jump to navigation

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

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis by Professor George Jelinek

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

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.
Tags: , , ,
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:

__

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!
__

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

Add to Technorati Favorites

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

Add to    Technorati Favorites

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

Add to    Technorati Favorites

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.

.

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

Add to    Technorati Favorites

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.
2 comments

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

Add to    Technorati Favorites

Crimini mushrooms and vegetables may help beat multiple sclerosis October 26, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
8 comments

Can crimini mushrooms and vegetables help you beat MS and CCSVI while making you look this good? The science looks promising. At the very least, when the mushrooms and vegetables help keep your blood vessels free of plaque, they will help give you a healthy glow.

Crimini mushrooms and vegetables do look promising for those with multiple sclerosis (MS). Research shows the mushrooms have a couple of effects that are likely to produce some good results for those with MS. Even so, a smart approach to using the mushrooms involves combining the mushrooms with other health enhancing vegetables as discussed below.

The first effect that makes crimini mushrooms of special interest to those with MS is identified in a study entitled Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Properties of 2-Amino-3Hphenoxazin-
3-one
and published in 2008. In that study, researchers from Japan explained that the crimini mushroom, which has a scientific name of  agaricus bisporus, contains a compound that “can down-regulate the inflammatory cascade that can lead to tissue and bone destruction at sites of inflammation”. The scientists suggest that this compound may prove useful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The article is difficult reading but the above link takes you to the full article.

The second fascinating effect of crimini mushrooms involves their ability to protect against cardiovascular disease by helping prevent adhesion and plaque buildup in the blood vessels. This ability was discussed in an article published in 2010 and entitled Both common and specialty mushrooms inhibit adhesion molecule expression and in vitro binding of monocytes to human aortic endothelial cells in a pro-inflammatory environment. This report is a little easier to read and the link again takes you to a full text article. In any event, it is apparent from the article that if you are worried about any blood vessel problems that have long been linked to MS, crimini mushrooms can be of help.

This second article also contains some other interesting facts for those thinking about MS. The article points out that phytonutrients contained in leafy greens such as kale, spinach and leaf lettuce; in yellow vegetables such as carrots and yams; and in red vegetables such as tomatoes also have potent abilities to prevent plaque buildup and adhesion in the blood vessels.

What does all of this suggest to those with MS? It suggests eat, eat, eat mushrooms and vegetables. If you are worried about MS, vegetables and some mushrooms might be your best friends–this is so especially since the “flavonoids limit demyelination in MS” (see an article entitled Polyphenols: Multipotent Therapeutic Agents in Neurodegenerative Diseases). It should be noted that vegetables, especially leafy greens, should be eaten at least twice a day. Some of the phytochemicals in leafy greens and other vegetables that prevent adhesion are available in the blood stream for only a few hours after they are eaten. Then, they must be replenished. The availability of phytonutrients from vegetables in the blood can be increased somewhat with extra virgin olive oil. For this reason, it is a good idea to eat a small amount of olive oil when eating vegetables.

This new information on mushrooms and vegetables makes sense in light of previous epidemiological studies that showed eating vegetables has a protective effect again MS.

As a footnote, please note that based on the information, a few of us conducted our own little rather unscientific pilot study — we called it theory building. We dutifully ate leafy greens two times a day and ate generous quantities of mushrooms for one week. We also made a point of eating yellow and red vegetables each day.  (I steamed my mushrooms for a few minutes.) The first day, I ate about 1/2 pound of mushrooms and thereafter I ate about 1/4 pound each day. I used both the standard crimini mushrooms and portabella mushrooms which are more mature crimini mushrooms.

Those of us who tried this little experiment thought we had two outcomes: (1) we felt more alert and (2) we thought we slept more soundly at night. I personally felt I also had a small increase in fine motor skills.

All in all, vegetables are an exciting and overlooked way to increase our wellness. Please try out eating more mushrooms and vegetables and let us know if they give you a boost too.

It is interesting that the Japanese, who have very little MS, eat about 19 pounds of mushrooms each year. In contrast, most in the west, where MS is common, eat only one or two pounds of mushrooms each year.

It has long been known that the vascular system does play some role in MS. If you are worried about MS or about blood vessel problems that have long been discussed in conjunction with MS, based on more recent research, it makes sense to eat more of the protective vegetables discussed and mushrooms. When you try eating leafy greens two times a day and add a some mushrooms, please do let us know the result. Perhaps we can push the MS societies for some real trials that nail down all of the facts on mushrooms and MS.

Viva la healthy living! Remember: nothing will make you look drop dead gorgeous faster than following an MS diet and an ultra healthy lifestyle.

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 2010 Rebecca Hoover

Add to    Technorati Favorites

Beating MS may sometimes require being smarter than your doctor October 5, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
add a comment

 

Every neurologist I have seen likes a hammer and tuning fork. Personally, I prefer some sensible laboratory tests. I suggest these for the savvy person with MS.

