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Another story of beating MS–from England January 20, 2011

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS.
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March 2009 photograph of Julie Calder at age 43--taken 11 months after starting an MS diet.  Julie says she believes the diet not only helped her get rid of MS symptoms, it also improved her appearance.

March 2009 photograph of Julie Calder practicing yoga at age 43--taken 11 months after starting an MS diet. Julie says she believes the diet not only helped her get rid of MS symptoms, it also improved her appearance.

From Julie in England: I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) on September 4, 2004, but I had been having symptoms since about September 2000. My first symptoms were tingling in my fingers and toes and a sensation of sunburn down my right leg, for no apparent reason. These were dismissed as “probably a virus” by my primary care physician. In subsequent years, I suffered from inexplicable tiredness, which I now know was MS fatigue.

In 2003, I had problems with my vision and I was diagnosed with “convergence weakness” and given eye exercises to do — these did not seem to help much. By this time, we also knew that my sister had MS and her case was severe. She had been hospitalized, had temporarily lost the sight in one eye, and was finding it difficult to walk. This was when I started to research whether MS was genetically related or not and I discovered that I had about a 1 in 40 chance of getting MS, because my sister had MS.

Next I experienced dizzy spells and hand tremors; and I saw a specialist. He did not think I had MS (he thought it was myalgic encephalomyelitis, also called chronic fatigue syndrome) because I could still walk in a straight line and stop my hands from shaking if I concentrated hard enough — for a few minutes, anyway). I asked him to order an MRI scan–he agreed “just to set my mind at rest”. Later he said, “you could have knocked me down with a feather” when he saw the white areas of demyelination on my brain scan. I had to pester him for the result of my MRI, and I eventually received my MS diagnosis–over the telephone!

My eyesight seemed to improve of its own accord, but I started losing my sense of taste, which was very strange and a bit worrying. Also, I was under a great deal of stress. My Mum was ill with lung cancer which upset me a great deal, because we were very close. It was while I was going back and forth to Manchester to see her in hospital that I realized that I was suffering from a new symptom — foot drop! This meant that I had a noticeable limp and I was no longer able to walk long distances. My eyesight became weaker again, but only for a few months.

To cut a long story short, my Mum passed away in January 2005, at age 62. My Dad, my two brothers, my sister and I were all devastated. Sadly, my Mum’s death seemed to send my sister with MS into a downward spiral of many relapses followed by incomplete remissions. My Dad never got over Mum’s death, and he subsequently passed away less than two years later at age 69, of pancreatic cancer.

To add to my stress, two days after my Dad’s funeral, my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and he was operated on just before Christmas, 2006. From the beginning, however, he was determined to fight the cancer; and he inspired me to fight my MS. We had a difficult time while he went through six months of chemotherapy, but we survived to tell the tale and I remained stable.

It has now been just over two years since my husband’s operation and his most recent CT scan gave him the “all clear”. Needless to say, we and our three sons (ages 15, 12 and 10), are feeling a lot happier and we are all enjoying life again!

My MS, however, continued to be problematic. Then, last year, I came across George Jelinek’s book; and I was impressed with his well-researched ideas about diet and how to live your life to “take control of multiple sclerosis”. I have been on his diet ever since. My first improvements, after starting his diet, involved reduced fatigue and less anxiety. Prior to starting his diet, I often felt anxious — worrying about day-to-day things — very much out of proportion to the likelihood of them actually occurring. A few months after starting the diet, I actually felt my spirits had been “uplifted”. Before long, I also realized that my foot drop was considerably reduced and I had loads more energy! My balance problems and problems with hand tremors also disappeared almost completely. I was thrilled.

Six months after starting the diet, I realized that I was not taking enough Vitamin D, so I increased my dose from 1,000 IU to 5000 IU; and wow! It was as though I had taken another quantum leap up the scale to good health! I have now been on the diet for 10 months, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone with MS.

I should mention that I do exercise and this helps me feel strong and the exercise addresses specific problems. For example, I swim about once a month, do yoga once a week and do exercises every night to strengthen my ankles and feet.

