Multiple sclerosis (M.S)

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system.
The cause of M.S. is still to be definitely determined but much current research indicates an immunological abnormality, however the possible causes of this could be numerous.

The basis for the pathology of M.S. is the deterioration of myelin, the lipid substance that insulates nerve fibres. The diseased myelin is replaced by scar tissue that interrupts nerve impulses. Because myelin aids the conduction of nerve sifnals, damage to myelin results in impaired nerve signalling and can impair normal sensation, movement and thinking.

The following abnormalities have been found in M.S. patients: damage to the blood-brain barrier, changes in the micro-circulation of the brain and spinal chord and lack of oxygen to the brain.
The result can be visual disturbances, eye pain, loss of co-ordination, loss of balance, muscular tension, loss of bladder and /or bowel control, numbness and paralysis.

The onset of M.S. is generally said to be 20-40 years and rarely over 50 years.

Recent discoveries indicate that M.S. may be caused by a virus that precipitates an autoimmune attack on the myelin of nerve fibres.
The viral infection is thought to be rubella as much higher litres of antibody to rubella antigen are present in both the serum and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with M.S. than in normal controls.
In some manner there is a defect in cell-mediated immunity that apparently is influenced by the genetic make-up of the host. This defect in the cell-mediated response to the rubella antigen results in a failure to completely eliminate the virus from the host.

Also there is thought to be a geographical link in the incidence of M.S. occurrence, the higher risk areas being the colder latitudes if the person has spent the first 15 years of their life in these areas.
Relocation after adolescence does not appear to alter the risk. Because of this apparent geographical factor much research has been done on dietary patterns and especially on the role that dietary fats and Vitamin D3 play in the etiology of M.S.
(I have noted myself that it is often the children of parents brought up in the low altitudes that get M.S later in life, not the parents themselves. Making me wonder whether this is the background of the genetic traits. However I am not a scientist and can only note obsevations)

Studies have shown a strong relationship between a diet rich in animal and dairy products and a high incidence of M.S, whereas a diet rich in marine foods (omega-3 oils) co-relates with a low incidence of M.S.

Some natural treatments that may help M.S are:

– A diet low in saturated fats. Over the years there has been good evidence that maintained long term a diet low in saturated fats, tends to retard the disease process. Saturated fat should be no more than 10 grams daily.
Eat cold water fish at least three times weekly.
Supplement with at least 1-2 tbsp of flaxseed oil daily plus 2 tsp of cod liver oil.
Note that the use of flaxseed oil and fish oils will help improve circulation to the brain and spinal chord.

Avoid all refined foods – sweets, cakes, soft drinks, cordials, coffee, alcohol etc.

Increase raw fresh foods.

The herb Ginkgo Biloba has also at times been found to be effective in this respect in M.S. patients.

As immune system abnormalities are widely implicated, it would be wise to also work in this area.

Shark liver oil is a supplement that could be well indicated as it is excellent for the immune system and would add to the amount of fish oils used. Take 750-1000 mg daily.

Useful herbs would be Echinacea, Astragalus, Phyllanthus and Pau D’arco. Rye grass extract has also been recommended for use in any situation where the immune status has been compromised.

– Vitamin D has been widely advocated as under low sun-light conditions, as in low altitudes, insufficient Vitamin D3 is produced. This is the basis of another hypothosis as
to why there is such a marked geographical link in the occurence of M.S.
I have seen improvement in some MS patients using between 1000IU and 3000IU of
Vitamin D daily.

– Also the use of the herb Polypodium leucotomos. This is a fern found in northern Honduras and parts of central America that has had a long traditional use as a blood tonic and to keep the immune system strong.
It has anti inflammatory properties as well as antioxidant properties. It can be found in some products in combination with Vitamin D and I have observed improvement in some patients.
Use the ‘Contact us’ page to order this product or other herbal products.

– Any of the Bitters (Gentian, Coleus, Agrimony, Globe Artichoke etc.) can also be useful. Bitter herbs aid the digestion and as the role of food allergies in M.S. has been questioned (especially mal-absorption of fats) then the digestive system should also be given attention. The use of food enzymes prior to each meal would be well advised.
See page on ‘Enzymes – facts’.

Antioxidants are known to improve the blood-brain barrier and therefore reduce the likelihood of viruses, bacteria, toxins etc. entering the cerebrospinal fluid.

Minerals are needed by the body throughout to maintain good health and to help detoxification and healing. A green supplement such as Spirulina or Barley Grass is great if used in relatively large amounts, alternatively Colloidal minerals are excellent.
See pages on  ‘Minerals – facts’ and  ‘Minerals – why we need to supplement’.

Recent research shows that Cranial Osteopathy can greatly improve the outlook for M.S patients. Apparently the cranial work is capable of allowing the body to re-myelinate the nerve fibres.

Along slightly more orthodox lines, many practitioners are recommending the use of Interferon, used as an injection once weekly. Interferon beta-1a is a 166 amino acid glycoprotein with a specific gravity of approx. 200 million I.U of anti-viral activity per mg. it is produced by mammalian (Chinese Hamster Ovary) cells into which human interferon gene has been introduced.
To date I can not say that I have seen great results in people using this therapy and the side effects of severe flu like symptoms appear quite debilitating. However how these
people would have progressed without the therapy is hard to determine.