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Natural Ways to Manage Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. It causes chronic inflammation that damages the myelin sheaths of the brain and spinal cord neurons.  This condition can lead to problems with mobility, balance, vision, muscle coordination, fatigue, and more. While treatments do exist for MS, there is no cure. Because of this, many people who live with MS have to find ways to manage their symptoms on a day-to-day basis. The following are some natural ways you can potentially help ease the symptoms of MS.

Gluten-free diet

One of the most common and effective ways to manage MS symptoms is to follow a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. If you have celiac disease, this means your body can’t tolerate gluten, and you should avoid it altogether. But even if you don’t have celiac disease, avoiding gluten may be helpful for managing MS symptoms because some research suggests that people with MS who have a gluten sensitivity have more relapses than those who don’t. Gluten intake can also contribute to gut permeability, which is a causative factor in auto-immune conditions like MS.  This is why some people with MS find that their symptoms improve after eliminating gluten from their diets. If you decide to adopt a gluten-free diet, be sure to talk with your doctor or nutritionist first so they can help you create an individualized plan.

Dietary fats 

There are contradictory viewpoints regarding the role of dietary fats in MS patients.  Some studies report that a low-fat diet has been shown to reduce inflammation in people with MS by limiting saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.  Another study suggests that cholesterol promotes repair of the demyelination around nerve cells.  Myelin is made up of fatty acids so with more dietary fats supporting myelin, motor function can improve.  Like many aspects of health, what can be useful to one person may serve as harmful to another.  It is best to consult with your healthcare practitioner for individualized care to appropriately adjust dietary fat amounts and types to establish the best levels to minimize your symptoms.  The best compliment to your most beneficial levels of fat intake is always going to be a diet that emphasizes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and gluten-free whole grains to experience the most improved health outcomes. 

Vitamin supplements

Vitamin D deficiency is very common in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), affecting up to 80 percent of those living with the disease. That’s because poor diet, less exposure to sunlight, and a reduced ability to properly absorb vitamin D through the intestines are all factors that can contribute to a deficiency. Normally someone deficient in vitamin D may suffer from muscle weakness or pain, bone loss, or depression—but if you have MS, your body might be making things harder on itself by failing to produce enough T-cells or trying to destroy your myelin sheath through your immune system malfunctioning. Vitamin B12 has also been proven to be effective at improving symptoms and reducing brain atrophy in patients suffering from relapsing-remitting forms of MS. Vitamin B6 was found in one study​ ​to​ ​effectively manage electroclinical symptoms like numbness and tingling—but it should only be taken after consulting your doctor about whether or not it’s safe for you (especially if you have epilepsy). 

These natural changes are some of the simplest and most effective treatments and lifestyle changes you can make right now!


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