I am trying to persuade my sister to go on the same diet, because she is now able to walk only with a walker. I think my suggestions are starting to get through — she is now taking Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, but probably not enough yet.

Here is a summary of what I take each day:

Methyl B-12 1,000 mg

Vitamin D3 5,000 IU

Vitamin B complex (contains 2 mg Vitamin B6, and 200 mg of folic acid),

Omega-3 from fish oil 1,000 mg

15- 20 ml flaxseed oil

1, 200 mg soya lecithin (I take this to keep my brain as healthy as possible–this is the result of my own research and is not based on George Jelinek’s recommendations)

Amantadine (This is a Parkinson’s disease drug, which is given to some MS patients to help combat fatigue. It works in about 60% of cases and it certainly helps me. However, the real fatigue breakthrough came when I started George’s diet. By the way, amantadine is also an anti-viral, so I get few colds.)

Here is a brief summary of the dietary rules I follow:

  1. Eat absolutely NO red meat, however I still have chicken (breast only) about two times a week–this is more in keeping with Dr. Roy Swank’s diet (Dr. Jelinek suggests no meat, except fish, at all).
  2. Eat lots of fish, especially mackerel, tuna, salmon, lemon sole and prawns (yum!).
  3. Eat absolutely NO dairy products, not even cheese if I can avoid it. I use soya milk with my cereal in the mornings (porridge with apple and raisins, usually). I eat brown bread with seeds on top.
Julie Calder often cooks tasty ultra healthy food with a wok.  Her family benefits from eating right too.  Photograph taken March 2009.  (P.S.  Notice how cute Julie looks--a good diet does that!)

Julie Calder often cooks tasty ultra healthy food with a wok. Her family benefits from eating right too. Photograph taken March 2009. (P.S. Notice how cute Julie looks--a good diet does that!)

To accompany the fish or chicken I eat, I have rice, pasta or potatoes and whatever vegetables I fancy, usually broccoli, cabbage, carrots, mange-tout, and onions. I sometimes saute or stir-fry vegetables with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, or bake them in the oven after coating them with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil first.

I also eat absolutely loads of tomatoes and red and green peppers, especially in my Italian-style dishes. I add tomatoes to my curries, along with cardamon, cumin, garlic, chilis, and peppers. To my Chinese-style dishes, along with baby sweet corn, I add soy sauce, ginger etc.

If I need something sweet, I have either alpro-soya yogurts or alpro-chocolate or caramel desserts. Alternatively, I have fruit with either alpro-soya cream or non-dairy ice-cream (Swiss glace).

For snacks I have fruit or Mrs. Crimble’s low-fat ginger cake or Dutch apple cake, or oat bars with cranberries and apple.

I love cooking and I have never once felt deprived.

If you met me, you would not know I have MS—I am much healthier than I was before I started following Jelinek’s and Swank’s recommendations. I still have MS (for example, I still experience foot drop after walking a couple of miles) but I also now have hope. I believe that my children will be glad their Mum is taking care of herself. My improved health makes life much easier for everyone.

Julie Calder

With her ultra healthy life style, Julie Calder almost seems to beat aging as well as MS. Here she is in 2011 with her new puppy -- looking even better and cuter than she looked in 2009. (Julie is now in her mid-40's.)

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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Tags:  Diet, Exercise, Multiple Sclerosis, Nutrition, MS

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

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
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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

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A scientific multiple sclerosis (MS) diet keeps you looking young too October 23, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat.
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Professor George Jelinek, M.D. and Professor Roy Swank, M.D. both suggest diets that will help you beat MS and wrinkles too. What could be better than that? Professor Jelinek has MS and is in his mid-50s in this picture but look much younger because he eats right. The same diet that is healthy for those with MS keeps you looking young.

If Professor George Jelinek, M.D., who has multiple sclerosis (MS) and who religiously follows an MS diet looks good in his mid-50’s, it is no accident. His science-based MS diet both helps beat MS and helps prevents aging and even wrinkles. It is no wonder Professor Jelinek, who is in his mid-50’s in the picture in this article, looks much younger than he is.

