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Right diet may be the best way to beat multiple sclerosis and sizzle too June 17, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat.
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18 comments

Drop dead georgeous from eating right.


If you have multiple sclerosis (MS) or know someone who does, there are many reasons to be optimistic. First, even members of Congress have had MS. Second, as each year passes, doctors and scientists learn more about what is needed to manage MS instead of having MS manage you. You may not be able to cure MS but most likely you can minimize it. Realistically, however, drugs are unlikely to make you well. To be as well as you can be, research shows an ultra healthy diet is needed.

Quite simply, the research shows that eating some foods is associated with the onset of MS and more MS symptoms and disability and other foods seem to help relieve MS symptoms. This is why a good MS diet is part of a modern science-based approach. And this ultra healthy MS diet will  even make you more attractive!

Numerous studies have shown a relationship between diet and MS and point the way to a healthy diet for those with MS. Dr. Roy Swank, for example, a professor and neurologist at a university’s medical school in Oregon, found that eating too much saturated fat helps cause MS and makes MS worse. Other studies have found, MS is more frequent where Vitamin D deficiencies are common, when too much animal fat is consumed and even when too many sweets are eaten. At the same time, one study shows that eating whole grains and fruits and vegetables helps protect against MS.

Most important for those with MS, Dr. Swank studied the impact of diet on MS patients. He found that those who followed a low-fat, ultra healthy diet he planned, often lived normal lives. In fact, he wrote that 95% of patients who started following his diet shortly after diagnosis never became disabled. In contrast, he reported those who did not eat a healthy low-fat diet, often became disabled and died at a relatively young age.

Dr. Swank carefully defined what a low-fat diet is because he was so concerned about the impact of saturated fats on those with MS. His diet prohibits eating of more than 15 grams of saturated fats each day and recommends eating of only 20 to 50 grams of unsaturated fats each day. Of course, Dr. Swank’s diet also prohibits eating of any transfats, monoglycerides and diglycerides because the health problems caused by these are well known.

I believe I have no visible symptoms today because way back in 1990’s, I found information on Swank’s theories about a low-fat, ultra-healthy diet and started following his advice. (I take no drugs.) Best of all, you can try his advice on the Swank MS Diet and for free. You can borrow his classic book from your local library using an interlibrary loan if necessary. Otherwise, you can buy is book at a modest price at Amazon.com. His book is entitled The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book by Roy Laver Swank. This book is so important for anyone with MS that it should be required reading. If you have MS, this is the first book to read. For refinements that update Swank’s work and will help you do even better, see Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-Based Guide to Recovery by George Jelinek, M.D.

If the opportunity for better health is not enough to get you to try Dr. Swank’s diet for a few months, please consider this: his diet will make you look better than you have ever looked. When you start eating the right fats, taking fish oil, taking a few low-cost supplements, and eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you are going to be surprised at the difference in your appearance in a few months. Dr. Swank’s diet is precise, though, so be prepared to be precise when following it. Cheating is not a good idea.

An excellent web site that includes important information, including dietary recommendations prepared by a doctor, is Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, prepared by Dr. George Jelinek who is also a professor of medicine. I love this web site and I highly recommend its use. Dr. Jelinek has MS himself and believes most can minimize MS symptoms with the right life style choices.

I also highly recommend Dr. Jelinek’s book on multiple sclerosis (mentioned above). A new version of this book, however, was published in February 2010 but was initially available only in Australia and New Zealand. Now, it is available in in much of the world. (Most book sellers are no longer stocking his previous book on multiple sclerosis which was called Taking Control of Multiple Sclerosis). His new book is called Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-Based Guide to Recovery and is available on Amazon and other sites. Google books now provides a preview of this important book at: Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-Based Guide to Recovery.

If you want to read Jelinek’s older book on multiple sclerosis, it is probably best to borrow it from your local library. Also, the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis web site is so thorough and informative that it includes the basic information you need.

Of the many books I have read on MS, I most highly recommend those by Dr. Swank and Dr. Jelinek. Please note, though, that the recommendations of Dr. Swank and Dr. Jelinek do differ somewhat. I use combination of ideas from both. For years I tended to follow Dr. Swank’s recommendations on diet and Dr. Jelinek’s recommendations on supplements. Now I lean more towards Jelinek’s recommendations and I primarily eat a whole plant food diet with fish such as salmon and sardines. (Please also note that I do not recommend the web site of the Swank Foundation that was founded by Dr. Swank. Dr. Swank is now deceased and, unfortunately, the web site of the Swank Foundation now includes recommendations that are not well-grounded in science.)

