Functional medicine to heal auto-immune diseases

It’s another ‘lazy’ blog, re-blogging a great piece called ‘How to stop attacking yourself. 9 steps to heal automimmune disease’ by Dr. Mark Hyman. Brings together a lot of familiar themes; the gut, leaky gut and how to heal it, food intolerances, and calming inflammation.

http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/07/30/how-to-stop-attacking-yourself-9-steps-to-heal-autoimmune-disease/#close

When he talks about infectious agents, I agree, but I tend to use SOS-Advance as it blitzes most things without destroying your natural gut flora.

I hope that soon I’ll get a chance to write something fresh – I’ve been photographing my cooking, so expect a recipe section soon!

All the best

Miranda

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MS, Auto immune disease and gut health research

I know I keep going on about guts, healthy, leaky, gut bacteria, diet, etc etc, but I just keep bumping into research that seems to show just how important it is in auto-immune disease. Here’s the latest thing I found:

http://www.med.lu.se/english/news_archive/040908_ms

So. Anyone remember Judy Blume? “I must, I must, I must, I must increase my bust”?!

Change that to “I must I must I must, I must look after my guts!”

Nourish the gut wall, as described in the 2 previous posts, identify any food intolerances that have been caused by previous/existing gut wall problems and avoid, add anti-inflammatory flax seed oil & vitamin D, and keep building up the health of the intestines and digestion with great dietary fibre, less sugar, probiotics and prebiotics.

Just found out that through MS-UK, people with MS can get a massive discount on food intolerance testing. Email info@ms-uk.org to find out about this. ūüôā

Gut health and probiotics for MS

Bacteria and Digestion

I quite often get asked about bloating. But did you know that you don‚Äôt have to have digestive symptoms to be suffering from ‚Äėdysbiosis‚Äô or wrong bacteria in the gut? It might be easy to think of this as something that‚Äôs just a minor inconvenience. However ‚Äď gut problems are not just miserable & uncomfortable, they can also possibly play a role in ¬†auto-immune diseases like MS. In fact ¬†Hippocrates, the ‚ÄėFather of modern medicine‚Äô is quoted as saying that ‚Äėall disease begins in the gut‚Äô.

If the health of the gut breaks down, undigested food molecules can pass into the bloodstream. This is known as ‘leaky gut’. These undigested food molecules can be interpreted by the body as ‘bad guys’, and activate an immune reaction, causing a food intolerance. According to the theory of ‘molecular mimicry’, the confused immune system can then mistake other molecules, of the body’s own tissues, which are similar to these undigested food molecules, to also be ‘bad guys’ or pathogens, and launch an immune response to its own tissues, setting up an auto-immune disease.

So let‚Äôs take a look at this one aspect of¬†gut health; bacteria, ¬†& how it affects us. The gut is basically a long tube, that travels from the mouth to the anus, with many shapes & sizes along the way, to accommodate the different stages of digestion! I‚Äôve discussed constipation, diet and stool health, and the link between auto-immune disease and food intolerances before in this blog , but today I‚Äôm thinking about the tiny beings who live with us, lovingly help to keep us healthy but also depend on us too for their existence ¬†‚ÄstBacteria!¬†bacteria

From the 1600s, and the invention of the first microscope, we have known about the existence of our internal bacteria, but up until quite recently, the focus for medicine has been more about the ‚Äėwar on germs‚Äô, and the eradication of infectious disease. We now understand that our gut is home to approximately 100 trillion micro-organisms. Did you know that: Bacterial cells outnumber our human cells to the extent that you could say that we are actually only 10% human, and 90% bacterial? Or that three pounds of your body weight is bacteria?

75% of our immune system is comprised of intestinal bacteria ‚Äď ¬†and it also helps to regulate metabolism, digestion and the absorption of nutrients from food. The health of our gut depends on this intestinal ‚Äėflora‚Äô being in balance, and gut health is critical to overall health, with poor gut health implicated in a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases, autism spectrum disorder and even depression. So what can disrupt the healthy bacteria in the gut? ¬†Top of the list is

  • Antibiotics ‚Äď life saving but also seriously disrupt the ‚Äėbiome‚Äô

Amongst others,

  • Steroids and other medications like birth control and non- steroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • Diets low in ‚Äėfermentable fibres‚Äô ‚Äď food for the good bacteria
  • Chronic stress¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† &¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Chronic infections

What can we do to help repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria?¬†And what to do if suffering from ‚Äėdigestive discomfort!‚Äô?

  • Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke, yams, dandelion greens, leeks, onion, garlic, or bananas) or take a pro-biotic ( good bacteria) capsule that includes Pre-biotics ( food for the good bacteria)
  • Eat fermented foods like kefir, live yogurt,( be aware these 2 are dairy based), kombucha, sauerkraut, kim chi, ‚Äď traditionally most societies do, but we‚Äôve forgotten to!
  • and/or take a high-quality, MULTI-STRAIN PRO-BIOTIC ( good bacteria) capsule daily ‚Äď Bio-Kult is a good one, many others too
  • Keep your diet as close to whole foods as possible
  • Learn how to manage stress healthily

Taking regular probiotics ¬†helps to re-establish the strength of our gut and digestion, reducing the incidence of food intolerances, and allowing the body to free up more of its energy for healing painful conditions. It ¬†has also been found to help prevent recurrent infections like urine infections, and increase our ability to fight off the bad bacteria. The cheapest dairy-free way to get good bacteria into your diet is by making your own sauerkraut ‚Äď It‚Äôs super easy to make ‚Äď just get a head of organic cabbage, chop it up, punch it in a bowl, sprinkle salt on it, let it sit for half an hour, then put it in jars with a bit of salt water and let it sit on your kichen top for a week. There‚Äôs loads of instructions on the internet, but that‚Äôs about the size of it. Then use it like pickle. ¬†Til next time¬†:)

Invitation to free online event ‘Gluten summit’

This looks interesting, and I will be looking in on it as much as I can! ( Maybe whilst cooking tea… pasta with baguettes and doughballs – jokes!)

THE WORLD’S FIRST GLUTEN SUMMIT
COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Dr. Tom O’Bryan of theDr.com has gathered 29 of the world’s experts and opinion leaders on the topics of gluten-related disorders, nutrition and healthy living for a series of online interviews taking place for FREE from November 11-17, 2013.


During the summit, you will:

  • Learn about the latest research on gluten-related disorders;
  • Understand why we MUST call more attention to them;
  • Gain improved knowledge of proper diagnosis/treatment methods;
  • More frequently ask, ‚ÄúCould this health issue be due to gluten?‚ÄĚ

The goal of The Gluten Summit is to shift the scientific discussion and clinical recognition of gluten-related disorders forward by five years. Meaning, we want the conversation between patients and doctors that will be happening five years from now to happen now.

REGISTER

And Join Us For FREE Now!

Tom O’Bryan, DC, CCN, DACBN

Host, The Gluten Summit; Educator/Physician, theDr.com

THE WORLD’S FIRST GLUTEN SUMMIT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Dr. Tom O’Bryan of theDr.com has gathered 29 of the world’s experts and opinion leaders on the topics of gluten-related disorders, nutrition and healthy living for a series of online interviews taking place for FREE from November 11-17, 2013.

Diet in Auto-immune disease

11.coverHow come other auto-immune diseases get articles like this in medical journals??

Even though this is about rheumatoid arthritis, it’s well worth reading if you have MS.

It confirms many things I’ve said here before. It is technical, and hard going but – scan it, and get the gist. For me, the low sat. fat diet is a cornerstone in MS, as per http://www.overcomingms.org. but I’m getting to think that individual intolerances can be wreaking havoc in some people, too. You read a lot of good discussions like this in natural health experts, but never in the medical literature for MS.

enjoy!  Reproduced from:

http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/Diet therapy for the patient with rheumatoid arthritis?

In spite of the great advances that have been made in the development of new drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), many patients are interested in alternative treatments like dietary therapy. Although relatively few studies have been carried out on the possible impact of dietary therapy on disease activity in RA, interest in this matter is growing as our understanding of disease pathology and the effect of nutrients on immunity and inflammation increases.

Most clinical dietary therapy studies undertaken so far have focused on some form of dietary elimination. Scandinavian health farms have long promoted fasting and vegetarian diets for patients with rheumatic diseases.

In 1979 and 1983, Sk√∂ldstam¬†et al.¬†[1,¬†2] carried out two studies to verify whether diet therapy could alleviate disease activity and symptoms in patients with RA. In one study, 16 RA patients fasted for 7‚Äď10 days and followed a lactovegetarian diet for the subsequent 9 weeks. There was a significant improvement in both objective and subjective disease symptoms during the fasting period, followed by rapid deterioration when the patients began on the lactovegetarian diet.

In the second study, 20 patients with RA completed a 7- to 10-day fast, followed by 3 months on a vegan diet (a diet without meat, fish or dairy products). Physician’s general assessment revealed that 11 patients had undergone subjective improvement, seven were unchanged and two were worse after the study period than before. Nineteen patients had lost weight and no improvement was seen in objective variables like erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein during the dietary period. However, 5 (25%) of the patients showed both objective and subjective improvement. Several patients complained about the diet and only two patients had continued with a strict vegetarian diet after the study period. This confirms that many patients experience difficulty in implementing strict dietary changes.

In 1983, Panush et al. [3] conducted a study of the then popular Dong diet (which eliminated dairy products, red meat, citrus fruits, tomatoes, alcohol and coffee). This was an elegantly performed clinical dietary study with a double-blind, placebo-controlled design. Twenty-six patients took part, 11 on the experimental diet and 15 on a control diet. Although there was no statistical difference between the experimental and placebo diet groups, two patients in the experimental group improved noticeably. One patient experienced disease exacerbation after eating dairy products and the other after eating meat, spices and alcoholic beverages.

