Multiple sclerosis

General characteristics

General characteristics

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is defined as a neurological condition (involving the nerves) affecting the brain and central nervous system.

In the nervous system, nerves are surrounded by a covering called the myelin sheath. The sheath itself is composed of fat filled cells that insulate the nerve cell from the electrical impulse passing along it, like the plastic coating of our electrical wires and cables. This sheath protects the nerve cells and helps the nerves to carry impulses and signals along them in order for us to control and co-ordinate our muscle movement. In multiple sclerosis, the myelin sheath becomes damaged in patches along the nerve cells. This results in a reduced ability for nerve impulses to transmit properly along the affected nerve cells, resulting in a wide variety of effects on any aspect of movement, sensory ability, balance and cognitive ability. MS can take several forms such as relapsing (where symptoms get better for a while before reappearing) which is the most common form of MS (around 85% of cases) and progressive MS, where nerve damage and symptoms get progressively worse over time (around 15% of cases).

Symptoms of MS vary greatly depending on which nerve cells are damaged but include bladder problems, blurred and defective vision, tremors, muscle spasms, extreme weakness and tiredness, vertigo and dizziness, clumsy and uncoordinated movements, pins and needles, numbness, pain, dizziness and vertigo, heat intolerance, constipation, memory loss, inability to concentrate, depression, anxiety, breathing difficulties, problems swallowing, speech difficulties, inability to orgasm in females or to achieve/maintain an erection, difficulty walking and difficulties balancing.

It is 2 times more common in women than men, is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, can run in families and is more prevalent in developed countries, the highest incidences occurring in Northern Europe, North America and New Zealand. No definitive reasons for developing multiple sclerosis exist as yet but many factors have been suggested as playing a part including viruses or infections, vaccine effects, systemic poisoning from mercury tooth fillings, exposure to certain environmental toxins, reduced blood drainage from the brain (due to damaged or blocked veins), inappropriate auto-immune responses, poor diet and nutritional deficiencies (particularly not enough essential fatty acids and too many refined processed fats), gluten sensitivity, low linoleic acid levels (an essential fatty acid), candida and gut dysbiosis, excessive free radical damage, lack of vitamin D, genetic predisposition, modern diet (over consumption of sugar, meat, wheat processed foods etc), hormonal imbalance (low progesterone levels are common in female MS sufferers) and severe stress or trauma.

Healing objectives are to ensure optimal nutrition at all times with sufficient regular supply of all nutrients, help to alleviate any symptoms and lessen the likelihood of recurrence in relapsing MS/slow down the decline in progressive MS.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Make sure your diet is rich in essential fatty acids (EFA's) to help to slow deterioration of myelin sheaths. Rich sources of EFA's include seeds such as flax, hemp and sunflower, nuts such as walnuts, olives and olive oil, oily fish like wild salmon, sardines, tuna and trout and the wild herb purslane.

Avoid refined and processed fats and oils and processed foods containing them, use only cold pressed oils and ensure you use some raw as a dressing on salads or a drizzle over cooked meals.

Eat plenty of calcium rich foods such as carrots and dark green leaves.

Eat foods rich in B vitamins such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, spirulina, blue-green algae and chorella, mushrooms etc.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

A tea made from equal parts of oatstraw, nettle and red raspberry leaf will provide a rich source of calcium and many other nutrients useful in lessening symptoms. Drink 2-3 cups daily as a nutrient supplement.
A good all round formula could contain nervines, circulatory tonics and gentle stimulant tonics such as oatseed/straw (50ml), skullcap (50ml), vervain (50ml), st johns wort (50ml), ginkgo (50ml), lavender (10ml), celery seed (10ml) and prickly ash (5ml) tinctures. Take 1 teaspoon in water 3 times daily.
Turmeric powder can be used to help repair the myelin sheath and several studies have shown positive results. Use in cooking, add a half teaspoon to a glass of warm milk or add half a teaspoon to a herbal tea or water twice daily.
Siberian ginseng will help to boost the bodys adaptive mechanisms and help with the effects of stress. Take a teaspoon of tincture 3 times daily or 2 capsules of powder daily. Schisandra berries are very similar in siberian ginseng in effects and can be combined in an adaptogenic formula.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Evening primrose oil is rich in Gamma Linoleic Acid and can has shown to be beneficial in alleviating many symptoms and a lessening of relapses. Take up to 1000mg of oil in capsule form daily for several months.

Vitamin D is thought to be beneficial in relieving MS symptoms so have a 10 minute sunbathe (without sunscreen), exposing at least your arms, each day if possible.

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