In summary, I’m not the only one who thinks the odds you can beat MS are good if you eat a healthy diet and follow the other advice included here. A couple of professors agree with much of what is included here. So, best wishes in changing your life style. Eat healthy to live healthy and look drop dead gorgeous!

I will include more information on how you can maximize your sizzle in upcoming blogs.

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Is that veggie juice or what?  (Er, I do not think so.)

Is that veggie juice or what? (Er, I do not think so.)

Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2010 Rebecca Hoover

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Tags: Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone, Diet – the right diet for MS, Fatigue, Fish Oil, Food, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Nutrition, Prevent, Rebif, Relapses, Sizzle, Tysabri

Best MS Books February 10, 2013

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
2 comments

Since many search the Internet just for books on multiple sclerosis (MS), this post helps you find probably the two most important books ever written on MS. Both show you how you can probably beat the odds with MS and how you can probably join many others who have lived long, happy lives with minimal disability. The books are both written by physicians who are university professors. The first book was written a number of years ago but includes important information on the relationship between multiple sclerosis and diet. The second book is more recent and updates and expands on the information in the first book. A thorough reading of both books is needed. The books are:
Swank MS Diet

The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book by Professor Roy Laver Swank and Barbara Brewer Dugan

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Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis by Professor George Jelinek

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Good luck! Whether you are newly diagnosed with MS or have had MS for a long time, these are practical, science-based books that can help you feel and even look your best. And these books will give you hope!!

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2013 Rebecca Hoover

Another great story shows it’s never too late to start beating MS with ultra healthy living August 11, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat, Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS, Uncategorized.
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23 comments

Diagnosed with MS in 1986, Mona Sen spent 22 miserable years struggling with MS. Then she discovered neurology Professor Roy L. Swank, M.D., and her life turned around. She is another person whose story shows that it is never to late to start getting healthier with ultra healthy living. Whoa! Mona Sen is looking healthy, happy, fit and younger than her years too. Notice the great sparkle in her eyes!

Since I started writing this web site, individuals with MS from all over the world have written to me and told me how ultra healthy living has opened up a world of possibilities for them. Here’s another story from Mona Sen:

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My story I’m sure began like many other people’s. I was diagnosed in 1986 at age 20. What does a 20-year-old do but listen to the powers that be which in my case included my parents and Harvard medical school. I went along with huge doses of steroids, lithium, lumbar puncture and the whole bit. I really think I suffered needlessly for many years. My diet was ridiculous — standard fare including dairy, saturated fat and processed foods. Who knew?

I continuously got a little worse over the years. Went to graduate school got a master’s in occupational therapy of all things and continued to deteriorate. I had been on Betaseron since 1995 and had a “hypertensive” episode with stroke level blood pressure in 2005. I knew I never wanted to be in the ER again.

I survived all this and felt a change in thinking coming on. In 2008 I had another episode and in retrospect my diet consisted of lots of saturated fat. By this point I was on disability. I then discovered LDN by accident and my mobility was pretty much by scooter. I fought with my own neurologist and then found a doctor friend who gave me a script.

That was the beginning of my journey. After starting LDN in 2008, I discovered Dr. Swank. His book is a fixture in my kitchen. I stopped all toxic medication. Right now I take LDN, mind my food intolerances, use my WalkAide to build my muscle strength and wear a small but flexible brace which is more comfortable. I have gotten rid of that standard ankle foot orthosis (AFO) brace. My leg strength is better even with the foot drop and I’ve started walking again for exercise and fun.

A low-fat diet, LDN, a hell of a good attitude, a sensible schedule which includes rest, a multivitamin and a new zest for life is my recipe for success. I have been exacerbation free since 2008. Oh and everyone says I look great!
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When I asked Mona Sen if she would tell her story on this web site since it would be helpful to others, she wrote back: “Rebecca, of course my story can be used. I am exhausted trying to get others to listen, even people in my own MS group! I am not working anymore and my time is my own. I see this work as part of my ‘mission’ and life’s work!” Isn’t that true for many of us? Once we learn that eating right and the basics matters, we are out to save world! I love it! If we don’t change the world, who will?

