Multiple Sclerosis

Tagged:  

According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing "multiple sclerosis is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, including the brain, the optic nerve, and the spinal cord. The disease affects various parts of the nervous system by destroying the myelin sheaths that cover the nerves and leaving sear tissue called plaques, ultimately resulting in destruction of the nerves. This process is known as sclerosis."

TARGET POPULATION

Multiple sclerosis is not hereditary but is considered familial. First generation relatives of multiple sclerosis individuals have a thirty to fifty times greater risk of developing the disease than the general population. It is very rare in Eskimos, Japanese, and African-Americans often striking more women than men (60% verses 40%) in young adulthood with the average age of 33.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms at onset vary. Spontaneous unpredictable relapses/remissions occur at irregular intervals and as the disease progresses complete remission becomes less likely. New neurological problems add to the older ones, producing a cumulative effect. Weakness of an arm and leg on the same side or both legs is prevalent, as is extension of the arms and flexion of the legs. Tone is increased in the weak limb while deep tendon reflexes are hyperactive. Spasticity is prominent as weakness and abdominal reflexes lost. There is also a generalized fatigue and reduced exercise endurance. Numbness and paresthesia, vague nagging prickly feelings in one or more limbs that produce burning pain, and rare occurrence of trigeminal neuralgia are other reported problems. Examination will confirm loss of vibration sensation, but the sensory examination remains normal despite sensory complaints. Visual complaints range from monocular visual loss to blurred to double vision. Blurred and double visions indicate plaques (breakdown of the myelin sheath) in the brain stem's vestibular-occular connections. An individual's ability to control his/her lateral gaze (inability to pull toward median axis) is comprised. Coordination of limbs and clumsiness when walking and inability to attempt fine motor skills cause many to initially seek out help. Urinary urgency and incontinence are seen in established case. Increased temperatures and stressful situation exacerbate multiple sclerosis. The increased temperature also impairs central nerve conduction in neurons. Individuals usually have a history of varying, fluctuating, and multiple neurological symptoms. Examination will typically disclose more symptoms than a patient had failed to describe.

CAUSES

There is no one specific cause or definitive test to confirm multiple sclerosis, so it's important to evaluate the symptoms. A slow viral infection, primarily post-infectious encephalomyelitis, may lead to the demyelination that begins 10-40 days after an acute viral infection. Measles and human papovavirus can also be causes for breakdown of the myelin sheath surrounding nerves. These particular diseases may also cause destruction of the myelin-producing cells or prompt a viral infection leading to an immune system attack on the myelin. At one time it was thought to be due to a measles infection, but this has since been modified to show that multiple sclerosis individuals have increased cerebrospinal fluid antibodies to two or more viruses. Data does not support common infectious agents as antigens for increased antibody activity. Sensitivity to a single protein cannot be demonstrated although attempts to find an antigen etiology to which only multiple sclerosis patients have failed. However, a variety of immune system abnormalities reported in MS patients would seem to support an autoimmune etiology. Diets high in milk and gluten indicate a high rate of multiple sclerosis. Diets of farmers are much higher in animal and dairy products than coastal residents since coastal inhabitants consume higher levels of cold-water fish. Animal and dairy have higher contents of saturated fatty acids and decreased polyunsaturated fatty acids verses cold-water diets. Subsequent studies upheld a strong association between diets rich in animal and dairy products and increased incidence of MS. It is interesting to note that MS occurs in low rates among the Japanese popluation since their diets are primarily seafood, seeds and fruit oils. These foods contain omega-3 oils, thought to interfere with lipid formation thereby supporting formation of healthy normal sheath. Multiple sclerosis individuals may have a problem with essential fatty acid absorption. Consumption of saturated fats increases the requirement of essential fatty acid creating a deficiency. A study at the University of Toronto found that MS patients were more likely to consume diets high in saturated fats from meat. People who ate lots of fruit juice, grains, and fish were at lower risk while those who ate pork, hot dogs, sweets, and candy appeared to be at increased risk for multiple sclerosis. Mercury from dental amalgams may indicate that the mercury has been released into the bloodstream and the cell structure will initiate an autoimmune reaction, destroying the myelin sheath in the process. MS patients have a seven times higher level of mercury in the cerebrospinal fluid when compared to other individuals.

LAB TESTS

There is no specific test for multiple sclerosis, but the work-up should include the following:

Cerebrospinal fluid immunoelectrophoresis analysis

Computer tomography (CT) brain scan

Multi-morality sensory evoked potentials

Magnetic resonance imaging (MR in place of the CT when available

MANAGEMENT

Specific therapies shorten the duration of a relapse as opposed to altering the prognosis. Physical therapy that includes passive movement and massage for weakened spastic limbs provides a comfort as well as improves circulation. Stretching helps to prevent muscle contractures and slows the progressive degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, including the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord. According to Dr. James F. Balch and Phyllis Balch, C.N.C.'s book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, complete bedrest for two days during a flare-up will stop a mild attack of symptoms. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, sleep, normal blood pressure and weight should also be taken into consideration. Refrain from cigarettes and alcohol. Food allergies may speed the development and progression of multiple sclerosis. Some allergies are not discovered until there has been irreversible nerve damage. Eliminating the offending foods will slow down the progression and avoid further damage. There is also a possible link between MS and candida infection. Treatment to reduce candida activity also decreases the fatigue experienced by most MS sufferers. An alternative therapy called apitherapy deals with honeybee venom. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and immune system stimulant serving to relieve fatigue, cramping and weakness. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment helps in minimal to mild symptoms of multiple sclerosis in about half of the individuals who participated in a double-blind study. Results were largely anecdotal, but individuals stated there was improvement in bowel and bladder functions. (For further hyperbaric information contact BioPulse at (888) 552-2855.)

SUGGESTED NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT

Brain Link - according to weight and label instructions

Coenzyme Q 10 - 100 mg daily

Fortified Flax- 2 teaspoons daily in fruit juice

Rodex B6 - 150 mg daily

Glycine- 500mg twice daily

CalMagZinc- 4 capsules nightly

Super Digestaway - 1 at each meal

Selenium Picolinate- 200mcg daily

Vitamin C- 3,000-5,000mg daily

Manganese - 15mg daily

Taurine 1000 - 3,000 to 4,000 mg daily

MSM750 - 1 four times daily for 30 days, decreasing to 1 three times daily after that.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

MS Society 733 Third Ave. NY, NY 10017 (800) 344-4867

OR

MS Foundation 6350 N. Andrews Ave. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309 (800) 441-7055

SOURCES

Airola, Paavo, How to Get Well, Sherwood, OR: Health Plus, 1974

Balch, James F. and Phyllis A. Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 2nd ed.

Garden City, NY: Avery Publishing Group, 1997 Bernat, James L. and Frederick M. Vincent, Neurology: Problems in Primary Care. Oradell, New Jersey: Medical Economics Books, 1987

Goldberg, Burton, ed., Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Puyallup, WA: Future Medicine Pub. Inc., 1993

International Journal of Epidemiology 1998; 27:845-852 as reported in Nutrition Alert, Vol. 5, No. 2

Murray, Michael and John Pizzorno, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicines, Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub., 1990

Samuels, Martin A., Manual of Neurologic Therapeutics with Essentials of Diagnosis. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Co., 1978

~~~~~~~~

By Linda M. Volpenhein

Share this with your friends