REAL hope for MS:
Simple steps to treat and even prevent this dreaded disease
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is nothing short of tragic. One of the unique features of the affliction is that it strikes during the prime of life. Young adults who should be looking to the future and anticipating careers, romances, families, and all the experiences that make up a full life suddenly find themselves in a dismal world of clinics, doctors, weakness, pain, and despair for the future. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you and your loved ones can take immediately to prevent this fate from occurring.
At present, no specific test for MS exists. The diagnosis is based on the recognition of distinctive clinical patterns of central-nervous-system injury that the disease produces. The six major symptoms are weakness, sensory loss, feelings of tingling or numbness, blurred vision, double vision, and loss of coordination.
What makes this condition especially maddening is that the cause remains a mystery. The origin of multiple sclerosis within the human body has been debated for over 50 years. It is "generally believed" to be a virus or an autoimmune disease.
Recent research implicates the Epstein-Barr virus, which gets blamed for a laundry list of diseases ranging from mononucleosis to chronic fatigue syndrome. Harvard University researchers found that women whose blood contained significant levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus were four times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis than women with lower levels. Women with no blood levels of these antibodies rarely acquired the disease.
While this finding is interesting and warrants further research, it doesn't impress me just yet.
Epstein-Barr is a very common strain of the herpes virus. In fact, 95 percent of U.S. adults by age 40 are infected with the EB virus. Not all of these people end up with MS, therefore other factors are at work as well.
Protect yourself from MS-get a suntan
MS is not common in the tropics. It is a disease of the temperate zones, adding to the supposition that there is an environmental factor. The farther you get from the equator, in either hemisphere, the greater the prevalence. Dr. Hans Neiper, one of the pioneers in alternative treatments for MS, found that among 785 multiple sclerosis patients from all over the world, nearly 60 percent were from the northern part of the U.S. Midwest. This area is famous (or perhaps infamous) for its long winters when hours of sunlight are at a minimum.
Going along with this theory, one study even suggests that exposure to sunlight may be able to reduce the risk of death from MS by 76 percent. The beneficial effects of sunlight are thought to be due to its high concentration of vitamin D.
A gland in your brain could be blocking your way to an MS-free life
Reuven Sandyk, M.D., M.Sc., of Touro College in Dix Hills, New York, got my attention several years ago when he hypothesized that there is a relationship between MS and the calcification of the pineal gland. This small gland in the middle of the head-generally considered until recently, to be an evolutionary holdover-contains the brain's highest concentration of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our sense of well-being.
Dr. Sandyk found that in MS patients there is actually a 100 percent incidence of pineal calcification. Of course, since many people have pineal calcification and never develop MS, it cannot be blamed as the sole cause of the disease. But according to Dr. Sandyk's theory, the symptoms of MS are directly related to reduced levels of serotonin in the brain due to calcification of the pineal gland. Indeed, a serotonin deficiency would seem to explain many of the symptoms associated with MS: depression, sleep disorders, carbohydrate craving, heat sensitivity, and fatigue.
Based on this theory, Dr. Sandyk's treatment of choice for MS involves the use of electromagnetic therapy (EMT) to stimulate the pineal gland and jump start the production of serotonin. This procedure is simple and safe: The magnets are placed at the temples for 30 minutes. Dr. Sandyk claims that 60 percent to 70 percent of his MS patients exhibit "marked improvement."
Clearly, there's still a lot of research to be done on this disease, its cause(s), and its treatments. But the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is hope. With a little bit of effort and an open mind, there is no need for young people to be robbed of their futures.
Actions to take:
(1) Spend some time in the sun. Twenty minutes or so per day can mean a world of difference in battling-or even preventing-this dreaded disease.
(2) Electromagnetic therapy is not a cure, but it could be a valuable tool in helping to control MS. Unfortunately, like so many alternative medicine treatments, EMT is not readily available in all places. Contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine (1-800-532-3688; www.acam.org) for more information on physicians who offer this therapy.
(3) Beyond Dr. Sandyk's EMT therapy, there are other ways to naturally increase your body's production of serotonin. L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is a precursor of serotonin. Although it's perfectly safe, it has become wrapped up in so much red tape that you won't be able to get a prescription for it. There are several food sources of L-tryptophan that you should incorporate into your diet: raw milk, sunflower seeds, bananas, turkey, nuts, and corn.
You may also want to try ordering it from BIOS Biochemicals (1-480-858-0502; www.biochemicals.com), an on-line source that doesn't require a prescription. Take 500 mg a day in divided doses.
Also, thiamin; vitamins B3, B6, and B12; biotin; and magnesium all promote the production of serotonin. You should take all of them if you have MS or a family history of the disease. Take 3.5 milligrams of thiamine, 45 milligrams of vitamin B3, 3.5 milligrams of vitamin B6, 7 milligrams of vitamin B12, 90 ug of biotin, and 1,200 milligrams of magnesium. These are small doses--much more can be taken safely. RH
"Epstein-Barr Virus Antibodies and risk of multiple sclerosis: a prospective study," JAMA 2001; 286: 3,083-3,088
"Mortality from multiple sclerosis and exposure to residential and occupational solar radiation: a case-control study based on death certificates," Occup Environ Med. 2000; 57(6): 418-421