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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To beat multiple sclerosis (MS), be smart and eat fish but avoid too much mercury July 23, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Fish are amazing! When high in omega-3s, fish make your skin soft, probably help prevent Alzheimer’s, are heart healthy and even probably help us beat MS.

Many with multiple sclerosis (MS), myself included, wisely eat a fish and whole plant food diet. Such a diet is low in saturated fats and high in the omega-3 fatty acids that may help prevent disability from MS. At the same time, the diet helps keep energy levels high, weight at the right level, and cholesterol levels low. All of this is important. Fatigue is a major problem with MS and eating right to help reduce fatigue is important. At the same time, research suggests that being overweight worsens MS  while high cholesterol levels also cause problems. Studies have shown that as cholesterol levels rise so do lesions and disability from MS. So, fish and whole plant food are all fine and good. But, what about the mercury in fish? Should you be worried about that too?

Yes, unfortunately, because so much fish is contaminated with mercury that can cause a host of neurological problems, it is important to know about the mercury issue and how to get the healthy omega-3s from fish while avoiding mercury to the extent possible. The very best source of information I have ever seen on the topic of mercury in fish is maintained by the United States Food and Drug Administration in a chart entitled Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2010). If you review this table and look up the amount of omega-3s found in fish on a site such as SelfNutritionData, you will see that sockeye salmon and sardines are some of the best fish available for those of us with relapsing/remitting MS. The Food and Drug Admistration also makes available much more information on mercury in fish than you might want to see.

When thinking about eating more fish, keep in mind that it is important to eat wild caught fish only. Many groups have reported on high levels of PCBs (hazardous chemicals) in farm-raised fish.

With this information in mind, fish can become a great part of your diet. Fish, nuts, legumes and lots of fruits and vegetables will make you look super and probably help you beat MS. For some evidence of this consider: Can Food Variety Add Years to Your Life? Also consider: Modifiable Comorbidities and Disability in Multiple Sclerosis. It’s all about feeling great and having fun looking good from eating right!.

Some versions of the Paleo diet may make your multiple sclerosis worse April 9, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
51 comments

Diets being called Paleo diets today are very different from the diets actually consumed during the Paleolithic Age. Merely grass feeding domesticated animals does not create the wild game that was actually consumed by those in the Paleolithic Age.

Different individuals who say they follow a Paleo diet can follow very different diet plans. Some eat grass fed red and organ meats regularly, some include fish as their only meats, and some eat only free range chicken for meat. Still others are vegan. Because, however, some versions of a Paleo diet may make your multiple sclerosis (MS) worse, it is important to understand the basic issues involved in the helpfulness of various diet plans to MS. And, if your Paleo diet includes red and organ meats or even red meat from poultry, research suggests the diet may be doing more harm than good. Likewise, any use of coconut or palm oil may be doing more harm than good and excluding healthy legumes (lentils and beans) and whole grains is probably hurting you. This article discusses some of the evidence relating to red meat, legumes, whole grains, and various oils and MS.

Before discussing more detailed issues involved with various diets claiming to be Paleo diets, it is important to mention that very few humans living today can eat food similar to what was consumed during the Paleolithic Age (also called the Stone Age). At that time, there was no agriculture and animals had not been domesticated. Instead, those living during the Stone Age ate wild game that was most likely very lean compared to meats available for consumption today. Herds of domesticated grass fed beef animals did not exist during the Paleolithic Age—accordingly those living in the Paleolithic Age probably consumed far less animal fat than most Western diets include today–even when animals are grass fed.

At the same time, it is important to understand that there is no ideal research on diet and MS. Even so, the research provides plenty of signals that there are serious problems with what some are calling a Paleo diet for those with MS and probably for most. It is important to consider the evidence about the impacts of red meat, legumes, complex carbohydrates, and saturated fats.

Red Meat Probably Helps Cause and Worsen MS While Fish Protects Against MS

While so-called Paleo diets often encourage eating of domesticated grass fed red meat, studies suggest that red meat helps cause MS and is relatively unhealthy for everyone. Consider the study Nutritional factors in the aetiology of multiple sclerosis: a case-control study in Montreal, Canada. Published by the International Edidemiological Association in 1998, this study reported that eating of animal fat almost doubles the risk for MS. Eating pork increases the risk for MS by about 25 percent. Eating beef also appeared to increase the risk of acquiring MS but the result was not statistically significant. In contrast, this study showed fish has protective effect. Fish consumption actually resulted in a 10% reduced risk of acquiring MS.