In 1986, Darlington et al. [4] published the results of a single-blinded, placebo-controlled study of 6 weeks of dietary manipulation in 53 patients with RA. During the first week, the patients were only allowed to eat foods they were unlikely to be intolerant to. In the article, it is not stated which food items these were. Other food items were then reintroduced one at a time to see whether any symptoms were elicited by the dietary challenge. Foods producing symptoms were then excluded from the diet. Both objective and subjective variables improved significantly, and a subgroup of 33 patients were graded as good responders. However, the patients were only observed for 6 weeks, which is a weakness in a study undertaken on patients with a chronic disease.

In 1991, we published the results of a single-blinded controlled clinical trial testing the effect on disease activity in patients with RA of dietary elimination combined with the vegetarian diet traditionally practised on Scandinavian health farms [5]. Fifty-seven patients took part in the study, 27 in the diet group and 26 in the control group. The patients were followed for 13 months, making this by far the most comprehensive study undertaken with regard to dietary therapy in RA.

We found statistically significant improvement in both objective and subjective disease variables in the diet group compared with the control group. Twelve patients (44%) in the diet group were responders, according to the Paulus criteria, compared with 2 (8%) in the control group [6]. Ten patients (37%) in the diet group reported aggravation of symptoms after reintake of one or more food items. Eight of these belonged to the responder group.

After 2 yr, we conducted a follow-up study on the same patients and found that the responders had continued with the diet and still had a significant reduction in all clinical disease variables and ESR [7]. In this study, 13 patients (59%) in the diet group reported an increase in disease symptoms after intake of meat, and 10 patients (45%) after intake of sugar and coffee. Of the 10 responders examined in the follow-up study, eight reported an increase in disease symptoms after intake of different kinds of meat, and six after intake of coffee, sweets and refined sugar.

Fasting has been documented to have beneficial effects on both clinical and laboratory variables reflecting disease activity in RA [1, 5, 8]. It thus serves as a useful model for studying the biological changes associated with simultaneous improvement in disease activity. Previous studies in healthy subjects have revealed that fasting decreases mitogen- and antigen-induced lymphocyte proliferative responses [9], and suppresses interleukin-2 (IL-2) production [10]. We have recently shown that a 7 day fast in RA patients also decreases CD4+ lymphocyte activation and numbers, suggesting transient immunosuppression [11]. We also found an increase in IL-4 production from mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood cells. Thus, further studies should be carried out to clarify the immunomodulatory mechanism behind fasting.

Evidence suggesting that food allergy, defined as an immunological response to food antigens or to intestinal bacterial flora, might be involved in disease pathology in most patients with RA is weak. However, it is possible that an exogenous agent like a food antigen can initiate a pathological immune process in a genetically susceptible individual [12].

Food antigens, food antibodies and their complexes have been detected in the systemic circulation of healthy subjects [13, 14]. Animal models indicate that the gut is an important trigger of and pathway for the immune response. Encounters with complex proteins, like gluten and milk proteins, lead to either oral tolerance or sensitization and possible loss of self-tolerance to cross-reacting epitopes [15].

An association between a special food item and disease activity has been reported by patients with a variety of rheumatic diseases, such as palindromic rheumatism [16,¬†17], systemic lupus erythematosus [18,¬†19], Sj√∂gren’s syndrome [20] and juvenile RA (JRA) [21,¬†22]. Case reports describing an association between diet and disease activity in RA include both seropositive and seronegative disease [23‚Äď25]. Although the extent of food allergy involvement is still not known, it has been suggested that between 5 and 30% of patients with RA may be affected [26,¬†27].

We found an increase in humoral response in all patients with RA, with a general increase in IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies to various food antigens, like gluten and milk proteins. However, the elevated concentrations of specific immunoglobolins could not be used to predict which food items would aggravate the disease symptoms [28].

Wheat and other rough grain products can elicit an allergic T-cell response through their lectin structures. Lectins are glycoprotein molecules that bind to carbohydrate-specific receptors on lymphocytes with high affinity and thus elicit a significant immune response. Lentils and grain products have a particularly high lectin content. Lectins are fairly heat resistant; for example, lentils have to be cooked for a long time to inactivate the lectins.

While the results of a questionnaire-based survey revealed that 37‚Äď43% of patients with rheumatic diseases experienced an increase in disease symptoms after intake of certain food items, no difference could be found between the various diseases [29]. This suggests that diet may influence the inflammatory process in general and is not a specific feature of RA.

One of the mechanisms involved may be the release or secretion of vasoactive amines (bioactive amines) like histamine and serotonin [30]. Several of the food items reported to cause disease aggravation have a high histamine content, like pork and beef sausage, meat, tomato and spinach. Since no immunological response to pork and other meat has been demonstrated, a pharmacological response would explain the often reported increase in symptoms resulting from these foods [31]. Other foods like shellfish, strawberries, chocolate and fish can cause a release of histamine.

