Monday, 25 June 2012


I don't know why, but the doctors I've met have not mentioned diet as being of vital importance, or any importance, in MS.
When I asked my neurologist whether anyone was researching diet at the moment, he confirmed there were a couple of clinical studies in progress, but that no results had come in as yet.
I can only assume that most doctors and neurologists are not willing to talk about a method of controlling the symptoms of MS that has not yet been clinically proven effective. However I think that there are enough accounts of remission and/or control of symptoms out there to show that anyone with MS - no matter how disabled - needs to be aware of the link between diet and how it can be used to control, or indeed worsen, the symptoms of MS.

I started researching diet and MS after I had a bad reaction to Rebif - it upset my liver enzyme balance - and I realised that interferons may not be the answer for me.
I am about to start Copaxone (AKA Glatiramer), hopefully my body will be alright with it.
From what I can gather, the combination of diet and drugs should help my MS significantly. Here's hoping.

I gathered togther the information, below, as I have met a large number of people who are unaware of the benefits of keeping the immune system damped down via diet - as opposed to eating their normal preferred foods and thus continuing to decline as the MS symptoms worsen.

NB: I am not a doctor, I am just summarising other people’s research.

You may want to take a food intolerance test ELISA to find out which foods are triggering your MS symptoms (there may be more foods than those tested for – listen to your body and it’s reactions).
ELISA can be run by York Test Laboratories Ltd. email: telephone: 0800 074 6185, or 01904 410 410.
The complete food and drink scan is expensive, but they may be willing to give a discount if asked.
At the moment the NHS aren’t willing to fund this test.

Trigger foods tend to include:
• all Dairy (watch out for milk protein added to foods)
• eggs (watch out for egg-based food additives)
• gluten – wheat, barley, rye (just because something claims to be gluten free doesn’t mean it doesn’t have one or other of the trigger foods in it!)
• legumes – peas, beans - including soy beans (beware Omega-6 in soy)
• yeast
• Omega-6 – the majority of cooking oils e.g. corn oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, etc. - See Prof G. Jelinek's book for information on the latest research on Omega-6.
• Saturated fat – this has been shown to harden cell membranes and make them more prone to damage, thus avoid pork, beef and lamb, also coconuts, coconut oil and palm oil (vegetable oil listed in ingredients is usually palm oil)
Altered fats can also be problematic: trans fats, hydrolyzed vegetable oil, etc.
Sugar should be avoided as calories need to be kept down.

Safe foods tend to include:
• vegetables, specially green leafy vegetables
• fish, shellfish
• game meats – with any fat carefully located and trimmed off
• chicken breast or turkey breast with the skin and fat trimmed off
• nuts (beware high levels of Omega-6 in some varieties)
• seeds (beware high levels of Omega-6 in some varieties)
• fruit – monitor sugar levels (beware fructose / corn syrup added to foods)
• honey – monitor sugar levels
• Omega-3 oils help to soften cell membranes and make them more resistant to damage. (Beware of too much – keep calorie intake down)
• Omega-9 oils (e.g. extra virgin olive oil) are neutral and help soften cell membranes. (Beware of too much – keep calorie intake down)

Saturated fats need to be kept to a bare minimum – anything over 15g per day is asking for trouble. If it can be kept between 5 to 10 grams or lower, excellent. Bear in mind that fish, nuts, etc and the healthy oils all have a quantity of saturated fat in them.

Oils should never be fried with (except extra virgin olive oil) as it changes the chemical composition and makes them toxic.
Try to steam, poach or bake cooked foods – and if frying perhaps add a little water to the extra virgin olive oil to help keep the temperature down.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the least refined, therefore its chemical composition has been least altered – whereas Olive Oil has been very refined and is best avoided.

Basically, if a vegan diet with fish is adopted then you should see the benefits within a few months – vegans tend to be low on some essential vitamins, like B12, so this could be supplemented.
People with MS tend to have acidic blood, it should be alkaline – see Judy Graham.
People with MS also tend to be very low on vitamin D. A blood level of around 150n mols/L to 250n mols/L should be maintained. Ask your doctor; and have it checked annually in winter. The best source is sunlight, see book list below – Prof G. Jelinek.

Supplements include:
• B12 – a B complex is a good idea (some B vitamins are toxic, so avoid overdose! One-a-day means one.)
• D3 – 5,000 IU (International Units) per day. This can be ordered from seeknatural if your chemists don’t stock it.
• Omega-3 – fish oil, or flax seed oil (1 to 2 tablespoons or 20 ml per day). If you are eating oily fish such as mackerel or salmon you will probably get enough Omega-3 and won’t need to supplement on that day.
Omega-3 oils include flax seed oil {also called linseed oil}, rapeseed oil {also called canola oil}, walnut oil.
Flax Seed Oil comes in a dark bottle and should be kept in the fridge – it has a shelf life of about 6 weeks. If needed, it can be frozen without causing any harm to its chemical properties.

Ensuring that you have enough glyconutrients in your diet for optimal healing is a good idea. These can be obtained from diet, or supplements. – see Judy Graham.
There are 8 glyconutrients:
• glucose – kelp, garlic, honey, cocoa, liquorice, sarsaparilla, strawberries, cherries, grapes, bananas, mangoes, Echinacea, Aloe Vera, hawthorn
• galactose – kelp, fenugreek, potato, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, brussles sprouts, cabbage, carrot, peas, pumpkin, eggplant / aubergine, cucumber, celery, avocado, pears, kiwis, mangoes, oranges, nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots, apples, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, grapes, bananas, pineapple, rhubarb, prunes, currants, dates, chestnuts, apple pectin, Echinacea
• mannose – kelp, fenugreek, cayenne pepper, cabbage, eggplant / aubergine, turnip, tomatoes, gooseberries, red currants, black currents, Aloe Vera, carob gum
• fucose – kelp, wakame seaweed, brewers yeast
• Xylose – kelp, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant / aubergine, Echinacea, guava, pears, raspberries, loganberries, blackberries, Aloe Vera
• N-acetyl glucosamine – red algae (olumontiaceae), shark cartilage, beef cartilage
• N-acetyl galactosamine – red algae, shark cartilage, beef cartilage
• N-acetyl neurominic acid – chicken, eggs, milk, whey protein concentrate or isolate. (beware egg and milk sensitivity for these last three)

Suggested reading:
Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis an evidence based guide to recovery, Professor George Jelinek, ISBN: 9781855861114, 2010, Impala Books.
Managing Multiple Sclerosis Naturally a self-help guide to living with MS, Judy Graham, ISBN: 9781594772900, 2010, Healing Arts Press.
The MS Recovery Diet take control of your health, change what you eat, and live symptom-free, Ann D. Sawyer and Judith E. Bachrach, ISBN: 9781583332887, 2007, Avery.
The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book a low-fat diet for the treatment of M.S., Ray Laver Swank, MD. PhD. & Barbara Brewer Dugan, ISBN: 9780385232791, 1987, Doubleday.

1 comment:

  1. Additional books:
    The Wahls Protocol: How I beat MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine - by Terry Wahls M.D. with Eve Adamson. ISBN:9781583335215

    Recovering from Multiple Sclerosis: real life stories of hope and inspiration - by George Jelinek and Karen Law. ISBN9781743313817

    I use a combination of Jelinek's and Wahls's ideas with a few tweaks of my own due to diet sensitivities.