Moreover, evidence is increasingly showing that red meat is problematic for everyone. One study report entitled Efficacy of Dietary BehaviorModification for Preserving Cardiovascular Health and Longevity by Moira McAllister Pryde and William Bernard Kannel indicates that red meat increases mortality by 31% in men and 35% in women. Red meat increases the risk of cancer mortality by 27% in men and 50% in women.

Another study Red Meat Consumption and Mortality: Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies reports an overall increase in mortality of 12% from eating only one serving of red meat each day as well as increases in mortality up to 50% from cancer and heart disease in women who eat red meat.

Those who follow a Paleo diet claim that grass fed red meat is healthier than most red meat. It is important to remember, however, that if this were true MS should not have been so common in Europe when most ate only grass fed red meat. Also, it is important to remember that those living in the Paleolithic Age ate game and not domesticated grass fed animals.

Saturated fats in red meat, dairy products and coconut and palm oils seem to worsen MS

Here, the most important evidence comes from the studies performed by Professor, Roy L. Swank M.D. In one article entitled “Multiple sclerosis: fat-oil relationship, Dr. Swank reported “With a daily [saturated] fat consumption less than 20.1 g/day (av 17 g/day), 31% died, and average deterioration was slight. A daily intake greater than 20 g/day (av 25 or 41 g/day) was attended by serious disability and the deaths of 79 and 81%, respectively. Oil intake bore an indirect relationship to fat consumption. Minimally disabled patients who followed Swank’s diet recommendations deteriorated little if at all, and only 5% failed to survive the 34 year period of the study, whereas 80% who failed to follow diet recommendations did not survive the study period.” Note that Swank’s diet recommendations required avoiding red meat for one year and then allowed eating only three ounces of lean red meat per week.

Amazingly, Swank seemed to be ahead of his time–this very limited amount of red meat consumption is what scientists are now finding is needed for optimal health.

More recently a study report Serum lipid profiles are associated with disability and MRI outcomes in multiple sclerosis indicates that higher levels of overall cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) are associated with more disability in MS and more MS lesions. Red meat, of course, elevates overall cholesterol and LDL.

Fish May Help Prevent and Treat MS

At the same time, red meat is very problematic for those with MS, fish seems helpful for those not only with MS but for everyone. In Effects of dietary intervention on MRI activity, de- and remyelination in the cuprizone model for demyelinationm scientists from Norway showed eating salmon but not use of cod liver oil actually resulted in fewer MS lesions on MRIs.

Indeed, fish seems to be helpful to the brain and neurological systems of those with MS in other ways. In Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases”, scientists report that two out of three studies of omega-3 supplements showed these supplements actually reduced MS related disability. In other words, those who took omega-3 supplements (fish oils contain omega-3s), had improvements in their MS symptoms!

In yet another study Effect of dietary advice and n-3 supplementation in newly diagnosed MS patients, scientists reported improved outcomes for newly diagnosed MS patients who receive fish oil and other nutritional supplements

Legumes Are Included in the Diets of Those Who Live the Longest and May Be Key to Good Health

Another important issue is that Paleo diets usually exclude foods that studies have found to be protective against MS and that are appear to be most helpful in living long and healthy lives. Also, while Paleo diets ban legumes (lentils and beans) and whole grains, studies suggest these are helpful for those with MS. Here are a few related studies:

In Nutritional factors in the aetiology of multiple sclerosis: a case-control study in Montreal, Canada discussed previously, scientists reported that vegetable protein decreases the risk for MS by more than 50% while cereal fibers decrease the risk of MS by more than 40%. Instead of excluding legumes and whole grains from the diets of those with MS, it seems wise to include them. (Of course, if any allergies are present, these must be taken into account.)

Overall, excluding vegetable protein from legumes and whole grains for almost everyone may shorten life. In Protein and coronary heart disease: the role of different protein sources, scientists reported that low carbohydrate diets high in vegetable protein extend life by about 20% while low carbohydrate diets high in animal protein increase morality by about 23%.