 

(This post was written for use on the wonderful website Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis of medical professor George Jelinek, M.D. I encourage you to visit that website too.)

As someone with multiple sclerosis (MS), I have noticed that some neurologists do not bother keeping up with research or can get lazy about working to enhance wellness for those with MS. For this reason, I think it is usually wise to consider being a pro-active patient and sometimes a pest. This is called “being your own best advocate”.

As part of being your own best advocate, planning a periodic checkup checklist is a good idea because it can help you increase your wellness. Below are the laboratory tests that I suggest when appropriate. If you recommend others, please leave a comment. We can all learn from each other!!

Mercury — If you have been around broken thermostats or thermometers containing mercury or if you eat a lot of fish, it is wise to request testing of your mercury levels at a periodic checkup. Mercury can cause neurological symptoms similar to those caused by MS. For more information on the mercury issue, the Food and Drug Administration in the USA has an excellent table showing Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish. I usually eat only salmon and sardines because they are relatively low in mercury.

Lead — When I was first diagnosed my neurologist ordered a test to determine the level of lead in my system. Those who are exposed to higher levels of lead from paints, etc., are wise to have this test done at least once too.

Arsenic — If you work in one of the construction trades around materials that are treated with arsenic, it is smart to include an arsenic test in an annual checkup. Arsenic can cause severe neurological problems such as memory problems and anyone working in the trades using arsenic coated lumber, for example, needs periodic tests for arsenic poisoning. (Coatings for lumber used in decks often contain arsenic in some parts of the world.) If you have too much arsenic in your body, you will want to address this problem promptly.

Vitamin B12 — Many, for some poorly understood reason, do not absorb vitamin B12 well even if there are adequate supplies of vitamin B12 in the diet. Since a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neurological problems similar to those caused by MS, it is important to have your level tested at least a few times to ensure that your level is always at the higher end of the normal range. More than one case of vitamin B12 deficiency has been misdiagnosed as MS. Also, if your B12 level is low, you will feel better if you correct this deficiency.

Vitamin B6 — Vitamin B6 does not get discussed much but low levels of vitamin B6 are quite common. I discovered a few years ago my own level was running low after I experienced what seemed to be MS related problems with my feet and some nasty arthritis pain. Fortunately, I happened to see an article about vitamin B6 deficiencies so I requested a test and, sure enough, my level was low.

Like the other B vitamin deficiencies, a vitamin B6 deficiency can cause problems similar to those found in MS. Specifically, vitamin B6 deficiencies can cause neuropathy in the extremities, often the feet. Also, low levels of vitamin B6 can cause worsening of arthritis. For these reasons, an annual vitamin B6 test for at least a few times is smart. This is more important as we age because vitamins do not absorb as well in older individuals. If you do find out that you have a vitamin B6 deficiency, do be careful about not taking too much vitamin B6 as I did. (I now know the effects of too much B6, pins and needles, etc., in the extremities. Fortunately, I have figured out the amount of B6 I must take to keep my level at the the higher end of the normal range — and my arthritis pain has largely disappeared.)

Vitamin D — Of course we all know about the importance of vitamin D to those with MS so not much needs to be said. If you know how to keep your vitamin D level at the high end of the normal range, a vitamin D test once a year is still a good idea. If you are having problems keeping your vitamin D level at the high end of the normal range, vitamin D tests once every three months until you have mastered the art of achieving a healthy vitamin D level are wise.

Lyme’s Disease — More than one case of MS has turned out to be Lyme’s Disease, a treatable disease. I suggest that anyone who has possibly been exposed to the virus causing this disease have the test to rule out Lyme’s Disease.

That’s it. Those are the tests I recommend. I hope other can share any recommendations they have too. It is interesting that our doctors often focus on disease while we focus on increasing wellness. Personally, I think our approach works better and the research increasingly suggests our wellness oriented approach is smart. We are so far ahead of the doctors in many ways!

It is interesting that some doctors will be reluctant to order needed laboratory tests. I have encountered this problem myself and offer two suggestions for dealing with it. First, if a doctor is just too difficult, a new doctor is a good idea. In other cases, the doctor needs some education because not all doctors are MS specialists and many just are not up-to-date in the treatment of MS. I know one doctor who was a bit reluctant to order needed vitamin D tests, for example, but when she learned about the importance of vitamin D to those with MS, she started ordering the tests regularly. Sometimes we have to educate the doctors as part of being our own best advocates.

Viva la healthy living! Remember: nothing will make you look drop dead gorgeous faster than following an MS diet and an ultra healthy lifestyle.