The extent to which an MS diet contributes to your good looks is apparent from a couple of studies. One study entitled Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference?, found that a diet rich in vegetables, olive oil, fish and legumes helps prevent wrinkling. This type of diet is the type of diet Professor Jelinek recommends for those with MS. In contrast, the study found that a high intake of meat, dairy and butter appears to contribute to wrinkling.  The study also helpfully points out that prunes, apples and tea contribute 34% to the helpful variance in a good diet in preventing aging. (You can follow the link above to see the abstract for the study.)

Another study from Japan found something similar. Entitled  Association of dietary fat, vegetables and antioxidant micronutrients with aging in Japanese women, this second study found yellow and green vegetables were especially helpful in preventing aging. (Again, you can follow the link above to see the abstract for the study.)

It seems we have a choice: We can have a healthy MS diet rich in legumes, fruit and vegetables, etc., and low in saturated fats and be youthful, or we can eat a junk food diet full of saturated fats and processed foods and be prematurely aged. It seems it is that simple.

When you are thinking about abandoning an MS diet because you miss junk food and saturated fats, it helps to remember the whole picture. Eating right is not only good for your health — it keeps you looking good too. Also, if you need to convince the kids in your family to eat right, you can point out that eating junk food will give you wrinkles and you just might end up looking like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Personally, I vote for feeling good, health and looking good. I hope you do too.

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

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

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Uncategorized.
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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

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To beat multiple sclerosis, forget about grieving and be determined July 22, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat, Psychology and multiple sclerosis.
9 comments

 

The determination needed to make the lifestyle changes needed to beat MS is about flexing some willpower. It is also about having a plan and tracking progress.

 

(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.)

Ever since, Dr, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about the five stages of grieving (denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), well-meaning advice givers have been advising those with multiple sclerosis (MS) to take time to grieve and to learn to cope with what is certain to be a difficult future ahead. If you have received this advice and are frightened half to death, it is helpful to remember there is plenty of hard evidence that this well-meaning advice is the worst advice any newly diagnosed person can get. Even if you have had MS for years, as I have, this advice is lousy.

If you want to beat MS, you are best off with a determined attitude not hopeless resignation. The evidence of the importance of determination comes from history — cases of real individuals who have had MS or other physical problems — and research evidence. You might be surprised at the extent to which a hopeless attitude contributes to unnecessary problems with MS. Below you will find some tips on avoiding this problem by overcoming fear.

My favorite historical examples of the importance of determination in overcoming a little adversity come from figures in United States public life: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Barbara Jordan and Paul Wellstone. Franklin D. Roosevelt was afflicted with polio and went on to become one of the most loved and effective presidents ever elected in the United States. If you need inspiration, reading biographies of Roosevelt and learning of the ways he used a stubborn iron will and compassion for others is inspirational. Barbara Jordan, a United States Congresswoman with MS was similarly inspiring. Afflicted with MS before most knew how to minimize the effects of MS, Barbara Jordan, who was African-American, used sheer willpower to focus on the abilities she did have to serve effectively and to help lead the fight for racial equality in the United States. Similarly, Paul Wellstone, a populist senator from Minnesota had MS but MS did not have him. A small man, perhaps 5’6” tall, Wellstone tackled an entrenched and wealthy conservative senator and changed Minnesota’s political landscape.

I have been inspired especially by the stories of Roosevelt and Wellstone many times, and, as I think about the silly advice to “take time to grieve” I think about how much poorer the world would be if Roosevelt, Wellstone and Jordan had not ignored such silly advice. Wellstone’s life is especially meaningful to me because he lived only a few miles from me and I encountered him many times. Never once did I see him talking about his MS or belaboring other health problems – instead he focused on helping solve the problems of others. For example, thanks to Paul Wellstone, health insurance policies in the United States must include coverage for mental health services. I also enjoyed watching him in action. This was true in part because Wellstone also focused on staying physically fit. Even with MS, he was muscular and was not above showing off his push ups.

The effectiveness of the coping strategies of these public figures is supported by actual scientific research. Research shows that avoiding fear and hopelessness is important to beating MS as are continued physical activity and intellectual effort.