Likewise in Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities scientists report that contrary to the claims of proponents of Paleo diets, legumes (lentils and beans) actually help ensure overall health and are part of the diets of those who live the longest everywhere in the world. At the same time, there is not even one study showing that legumes are harmful in anyway to those with MS. In fact, the studies suggest that legumes help protect against MS and against the inflammation that can worsen MS.

The eating of whole grains often discouraged by Paleo diets is also usually helpful. In Factor analysis in the identification of dietary patterns and their predictive role in morbid and fatal events, scientists reported the consumption of bread, cereals (pasta), potatoes, vegetables, fish and oil lowers the overall mortality rate from cardiovascular disease.

In summary, the studies seem to show that the same ultra healthy diet that extends life also protects against and helps those with MS. This ultra healthy diet includes fish, whole grains, legumes, nuts and generous amounts of vegetables with some fruit. We also need to keep in mind that anecdotal evidence is not scientific evidence. Stories of individual recoveries attributed to a Paleo diet may be the results of other factors just as the many individuals who claimed MS cures from bee strings were later very disappointed.

We do owe our Paleo fan friends a debt of gratitude though. They have rightly encouraged eating more vegetables! If your definition of a Paleo diet includes the components of the diets being found to be ultra healthy by scientists today, the diet is probably A-OK and will probably keep you looking great and feeling great for a long, long time. Woo hoo! If on the other hand your diet includes more than miniscule amounts of red meat or coconut or palm oil and excludes legumes and whole grains, some revisions seem to be in order. Some who have tried some versions of Paleo diets are now expressing regrets because they believe the diet they tried made their MS worse.

Unfortunately, some very unhealthy diets are being promoted these days for those with MS under the Paleo name and these are based on wishful thinking and some unfortunate nostalgic longing for a perfect past that never really existed. Scientific research supports the view a whole plant food diet with fish is just about the healthiest diet out there and that those with MS do best when following such a diet. Interestingly, a whole plant food diet combined with fish probably comes closest to what those in the Paleolithic Age actually age.

Merely grass feeding domesticated beef animals does not create the wild animals actually consumed by those who lived during the Paleolithic Age.

As always, have fun eating healthy! There are lots of great recipes out there and you can look and feel great and keep your taste buds dancing with joy! Being drop dead gorgeous from eating right can always be fun. Being scientific about all of this can be fun too because it keeps you confident that you are moving in the right direction.

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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Thinking like a scientist helps beat multiple sclerosis March 19, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat, Uncategorized.
4 comments

(This post was written for use on the wonderful Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis web site.)

Those of us who have been successful when following a lifestyle modification program for multiple sclerosis (MS) believe in our bones that healthy living effectively treats MS. After all, there does not seem to be any other way to explain going ten, twelve and even more years without a relapse once we start living ultra healthy. The recent study published by Professor George Jelinek, M.D., provides more scientific support for our views. While the study has its weaknesses (e.g., relying on self-reports of subjects rather than measures such as MRIs), most drug companies would be elated to offer any drug that could offer such great research results.If you haven’t read Jelinek’s new report, you can see it here: Remarkable five year follow up results of OMS retreats.

Moreover, the results of Jelinek’s new study are simply consistent with a plethora of research being published everyday by researchers all over the world. Increasingly it is apparent that nothing beats ultra healthy living in preventing disease–whether it be cardiovascular, liver, or neurological disease. It is interesting indeed that the very diet that helps treat MS helps prevent and treat heart and vascular disease as well as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The following table probably shows why Jelinek’s OMS program has such good results–unlike other proposed MS ultra healthy living programs, it is based on solid research. For example, Jelinek’s program recommends avoiding red and organ meats which studies throughout the world are now showing contribute to heart disease, neurological problems and even early death. (As the table shows, studies have reported that red meat increases mortality by 31% in men and 35% in women, and red meat increases the risk of cancer mortality by 27% in men and 50% in women.) At the same time, Jelinek’s proposed diet includes legumes which studies show can contribute to extremely long lives. While the table includes only a few of many studies, it helps summarize the overall picture: Jelinek’s OMS program intelligently reflects the best of current scientific research.

All and all, many studies are showing the healthiest diet includes whole plant foods and fish–an abundance of fruits and vegetables, low glycemic foods, small oily fish (such as sardines and salmon), nuts, legumes and whole grains. At the same time, an ultra healthy diet excludes red and organ meats, large fish, and sweets. Jelinek’s proposed diet reflects these research findings to a “t”. In summary, Jelinek’s OMS approach contributes not only to neurological health but also to all around good health and vitality.