Citrus fruits, which contain other vasoactive amines (octopamine and phenylephrine), are often said to aggravate symptoms [30]. Consumption of both coffee and alcohol has been shown to liberate adrenaline and/or noradrenaline, which suggests that they have a pharmacological effect [30, 32]. Consumption of alcohol can also result in the release of histamine, and certain red wines have in addition a high concentration of histamine, which may explain the frequently reported intolerance.

A pharmacological reaction would also explain why the patients reported immediate reactions to these food items, as opposed to the more delayed reactions to dairy products and gluten. This may mean that a different mechanism is involved in symptom aggravation. The reported aggravation of symptoms after intake of refined sugar and sweets in patients with RA may have a metabolic explanation, such as an increased concentration of blood glucose due to impaired glucose handling [33‚Äď35].

Gut involvement in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases was proposed by Rea Smith [36], who reported that surgical removal of intestinal segments with focal infection had a beneficial effect on disease activity. Monroe and Hall [37] reported differences in the stools of 142 patients with chronic arthritis as compared with controls. Månsson and Olhagen [38] found not only an abnormal faecal flora, with an increase inClostridium perfringens in patients with RA, systemic lupus erythematosus and psoriatic arthropathies compared with healthy controls, but also a higher level of alpha-antitoxin in the serum of these patients. Alpha-toxin (phospholipase-C) is produced by a special strain of C. perfringens often found in RA patients. Månsson and Olhagen [38] found a rise in alpha-antitoxin titre in 75% of the patients with RA in the study, but in none of the controls.

A significantly higher carriage rate of C. perfringens in patients with RA than in healthy controls has also been documented by Shinebaum et al.[39]. An altered intestinal bacterial flora has been reported in patients with seropositive erosive RA compared with patients with seronegative RA and controls [40]. An increased concentration of antibodies to Proteus has been described in patients with active RA [41, 42] and to Klebsiella in patients with ankylosing spondylitis [43]. Several of these reports have suggested that RA and ankylosing spondylitis could be mediated by cross-reactivity between self and bacterial antigens.

The intestinal bacterial flora is known to be affected by diet [44‚Äď46], and it has been suggested that a diet which could alter the intestinal flora might have an effect on disease activity. This theory was supported by the finding that changes in disease activity correlated with alterations in the intestinal flora measured in patients who switched from an omnivorous to a vegetarian diet [47]. The effects of the intake of functional foods (i.e. food as medicine; in this case, food which promotes the growth of health-promoting bacteria in the intestine or food items that contain natural healthy intestinal bacteria) should be an interesting field for further research.

Much interest has been taken in recent years in the immunomodulatory effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and their therapeutic potential as anti-inflammatory agents [48]. Both clinical and¬†in vitrostudies have established that long-chain n-3 and n-6 fatty acids inhibit T-lymphocyte function [49‚Äď52].

Research suggests that manipulating the balance of dietary fatty acids in favour of increased n-3 fatty acids and decreased n-6 fatty acids may have a beneficial effect on disease activity in RA [49,¬†53‚Äď56]. These studies have shown that long-chain n-3 fatty acids can diminish peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation and reduce the production of IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-őĪ) and interferon gamma (IFN-ő≥). However, clinical studies on supplementation of ŌČ-3 fatty acids have not supported the expectations raised by the laboratory findings [53‚Äď57].

The balance between unsaturated and saturated fatty acids may also affect lymphocyte proliferation (in vitro) [58]. The practical implications of these observations for the in vivo situation are currently unclear, but suggest that a diet which is high in unsaturated fatty acids and very low in saturated fatty acids may have a stronger immunosuppressive effect than that obtained by only n-3 fatty acid supplementation.

In this respect, the Mediterranean diet, with a low content of red meat and a high content of olive oil, is of interest. Olive oil has been shown to reduce lymphocyte proliferation, natural killer cell activity, adhesion molecule expression on lymphocytes and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in animal models [59]. In an intervention study in which dietary saturated fatty acids were partly replaced by olive oil, mononuclear cell expression of ICAM-1 was found to be significantly reduced [60].

It has also been reported that a very low intake of saturated fats is beneficial in multiple sclerosis, where, as in RA, CD4+ lymphocytes are thought to play a pathogenic role [61]. It is thus worth investigating whether a diet low in saturated fats, with a high content of olive oil and with n-3 supplementation, could have immunosuppressive effects in vivoand could thus be of benefit in the treatment of RA.