One especially telling study found that there is relationship between actual MS disability and fears about MS fatigue and avoidance behavior. (For an abstract of this study see Fatigue and physical disability in patients with multiple sclerosis: a structural equation modeling approach.) This finding prompted researchers to warn that MS patients to avoid catastrophic thinking and to address avoidance behavior. In other words, we need to follow the example of our historical heroes and live boldly and with determination.

Similarly another study found that hopelessness and other ineffective coping strategies led to a worsening of MS fatigue. (For an abstract of this study, see The connection between coping mechanisms, depression, anxiety and fatigue in multiple sclerosis) Again, the study shows we are best off avoiding the well-meaning but silly advice about grieving and best off following the examples of our heroes. It is especially helpful to note that “emotional ventilation” or the continued moaning about MS symptoms and problems seems to merely aggravate depression and anxiety. It is one thing to share information about MS problems and to seek related solutions when needed, but it is another to dwell on these problems unnecessarily. Rather than this unhelpful dwelling on problems, a determined optimism is needed.

When all is said and done, heroes do not sit around and grieve on and on. Instead, they get determined. I personally did some grieving after I was diagnosed myself and accomplished nothing thereby except making a fool of myself. Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I could have been out having some fun and living a determined life. I certainly hope others manage to avoid this same mistake. My first neurologist made a determined effort to save me from this mistake (he even sent me to a psychologist) but nothing would dissuade me from my folly.

I could list here some of the many, many studies show that diet changes, physical exercise and intellectual stimulation are crucial in beating MS. Instead of doing that, however, I want to point out that determination is the key to making the life style changes needed to beat MS and then suggest some ways to overcome fear. Some of the best ways to overcome fear and a lack of determination are to;

  • Read biographies and learn in detail about the lives of those who have lived very full lives despite having problems such MS or polio. The lives of those such as Roosevelt and Wellstone provide excellent examples of effective coping. At my most depressed times, I have read Roosevelt biographies and always found them helpful.
  • Get exercise because exercise by itself alleviates hopelessness and depression.
  • Stick to an MS diet because a healthy diet contributes to a feeling of vigor.
  • Set impossibly high goals and go after them. The world has been changed by those who believed that the sky is the limit. It helps to adopt this attitude too.
  • Resolve to be determined and celebrate stubbornness.
  • Resolve everyday to make the life style changes needed to beat MS. Keep a journal of daily activities in support of a life style change plan.
  • Resolve to find support, even if it is just on the Internet, for making life style changes.
  • Reread Jelinek’s book and The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book.
  • Ask yourself if you would rather spend your life grieving unnecessarily or having some fun.

Our much beloved Dr. Roy L. Swank recognized the importance of determination long, long ago. In his book, The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book, Swank thought the issue of determination was important enough that he talked about it on page 2. He said, “This [the Swank MS Diet] should be accompanied by adequate rest, a reduction of stress, and the adoption of a mental attitude that fosters optimism and a determination to live a satisfying life … .”

Later in the book, on page 43, Swank talks about the patients who are not sufficiently determined. He writes: “5. The patient’s spouse may now be working full-time and has the added responsibility of taking care of many household chores. Usually the family does not mind the added responsibility if the patient is also doing everything possible to maintain his or her health. The patient must stay on the diet and rest as directed. It’s frustrating for the family to be working hard knowing that the patient is not holding up his or her end of the bargain.” Swank actually used italics as shown here to emphasize his point. It is apparent from this that Swank thought those of us with MS have a responsibility to be determined and to do the best we can do. One can hardly disagree although I must admit to some cheating myself — more so when I was younger. I promise I am now much improved — especially now that I have given up my silly grieving!

As the writer of the Intelligent Person’s Guide to Beating MS, I know that others probably expect me to point out that following the advice I’ve written here will make you look drop dead gorgeous too. Indeed it will! Roosevelt, Jordan and Wellstone all looked quite dapper and could easily attract crowds in their days (of course, styles do change). We would all do well to follow much of their fine examples.

Our hero, George Jelinek, is, of course, an excellent role model too. Naturally he looks drop dead gorgeous. And he lives boldly and with determination. Many who have met Jelinek comment about his faithfulness to a healthy life style and his totally good looks. Julie Calder, who tells her story on my web site, is another good model – her life shows what some determination and life style changes can do in creating good health and producing a totally cute person. As for me, I am the reformed fool. Try to follow my good examples but not my folly.