Please note that the table rows highlighted in yellow provide special alerts and comparisons for those with MS. As mentioned, the research quite consistently shows problems with red and organ meats for everyone and for those with MS. Likewise, research consistently shows benefits in eating legumes and whole grains–for everyone and for those with MS. While other programs for living with MS encourage eating of troublesome red meats and discourage eating of legumes, Jelinek’s OMS program both avoids meats and includes healthy legumes and grains. It is is this all around scientific approach that makes Jelinek’s OMS approach most helpful. When all is said and done, the research will likely show that Jelinek’s OMS program is the one that is most helpful for those with MS.

Many of the suggested diets for those with MS have much in common–all suggest eating generous amounts of vegetables, for example. Those that are suggesting eating red meat and organ meats while avoiding legumes are likely, however, to lead to problems. Even if eating red and organ meats worked for MS, early death from heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease becomes more likely when eating these foods. All in all, Jelinek’s programs makes sense! Bravo! As usual, we never have enough research. Let’s all push for this whenever we can.

A side benefit of an ultra healthy living program is that it will even help with the abs. While our friends may get rotunder and rotunder, we all soon become leaner than average. What’s not to like? Looking good has always been the fun part of adopting the OMS program.

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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While sun exposure and vitamin D3 help with multiple sclerosis, tanning booths may create problems February 15, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Supplements - what you need to minimize MS symptoms, Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,
3 comments

Ouch! While sunshine seems to help prevent MS and prevent relapses, tanning booths are risky and may increase your chances of getting cancer.

Many researchers have found that exposure to sunshine seems to help prevent multiple sclerosis (MS) and sunlight exposure may even help prevent relapses. The same is true for vitamin D3.

Unfortunately, tanning booths may not work so well. First, there is no evidence that the greater proportion shorter ultraviolet light waves in tanning booths has the same beneficial effects as natural sunlight. Also, scientists believe that the higher proportion of shorter ultraviolet light waves may be increasing cancer risks. You can read more about this in a report entitled A photobiological evaluation of tanning booths.

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Natural sunlight has many benefits when not overdone including even lifting your mood and contributing to sound sleep at night. The same cannot be said for tanning booths which may help cause more cancer. It is wise to stick with natural sunlight exposure and vitamin D3.

Viva la healthy living!

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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Cigarette smoking and multiple sclerosis — scary stuff February 12, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Smoking - why it is important to quit to avoid MS and disability.
Tags: , , ,
25 comments
Freedom from smoking is essential.  Those who do not smoke are less likely to get MS and have less MS related disability.

Freedom from smoking is essential. Smoking seems to help cause MS and makes MS symptoms worse. Dumping the stinky sticks makes you healthy and glamorous.

Unfortunately, cigarette smoking seems to be part of the multiple sclerosis (MS) picture for some patients. Studies have shown that cigarette smoking increases the chances of getting MS and seems to make MS worse. If you smoke, it is important to quit.

The amount by which cigarette smoking increases the likelihood of getting multiple sclerosis is not small. One study showed that smoking increases by the chances of getting multiple sclerosis by 27 percent. A related issue is found in another study showing that it is more difficult for doctors to diagnose MS in smokers so a delayed diagnosis leads to unnecessary delays in treatment. Most frightening, even children who are exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to develop MS.

For those who already have MS, smoking is also scary. The studies show that smoking increases the amount of disability in MS and seems to encourage the onset of progressive multiple sclerosis from which there is no relapses.

The increases in disability for smokers with MS vary with the amount smoked. Those who smoke less than one pack a day become more disabled than nonsmokers and heavy smokers of two or more packs per day become the most disabled of all. An earlier study showed that, in addition to the general increase in disability among smokers with MS, smoking even causes a temporary decrease in motor functions after a cigarette is smoked.

When it comes to MS, smoking is scary. If you do smoke, this is the time to promise yourself you will free yourself from this expensive and unhealthy habit. You owe it to yourself and your family, especially the children in your family, to protect yourself and others from harmful effects of smoking. Also, please remember that if you do not smoke, it is important to avoid second hand smoke.

