An Integrative Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
(And Other Chronic Illness)
Jim Pullaro, PhD
Susan Pullaro, RN
This study was done out of love for our daughter, Amelia, and for everyone who suffers from this frightening disease process.
“Even if conventional medicine tells you that your condition is incurable or that your only option is to live a life dependent on drugs with troublesome side effects, there is hope for improving or reversing your condition.”
“To regain health once it has been lost we need to begin to reverse some, and ideally all, of those processes which may be negatively impacting us, and over which we have some degree of control.”
Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O
AN INTEGRATIVE TREATMENT OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Our daughter Ami was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001. When she began to complain about numbness on her left side, I thought it might be a pinched nerve and sent her to my chiropractor. He referred her to a neurologist. After the standard tests, his diagnosis was made. He concluded our visit as follows: you have MS, we don’t know its cause, there is no cure, there are certain drugs that have been shown to slow the degenerative process down by 33% (Copaxone). I’m sorry. Do you have any further questions? Which of the drugs do you wish to take?
When I asked if there were alternative therapies that might help her, I was told to disregard this scientifically unproven information. One evening, shortly after her spinal tap and subsequent diagnosis, we drove home from our daughter’s house. She had had a bad headache from the tap, she was numb on her left side from her toes up, her gait was unsteady, and she had trouble with vision in one eye. I knew that she was frightened, even though she tried to put on a casual air. As we drove home in the rain, I was overcome with a sense of despair. My daughter needed my help and I was helpless to do anything for her. I was in tears most of the way home.
Ultimately, we could not accept this doctor’s detached assessment. It did not feel right to us to passively accept a future of slow degeneration. My education in the natural health field taught me to look at disease in a broader way than does the medical community. Dr. Baker, a naturopathic physician, teaches that one should think of disease as a disruption of the dynamic balance that exists between ourselves and our environment, rather than as an attack of some kind of “disease entity”. This alternative medical view requires that a larger set of treatment questions be asked. We decided to start advocating for our daughter’s health and so did she.
Rejecting the neurologist’s advice, I began to read everything I could find in the area of the natural health field, which might relate to MS. I began to make abstracts of all research that seemed important to me. And, we placed her with a naturopathic physician, as an adjunct to her neurologist’s care.
What I am presenting here are the ideas that I found to have been backed up by a lot of independent research. I restricted my inquiry to works with scientific backing and to works that logically related to the MS process and to the way in which the body heals itself. The 11 abstracted research papers that I’ve included in this book cited a total of 777 pieces of research. The decision to immerse myself in this research made all the difference in the world to us. It helped us to move from being a passive victim of a progressive degenerative process to being an active participant in the resolution of the MS symptoms. I believe that this shift in perspective, alone, began the reversal of Ami’s condition. This new information let her take control of her own healing. Little by little, Ami’s symptoms began to abate, even though her MRI’s still showed lesioning. But even that process began to abate until her last 2 MRI’s, taken 6 months apart, showed, for the first time, no active lesioning. She has been symptom free for over 1 ½ years. UPDATE: Ami was diagnosed with MS in 2001. As of August, 2019 there is still no recurrence of symptoms, nor is there any evidence of active brain lesioning.
I want to offer you an expanded perspective on the treatment of MS. This perspective is a result of my own training in the natural health field, my research (and that of my wife’s), and its application to our daughter’s disease. It is information that you will not get from your neurologist.
Chapter 2 of this book expands upon the information that I will touch upon in this chapter. It goes into the reasoning behind the information. Chapter 3 contains 11 research abstracts that I’ve written up. This information will give you something concrete to talk to your neurologists or general physician about. It is my sincere hope that your doctor will be sufficiently interested in this research to help you add broader based modalities to his/her standard treatment. Or, if you find your doctor unreceptive, perhaps you’ll do like we did with Ami and engage a naturopathic physician, as an adjunct to your neurologist’s care.
Having said this, I would like to suggest that you consider the following:
a. Do not passively accept your diagnosis. You must advocate for your right to actively participate in your own healing. You have the right to try naturopathic modalities that seem important to you. All chronic disease requires a broad treatment. This may require that you subject yourself to uncomfortable discussions with your doctor, since many doctors feel that they know what is best for you. If you cannot do this, you should get yourself an advocate or you should locate a naturopathic physician who will provide these broader treatment options as an adjunct to your neurologist’s treatment.
b. The term “multiple sclerosis” does not refer to a real, specific disease entity. The name is not a real “thing” out there that is attacking you. No one has ever found a multiple sclerosis virus. Rather, it is a name that is given to a set of processes that are occurring in your body. So, stop saying and thinking the phrase “I have multiple sclerosis”.
Instead, say that you are presently experiencing a set of symptoms that you and your medical team are trying to address through drug treatment and through naturopathic modalities. And always remember this: YOU are the most important part of that team. And, what you think matters a lot!
c. After consulting with your doctor, make the following changes in your diet and health regimen:
Ask your doctor to prescribe and supervise an Ultraclear detoxification fast. Ask him/her to start administering B-12 injections.
Start a one month herbal colon/liver cleansing program [ i.e., Dual-Action Cleanse].
Start eating whole foods, removing all processed foods from your diet. Your meals should consist of moderate amounts of low saturated fat protein, large amounts of low-glycemic fruits and vegetables (carbohydrates), and high doses of the omega 3 fish oils. Supplement your meals with a good multi-vitamin.
Drink plenty of filtered water daily. Buy a water filter that eliminates heavy metals and pesticides.
The medication your neurologist has you on has serious side effects. Ask your doctor to explain these side effects and what organ systems that they put at risk. Then, custom-tailor your supplements, to provide support for the organs that are being put at risk by these medications.
e. You may have been told that your diagnosis of MS was made only after all other possible causes of your symptoms were ruled out. Be skeptical of this statement. Rather:
Insist that the following things be addressed in any pre-diagnostic work up done by your neurologists:
1. Heavy metal screening. If their presence is detected in toxic levels, request chelation therapy.
2. Upper cervical chiropractic protocol. If a negative reading is obtained, request upper cervical chiropractic adjustments.
3. Vitamin D3 blood serum level screening. If the level is not within normal range, request D3 supplementation.
4. AA/EPA blood testing.
If your neurologist tells you that these tests are not necessary, ask your medical doctor to do the testing or find a naturopathic physician, who will administer the tests. Based upon my research and my own experience in applying alternative treatments to my daughter’s disorder, I feel that this information is absolutely critical to your recovery efforts.
f. The mind/body connection. It is now common knowledge that the mind and body interact and influence one another in powerful ways. This area of study has been called psychoneuroimmunology. This is one of the reasons that I cautioned against holding in your mind the idea: “I have Multiple Sclerosis”. Because the mind and body cannot be separated, you should also consider the following ideas:
Your immune system is your self identity on the cellular level. For example, whenever something (such as a germ) enters your body that doesn’t belong there, this something is immediately identified as being “not you”. And processes are initiated to try to get rid of this “stranger”. What is this extraordinary ability, if not self awareness on the cellular level? If it is true that MS is an autoimmune disorder which results in your white blood cells attacking your own nerve cells, is it not legitimate to ask the question: what is there about myself that I am rejecting emotionally?
Schedule some emotional release sessions with someone who is skilled in the facilitation of strong emotion. Remember, something very frightening has happened to you. You have been physically and emotionally traumatized.