The pathological hallmark of RA is persistent destructive inflammation in the synovial membranes of joints, which leads to a gradual destruction of the supporting structures of the joints, such as bone and cartilage. Although the aetiology is still unknown, the inflammation resulting from the immunological reaction is quite well described. It is known that neutrophil granulocytes, macrophages and lymphocytes are activated, and that oxygen free radicals are produced [62]. Hence, a low concentration of antioxidants may perpetuate tissue destruction in RA. Free oxygen radicals and oxidative stress may also be of importance for the aetiology and chronicity of the inflammatory rheumatic diseases [63, 64]. Two epidemiological studies have recently suggested that antioxidants may play a protective role [65, 66].

The most important antioxidants known today are vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, the bioflavonoids, zinc and selenium. The antioxidant properties of vitamin A and vitamin E lead to a reduction in the oxidation catalysed by free radicals [67]. Vitamin E functions as a physiological antioxidant for the cell membrane and is the most important fat-soluble antioxidant in the cell membrane lipids [64, 68]. Zinc plays a significant role in antioxidant protection and immunity because it is a constituent of the cytoplasmic enzyme superoxide dismutase [69]. Selenium, on the other hand, is part of the glutathione peroxidase enzyme, which can react with peroxides formed during inflammation. Beta-carotene is a fat-soluble, chain-breaking antioxidant and a quencher of singlet oxygen, and is known, along with alpha-tocopherol, to be the most important element of the non-enzymatic antioxidant defence in biological systems [70, 71].

Low serum concentrations of selenium and zinc in RA patients were reported as early as 1978 [72] and were further investigated by Tarp¬†et al.[73‚Äď75]. Mezes and Bartosiewicz [63] found reduced plasma vitamin A content in patients with RA. Honkanen¬†et al.¬†[76] found lower serum levels of vitamin A and E in patients than in healthy controls. Sklodowska¬†et al.[64] found lower vitamin E concentrations in plasma in children with JRA than in controls. Studies have also shown reduced concentrations of zinc and selenium in children with JRA [77,¬†78].

The reduced serum concentrations of antioxidants found in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases do not appear to be a consequence of reduced dietary intake in these patient groups compared with healthy controls [78‚Äď80]. They may, therefore, indicate a high turnover of antioxidants and an increased antioxidant requirement in these patients which is necessary in order to balance the higher production of free radicals.

Although studies of supplementation with a single antioxidant have not shown disease reduction in RA patients, it is still possible that patients with an inflammatory rheumatic disease will benefit from supplementation with a combination of several antioxidants or from a dietary intake that exceeds the recommended dietary allowances.

Studies of immunomodulation have revealed that nutrients other than food proteins and fats also have an impact. The effects of fatty acids, antioxidants and food proteins on immunomodulation need to be investigated further, and so should the question of the involvement of the gut in the aetiology and pathology of rheumatic diseases. More knowledge on the effects of dietary components upon immunological function is necessary if the potential use of dietary therapy as a tool in the treatment of RA is to be adequately assessed.

  1. 1.     M. Haugen, 
  2. 2.     D. Fraser and 
  3. 3.¬†¬†¬†¬† √ė. F√łrre

 

What if you’re doing everything right but you’re still getting relapses??

I was looking at the York test labs page today and noticed they have an offer on their Yes/No to immune response to foods product, until 7th Oct, so I thought I’d do a quick post on this subject…

You should know by now that I always recommend the Overcoming MS approach as the first thing to do if you even suspect MS…. along with weighing up the treatment options with your neurologist and doing whatever seems to be the right thing. But sometimes there’s more going on. If you have an undetected food intolerance, it can also play havoc with your immune system, causing inflammation on a large scale.

Food intolerances are often the result of a ‘leaky gut’ – the breakdown of the proper membrane of the gut wall, allowing undigested food molecules to pass into the blood stream, where they can be interpreted as intruders by the immune system.

Leaky gut can develop if the balance of bacteria in the gut is disturbed, and especially if yeasts proliferate, which can be the result of antibiotics, a poor diet and stress.

Food intolerances don’t have to be forever – sometimes just having a break from those foods, but also taking probiotics, digestive enzymes ( if appropriate) and preparations like slippery elm, can help to heal the gut again, so normal service can resume.

Here’s that the link to that offer, plus a copy & paste…

Food Intolerance Testing, Allergy Tests & Food Sensitivity Testing | YorkTest.

FirstStep Test

The YorkTest FirstStep Test quickly determines whether IgG antibody reactions to foods and drinks are detected in your blood or not.

If you get a positive result then purchase the FoodScan Programme (£245†), Food&DrinkScan Programme (£289†) or IBS Diet Programme (£289†) to discover what foods you have reacted to.

If you get a negative result then you do not have food-specific IgG reactions present and therefore no further testing is required.

