Earlier today it was announced in the news that Jack Osbourne has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Jack is the son of our own Ozzy Osbourne who was born and lived a few short miles from where we live in Birmingham, UK so whilst Jack comes from the US this story kind of feels close to home.
Multiple Sclerosis – BBC Radio 5 Live
In light of Jack’s diagnosis Radio 5 Live ran a show on MS with Victoria Derbyshire this morning. On the show several members of the public called in to talk through their own experiences living with MS. It was a fairly interesting, if not a little sad show that covered various drug treatments, support groups but there was one obvious omission – not a single mention of diet or lifestyle changes for the management of MS and it’s symptoms.
The following is an email I composed and sent to Victoria to give some visibility of the dietary approach for handling Multiple Sclerosis. It was not meant to be comprehensive but was primarily intended as a brief overview of the options available and to stimulate further reading.
Email to Victoria Derbyshire at BBC Radio 5 Live
I just listened to the show regarding MS and was kind of shocked that there was not a single caller on the show talking about diet or the effect of diet on MS symptoms and progression. Since the 1950’s there have been diet approaches for MS which really started with the Swank Low Fat diet which have been shown to be successful for those that follow the recommendations and swank tracked his patients over 50 years with all remaining ambulatory.
More recently, George Jelinek, an Australian Doctor was diagnosed and has created a modern, evidence based program which uses the swank system as a base. You can find more information about that here: http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis.org/. George is now 12 years into a diagnosis, statistically the worst kind as pointed out by one of your callers being a male in their 40s as this usually a steep and rapid slide into disability. George however, is totally symptom free.
More cutting edge is the Best Bet Diet and the Paleo Diet Autoimmune Protocol where an elimination of grains along with a high nutrient diet is working to allow people to recover and prevent any further problems with their MS amongst many other autoimmune illnesses. An American doctor called Terry Wahls has an interesting story how she has got up and out of a wheelchair and reversed the aggressive symptoms of MS and is now full ambulatory (view her story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc).
Additionally, a lot of the theories put forward are now being provided in scientific studies and a report released Feb 2012 outlines the mechanisms for all autoimmune diseases and further explains why a diet free of neolithic food types like grains and dairy is so succesfful in treating not just MS but graves disease, huntingtons and a whole host of other autoimmune diseases.
In light of the Fasano study, big pharma is starting to sit up and take notice and is now looking at drugs to restore intestinal permeability to help with the MS but this is perfectly doable with diet alone without the need for drugs.
These diets all work with a ‘do no harm’ philosophy and are at worst very healthy diets that will help with the quality of life. At best, these diets can reverse symptoms and problems as with Terry Wahls and allow people to get better. In an ideal world, people would adapt a dietary approach straight after diagnosis so that
There are just so many credible people, scientists, doctors and the like that are suggesting a dietary based approach to dealing with MS that the mainstream press and charities are not on board is really, truly disappointing and any serious discussion about MS should at least mention these approaches.
More details here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc – Terry Wahls Video
http://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/ – an overview
http://www.direct-ms.org – a grain free Paleo style MS diet
Personally, we are three years in with no real active symptoms and no progression. Symptoms that doctors told us would be there for life have dissipated and eating certain foods that we now to be problematic can result in an almost instant spike in symptoms.
I really hope you can throw some light on the dietary approach, if only for people to see this as an option and to do some further research themselves. It is helping us, it is helping thousands of others and unlike the drugs, there are no nasty side effects.
Diet is just the tip of the iceberg and exercise and supplementation with vitamin D and omega 3 (combined with reduced omega 6 intake) has all been proven to reduce the severity of the disease.
I would be happy to provide more information or talk further if it helps.
I would love to get the BBC to throw some light on the whole diet for MS discussion and if only one more person starts to read up and see how they can help themselves with a dietary approach it would be worth it. It is just so disappointing that the only place people look is the drugs when diet, exercise and some basic supplementation with vitamin D and omega 3 can do more than these infective, side effect laden drug treatments.
Please drop a comment below and share this article and lets see if we can get the BBC to sit up and take notice.