As the psychotherapist Alice Miller has said: It is not the trauma itself that is the source of illness but the unconscious, repressed, hopeless despair over not being allowed to give expression to what one has suffered.
Anger, fear, and sadness are absolutely normal reactions to what you’ve suffered. You must allow yourself to feel these feelings. The expression of anger and tears is one way that your body heals from trauma. Allowing this natural process to unfold in a safe and caring environment will create a healthy energy shift within your body, which will support your recovery. After processing your feelings, it is helpful to participate in some form of positive guided imagery/meditation.
g. Remember that naturopathic treatments take effect over time. The dysfunction that you are presently experiencing may have been forming in your body over a long period of time. It will take a determined, consistent effort over time to reverse these deficits. This sustained, determined effort to change your lifestyle is one of the reasons that people gravitate toward medication that covers up their symptoms, rather than choosing natural health alternatives, which directly address the cause of those symptoms. Taking a pill is much easier, and requires far less commitment, than sustaining a deliberate effort to change your unhealthy lifestyle! In my daughter’s case, it was 3 years before all of her symptoms went away. And it was only in the last two MRI’s that there was no evidence of new lesions.
h. When you begin to ask your neurologist about what he/she thinks about such-and-such natural health related modalities as they relate to MS, the neurologist will probably say that he knows of no scientific evidence to support such modalities. Be skeptical of this response. What your doctor is really telling you is that he knows of no randomized controlled trials in which these modalities were shown to be useful in the treatment of the MS disease process. Randomized controlled trials are considered to be the gold standard of testing in conventional medicine. And they are probably the only kinds of test results that she is either aware of or interested in. So, in this respect, your neurologist is being truthful with you. The problem is, these tests are very expensive and time consuming to conduct and they lend themselves primarily to the testing of medications. Add to this the fact that most of the money for conducting this kind of test on medications is coming from the companies that create medications and you begin to see how smaller, independent pieces of research tend never to get to the randomized controlled trial level. Your neurologist may know of no randomized controlled trials of alternative MS treatments because none were ever conducted.
What I have proven to myself with my own research, and what I hope to impress on you, is that there exists a lot of independent research (I currently maintain an index of 777 research papers), which supports the potential benefits of using natural health modalities as a compliment to your neurologist’s care. In other words, what your neurologist is telling you is true, but in a very, very narrowly defined way. Additionally, many of the treatments that doctors do advocate are not supported by randomized controlled testing, either. The chronic diseases demand a much broader approach than is permitted by the strict adherence to only those modalities that have undergone randomized controlled testing.
AN INTEGRATIVE TREATMENT OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Before I present my abstracts, let me expand upon the recommendations that were presented in my overview.
UltraClear is a medical food. It is formulated to nutritionally support overall liver detoxification activity and to remove harmful toxins from the body. Your liver performs many very complicated processes. One of the things that is does is to filter blood. Think of it in the same way that you think about your car’s oil filter. If you put clean oil in your car without installing a clean oil filter, then the clean oil will be contaminated as it passes through the dirty filter. Your blood, and the liver’s biochemical processes, support every function in your body.
B-12 supports nerve cell metabolism. It also augments the energy level and activity of the nervous system. Most of it gets to the brain, if it is injected directly into the blood stream. It is a little less effective, if it is taken sub-lingually. Very little of it is delivered to the brain, if taken orally. Since, in MS, your nerve cells are being attacked and destroyed, does it not seem logical to provide this regenerative support?
Dual Action Colon Cleanse. Waste products must be efficiently removed from your bowels on a regular basis. Some experts claim that you should be having at least one healthy bowel movement daily. The effect of poor bowel action is the same as that of a clogged waste line in your house. Waste starts to back up into the house. If you are taking steps to detoxify your cells and your liver, it makes logical sense to make sure that the waste pipes that you are emptying the toxins into are functioning properly, so that your body can remove the toxic compounds completely from your body.
Diet: Begin changing your eating habits, to conform with the following extremely important principles:
Eat only whole foods.Stop consuming all processed foods/drinks.
Stop eating foods that are high in saturated fats.
Eat only low-glycemic vegetables and fruits.
Supplement high levels of omega-3 fish oils.
Supplement vitamin D3, if a deficiency exists.
Ensure an adequate quantity of clean water, which has been filtered free from heavy metals and pesticides.
Eat only whole foods. Stop consuming all processed foods/drinks. Russell Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon and researcher, claims that all processed foods are loaded with neurotoxic flavor enhancers. These additives make food taste good. When ingested in large amounts over an extended period of time, they have been shown to start a series of chemical reactions in cell membranes, which result in the rupture of that membrane and the over excitation of nerve cell communication. Membrane rupture in the brain’s blood brain barrier allows white blood cells to invade the brain’s cerebral spinal fluid. If the immune system is hyper reactive (as may be the case in autoimmune diseases) its white blood cells may attack and destroy nerve cells. Almost all processed foods and drinks contain neurotoxic flavor enhancers. The FDA claims that they are perfectly harmless. But Blaylock has presented a large quantity of evidence to the contrary. The only way to avoid these omnipresent toxins is to switch to a whole food diet.
In order to build a healthy body, every one of your cells must be fed a constant, rich supply of essential nutrients. These essential nutrients include amino acids (from which your body builds protein), fatty acids (from which your body builds fat molecules, such as myelin and cell membrane), vitamins, and minerals. Many of these essential nutrients are stripped away during food processing. So, when you eat this kind of food, it might fill you up, but, since the food is nutrient poor, you are starving your cells of the environmental material it needs to maintain healthy structure. It has been theorized that one of the reasons that we overeat is because the body is craving the quantity of nutrients it needs. And, since processed foods are nutrient poor, a larger volume of this food is needed to get the required nutrients.
Stop eating foods that are high in saturated fats. The MS society recommends the Swank Diet. In 1948, Dr. Swank was invited by one of the leading neurosurgeons of the time, Dr. Wilder Penfield, to conduct MS research. Dr. Swank’s studies lead him to the conclusion that there was a high correlation between diets that were high in saturated fats and incidents of MS. He studied 150 patients over a period of 35 years, who participated in his low fat diet. One of the most striking results that he was able to demonstrate at the end of this study was a decrease in the disability rate of these patients by almost 95%. It is interesting to note that this study resulted in no randomized controlled testing! Instead, research money was invested in the development of today’s MS drugs, which are able to decrease the exacerbation rate by, at most, 35%.
Eat only low-glycemic vegetables and fruits.
Low-glycemic food: The human brain is almost entirely dependent upon a rich, steady supply of glucose as its energy source. Carbohydrates provide this energy source. Our blood glucose levels are balanced by a chemical process. When blood glucose levels are high, insulin is poured into the bloodstream. This stimulates the cellular absorption of glucose, thus lowering the glucose level in the blood. When blood glucose levels are low, glucagon is poured into the bloodstream. This stimulates the release of cellular glucose into the blood. When we eat the kinds of fruits and vegetables that require a slow, extended breakdown of these foods into glucose (low-glycemic), this balancing act is well-modulated and an unbroken supply of just the right amount of glucose is always available for the brain’s use. If we eat the kinds of carbohydrates that are immediately broken down into glucose (high-glycemic), and we eat them in large quantities, massive amounts of glucose are poured into the bloodstream. The body senses this large imbalance and counters it with an equally unbalanced pouring of insulin into the bloodstream. This results in a dramatic plunging of the blood sugar levels and a subsequent craving for carbohydrates. The body overcompensates once again by pouring excessive amounts of glucagon into the blood. This results in an unbalanced increase in blood sugar. The whole act of over-and-under compensation by the body’s glucose monitoring system replays itself. If this process of overcompensation is left un-attended over the years, a person can become diabetic (that is, the balancing mechanism is unable to function anymore. It becomes worn out.)