For an excellent study summarizing some of the research on smoking and MS, see “Smoking: effects on multiple sclerosis susceptibility and disease progression” by Dean M. Wingerchuk. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3251901/?tool=pubmed

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2009 Rebecca Hoover

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Sizzling with multiple sclerosis (MS) – what it’s like to beat MS January 9, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat, Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS.
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An ultra healthy living program for MS seems to be working like the fountain of youth for Julie Calder. Now in her mid-40s, Julie looks cuter and cuter by the day. What’s not to like about living ultra healthy?

From time to time it’s fun to check in with our ultra healthy living friends with MS. Julie Calder previously wrote last in January 2011 for The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Beating Multiple Sclerosis. Now a year later it’s fun to check in with her again. Here are her words:

It’s been about a year since I last wrote and I’m happy to report that I continue to go year after year without a relapse or any worsening of symptoms. In fact my symptoms get better and better as the years pass and now are all quite minor.

My main symptoms before I started following an ultra healthy living program for MS were fatigue, foot drop, balance problems, taste problems, tremors of the hands and an overactive bladder. I was also over-anxious and very sensitive to temperature (hot and cold) and I had eyesight problems (double vision). Most of my symptoms were solved by going on George Jelinek’s diet, but I still had foot drop and bladder problems. My eyesight problems cleared up completely in 2010–I no longer need to wear glasses at all. I was diagnosed in September 2004 and I started the diet in 2008. I have now been on it for three and a half years and I have had no relapses since I started, plus my last MRI scan showed no progression at all and no active lesions. I started taking low-dose naltrexone (LDN) a year and a half ago (March 2010) and I really think it has added even more to my recovery. The bladder is no longer as overactive and my foot drop has gone completely. The fatigue was reduced by the diet and reduced further by the LDN.

Over time I have changed what supplements I take. Here’s what I’m taking now:

  • Vitamin E, 400 I.U. per day (recommended by Bob Lawrence, my LDN doctor who says this is the best way to combat CCSVI, rather than surgery!)
  • Cranberry 5,000 mg (to combat bladder problems)
  • Selenium 200 micrograms per day (anti-oxidant and anti-cancer)
  • Magnesium 300 mg (for extra energy)
  • Vitamin D3 5000 I.U. per day
  • Vitamin B12 1000 mcg per day
  • Zinc gluconate 75 mg (also at Bob’s recommendation – this keeps my blood pressure up)
  • Chromium (400 mg) – to regulate my blood sugar levels
  • 4,000mg super strength EPA & DHA omega3 fish oil (this is at Dr. Tom Gilhooly’s recommendation – he’s hot on omega3 requirements for MS patients)

Apart from that I try to stay pretty close to Dr. George Jelinek’s diet, but I still allow myself eggs (as mayonnaise) and chicken. I have increased my seafood intake a lot (I usually have crayfish and rocket sandwiches on brown bread for lunch). Plus also, of course, I take 4.5 mg LDN – this really helps to regulate my immune system – it has really calmed down my overreaction to dairy products. Of course I still avoid milk, cream and cheese like the plague, but on the rare occasion when there is a tiny amount of milk in something, which I don’t know about, I no longer suffer from dire consequences!

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That’s the news from Julie and it is great to see her looking and doing so well. Just so others know, I personally still do not take any drugs for MS, not even LDN, and I personally take few supplements. I personally take fish oil, vitamin D3 (about 3,000 I.U. per day but this varies depending upon the results of my last test), calcium 1,000 mg per day, vitamin B12 250 mcg two times a week), vitamin B6 100 mg once a month) and B1 100 mg each day. Vitamin E I get in abundance from raw sunflower seeds, selenium I get from eating nuts, and zinc I get from eating a couple of oysters each day.

I was happy to see Julie report her success with zinc some time back so I looked for a natural source and found oysters. I find that the dizziness I experienced when getting out of chairs quickly disappeared after I started eating a couple of oysters each day.

All in all, ultra healthy living wins new supporters each day. When we see reports from Julie, Jelinek, myself and many others who no longer have relapses, healthy living become more and more attractive!

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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Worried about your memory and thinking? Exercise for those with MS (and others) helps beat memory loss and cognitive problems November 10, 2011

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
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You can help yourself be smart by eating right, exercising and kicking the bad habits. Of course, these same steps will keep you looking like a babe! Whoa!

Those with multiple sclerosis (MS) are not the only ones to experience memory and cognitive problems. So, not surprisingly, the same steps that may help those with MS beat memory and thinking problems help everyone.These steps involve getting exercise, eating right and avoiding soy.

