supplementation and diet: nuts’n’bolts


There are as many theories about how one can potentially improve their MS symptoms, or even reduce numbers of lesions, as there are residents of Manhattan… that said, MS is a very individualized disease. Even within the category of “relapsing-remitting”, some of us have frequent relapses, while others go years. Some have constant background symptoms, others have none. (I occasionally notice vague hints… or could it be med side effects?) And the variability in symptoms in the first place, from weakness to numbness to visual disturbances to lack of focus–we could be experiencing one, some, or all at the same time, or separately.

Just saying that therapies to treat MS have variable effects. While there is one injectable drug (the one that I’m on) that promises significant increase in gaps between relapses, I’ve read many anecdotes saying that the benefits aren’t worth the side effects, that they haven’t really noticed any difference. I’m going to keep on trying it for a while and hope my body gets used to it, and that my side effects go away.

One thing that fellow MS patients agree on is that diet and supplementation play a significant role in keeping symptoms at bay. Some have even reversed some of their lesions! Here is a list of supplements that I’ve started taking daily as a result of my research:

  • Turmeric (found to significantly help MS patients)
  • Fish oil (the omega-3’s potentially help with remyelination; some sources say to take large amounts, and I might play around with that soon)
  • Vitamin D (need to test my blood soon to see how low I still am)
  • Vitamin B-12 (also beneficial for MS patients)
  • I also take a broad-spectrum probiotic capsule, as the interferon I inject lightly suppresses my immune system, and who knows if that affects my gut flora… I tend to have a sensitive GI tract, anyway

In addition, I’ve been reading about dietary changes that have helped others with MS. You can search on Dr. Terry Wahl, a doctor who was disabled by (I believe) primary progressive MS–the worse variety to have, as it steadily gets worse–and with research, she was able to come up with a rather rigorous diet to heal herself. (from a wheelchair back to hiking again) While I take pleasure in eating and don’t wish to make her same drastic changes, I’m reading that others with RRMS have seen results with less dramatic changes, such as reducing (not eliminating) dairy, reducing (not eliminating) gluten, eating more flax oil (I already eat the meal several times a week but will start adding the oil to my diet), eating more plants (which I think I emphasize, but will pay a lot more attention), and being fairly strict about saturated fat. I won’t go cold turkey, but I think it’s worth it to make such changes. I don’t know if I’ll see results until my next 2 or 3 MRIs, but it’s worth a shot. The rest of my body won’t mind, either!

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