One of the symptoms of MS is low energy levels. In fact, this symptom is usually present well before the other symptoms of MS manifest themselves. So, the first thing that you want to do is to achieve a strong, steady glucose supply to the brain. Eliminating the high-glycemic carbohydrates will stabilize blood glucose levels. Additionally, Dr. Blaylock’s research has demonstrated that microinjections of excitotoxins into certain areas of the brain associated with certain neurodegenerative disorders, results in a “dramatic and rapid fall in energy production by these neurons”. In these studies, a treatment of CoEnzyme Q10 and niacinamide is able to restore energy production, as well as preventing neuronal death. Also, he notes that energy deficient neurons are exceptionally susceptible to excitotoxic injury. He links energy deficiency to things like hypoxia, starvation, metabolic poisons, and hypoglycemia.
Dr. Blaylock recommends a combination of CoQ10, acetyl-L carnitine, niacinamide, riboflavin, methlcobalamin, and thiamine for clients having neurodegenerative disorders. Discuss these supplements with your doctor.
There is another important reason for consuming large quantities of low glycemic vegetables and fruits: they are a rich source of flavonoids. Flavonoids are capillary protective chemical compounds that are found in all plant food.
Flavonoids are excellent antioxidants. The human brain is 60-70% fat. Much of this fat is required for the construction of the electrical insulation of the nerves, called myelin. This insulation preserves the fidelity of their messages as well as making it possible to transmit these messages efficiently. It is also used by the brain to help facilitate the passage of information across the spaces between each nerve cell. These spaces are called synapses. The very existence of every cell in our body is made possible by the existence of fatty acids (the building blocks of fat molecules). They are, in fact, the essential building blocks of all cell membranes.
There are two kinds of fatty acids that are crucial to brain construction and function: DHA and EPA. These are omega 3 oils and they are present in abundance in fish oils. These fatty acids are needed to build neural tissue and they can stimulate the growth of new nerve cells. EPA is the key fat for overall health. DHA is the key fat for the brain. There is a problem with the kinds of fatty acids from which our nerve cells are built: they are polyunsaturated fatty acids and, as such, are extremely susceptible to deterioration. Scientists call the deterioration of fats (such as myelin) “lipid peroxidation”. This process is caused by the presence of free radicals. Free radicals are electron deficient oxygen and nitrogen atoms (which are a normal by-product of cellular metabolism) that are running around loose in your brain. When they come in contact with the unsaturated fatty acids in myelin, they steal their electrons, thus beginning the myelin breakdown process (lipid peroxidation). So, it becomes extremely important to eliminate these free radicals. This is what antioxidants do. They donate their electrons to the free radicals, so that the free radicals won’t have to attack the fatty acids to get their electrons. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants. So are Vitamin C and E.
Flavonoids are capillary builders and strengtheners. They can reduce capillary leakage and strengthen their walls. They strengthen the blood brain barrier, which is a capillary bed that is located deep within the center of your brain, at places where your blood filters through these capillaries and into your brain (thereby becoming cerebral spinal fluid) and where it flows back out into your veins. This membrane normally prevents large and dangerous blood ingredients from entering this fluid. One potentially dangerous blood ingredient is the white blood cell. White blood cells do not belong in your spinal fluid. They find their way in through ruptured membranes. There is a well established correlation between the breakdown of the BBB and the onset of MS exacerbations. A diet high in low glycemic vegetables is, thus a good diet for providing a rich supply of antioxidants, as well as for helping critical brain capillaries to strengthen and repair themselves. Additionally, Dr. Blaylock recommends the supplementation of products such as Juice Plus, to help achieve therapeutic levels of flavonoids in the system.
Additionally, there is evidence that flavonoids help to prevent white blood cells from attacking myelin and secreting inflammatory chemicals that worsen the exacerbation process in MS.
Supplement high levels of Omega 3 fish oils. The importance of these fish oils to the construction of healthy brain cells and myelin is stated above. Additionally, these oils have been shown to down-regulate the inflammatory response and to counteract depression.
MS and all chronic disease has inflammation at its core. Inflammation of tissue occurs when blood capillary walls are opened up to allow white blood cells to enter a previously restricted area. This is good if that area has been infected by dangerous toxins. The white blood cells can then move in, attack, and destroy the toxins. It is bad, if this rupture is occurring in the absence of toxic compounds (membrane breaches cause by heavy metal poisoning, head trauma, and the consumption of excessive excitotoxins, for example).
The body uses the polyunsaturated oils (omega 3 and omega 6) to modulate the inflammatory response. These oils are used in the manufacture of hormones that are called eiconsanoids. These hormones control virtually all of the hormonal reactions in your body. When the ratio of omega 3 oils is closely balanced with the omega 6 oils, the inflammatory response is hormonally dampened. When the omega 6 oils are overly dominant, the inflammatory response is hormonally intensified. The American diet is heavily overloaded with Omega 6 oils, which may be an aggravating factor in the explosion of the chronic, degenerative diseases. Therefore, it is logical that, in the case of MS, the client begin to create a diet rich in omega 3 oils.
Dr. Sears recommends supplementing with therapeutic levels (10-25 grams/day) of omega 3 fish oils, if you suffer from MS. This dose should be monitored by your doctor via an AA/EPA blood test and the ratio of O-6 (AA)/O-3 (EPA) should be kept between 1.5 and 3. This information can be accessed in Dr. Sears’ book: The Omega Rx Zone. Discuss it with your doctor. Additionally, you can find an ultra-refined fish oil that has 2X the amount of DHA and EPA as any health food store fish oil supplement on Dr. Sear’s website.
Depression is one of the things that people with MS have to cope with. Interestingly, this problem may be directly related to the reason why the inflammatory processes are up-regulated: an over abundance of omega 6 fatty acids in the diet. It has been estimated that the American diet results in an 11/1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. According to Dr. Sears, this ratio should be no more than 3/1. The reason why therapeutic doses of the omega-3 oils have been shown to counteract depression is because these fatty acids help in the manufacture of serotonin – one of the important pain killing neurotransmitters in your brain.
Supplement vitamin D3, if a deficiency exists. This is another thing that should be monitored by your doctor. There is an established correlation between the onset of MS and geographical location.
The incidence of MS increases as one moves away from the equator toward the poles (decrease in exposure to sunlight).
The incidence of MS increases as one moves from higher elevations to lower elevations (decrease in exposure to sunlight).
The incidence of MS increases as one moves inland from the costal areas (decrease in fish consumption as a staple in the food supply).
Vitamin D3 is created naturally when the sun’s rays fall upon the skin. This energy driven synthesis is severely restricted by one’s location on the earth and by seasonal fluxuation of sunlight. Both sunlight exposure and fish consumption share a common denominator: vitamin D. In addition, fish is rich in the omega 3 long chain fatty acids.
Support your body against the toxic side effects of MS medication that you are on. All medications have serious side effects. Have your doctor carefully explain these side effects to you. Then design an alternative program that will help to protect the organs of your body that are being put at risk by these medications. For example, if a medication is known to have a dangerous effect on your liver, find out what kinds of alternative treatments can support liver health (UltraClear, herbals, for example).