Viva la healthy living and determination! And don’t forget the healthy life style that beats MS also makes you look your best. Move over Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Please help us all by writing lots of comments about this blog entry. Please write especially about what inspired you to make life style changes and what the results have been. Have your symptoms improved? How? What advice do you have for others? Please also share information on what or who inspires you to be determined when you are feeling depressed. Are there biographies or books you turn to for inspiration and would recommend for others?

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

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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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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

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

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Eating to beat MS saves the planet and your pocketbook too January 1, 2010

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

The same diet that helps beat multiple sclerosis is great for the environment and is frugal.

It is worth noting that the same diet that seems to cause multiple sclerosis is also bad for the environment. Some scientists conclude that the business of raising animals for food is responsible for about 18 percent of all global warming — in fact the production of meat and dairy products for food causes about 40 percent more warming than all cars, trucks, and planes combined. You can make a huge difference by eating meat at only one meal each day. An ultra healthy diet is good for you, frugal and good for the planet! P.S. a healthy diet makes you look sexy too!

My own favorite vegetarian fare consists of hearty lentil soup and quinoa topped with a hand full of raw unsalted sunflower seeds, some cruciferous vegetables and a serving of fruit. The combination of lentils and quinoa gives complete protein and some amazing nutrients. A combination of rice and lentils would provide complete protein as well if you prefer.

I like to be efficient so I make a huge kettle of lentil stew when needed. Here’s my recipe.

Lentil stew recipe

  • 5 cups of lentils thoroughly picked over and rinsed
  • 16 cups of water
  • 8 stalks of celery cut in bite sized piece
  • 1 onion cut in bite sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 carrots cleaned cut in bite sized pieces
  • 1 can (7 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) frozen corn

Combine lentils, water, chopped celery, onion, and extra virgin olive oil in large kettle. Heat to boiling and reduce temperature to slow boil.  Slow boil for 30 minutes. Add salt, pepper, carrots and tomato paste. Reheat to a boil and gently boil for 10 more minutes. Add frozen corn, reheat to boil and boil for 5 more minutes. Note: if needed, add more water during cooking to prevent stew from becoming too thick and sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Quinoa recipe

  • 2 cups quinoa picked over and thoroughly rinsed
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Quinoa must be thoroughly rinsed because it is naturally coated with a bitter tasting coating. Use a fine strainer or cloth to rinse the quinoa repeatedly until suds no longer form when adding cold water to the quinoa or stirring it vigorously. Put all ingredients in a kettle, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. The quinoa is done when it is chewy but not mushy.

To serve: Place about 1-1/4 cup of the stew in a bowl, with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice. Top with two tablespoons of sunflower seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can also change the nature of the dish by adding an herb such as cilanto and salsa.

To store for a well-organized and frugal meal plan: Place about 1-1/4 cup of the stew in a freezer proof container with 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice. The recipe makes about 18 servings. Reheat in a glass container in a microwave oven for a quick and healthy meal. Add 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds after heating.

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

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My thoughts about chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency – CCSVI and liberation treatment November 23, 2009

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

Hope is almost always realistic. Be bold! Hope! Be smart and take action!

The chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) theory and related liberation surgery (also a procedure) to remove blood vessel blockages have spurred great hope for those with MS. It is my belief this hope is well-founded but it is important to pay attention to two issues. First, it is important to understand what the blockages mean in practical terms. Second it is important to understand what additional treatment is likely to be necessary even if the surgery or procedure can be used.

CCSVI essentially identifies blockages in blood vessels as a problem causing MS symptoms. This is not the first time, however, blockages have been identified as a problem in MS. Roy L. Swank, M.D., a professor emeritus of neurology and world wide expert in MS, long ago stated that blockages caused by saturated fat were the cause of MS symptoms. In fact, Professor Swank identified blockages not in larger blood vessels but in very small blood vessels surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Also, many articles in medical journals have discussed vein problems related to MS. For example, some articles point out that problems with small veins in eyes seem to precede optic neuritis in MS.