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 2010 Rebecca Hoover

Add to    Technorati Favorites

Beating multiple sclerosis just got easier and more fun June 15, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
11 comments

No other living person has done more to improve the lives of those with multiple sclerosis (MS) than medical professor George Jelinek, M.D., from Australia. Born in 1954, Jelinek was diagnosed with MS in 1999, at age 45, and that diagnosis changed his life and the face of MS in the world. Jelinek’s scientific approach to MS can help almost everyone with MS.

His web site has always been the best web site in the world for those with MS. And, currently, with a completely new design and services that help everyone with MS get motivated and stay motivated, Jelinek has put together a new web site that is even better. Quite simply, it is designed to help everyone with MS take the journey to better health. Please be sure to check it out. If you or someone you know has MS and you need some hope and ideas, the Jelinek web site is the place to be.

Before discussing the new web site further, it is helpful to review Jelinek’s journey. Rather than falling prey to despair as so many with MS do, when Jelinek was diagnosed with MS, he began reviewing medical research looking for answers. He found them in scientific research. The answers were simple, economical and straight forward. The answers involved treating MS primarily with simple, affordable, and smart changes in life style. Jelinek made these life style changes and now has gone over 10 years without a relapse. This type of improvement is a common occurrence among those adopting an MS friendly life style.

Fortunately, with these simple changes, most with MS could live long, happy and productive lives. Also, as neurology professor, Roy L. Swank, M.D., pointed out long ago, these life style changes almost serve as a fountain of youth. Those who adopt an ultra healthy living program experience so many health improvements, their appearance takes on a youthful look.

The answers Jelinek found were the same answers I found when I did my own review of medical research. This is the reason I have referred hundreds of individuals to Jelinek’s web site Taking Control of Multiple Sclerosis. I have always been a hard-nosed scientific type and Jelinek is the same.

Of course. making the life style changes needed to help MS is not always easy. That is where the new Jelinek web site will help. His web site is called Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, and the new web uses state-of-the-art web design tools not only to present information but also to build a supportive world-wide community. This supportive atmosphere is important because a little support makes making life style changes much, much easier. Here’s a few of the new features Jelinek and his wonderful staff have added to his web site:

Monthly podcasts – In these Jelinek talks about issues of importance such as the need for a diet low in saturated fats for those with MS. Even in audios such as these podcasts, Jelinek conveys the depth of his knowledge and his big, big heart. If ever there was a man worthy of the leadership mantle in the MS field, it is George Jelinek (and Professor Roy L. Swank before him).  I plan to listen to his podcasts myself.

Blog central – A blog central site includes posts from some of the leading MS bloggers in the world.The bloggers are individuals who are simply saying no to MS disability and who are demonstrating that healthy living despite MS is entirely possible.

FAQ – New frequently asked questions and answers provide valuable information such as the answer to the question, “now that I have made life style changes, when will I start feeling better?”.

PDFs – New printable documents such as a list of what not to eat are provided to make life style changes easier.

Smart viewing – A new state-of-the-art capability will present varying information to different users. If one user has participated in a forum discussion, for example, that user will receive updates on recent posts to the forum discussion after logon. This more advanced feature, however, may not be available when the new web site is first launched.

In addition, the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis web site offers:

Recipes – The recipes are all designed to help beat MS. Being on an MS diet does not mean being miserable. Instead, with some great recipes, following an MS diet can be a treat.

A Forum – The forum will continue allowing those with MS and their families to locate needed information and support by communicating with others.

Honest News – The Jelinek news summaries have always provided honest and timely information on medical research research related to MS. For example, when scientific studies showed the beta interferon drugs (Avonex, Betaseron, and Rebif) cause brain atrophy (shinkage), Jelinek’s Taking Control of Multiple Sclerosis web site helped spread this information to those who need to know.The new site will continue to feature this important news service.

Best of all, unlike many MS organizations, the Jelinek web site has always been free of conflicts of interest. Jelinek does not receive funding from drug companies for any of his MS related work so he has no incentive to encourage use of MS drugs that may do more harm than good.

As I reviewed a preview version of the new web site, I often thought of all of the emails I receive from others thanking me for my own web site on MS. Many write to me and tell me that with all of the depressing and hopeless sites on MS, it is nice to find one, like mine, that presents honest and hope filled information on what is possible.  The Jelinek site also offers realistic hope and it deserves the accolades it receives.

The one thing the Jelinek site does not do is to point out how good all of our proposed life style changes will make you look. I guess that is left to this site. In the meantime, Jelinek himself serves as a great role model and demonstrates overcoming MS — at age 56 he is more active than most and is looking very, very good — drop dead gorgeous from eating right! Viva la ultra healthy living.

P.S. Special thanks to the wonderful volunteer who with Jelinek and who keep the best web site in the world for MS top notch.

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 2010 Rebecca Hoover

Add to    Technorati Favorites

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 505 other followers