Ensure an adequate quantity of clean water, which has been filtered free from heavy metals and pesticides. We are primarily water beings. It makes up 70% of who we are. Every single energy and biochemical process in our body is facilitated through this fluid. It makes sense to take steps to insure that the quality of this water is as clean as possible. In particular, it is important that the water we ingest is free from the neurotoxic heavy metals and pesticide contaminants that are a general problem in today’s water supplies. Under normal conditions, the body must replace approximately 64 ounces of water daily.
When the body is not getting an adequate supply of water (dehydration), a process is generated whereby water is borrowed from peripheral areas and given to the critical areas, such as the brain. This water management activity sets up a chronic stress response. Chronic stress produces an over production of cortisol, which can damage neural tissue. In a stress response the body is breaking down body tissue, in order to supply the extra energy that is being anticipated as being needed to fight off a potential threat. If this stress response becomes chronic, your body is being constantly broken down at the cellular level – for no practical purpose. Excessive cortisol is damaging to brain cells, particularly in the hippocampal area.
Water is an energy generator. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, the flow of water across cell membranes is an important source of cellular energy: “the osmotic flow of water through the membrane can generate hydroelectric energy that is converted and stored in the energy pools in the form of ATP and GTP – two vital cell battery systems”. And, according to him, water also acts as an adhesive material, holding the layers of the cell wall together.
Exercise. It is important to counteract MS’s ability to physically weaken your muscles. Programs such as T’ai Chi and Yoga can provide low impact, low stress workouts that strengthen muscles. Additionally, both are forms of meditation, which help to counteract the stresses in your life.
The Pre-diagnostic Work Up
Heavy metal screening. The heavy metals are extremely neurotoxic. If they are present in cerebral fluid they attack and destroy the nerves. Even if heavy metal poisoning is not the cause of MS, does it make sense to try to treat MS with medications while ignoring the additional damage that is being done to the brain by heavy metal poisoning? It seems logical to me that the brain’s environment must be cleaned up of this contamination. Ami’s neurologist did not make this test part of her pre-diagnostic exam. Her naturopathic physician did make the test. And, as it turned out, she was found to have a very high level of mercury in her blood. Insist that this test be done.
Once heavy metal is locked into cells, the body cannot naturally release it. It must be forced out by a chemical process. This process is called chelation. It is an intravenous process and must be authorized and supervised by a doctor. If you are heavy metal poisoned, insist that this procedure be done.
Upper Cervical Protocol: According to chiropractor Erin Elser there is a long history of correlation between head trauma and the onset of MS, but no understanding of the mechanism of this correlation. Working from this observation, she has speculated that a disturbance in the blood flow to the brain stem (which controls all basic body functions and the immune response) may be the cause of dysfunction in the autoimmune response that is associated with MS. If this blood flow is normalized, perhaps the immune response will normalize. Working from this hypothesis, she has had very promising results in her work with her MS patients with slowing down and reversing symptoms associated with MS. Ami’s neurologist did not test for spinal trauma due to head injury. Ami suffered head trauma from falls as a child on more than one occasion and her spine showed an obvious cervical curvature. Insist upon this test.
D3 blood serum test. By testing your blood for vitamin D3 levels your doctor can see if there is a need for supplementation to get you to the ideal level. Please read abstracts 8 & 9. And refer them to your physician for consideration. Ami’s neurologist did not make this test.
AA/EPA blood test. According to Dr. Barry Sears, this test is the most accurate way to find out your omega 6-to-omega 3 blood ratios. Remember, this ratio determines whether your body’s inflammatory processes are up-regulated or down-regulated. Ami’s neurologist did not make this test.
The research abstracts presented here represent 11 of the most interesting pieces of work that I uncovered during the long process of reviewing the existing literature in the natural health field on the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. The original research papers cited a total of 777 other pieces of independent research. I am able to provide an index of this research, should you be interested.
This work is offered to you with my sincere hope that you will share the information with your physician and that, working as a health team, the both of you will design a broad-based treatment protocol. This information does not, by any means, exhaust the information that exists. And new information is always being developed.
Based upon my studies and the application of this information to my own daughter’s MS, I am absolutely convinced that this disease, and all of the chronic diseases (of which there are no specific identifiable causes), are most successfully treated in a holistic way.
INDEX OF ABSTRACTS
The Pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis Revisited.
Multiple Sclerosis, An Autoimmune Inflammatory Disease: Prospects for its Integrative Management.
Opinion Report on Mercury Toxicity from Dental Amalgams and Thimerosal.
Food Additive Excitotoxins and Degenerative Brain Disorders.
Glutamate Excitotoxicity in a Model of Multiple Sclerosis.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease.
Effect of Dietary Advice and N-3 Supplementation in newly Diagnosed MS Patients.
Vitamin D Insufficiency: No Recommended Dietary Allowance Exists for this Nutrient.(Note: an RDA has now been established).
Vitamin D: A Natural Inhibitor of Multiple Sclerosis.
IUCCA Upper Cervical Protocol For Five Multiple Sclerosis Patients.
Eighty-one Patients with Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease Undergoing Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care to Correct Vertebral Subluxation: A Retrospective Analysis.
1. The Pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis Revisited
J R Coll Physicians Edinb 2002; 32:244-265
P.O. Behan, A Chaudhuri, B.O. Roep
This research paper was a broad survey of 216 research findings in the area of MS. The authors found very little compelling evidence for the generally held theory that MS is an autoimmune disease. Further, they assert that the research in this area is flawed by the unfounded belief on the part of researchers that experiments in animals with induced Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis (EAE) can be extended to humans with MS.
They claim that the symptoms in EAE do not resemble those of MS, but rather a different demyelinating disorder. Therefore, the immunosuppressive therapies show no convincing evidence that they significantly affect the clinical course of the disease. Furthermore, the side effects of such drugs are significant.
The literature reveals no clear-cut case in which sensitization to myelin antigens could be detected. Very little evidence is found in which lymphocytes are in contact with the myelin sheaths and oligodendroglia.
The treatment of MS with B-interferon and glatiramer show no more than a reduction in the disease progression rate of 33%. The authors argue that this percentage rate can be attributed to the placebo factor. However, these drugs do affect the repair of the blood brain barrier (BBB).
There is evidence that a breakdown of the BBB is associated with MS as well as with other neurodegenerative diseases, radiation, and physical trauma. There has been an association of BBB breakdown with cervical spondylosis ( a disorder caused by abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the neck, with degeneration and mineral deposits in the vertebral cushions. It can be caused by neck injury or the aging process).
If the symptoms of MS were a result of an overactive immune system, then research with HIV infected patients (who have severe states of immune deficiency) should reveal no MS patients. Such is not the case.
The evidence leads to the conclusion that MS is related to metabolic changes in the total central nervous system (CNS). For example, N-acetyl aspertate (NAA) reduction is a predictor of relapses in MS. The rate of myelin loss in MS is, therefore, metabolically determined.
The fact that pregnancy has a stabilizing effect on the clinical course of MS, and that there is an increasing relapse rate during the three months after delivery, suggests a hormonal/metabolic component to the disease. The authors present research to show that there have been strong arguments for the metabolic origins of MS in the past.
