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

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Supplements - what you need to minimize MS symptoms, Uncategorized.
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Ouch! While sunshine seems to help prevent MS and prevent relapses, tanning booths are risky and may increase your chances of getting cancer.

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

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

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

Viva la healthy living!

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

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

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2009 Rebecca Hoover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2011 Rebecca Hoover

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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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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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24 comments

Drop dead georgeous from eating right.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2010 Rebecca Hoover

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