The widespread nature of blockages suggests the second issue. Even if blockages are leading to MS symptoms, the blockage problem is probably far more widespread than can be surgically corrected in full. This means that diet, exercise, etc. changes will still be needed to prevent future blockages and help treat the many thousands of current blockages too small to be surgically corrected. These self-help changes are not surprising because they are also required to treat some heart problems and varicose veins which also involve blood vessel problems.

The likelihood that dietary changes, for example, will continue to be important in managing MS is highlighted by a study released in 2009 from South Africa that showed that saturated fat in the blood of those with MS is related to the severity of MS symptoms. The study showed that as saturated fats in the blood increased, MS symptoms and disability also increased. Those with lower levels of saturated fats in their blood had fewer MS symptoms and lower levels of disability. Given this, we all obviously want to keep the level of saturated fat in our blood as low as possible.

It should be noted that it appears that poor diet, including too much saturated fat and not enough healthy foods such as fish, fruits and vegetables, contributes to both blood vessel problems and MS. Accordingly, if one wishes to address both blood vessel problems and MS, diet is the place to start. A healthy MS diet is key.

The so-called CCSVI liberation surgery or procedure is being conducted in two ways. In Italy, a Dr. Paolo Zamboni is using balloons to stretch only a very small number veins that are supposedly too narrow. At Stanford University in the United States, Dr. Michael Dake used stents to open the veins. The jugular veins in the neck are often opened using one of the two methods as is the azygous vein which drains blood from the chest and abdominal area. The method used by Dr. Dake causes more pain than the method used by Dr. Zamboni. Also, the use of stents is high risk. One woman in her 50’s died from a stroke shortly after Dr. Dake performed his surgery on her and gave her blood thinners. In another case, the stent Dr. Dake placed in a man in his 20’s slipped out of placed, traveled to his heart and required emergency open heart surgery. After these two incidents, Stanford stopped the experiments conducted by Dr. Dake.

The article on liberation surgery published in December 2009 suggested the surgeries done in Italy may provide relatively modest improvements, contrary to initial hopes for major improvements. For example, the rather poorly designed study (it was not blinded) did not show statistically significant improvements in post-operative relapse rate. The article did state that post-operative Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite scores that measured disability had statistically significant improvements. Likewise, the number of patients with relapsing/remitting MS who stayed relapse free increased but re-blockage of the veins “liberated” often occurred within 18 months. The CCSVI procedure seemed to offer little benefit for primary and secondary progressive MS.

In summary, the procedure seems to offer fewer benefits than a recent study showed for patients receiving Vitamin D3 supplements of 14,000 I.U. each day. Unfortunately, the design of the Zamboni study needs to kept in mind as well. The study design was problematic enough the benefits that were found may not stand the test of time. Future studies may not be able to show the surgery produces the claimed benefits.

It should be mentioned that the modest benefits that may be provided by the procedure are not surprising. Since vein problems in MS are widespread, unblocking a couple of large veins would probably not solve the overall dysfunction in MS.

Much more research on the liberation procedure and whether it can actually help reduce MS symptoms is needed. The great benefit of the study is that it focuses attention once again on the role of veins in MS disease process. Therein lies our hope.

While all of us wait for additional information on CCSVI surgeries, we all can take steps to decrease blockages right now. The best non-surgical method that I know of to do this has been suggested by George Jelinek, M.D., a professor of medicine from Australia. His website Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis still offers important and timely information for those with multiple sclerosis. Taking the steps recommended by Professor Jelinek will help prevent and resolve blockages.

It is wonderful to have a new focus on hope for those with MS. At the same time, it is important to remember that many who have never had a CCSVI procedure are living full and vigorous lives, with no visible disability despite having MS and not taking any MS medications, There has been far too much emphasis on doom, gloom and pessimism. Let’s all hope the possibility of surgical treatment will spur those all with MS to start making the diet and other lifestyle changes likely to be needed to help heal MS. We all need to grit our teeth and promise ourselves we will make the lifestyle changes that scientific studies show will probably help us heal or keep us healthy. Hope, it seems, generally comes with some effort.

