I have MS. Was diagnosed the summer of 2005. I have not had another full blown relapse but have a definite diagnosis due to a follow-up MRI in 2006 right before I got pregnant. I now have multiple lesions in my cervical cord and a few in my brain. The only real symptom I battle is fatigue and the occasional flare-up of pre-existing numbness/tingling and L'hermitte's. I usually go for long periods feeling fine but there are days I feel totally wiped out. But I have a toddler, am still breastfeeding and currently going through a really rough time with potty training problems - so a lack of energy is also probably a bit normal.
I followed the Swank diet religiously for a year. I modified it during pregnancy to include more fat (the allowed kinds.) Since giving birth, I added back cheese and some dairy fat because breastfeeding was causing me to lose too much weight. I still don't eat red meat. I also cut out MSG. I don't eat any artificial colors, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, etc. Those can all exacerbate neurological issues.
I think that pregnancy, breastfeeding and the diet have probably all helped me not to have a relapse but the #1 thing I did was correct my severe Vitamin D deficiency
. Please, please, please, if you have MS, get your levels checked. I'm taking 4,000 IU per day and with even that amount, my levels have been slow to rise. There is an at-home test kit by ZRT labs mentioned by www.vitamindcouncil.org
. This is also a great video on Vitamin D: http://www.uvadvantage.org/portals/0/pres/
I've been following scientific research closely on Vitamin D and it is highly suspected to be one of the underlying triggers of MS; it might quite possibly be the most important one. Doctors have long known that the closer you live to the equator, the less likely you are to get MS. Now, research is finally connecting it to sunlight/Vitamin D. They recently discovered several genetic differences in people with MS that help regulate immune system function. Guess what they have that others don't? Vitamin D receptors. Given how long it has taken my levels to rise, I suspect that I may need more Vitamin D for my immune system to function and may not be able to metabolize it efficiently. I have talked to one other person with MS who had the same experience. Her neurologist decided to give her Vitamin D shots to get her levels up when supplements just weren't working.
The research on Vitamin D and MS is extensive. A couple of these links are news stories, not studies, so the info is skewed a little at times. I just pulled these quickly from a Google search but the underlying research is easy enough to find.http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclero...ut-ms-relapseshttp://health.usnews.com/articles/he...risk-gene.html
. Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveyPanel.Pu bmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=3&log$=relatedreviews&lo gdbfrom=pubmed
BTW, I don't currently take any medications for MS. I read a study by the Mayo Clinic that said a 5 year approach was reasonable before starting drug therapy because disability at 5 years was a good predictor of disability at 10 years and so-forth. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/12671.php
) The drugs are expensive, a pain to give and can make you feel like crap. I'm glad I waited but I know this isn't for everyone. Some studies show that early treatment may help prevent damage from accumulating so it is something you have to consider carefully. After reviewing the studies I decided to wait. Based on the research I've done, if I do get to where I need/want to take some form of medication, I will try LDN before anything else. As for natural supplements, I did take ALA a little while before trying to get pregnant. If I weren't breastfeeding I might look into glucosamine & EPO.
(Oh and BTW, a study was just published showing that breastfeeding was MORE protective against relapses than drugs. They were recommending that doctors NOT encourage women to take drugs in lieu of BFing! http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurolog...clerosis/14601