Key benefits
  • Laboratory analysed yes/no test for IgG antibody reactions to foods.
  • Simple finger-prick home blood test that you post back to our laboratory.
  • If positive, you can choose to pay to progress onto one of our comprehensive programmes.
  • Price ¬£9.99¬†Usual Price ¬£19.99
    (offer ends 7th Oct 2013)

Old posts: 2012: diet, supplements, Epstein Barr, detox, urine infections

2012

Supplements

The Therapy Centre is going to stock the supplements that I recommend most, at a discount of 15% off the RRP (which is fantastic news). So soon you will be able to buy Vitamin D3 5000 IUs, cold pressed flax seed oil 1000mg (Omega 3), and 2 varieties of an iron-free multi vitamin, mineral and nutrient supplement made from whole foods.  I got mixed up with a discount code previously, so if anyone used it and didn’t get the 20% discount, massive apologies, it went direct to the Centre, if you want to claim it back, see me!

Food

For people who’re eating food without saturated fat, but struggling with what to eat, I found a great website, www.fatfreevegan.com. Also, the OMS site is collecting more recipes that you can see when you log in. I too am collecting recipes, tips and ideas, so anyone out who has some good ones, please email or bring them in!

Hot topics

A hot topic for me this past year has been Epstein Barr (glandular¬†¬†fever) virus and herpes virus (mainly herpes, cold sores and shingles in adults). Since I started asking people if they had these viruses, I‚Äôve been shocked at how many MS people have one of these.¬†¬†Recent research showing Epstein Barr still alive in MS lesions at post mortem, and¬†¬†¬†¬†discussion around the fact that the virus lives on and may drive¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†inflammatory processes, got me wondering whether there could be a natural or herbal way of killing off the virus, and whether this would have any effect on the MS. So watch this space for the results of this latest¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†quest ‚Äď natural viral detox!

Got a great tip the other day ‚Äď did you know that the Kindle (¬£150 version) can read your books to you?¬†¬†And for some people with¬†¬†¬†¬†vision problems, the iPad is a revelation, so keep your eye on how technology can make life easier!

*******************

 December 2011

As an MS Nurse, I‚Äôm always looking for the best advice to give to my clients about being and stayingwell‚Ķ..¬†¬†MS is a disease with a genetic component, but our environment ‚Äď the food we eat, the climate,¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†exposure to various¬†¬†¬†¬†viruses, and stress, – have an impact on activating or suppressing our genetic susceptibilities. I often talk with people about their lifestyle and diet, and¬†¬†¬†depending on what I find out, I may recommend that they look at the work of Terry Wahls,¬†¬†Ashton¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Embrey, Ann Boroch or Sawyer & Bachrach , or get an overview and understanding of the different considerations and approaches by reading Judy Graham‚Äôs book.

But at the moment, if I had to choose just one piece of advice to give to    people with MS  who want to know what they can do to help their health, it would be to go to the http://www.overcomingms.org/website, and immerse themselves in the evidence based information there.

George Jelinek is the author of the book and website ‚ÄėOvercomingMS‚Äô . He¬†¬†is a medical doctor, and professor of emergency medicine in Australia, whose mother had MS and became very disabled, and who was diagnosed himself in 1999. Since that time, he¬†¬†invested a vast amount of time and energy into examining the research on the various dietary, nutritional and lifestyle factors that have a¬†¬†documented effect on MS, found evidence of the profound difference they can make, put the recommendations into practice and stayed symptom and relapse free, and has put this together into a simple to follow approach.

The work that Professor Jelinek has done in compiling and explaining, in simple language, the research on dietary fats and vitamin D is      incredibly helpful, and the fact that it’s all in one place, on the web or in his book,

Overcoming MS, an Evidence Based Guide to Recovery’ means that the   information stays cohesive and doesn’t become overwhelming

The cornerstones of the OMS approach are:

Diet and supplements

· Omega-3 fatty acid: 20g /mls  a day of flaxseed oil or fish oil, or the equivalent amount of fish

· Optional B group vitamins or B12 supplement if needed

Meditation –¬†30 minutes daily

Vitamin D

Sunlight 15 minutes daily 3-5 times a week as close to all over as  practical

Vitamin D3 supplement of at least 5 000IU daily, adjusted to blood level

Aim to keep blood level of vitamin D high, that is between150-225nmol/L (may require up to 10 000IU daily)

Exercise¬†¬†–¬†¬†¬†20-30 minutes around 5 times a week preferably outdoors

 Medication

·    In consultation with your doctor, if a wait and see approach is not

appropriate, take one of the disease-modifying drugs (many may not need

a drug, and drug selection should be carefully weighed against side effects)

·   Steroids for any acute relapse that is distressing

·   One of the more potent drugs if the disease is rapidly progressive

The down side to the evidence-based approach, is that if anything ‚Äď be it a therapy, foodstuff, supplement, drug, or approach, has not been¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†researched, or not researched to an adequate standard, then it can‚Äôt be counted. The evidence based approach prevents us from wasting money or time on useless therapies, but as Carl Sagan, famous America

astronomer, writer and scientist, famously said, ‚Äėabsence of evidence is not evidence of absence‚Äô.¬†¬†¬†So I‚Äôm still happy to suggest a person, for¬†¬†¬†example, who has extreme fatigue, might try Terry Wahl‚Äôs green¬†¬†¬†smoothies, or that someone might try hyperbaric oxygen, or even some of the commonly used symptom management drugs ( for instance for muscle spasm and stiffness) which don‚Äôt necessarily have a body of¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†scientific evidence for effectiveness behind them, but are used due to the effects that people report.

