The cause of MS is still a mystery. Many viruses have been strongly suspected, particularly the measles virus (Arch Neurol, 1990; 47(7):743-6). If this proves right, it may have significant implications for vaccinations.
A strong link has been made between MS and dietary fats, particularly from cow's milk (Am J Med Sc, 1950; 220: 421-30; Lancet, 1974; ii:1061-6).
One study showed that inland rural communities in Norway, which consume high quantities of cow's milk, had a significantly higher incidence of MS than those near the coast, with a high consumption of cold water fish (New Engl J Med, 1952; 246:721-8). The incidence of MS in Japan is also surprisingly low, where fish and foods with an abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and omega-3 essential fatty acids oils are widely consumed. Omega-3 oils are known to be essential for the formation of normal healthy myelin, which are damaged in MS. A survey of 134 people with MS over a course of 34 years showed that such a low fat diet leads to significantly less deterioration and lower death rates from the disease (The Lancet, 1990; 336:37-39).
Intestinal biopsies in MS sufferers have revealed small intestinal abnormalities, or "porous" gut, associated with an increased gut permeability and food allergies (The Lancet, 1976; ii:1319-22). So it's also important to eliminate any foods you are allergic to from the diet.
Cocoa products, normal tea, cola and coffee may cause an MS related reaction. There is a striking correlation between high cocoa consumption and high MS incidence; whenever cocoa is introduced to an area, MS cases rise sharply (Ann Allergy, 1987, 59:76-79). MS patients should also eliminate caffeine and tannin.
Glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity in the red and white blood cells should be checked at a laboratory. This determines the body's detoxification pathway. If it is low (signifying a toxic overload), taking selenium and vitamins C and E may increase it (Eur Neurol, 1983; 22:442-6).
In Tibetan herbal medicine, Padma 28, a formulation containing 28 different herbs, has been scientifically shown to work. In a year long study of 100 MS patients, 44 per cent of those given Padma 28 reported an improvement in their general condition, increase in muscle strength, anal and bladder control and eyesight (Phytother Res, 1992; 6:133-6). Although this formulation is not commercially available in the UK or the US, a practitioner of Tibetan medicine would probably be able to get it made up.
Two extracts of ginkgo biloba ginkgolide B and some of the ginkgoflavonglycosides have been shown to counteract the inflammatory processes of MS. In one study, 8 of 10 patients treated with ginkgolide B during a relapse improved their neurological score less than a week after the start of treatment. That improvement was sustained in five patients, but faded in three. Three of the ten patients reported mild, transient side effects under the treatment (Rev Neurol (Paris), 1992; 148: 299-301) .
In my own practice, for some 22 years I have prescribed three homeopathic medications and diet, with good success in long term remission, even after paralysis or other neurological symptoms have set in:
Buthus australis 10DH: 26 drops midday on alternate (even numbered) days; Thallium metallicum 10DH: 26 drops midday on alternate (odd numbered) days; Argentum metallicum 10DH: 13 drops morning and evening, each day.
In your diet, eliminate hydrogenated oils, shortening and margarine and reduce saturated fat to less than 5g per day. Consume at least 50 g of PUFA daily, and eat fish at least every second day. All cow's milk products should be eliminated completely from the diet and never reintroduced.
Besides allergies, anyone with MS should be tested for toxicity from mercury in amalgam fillings. Low levels of B vitamins, particularly B12 and folic acid, are also a common cause (see WDDTY Dental Handbook and WDDTY vol 1 no 3). Also have your amino acids and copper, calcium, magnesium and zinc levels checked out.
Harald Gaier is a registered naturopath, osteopath and homeopath.