluid flow. And that affects mobility and reduce pain in the joints.
Resolve digestive problems
Cupping treatment can resolve many digestive problems. It is a way to increase the secretion of gastric acid, way to improve digestion, strengthen the stomach, and to get better mobility of the intestine.
Increases Blood Flow and Circulation
Better circulation strengthens immunity and therefore allows the body to fight intruders successfully and filter out toxins more efficiently. INcrease blood flow allows the area being treated to heal quickly. In the past, fire cupping was the method used in the treatment of tuberculosis.
Detoxification is one of the benefits of the cupping. By increasing blood circulation, and especially the circulation of the lymph which collects waste material from our body, filters the waste and speeds up the removal of toxins from the body.
Wet Cupping (Hijama) for MS:
Wet cupping should be performed by a skilled practitioner. Wet cupping is an amazing complementary method in combination with other traditional and complementary medication in the treatment of difficult diseases for which drugs do not help much, which include autoimmune diseases. It is effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, lupus, psoriasis, Parkinson’s disease, migraine, pain in the upper back and neck pain, joint pain, digestive problems, high blood pressure, insomnia, mental disorders, diabetes, eczema, lack of ovulation, menstrual and other female problems, involuntary urination, arthritis, gout, etc.
Is Exercise Beneficial for MS?
Specialists agree that exercise should be an ongoing part of MS management as supported by clinical studies. These benefits include improvement in function capacity, motor function, brain activity, quality of life, and fatigue.
Yoga is a CAM approach that may be considered comparable to conventional exercise. Surveys indicate that this is practiced by 13-23% of people with MS and that more than half of these patients find it to be highly beneficial. Because of the low-impact of exercises involved in yoga and potential beneficial effect on fatigue and muscle flexibility, yoga may be a worthy exercise technique for MS.
Is Cannabis (Marijuana) good for MS?
Medical marijuana has been used for the symptomatic relief of MS patients. There has been a tremendous interest in the use of this therapy from patients, the general public, and media. Many patients report a subjective improvement. A recent survey of 220 MS patients in Halifax, Nova Scotia found that up to 36% of respondents has used cannabis in their lives and 14% were using it to treat MS symptoms at the time of the survey.
Several studies looked into the effects of cannabis on the symptoms of the patient where were administered in different forms:
Oral cannabis extract (OCE) and synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Oral cannabis extract consists of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol. Synthetic THC is a human-made THC. Both drugs are taken orally. At this time, there are two from of FDA approved marijuana: dronabinol and nabilone. These drugs are synthetic forms used as treatments for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy that do not respond to standard treatments. Dronabinol is also used for loss of appetite associated with weight loss in AIDS. At the moment, however, these drugs are not yet approved for use in MS.
Studies concluded that cannabis plant extract might decrease spasm frequency and boost movement with tolerable side effects in MS patients with a persistent spasticity not responding to conventional medications.
Cannabis Mouth Spray for MS
This is also known as nabiximol. It has been approved for usage only in Canada and some parts of Europe. There is evidence that nabiximols can reduce symptoms of spasticity, pain caused by spasticity, neuropathic pain, and frequent urination. There is not enough evidence, however, to show whether nabiximols help with other MS symptoms.
Smoked cannabis for MS
There is no evidence proving whether smoking cannabis is safe or useful for treating any MS symptoms.
Based on studies it appears cannabis may have some function in the treatment of spasticity and bladder issues. Further studies need to be conducted, particularly for spasticity where there are currently controlled trials suggesting benefit. However, legal issues in some countries like the United States, will make it difficult to recommend cannabis even if convincing clinical trials result in proven benefits.
Is Gingko good for MS?
Gingko Biloba is an herb that contains compounds such as flavonoids, terpenoids, and organic acids and has both antiplatelet and antioxidant properties. It also has effects on the neurotransmitters involved in cognition.
Gingko draws the interest of MS researchers because of its possibility as a disease modulatory agent and as a remedy for cognitive dysfunction in MS. In several clinical trials assessed its effects and found that the gingko Biloba group had significantly improved tests and fewer cognitive difficulties. Current studies on this herb are limited by a short duration and small sample sizes, but still, it warrants a larger and longer trial before it can be recommended for MS-related cognitive deficits.
Diagnosis may not be immediately resulting in many years of misdiagnosis. The majority of people diagnosed with MS are mildly affected, but with some people it can result in not being able to walk, write of speak. MS has the tendency to remit spontaneously and there is no universally effective treatment. The second a person is diagnosed, it is a life-changing reality and can be very depressing. Please realize that scientists continue their vigorous efforts to create new and better treatments for multiple sclerosis. One of the most promising MS research area comprises of naturally occurring antiviral proteins known as interferons. In addition, there are a number of strategy under investigation that may curtail attacks and improve function. With support for continuing research, MS patients gain more hope for a better life, not just for them but for their family and community.
MS can be an isolating disease, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It is important to learn as much as you can about your condition and the wide range of options that’s available for you. Many people with MS cope remarkably well. Understanding the characteristics and circumstances that enable people to cope so well can provide the insight necessary to help others, but obtaining these insights is complex. Knowledge of the disease is truly empowering. It is very important to have a support system with doctor’s involved in the dynamic management of your multiple sclerosis and to improve your quality of life. It is also important to have the support of family, friends or a support-group to help and encourage you to lead a healthy lifestyle.
You should always consult your Doctor or Naturopathic Physician before starting any complementary or alternative medicine (CAM).
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