MS is a neurodegenerative disease having both genetic and environmental components. There is evidence for MS pathogenesis on chromosome 17. Expression of this gene may be influenced by environmental factors. One strong environmental factor is the correlation of high incidents of this disease with lack of sunlight. This suggests a link to vitamin D metabolism.
2. Multiple Sclerosis, An Autoimmune Inflammatory Disease: Prospects for its Integrative Management
Altern Med Rev 2001;6(6):540-566
Parris Kidd, PhD
A survey of 109 research papers has led this researcher to the conclusion that an integrative approach to the treatment of MS is required for maximal success.
None of the conventional FDA approved therapies (Betaseron, Avonex, and Copaxone) confer prolonged remission of MS, although demonstrated decrease in relapse rates of at least, Copaxone is at 35%. These therapies are all highly toxic, with many demonstrated side effects. Less toxic integrative therapies are needed.
Stopping the progression of MS requires the stoppage of disability progression. The above drugs do not do this.
It is likely that there are multiple causative/trigger factors in MS. It is probable that genetic factors or other innate susceptibility factors interact with environmental factors to precipitate the disease. Therefore environmental factors must be addressed: diet, environmental contamination and viral/microbe infection.
Viral/microbe considerations: herpes virus type 6(HHV-6), chlamydia, and mycoplasmas. One study revealed that 60% of MS patients were infected with HHV-6, 50% with mycoplasmal infections, 20% with Chlamydia infections, and 25% were infected with other bacteria.
Toxic metals: historic studies of above average population clusters of MS have shown proximity to various forms of mercury contamination. Other studies have demonstrated protein abnormalities in persons with mercury fillings in their teeth. Additionally, MS patients have higher hair mercury readings than do the rest of the population.
Diet: Long term studies have consistently demonstrated the benefit of diets low in animal fats in the slowing down, and in some cases, the halting of the progression of MS. Doctor Swank (The Swank Diet) followed a group of MS sufferers over a 35 year period. His conclusion was that 95% of his patient who were placed on his diet prior to the onset of severe disability showed no significant increased disability over the 35 years.
Food allergies, digestive malfunctions, and gut dysbiosis are also implicated in the disease process and can be corrected by dietary regulation.
It is argued that a strict adherence to an integrative treatment of MS is required for maximal effect. Switch from a diet that is rich in animal-source fats to one that is rich in the omega-3 and omega-6 oils. The omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain an anti-inflammatory circulatory balance. And it supports nerve cell repair.
Dietary supplementation: linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin D, calcium and magnesium, injectable vitamin B-12, and Adaptrin (a Tibetan herbal formula).
The Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centers in the UK report significant results after the treatment of MS with hyperbaric oxygen therapy protocol. Trials in the USA do not support these results.
3. Opinion Report on Mercury Toxicity from Dental Amalgams and Thimerosal
Presented to Congressional Hearing 8 May 2003
Boyd Haley, PhD
The author cites 21 research reports on the effects of toxic exposure of human beings to mercury. In addition he has reviewed and evaluated the conclusions of reports by various governmental agencies, including the World Health Organization, National Institute of Health, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, all of whom have addressed this issue.
Mercury is the most toxic non-radioactive element known to man. The average dental amalgam is 50% mercury. A person having from 5-15 such amalgams has several grams of mercury implanted in his mouth. Mercury has been banned in all of the healthcare industry, with the exception of the dental industry.
Thimerosal is a mercury based preservative used in vaccinations. The average vaccination concentration is 125,000 nanomolars. The author’s studies show neuron toxicity in cultures at 10 to 20 nanomolars. Therefore, vaccination of infants exposes them to levels of mercury that have the potential to biologically injure them. This is especially true in children who are genetically or environmentally predisposed to mercury sensitivity.
According to the EPA, 8-10% of women of childbearing age have mercury blood levels high enough to put their child at risk of developing neurological problems.
The ADA refutes the above concerns over dental amalgam toxicity. Yet the scientific consensus is completely contrary to the ADA position.
WHO reports that dental amalgams constitute the major human exposure to mercury. The level of blood and urine mercury is positively correlated to the number of amalgams in the mouth.
It is estimated that from 6-15% of Americans have severely toxic levels of mercury in their body tissue.
Recent research has shown an increase in the mercury content in the hair of newborns, the level of which increases with the number of amalgams of the mother.
Interestingly, there is a much lower mercury content in the hair (but a much higher blood mercury content) in autistic children. The author speculates that these children might represent a subset of the population that is unable to excrete mercury.
Mercury toxicity is a chronic condition. The author’s research indicates that it takes a minimum of 137 years for the mercury content of a filling to be depleted. Eighty percent of amalgam mercury vapor is absorbed by the body through the lungs and into the major body organs, especially the kidneys and the central nervous system. It has been shown that zinc (another component of amalgams) enters into a synergistic relationship with mercury, thereby making it even more toxic to the human body.
The presence of aluminum, antibiotics, and testosterone increases the toxic effects of mercury. The author speculates that this is the reason that there is a 4-to-1 ratio of boys over girls who become autistic and that autism in boys is more severe.
The level of mercury gas emission increases with chewing and the consumption of hot liquids. Mercury forms a covalent bond with proteins inside of cells, thereby trapping it and allowing for mercury build-up. The chelation process must then be used to interrupt this bond, thus allowing the body to flush the mercury out of the system.
The author concludes that dental amalgams emit dangerous levels of mercury and may exacerbate medical conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis. Mercury is even more devastating to the developing fetal brain and mercury from the mother can pass through the placenta to her fetus. And recent research shows a strong biological plausibility to the argument that ethyl mercury exposure from Thimerosal in vaccinations may be a cause of autism.
4. Food Additive Excititoxins and Degenerative Brain Disorders
Medical Sentinel 1999;212-215
Russell Blaylock, MD
The amino acid glutamate is found in varying concentrations in many foods. The body breaks this amino acid down and uses it to perform various functions within the body. One of the functions it performs is as one of the brain’s excitatory neurotransmitters. It is utilized for this purpose in very small amounts by the brain.
The processed food industry has extracted glutamate from its presence in foods as a bound substance and uses it in its pure form as a food flavor enhancer. This additive makes food taste good, regardless of how long it is shelved or frozen. It is used in quantity in diet foods to give them additional flavor. It is used as artificial sweeteners in soft drinks.
Because our food supply is saturated with glutamates, it is present in higher than normal concentrations in our blood. Dr. Blaylock’s research shows how excessive glutamate can break down the blood-brain barrier that protects the central nervous system from harmful substances. Additionally, it is shown that there are areas of the brain that are unprotected by this barrier. Therefore, excessive glutamates can enter the cerebral fluid. It is said that the cerebral fluid glutamate concentration can equal that of the blood.
This is bad news for the central nervous system, since excessive glutamate concentrations begin a process of nerve cell over-excitation and, eventually death. The author argues that it is this excitotoxification process that aggravates (and perhaps, causes) behavioral disorders such as ADD and neurodegenerative diseases. He feels that the evidence against the use of excitotoxic flavor enhancers in food is so overwhelming, they should be banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA disagrees. Its experts claim that there is no evidence to back up Blaylock’s assertions.