Recently I was really excited to see a research paper from the Australian Journal ‚ÄėQuality in Primary Care‚Äô, following up people who attended an OMS retreat and took on the recommended dietary and lifestyle changes. This study showed ‚Äėongoing improvements in health related quality of life after an intensive lifestyle modification course‚Äô, over 2 ¬Ĺ years, that ‚Äė could potentially make a significant difference to the lives of many people with this condition‚Äô, and ‚Äėcontribute to the growing body of evidence that health promotion programmes and non-drug therapies for MS¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†patients have a beneficial effect.‚Äô

We hope to get Professor Jelinek over to the UK for a retreat in summer 2013, but you don‚Äôt need to do a retreat to take on this approach ‚Äďall the research and recommendations are outlined on the website and in his book. Recently I met up with Lisa, the moderator from the website, and¬†¬†two English women who¬†¬†have done the OMS retreat, follow its recommendations, and enjoy good¬†¬†health, and introduced them to the MS Trust. Now they are going to be introducing the work¬†¬†to the MS specialist practitioners at the annual MS Trust conference for healthcare professionals in November. The goal of this is to help to promote the work of OMS in the UK ‚Äď so that everyone who gets diagnosed with MS has the chance to find out about it, research it for themselves, and make their own decision.

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spring 2011

¬†This month I am mainly focussing on¬†Urinary tract Infections (UTIs),¬†¬†¬†because they can really set you back when you have MS, and Prevention is better than cure!One cause of UTIs¬†¬†¬†with MS is the bladder not emptying properly. Not being able to start passing urine,¬†¬†feeling there‚Äôs some left afterwards, passing a fair amount again quite soon after,¬†‚Äėurgency‚Äô and UTIs¬†¬†can all be signs of incomplete emptying. This needs to be identified by ultrasound scan, which is done during an assessment by the continence service. For¬†¬†¬†¬†Bedfordshire, Melanie¬†¬†runs a clinic here once a month, or for Beds and Northants you can be seen in a local clinic , or have a home visit. Speak to me, a nurse or your GP to be referred

Be prepared! Burning, cloudiness or unusual smelling urine are classic signs of a UTI, but you can also dipstick test your urine at home. Buy Multistix or Uristix which include Leukocytes and nitrites,.Also dipstick if you have a relapse, as UTIs can be symptom free. It’s a good idea to help your GP understand how a UTI can cause MS to flare up, and be ready to prescribe an antibiotic at the first sign of infection. Get a sample taken in too, and the antibiotic can be changed lagter if necessary.

If you use a catheter, either a permanent or intermittent type, this also can introduce a route for infection. Obviously scrupulous hygiene is a must. People who get recurrent infections can try having antibiotics for the three days around a catheter change, or may even need to use a daily low dose antibiotic. For intermittent catheters, the type can make a difference ‚Äď it‚Äôs important to use something that you don‚Äôt have to touch the tip of at all, and there are a couple out now which have a protective ‚Äėintroducer‚Äô( Hollister ‚ÄėVapro‚Äô is one), so the tip does not even touch the outer part of the urethra. Talk to your continence adviser.

if you get a UTI.

Don’t take any chances РGet a prescription of antibiotics!  If you take a course, top up with probiotics during and afterwards to help protect your digestion and health. Always finish a prescribed course of antibiotics, as stopping early can cause      antibiotic resistant bugs.

Drink plenty of water and pee frequently. Begin as soon as you feel the first signs and symptoms. Doing this can actually flush the bacteria out and wash it away. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks, spicy foods,  and bubble baths etc, which can worsen symptoms. Cut out sugar to help your immune system fight back.

The most common bug causing UTIs is E coli, which lives in the bowel, but can cause persistent problems once it enters the urinary tract. So ‚Äď what else can you do to help get rid of¬†RECURRENT UTIs,¬†especially if antibiotics are not working?

You may want to consider using Colloidal Silver  Рsilver particles suspended in water, which is a natural antibiotic.  Go to http://www.ukcolloidalsilver.co.uk/

“Citricidal’ from Higher Nature is a safe, natural antibiotic you can try at home.

Cranberry helps to acidify urine, and may help stop the bacteria form sticking to the bladder walls. Concentrated tablet form is best.

Some people have found D-Mannose to be effective in the same way ‚Äď this is a simple sugar that E coli tends to latch on to. It‚Äôs available online but is quite¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†expensive.

All these remedies can be taken both in a higher dose for infection, and at a low dose as a preventative.