Exercise is one key because it helps both increase both memory and brain power. In one study,  with a report entitled Physical activity associated with increased resting-state functional connectivity in multiple sclerosis, researchers found that exercise actually improves connectivity in the brains of those with MS and their memory. In another study, scientists found that physical activity improves brain processing speed: Physical activity and cognitive function in multiple sclerosis. Of course these are just two studies but many other studies have showed the same results.

It is not just exercise that is needed for brain power — a healthy diet is also needed. When diet does not provide essential nutrients, all kinds of neurological problems can develop including diminished intellectual capacity. For a sense of the ability of poor nutrition to severely hamper intellectual functions, see Effects of poverty on cognitive function: a hidden neurologic epidemic. To preserve robust thinking abilities, an ultra healthy diet such as the Swank MS Diet or the diet recommended by Professor George Jelinek, M.D. can help everyone not just those with MS.

Finally, avoiding some soy foods may help prevent cognitive problems. While fermented soy found in tempeh and miso has not been found to be problematic, other soy foods are associated with early loss of memory as well as other cognitive issues. Avoiding tofu may be a good idea (see High tofu intake is associated with worse memory in elderly Indonesian men and women). Other unfermented soy foods seem to have similar results. One study, for example, showed use of some soy products by older women reduced both memory and processing abilities in women (The effects of soy milk and isoflavone supplements on cognitive performance in healthy, postmenopausal women).

All of this points out the importance of following an ultra healthy living program of the type recommended by The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Beating Multiple Sclerosis. By eating right, exercising, avoiding bad habits such as smoking, etc. one maximizes each of the following: mind, body, good looks and fun! So live healthy and have fun. Remember, you only get to live once so it makes sense to take full advantage of the experience and enjoy!

Remember too that MS does not necessarily cause memory and cognitive problems. I took a class a couple of years ago and was, as usual, at the top of my class. Likewise, many with MS have gone to law school, serve in public office, work as doctors and professors, etc. Some of what happens depends on making smart choices. It is important to follow an ultra healthy living program — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2011 Rebecca Hoover

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To beat MS, avoid viral and bacterial infections April 25, 2011

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Infections - why and how to avoid them.
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Doing little things to avoid infections is important in beating MS. This includes excellent teeth brushing and flossing. I recommend a power toothbrush.

(Note: As I often do more recently, I have published a copy of this post on the better than great Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis web site. I continue to encourage everyone to to use that site for ideas on healthy living and for up-to-minute information on research.)

Most experts agree that beating multiple sclerosis (MS) requires avoiding inflammation and infections. Why is that? Because MS involves mis-educated t-cells that attack the myelin rather than germs.  That’s why we eat an anti-inflammatory diet and avoid infections.

The research shows that both viral and bacterial infections can cause a worsening of MS symptoms or relapses. One study, for example, suggests that about 50 percent of relapses may be the result of infections. Other studies have shown that MS relapses are more likely to occur with almost any type of infection. For example, one study found relapses were more likely to occur in the presence of upper respiratory infections. Both viral and bacterial infections are culprits — making MS worse.

The culpability of infections makes sense. Since infections trigger production of t-cells, there are more mis-educated t-cells around to attack the myelin when infections occur.

Avoiding infections is important, and another post in my blog includes some suggestions for avoiding infections. In addition, it is wise to pay attention to oral care because poor oral care can result in gum infections. At the suggestion of the staff at the University of Minnesota’s Dental School, I personally added use of a power toothbrush to my own brushing routines a few years ago. I am glad I did. My need for visits for dental cleaning dropped by more than 50 percent and some inflammation in the gums disappeared. In addition, my teeth now look and feel like a million bucks — sizzling, as we say, and drop dead gorgeous.

As so often is the case, what is good for MS is good on the ‘drop dead gorgeous’ front. Viva la healthy living.

P.S. Here’s a great tutorial on Proper Brushing. (Many get a bit lax about brushing correctly so it helps to review information on brushing technique every now and then.) Let’s all help everyone we know who has MS get a power toothbrush. (I use a Sonicare and recommend it.) If we know someone who has MS and who cannot afford a power toothbrush, let’s all give a power toothbrush as a gift and share the gift of health. Each one helping one would go a long, long way!

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2011 Rebecca Hoover

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