Since these flavor enhancers are present in almost all processed foods, and , since the food manufacturers disguise these additive names, the only way someone can be sure that they are eliminating them from their food supply is to go back to eating whole foods and non-diet beverages. Blaylock describes the process of excitotoxicity as follows: “studies have shown that glutamate, and their excitatory amino acids, attach to a specialized family of receptors (NMDA, kainite, AMPA, and metabotrophic) which in turn, either directly or indirectly, opens the calcium channel on the neuron cell membrane, allowing calcium to flood into the cell. If unchecked this calcium will trigger a cascade of reactions, including free radical generation, eicosanoid production, and lipid peroxidation (the breakdown of fatty acid components such as myelin), which will destroy the cell.” All of these processes have been shown to be an aggravating factor in the progression of MS.
The following piece of research supports Blaylock’s arguments and ties the excitotoxic process into the inflammation process, which is part of the process of demyelinization in MS.
5. Glutamate Excitotoxicity in a Model of Multiple Sclerosis
Nature Medicine: Volume 6. Number 7. January 2000
David Pitt, Peter Werner, and Cedric Raine
The authors review 22 research articles, which explore the process of inflammation during MS exacerbation periods.
The study was designed to determine if excitotoxicity by excessive extra cellular glutamate is implicated in damage to oligodendrocytes (glial cells, which help to generate myelin) and to axons in EAE (refer to abstract #1).
Since oligodendrocytes possess only the AMPA/kainite type of glutamate receptor, a substance called NBQX was used to block the action of this receptor, thus preventing its excitability to glutamate.
The process of EAE induction was then initiated in an experimental and control group of mice. What was found was that the experimental group suffered very little loss of oligodendrocytes during the exacerbation period of the disease. The control group (the mice that were not given the glutamate blocker) suffered large losses.
Nerve cells possess two different glutamate receptors: AMPA/kainite and NMDA.
The same experimental method was used to see if axonal degeneration could also be prevented. And the results were favorable. Their conclusion was that AMPA/kainite receptor-mediated glutamate excitotoxicity is a chief factor in oligodendrocyte death in EAE and possibly MS.
Increased glutamate levels can be generated from within by inflammatory processes and head trauma. And they can be generated from without by the excessive consumption of glutamates in the diet.
The authors’ conclusion is that AMPA/kainite antagonists may be found to be helpful in the MS treatment process by blocking the inflammatory neuron destruction processes.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease
Journal of American College of Nutrition, Vol.21, No. 6, 495-505 (2002)
Artemis Simopoulos, MD, FACN
This author’s review of 100 research papers leads him to state that there is strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and, thus may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disease. His paper relates the action of this fatty acid to the action of cellular activities that promote inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
Currently, inflammation is treated with drugs such as corticosteroids and cyclosporin, which have well-known adverse side effects with long-term use. Clinical trials need to be conducted to see if omega-3 treatment could replace such toxic drugs.
Of all of the fatty acids, omega-3 has the most potent anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effect. And the most biologically potent of the omega-3’s are from the fish oils: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The human diet is a combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. And they work together. They compete within the cell and are used to modulate the cell function. Two cell functions are the immune response in which the body recognizes a foreign substance in the body and mobilizes white blood cells to the site, and the inflammatory response, in which substances are produced, which help to break down the cell walls of dangerous substances such as bacteria. This allows the white blood cells to destroy the dangerous materials. It is believed that in the so-called autoimmune diseases like MS, the body mistakes nerve cell myelin for a foreign object and initiates the immune/inflammatory response. Myelin is destroyed in the process, causing progressive nerve damage.
The interaction between immune and inflammatory cells is mediated by proteins, called inteleukins (IL). The most important of these white blood cells proteins is IL-1, IL-6, and TNF (tumor necrosis factor). When these substances are produced in proper amounts, they help to fight infections. But, if their effects become unbalanced, if they are overproduced, they generate the pathological responses that occur in inflammatory conditions.
The modern western diet is heavily weighted to the omega-6 side of the fatty acid scale. And the omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory in nature. That is, they modulate cellular activity in the direction of the overproduction of the interleukins.
It is, thus, suspected that the modern diet, with a 16:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids must contribute to the increase incidents of cardiovascular disease and inflammatory disorders.
Additionally, this altered fatty acid ratio is suspected in the aggravation of major depression and bipolar disorder. And, psychological stress aggravates this condition, as it too, stimulates the production of pro-inflammatory cellular activities. A number of studies are being done to evaluate the therapeutic effect of EPA and DHA in major depression. It has been demonstrated that the two omega-3 fatty acids can increase the remission period in bipolar disorder.
The author states that there is a clear need for more carefully designed and controlled clinical trials in the therapeutic application of omega-3 fatty acids to human autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
He says that the genetic variation in cytokine (pro-inflammatory protein) production must be taken into account in the studies. That is, different people will need different levels of the omega-3 oils in their diets to initiate the same therapeutic, anti-inflammatory cellular responses.
He suggests a general return to a 4:1 omega-6/omega-3 ratio. Other researchers suggest establishing a 1:1 or even a 1:3 therapeutic ratio in patients with autoimmune disorders.
7. Effect of Dietary advice and n-3 supplementation in Newly Diagnosed MS Patients
Acta Neurol Scand 2000: 102: 143-149
Nordvik I, Mayhr K-M, Nyland H, and Bjerve KS
This paper presents the results of an open, uncontrolled intervention trial using 16 people. It cites 52 references.
The authors define MS as “an immunologically mediated disease in genetically susceptible individuals in response to environmental factors”.
The trial was conceived out of research, which indicates that saturated fats represent such an environmental risk factor. Additionally, recent analysis of tissue biopsies of people with MS show no difference between n-6 fatty acid levels, when measured against the normal population, yet show significantly reduced n-3 levels. Does this indicate that low n-3 levels represent an environmental risk factor to the MS population?
An experimental diet was designed as follows:
5 ml fish oil (.4g EPA and .5g DHA)
1mg vitamin A
10 mcg vitamin D
5.5 mg vitamin E
B complex vitamins: 2.25 mg thiamin 2.6 mg riboflavin 30 mg niacin, 7 mg pantothenic acid, 3 mg pyridoxine, 150 mcg biotin, 100 mcg of folic acid, and 6 mcg of cobalamin.
200 mg vitamin C (acid neutral)
Reduce saturated fats from meat and dairy products.
Eat fish for dinner 3-4 times per week
Increase vegetable intake
Eat 1-2 fresh fruits daily
Use whole grain breads
Reduce sugar intake
Reduce coffee and tea intake (to 2 cups per day)
Avoid known allergenic foods
Minimize alcohol consumption
Participants must have been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) within a three year period. They must have not undergone previous or current interferon treatment. They must have not changed their diet after their diagnosis. They must have not taken cod liver oil or other fish oil supplements during the previous 3 months. They must have not taken vitamin C in doses above 100 mg per day during the previous months. They must have not undergone steroid treatment the month prior to inclusion.
Each participant was seen by a nutritionist upon inclusion and after the 1st and 2nd years of the trials. Questionnaires and blood tests were used to assess if the participants were following the protocol.
The clinical assessment of an exacerbation was defined as “the appearance of new symptoms from the nervous system or worsening of pre-existing ones lasting for at least 24 hours in the absence of fever in a patient who had been neurologically stable or improving for the previous 30 days”. Additionally, “the symptoms should be accompanied by objective change on neurological examination, worsening of .5 points on the EDDS or worsening by 1 point in two of the Functional Systems (FS) or 2 points in on of the FS.