Be aware:

· Some sexually transmitted diseases have symptoms similar to urinary tract infections. See a doctor if you suspect that you may have an STD.

· See a doctor if you have a fever, chills, pain in the flank area, nausea or vomiting Рespecially if the symptoms develop rapidly. Also see a doctor if symptoms do not improve after 24 hours of self-care, or if you are unable to urinate at all.

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December 2010

I hope everyone is reading the MS Resource Centre’s New Pathways (available to read at the MS Centre) at this exciting time in the world of MS treatments. The July/August edition updates us on the CCSVI debate, and lists all the places worldwide where you can be screened and treated. To learn more, I am attending the first International conference on CSSVI in Glasgow, in October, so I’ll be sure to report back.

The same New Pathways reports on a couple of fascinating small studies which fit in with this theory of poor circulation from the brain, and have worked for most of the people on the trial.

Inclined Bed Therapy

This involves raising the head of your bed by 6 inches. It‚Äôs certainly a lot cheaper than a private operation in Poland, as bed raisers, risers, or ‚Äėelephant feet‚Äô can be bought online for 12.99. Since CSSVI hit the headlines, this research has attracted fresh attention, and the author is carrying out a larger survey. You can get involved by going to¬†www.thisisms.com/ftopicp-118378.html#118378

Update on Vitamin D

Thank you to the lady who came to let me know that she’s been feeling much better since she started on it. It is always good to get feedback; good or bad! D3 is still coming up as good, but newest research suggests it’s not just the vitamin D component that’s so important, it’s also the ultraviolet light, so more reasons to get outside as  much as possible. Had a good question regarding the vitamin D Should you take CALCIUM with it? I discussed this with the technical advisers at Nutri, who supply quality supplements to practitioners. Their view was YES, if you are on a dairy free diet, but not if not. Also, if you quote MSRC New Pathways when you make an order on the phone at      NutriCentre, you get 20% off.

My little break from clinic afforded me some reading time, and I‚Äôve just finished ‚ÄėHealing Multiple Sclerosis‚Äô by Ann Boroch. I‚Äôd recommend this to anyone who has taken lots of antibiotics in their life before¬†¬†¬†¬†having MS, or has had recurrent yeast or fungal infections (like thrush or athlete‚Äôs foot) It‚Äôs main drive is about the association between chronic candida and MS; this isn‚Äôt a new theory, and most natural health¬†¬†¬†¬†practitioners understand all about it. Getting rid of candida overgrowth is a long slog, but worth it if it applies to you, and I‚Äôm also happy to help anyone with this 3 pronged attack ‚Äď kill yeast, don‚Äôt feed yeast, put good bacteria back! The author‚Äôs attitude to illness is a bit over the top at times, but the candida bit is good.

MS Centre Dietitian Bernice Chiswell adds

‚ÄėHowever, it should be born in mind that there is no scientific¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†evidence behind this. The diet is very restrictive and for the majority could prove more harmful than beneficial due to inadequate macro and micro nutrient intake‚Äô

Me:¬† The next book was ‚ÄėThe MS Recovery diet‚Äô The theory behind this is that food intolerances can initiate inflammatory reactions in the body, and it makes excellent and logical reading. It‚Äôs a similar approach to the Best Bet diet, but assumes that your intolerances are likely to be¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†individual,¬†¬†explains how to find out, and has a large recipe selection to help get started. I recommend this to anyone with MS in the family.

Bernice Chiswell adds;

‚ÄėIt should be born in mind that, although people with MS can have food intolerances, the only sure way to test for this is by food¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†exclusion and re introduction. Again, unnecessary exclusion can lead to unbalanced diets, plus be an added life burden to people who are already coping with disability and fatigue. The best bet diet is again not evidenced base.‚Äô

Me:¬† It‚Äôs a great month for books, too, as 3 new publications are out which all deserve reading ‚Äď I have been waiting for ages for 2 of them:

Terry Wahls‚Äô ‚ÄėMinding my mitochondria ‚Äď How I Overcame¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Secondary Progressive MS and Got Out of my Wheelchair‚Äô, which promises¬†to be very scientific and convince everyone to eat loads of greens; ‚ÄėOvercoming Multiple Sclerosis; An Evidenced Guide To¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Recovery‚Äô by George Jelinek. Check out his approach on his website of the same name. Basically, super low fat Swank diet, a disease¬†¬†¬†¬†modifying drug and meditation, and Judy Graham‚Äôs ‚ÄėManaging Multiple Sclerosis Naturally‚Äô.¬†I haven‚Äôt read these yet but I will be doing and will report back!

Dietary approaches vary a bit, but some things remain constant ‚Äď the less saturated fat, and the more brightly coloured veg & omega 3 fatty acids you eat, the more good you‚Äôll be doing yourself.

Remember, if you’re taking something out of your diet, make sure you balance your nutritional needs. Our expert dietician, Bernice, can advise you.