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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Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic but Vitamin D may help prevent MS relapses November 16, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Supplements - what you need to minimize MS symptoms.
6 comments
Loves Vitamin D3 for strength and bone building - so sizzling!

Recovering from a Vitamin D deficiency makes you this happy. Vitamin D3 rocks!

Can Vitamin D help prevent multiple sclerosis (MS)? The evidence certainly seems to point in that direction. MS is rare where people get adequate Vitamin D. Even more exciting, Vitamin D may turn out to be central in treating multiple sclerosis.

One study reported in 2009 compared MS patients who took 14,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 each day with those who took only 1,000 I.U. of the vitamin. The group taking 14,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 cut their relapse rate by 41% compared with only 17% for those taking the lower dose. The 41% is amazing! This beats the MS drugs such as the interferons — they reduce the frequency by about 30%. At the same time, studies have shown Vitamin D3 is safe!

It is no wonder the Australian MS society has now issued an advisory recommending one very high dose of Vitamin D3 for MS patients who have low levels of Vitamin D3 in their bodies. That society now recommends that a one time dose of 500,000 I.U. be used, when appropriate, to increase levels of Vitamin D in those with MS.

Medical journals are filled with articles about the current Vitamin D deficiency epidemic both in the United State and Europe, and some researchers have found that 60% of those with MS have a Vitamin D deficiency. A Vitamin D deficiency is very problematic for those with MS because many researchers have long believed a Vitamin D shortage helps cause MS and some researchers have long believed adequate levels of Vitamin D may help prevent MS relapses. Also, a shortage of Vitamin D causes weakness — which is the last thing someone with MS needs.

If you have MS and you feel weak, your problem might not be MS but a Vitamin D deficiency. What should you do?

You can ask your doctor to test the amount of Vitamin D in your blood. This simple test can help prevent all kinds of problems. Scientists believe Vitamin D not only plays a role in MS, it also helps prevent cancer, heart attacks and bone loss.

Some experts believe that your Vitamin D level should at the high end of the normal range between 50 and 60 ng/ml (or about 200 nmol/L if the nmol/L scale is used) . Others believe a lower amount will do but why take a chance when you have MS. Those who believe the smaller amount will suffice are not experts in the treatment of MS.

Do be careful because, while overdoses are rare, you can get too much Vitamin D.  A reasonable dose might be between 1,000 and 2,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 (not D2 which does not absorb well) per day but this varies by person and it is unlikely this low amount will be enough. This amount, for example, is not enough for me. If I take only 2,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3, my blood level of Vitamin D3 begins falling. I have to take between 3,000 I.U. and 4,000 I.U. to keep my blood level of Vitamin D stable and research shows that this amount is required for many persons. Currently, I take between 4,000 I.U. and 5,000 I.U. each day. Many experts believe that those with MS need to watch their Vitamin D levels very carefully and to keep this level at the higher end of the normal range.

It is important to talk to your doctor, have your level tested and monitor your Vitamin D level. A test every three to six months for a few years and then once a year will give you the information you need to learn to regulate your Vitamin D level. Also, please remember that Vitamin D3 is a fat soluble vitamin so it should be taken with some fat from olive oil, fish oil. sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc. A half teaspoon of oil, a tablespoon of sunflower seeds or a few half walnuts of fat is sufficient.

If you are one of the 60% of those with MS who have a Vitamin D shortage, just this one simple thing is going to make you feel better. Best of all, some scientists think enough Vitamin D will help prevent relapses as mentioned above. You can also get Vitamin D3 by spending time in the sun with your arms, legs and face exposed (use no sunscreen). Ten to 15 minutes per day at noon (when the sun is most direct) is all that is needed for a fair-skinned person; more for a darker person. Do avoid burning, though, because that can lead to cancer.

Also, when you start taking Vitamin D3 supplements or spending time in the sun, please be patient. It takes at least three to six months to increase the blood level of Vitamin D to the desired range. If you want faster results, some doctors recommend the mega dose now recommended by the Australian MS society.

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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Tags: Class, Fatigue, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Prevent, Relapses, Science, Sizzle, Vitamin D