The mean statistics of the 16 participants were as follows:
Age: 32 years old (ages 22-37)
Duration of disease: 1.6 years (1-3 years)
Pre-study annual exacerbation rate: 1.39
EDSS score at inclusion: 2.16
The plasma phospholipid concentrations of n-3 increased significantly during the first and second years. The n-6 levels decreased significantly (except arachidonic acid).
The mean statistics of the 16 participants after the 2-year study were as follows:
Annual exacerbation rate: .06 (only 2 participants experienced exacerbations – one each).
EDSS score: 1.62
11 patients improved, 4 patients were unchanged, and 1 patient worsened.
Significant reduction in the exacerbation rate during the study.
Similar studies, in which n-6 levels were increased, along with n-3 levels, resulted in a trend toward the reduction of the exacerbation rate, but no improvement in EDSS scores. The authors suggest that this may indicate that increasing n-6 levels may reduce the therapeutic effect of n-3 therapy.
N-3 and n-6 fatty acids compete with one another within the cell. The former reduces the levels of several pro-inflammatory cytokines, eicosanoids, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes. The latter increases these levels.
The myelin producing oligodendrocytes are rich in DHA. Supplementing with fish oils may have contributed to the re-myelination of nerve cells through this mechanism, thereby explaining the improved EDSS score produced by the study.
The central nervous system contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, thereby making the nerve cells particularly vulnerable to free-radical generation. The vitamin C supplementation may have reduced the degenerative effect of free radical activity.
8. Vitamin D Insufficiency: No recommended dietary allowance exists for this nutrient (Author’s note: there has since been established an RDA for this vitamin)
CMAJ, June 11, 2002; 166(12)
Reinhold Vieth and Donald Fraser
Twenty-one research papers are surveyed by the authors in their analysis of what constitutes a proper level of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of bone loss.
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), generated in the skin, is NOT functionally equivalent to vitamin D2, which is generated from lipids in yeast.
Since the 1970’s, doctors have been able to measure the vitamin D nutritional status in their patients by measuring serum concentrations of 25(OH)D. Insufficiency is defined as a level that is less than 40 nmol/L. A low concentration of this vitamin causes a form of secondary hyperparathyrodism. This condition is suspected as a bone loss accelerant.
Many consider that levels above 200IU as a supplement can lead to vitamin toxicity. Yet, the average white adult, with exposure to summer sunshine while in a bathing suit generates 10,000IU’s of D3 in 15 to 20 minutes of exposure, with no toxicity.
The ability to generate D3 decreases in the lower and higher latitudes. The authors estimate that the average Canadian, during the winter, needs 1,000IU’s of supplemental D3 in order to accumulate a 25(OH)D concentration of 40nmol/L.
American physicians prescribe D2 as a supplement. It is less effective than D3 in increasing blood serum levels. And all cases of vitamin D toxicity in the literature that were reviewed by the authors involved D2. They have heard of D3 toxicity, but only in cases of prolonged, unintentional consumption far beyond the 40,000IU/day level.
A recommended daily allowance for vitamin D has not been established yet. But physicians consider an adequate intake level to be 200IU’s. This is the level that is seen on most vitamin D supplement bottles. The authors consider this to be far below the levels needed to insure proper bone growth in people living in the northern latitudes.
Until an RDA is established, they suggest a 1,000IU level of D3 as advisable for all adults.
9. Vitamin D: A Natural Inhibitor of Multiple Sclerosis
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 2000, v. 59, p. 531-535
Supported by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Grant RG 3107-A-2.
The author cites 54 research papers in this report. Her conclusion is that inheritable genetic risk factors for MS may not be sufficient for the expression of this disease. Environmental risk factors must be present, also. MS may be preventable if the risk factor can be identified and avoided. One such environmental risk factor is a deficiency in vitamin D.
There is a strong relationship between MS and geographic location. It goes from 1-2 cases per million near the equator to over 200 cases per million at latitudes greater than 50 degrees. In Switzerland, districts lower than 1,000 meters have a high MS rate. And districts higher than 2,000 feet have low MS rates, despite the relatively similar genetic pool. High altitudes and low latitudes share a common factor: there is more solar radiation available for skin absorption. The interaction of sunlight and skin produces vitamin D. Incidents of MS increase as the population moves away from costal regions to inland farmland. The main dietary difference between the two areas is the consumption of fish along the coast. Fish oil is rich in vitamin D.
Sunlight on skin produces the previtamin D3. D3 is the precursor of the biologically active hormone 125(OH)2D3. The production of this hormone is highly regulated by the need for calcium and phosphorus.
In Boston, Massachusetts (42 degrees N) human skin produces no previtamin D3 from November through February. So if vitamin D is not supplemented, Bostonites can become vitamin D deficient during the winter.
Recent genetic evidence indicates that one allele of the vitamin D receptor gene may be associated with MS susceptibility. And a Japanese researcher found overrepresentation of the DR gene b allele (chromosome 12q14) in Japanese MS patients.
The majority of MS patients are characterized by low bone mass and high fracture rates. This is consistent with an enduring vitamin D deficiency. The serum level of the vitamin D hormone was found to be low in 69% of MS patients tested. Strong experimental evidence exists that vitamin D may be a natural MS inhibitor.
EAE is considered to be a close model for MS in mice. When this disease was induced in mice, if a pretreatment with D hormone was done, EAE was eliminated. Where it was done soon after the first symptoms appeared EAE progression was inhibited.
When calcium levels were also tested, it was found that the lower the calcium level the higher the hormone level needed to achieve the same experimental effects.
In other experiments IL-4 and TGF-b1 were found in the lymph nodes of hormone treated mice and not the controls. These cytokines have strong anti-inflammatory activity in EAE.
In still other experiments the CNS was examined for infiltrating inflammatory cells after EAE induction in mice. After severe paralysis occurred, hormone treated animals regained partial use of their hind limbs, controls did not. And, within 24 hours of the hormone treatment, 5 million inflammatory macrophanges were lost from the inflamed CNS.
There is good evidence that the current adequate intake level of 200IU’s of vitamin D is far too low, particularly in certain geographical locations. To prevent osteoporosis and secondary hyperparathyroidism a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentration of over 50nmol/L is required.
Persons existing in sunny environments where incidents of MS are extremely low have levels between 105 and 163 nmol/L. Thus, an optimal serum concentration of at least 100nmol/L may be needed to prevent MS. In areas where people are not exposed to sunlight a supplementation of 4,000IU/day is necessary to achieve this ideal blood serum hormone level.
All cases of vitamin toxicity with hypercalcemia involve intakes of 40,000IU/day or more. And adults living in sunny environments generate 10,000IU/day. Therefore, the 4,000IU/day requirement should be safe.
The author concludes that the evidence that vitamin D might be a natural inhibitor of MS is compelling and that much more experimentation in this area is justified.
10. IUCCA Upper Cervical Protocol For Five Multiple Sclerosis Patients
Today’s Chiropractic, November 2000
Erin Elster, DC
The author presents her results of spinal adjustments on five MS patients and discusses the correction of presenting symptoms within the context of her research of 58 references.
The pathological process of MS is thought to involve demyelination of the nerve cell itself or oligodendrocyte damage (cells that produce myelin). The assault on nerve tissue is thought to be a result of a dysregulated immune response to myelin.
There is also a lot of medical evidence that head trauma can either precipitate or aggravate MS and many other neurological disorders, although the mechanism is not understood.
Five MS patients underwent the author’s protocol. All five were diagnosed as having MS by their neurologists using standard testing for same.
One patient had relapsing-remitting MS and the other four had chronic-progressive MS.
To begin with, each patient underwent a process of paraspinal digital infrared imaging. This thermal imaging procedure has received 6000 peer reviews, over a period of 20 years. And it has been certified as having a high degree of sensitivity, predictive value, and reliability (98-99.2%) in blind studies comparing it to CAT scans, MRI, EMG, myelography, and surgery. It is used to diagnose breast cancer, repetitive strain injuries, spinal problems, arthritis, vascular disorders, etc.
A thermal scan showing asymmetries of 0.5 or higher indicate abnormal autonomic regulation or neuropathophysiology.
Because head trauma was indicated in all five patient histories, a precision upper cervical radiographic series was also initially performed. All five patients showed upper cervical misalignments. A thermal asymmetry of 0.5 or greater plus cervical misalignment are two criterion determining subluxation. An upper chiropractic cervical adjustment plan was undertaken with all five patients.
Each subject’s office visits took place as follows: 3X/week, for the first two weeks. 2X/week, for the next two weeks. And once per week for the following month. After spinal stability was achieved (no thermal asymmetry) a schedule of 1X/month was established.
Case 1: (54 year old female, diagnosed with RRMS). This patient experienced a minimum of one relapse per year for 10 years prior to upper cervical treatment. She decided to try this protocol, rather than taking the physician recommended medication (she feared the after-effects).
After four weeks of upper cervical intervention the patient’s neurologist no longer recommended medication, the symptoms disappeared, and two years have passed without a recurrence of symptoms.
Case 2: (33 year old male, diagnosed with PPMS). This patient experienced vision loss (he was declared legally blind), loss of bladder control, constipation, loss of balance, sensory deficits in his extremities, and L’hermitte’s sign (pain, numbness, and tingling down the extremities during cervical flexion). Most symptoms were constant for one year prior to cervical protocol. After the first adjustment, L’hermitte’s sign was absent and his balance improved. After one year of treatment the patient reported an overall correction and/or improvement in MS symptoms.
Case 3: (46 year old female, diagnosed with PPMS). This patient experienced memory and cognitive problems, frequent urination and loss of bladder control. She experienced constant symptoms, with the addition of painful tingling in her extremities two years after her diagnosis. After 4 months of intervention the patient reported the absence of all MS symptoms. A follow up MRI showed no new lesions as well as a reduction in intensity of the original lesions. After one year of care, this patient remained asymptomatic.
Case 4: (55 year old female, diagnosed with PPMS). This patient’s symptoms included painful parasthesia of her left arm, fatigue, mental confusion, insomnia, and lack of coordination of her right arm and leg. All symptoms worsened over a nine year period. She had been on disability leave from work for several years. Beginning after one week of cervical intervention, the patient noticed improvements in the above symptoms. Her pain medication was reduced by two-thirds. Four months after intervention her condition continued to improve, without relapses.
Case 5: (43 year old female, diagnosed with PPMS). This patient experienced MS symptoms including numbness in her face, hands, and legs. This went away. She experienced dizzy spells several times per day for many years. Six years later she experienced L’hermetts sign. She began to notice loss of hand grip strength and spasmodic curling of the left hand. She began pain medication. After symptoms were present for 6 months, she began chiropractic treatment. After the first treatment, she noticed a reduction in painful L’hermett’s symptoms. At the end of two weeks, her dizziness disappeared. After 4 weeks symptoms were gone and she reduced her pain medication dosage. With intervention the patient’s symptoms were reversed either immediately or over one month’s time.
Common to all five patients was reported head injury, with proven cervical spinal misalignment. Existing medical literature details a possible trauma-induced etiology for MS and many other neurological diseases, even though the mechanism is unknown.
The author’s hypothesis is as follows:
The upper cervical spine has poor biomechanical stability and is thus prone to trauma. It also has the greatest concentration of spinal mechanoreceptors. These are sensory receptors in the spinal column that respond to mechanical stimulus, such as change or deformity of position. Upon trauma these receptors send the message that “something is wrong” to the brain. Hyperactive afferent activation may lead to a sympathetic reaction in the vasomotor center of the brainstem or the superior cervical ganglion, causing disturbance in blood flow and even cell death. It is now known that the nervous system and the immune system are inextricably interrelated. So, upper cervical injuries that cause a sympathetic response in the nervous system may cause a condition of unregulated immune responses. Among these are uncoordinated immune tissue responses (autoimmune responses). Hyper sympathetic stimulation can release cortisol, which can depress immune function.
Returning alignment to the cervical spine deactivates the condition that generates hyperactive afferent activation of the mechanoreceptors. Normal blood flow to the brain is restored, along with re-modulation of immune system function.
The author concludes that, while few conclusions can be drawn from so few cases, the cases are compelling and further research is recommended to study the link between the neurological disease process and spinal trauma.
Her studies indicate that hers are the first studies of this kind to be conducted since B.J. Palmer, the discoverer of chiropractic, reported management of MS in his patients with upper cervical care in 1934.
11. Eighty-One Patients with Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease Undergoing Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care to Correct Vertebral Subluxation: A Retrospective Analysis
J. Vertebral Subluxation Res. – JVSR.Com, August 2, 2004
Erin L. Elster, D.C.
The author presents follow-up research conducted on 44 clients with MS that she treated between 1999 and 2004. The remaining 37 clients had Parkinson’s Disease (PD). This study cites 29 references. Clients were cared for as outpatients of the author’s private practice. They were seen over a period of one to five years in a non-controlled and non-randomized environment.
The objective of this study was to examine the role of head and neck trauma and the onset of MS and PD, to explore the diagnosis and treatment of trauma induced injury by the use of the upper cervical protocol developed by the IUCCA, and to investigate the ability to improve or reverse MS and PD symptoms using these techniques.
Many MS and PD researchers have found a strong connection between head and neck trauma and both disorders. Dr. Charles Posner suggests that this type of injury may alter the blood brain barrier and cites trauma-induced injuries to monkeys, and subsequent BBB breakdown, as evidence that this may be happening in humans. He cites several researchers who have established a correlation between BBB breakdown and the onset of lesion formation or exacerbation in MS.
Her review of the history of her clients revealed a duration of from two months to 30 years between the onset of the trauma and on onset of MS and PD.
The diagnostic protocol was well described in abstract #10.
In her treatment outcome report, Elser defined minor improvement as a client report of improvement in or absence of less than half of their symptoms. A moderate improvement was defined as a client report of improvement in or absence of half of their symptoms. Substantial improvement was defined as a client report of improvement in or absence of the majority of symptoms. A report of no change meant that no improvements occurred during treatment.
Results of the study of 44 MS clients: 28 reported substantial improvement, 8 showed moderate improvement, 5 showed minor improvement, and 4 reported no change. Of the clients reporting improvements (a total of 40 out of 44), no further progression of MS was noted during the care period.
Results of the study of 37 PD clients: 16 showed substantial improvements, 8 showed moderate improvements, 11 showed minor improvements, and 3 reported no change. Of the clients reporting improvements (a total of 34 out of 37), no further progression of PD occurred during the care period.
As a result of this study, the author offers the following hypothesis:
MS and PD can be induced by head and neck trauma and its consequent injury to the cervical spine. The injury can be diagnosed and treated using the ICCU protocol. The correction of the injury may arrest and reverse the MS and PD disease process.
She recommends a further study in a controlled environment, using a larger sample size.