Multiple sclerosis is one of many autoimmune disorders in which the body turns against itself by mistaking normal cell for foreign cell.
The protective sheath or layer around nerves, called myelin, comes under attack which, in turn, leaves the nerves open to damage. Like a frayed electrical cord, the nerves no longer transmit a clear signal.
Myelin is made by specialised cells called oligodendrocytes. Individual cells in the brain and central nervous system have only a matter of hours in which to generate this protective coating.
Although MS patients have an abundance of oligodendrocytes in their brains, these fail to produce sufficient myelin to bring about repair.
In MS the myelin sheath is damaged by the inflammation that occurs when the body’s immune cells attack the nervous system.
This neuro-inflammatory damage can occur in any area of the brain, optic nerve or spinal cord and causes a range of physical and mental problems including:
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of vision or loss of vision or diplopia (double vision)
- Severe dizziness
- Loss of proprioception and muscle coordination (ataxia)
- Tremor and spasticity
- Cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, problem-solving difficulties)
- Fatigue, weakness, exhaustion
The disease is more common in women than in men and most often affects younger people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Most people with the condition have the relapsing remitting type where the symptoms come and go over days, weeks or months.
Another type of MS is primary progressive disease where symptoms get worse from the outset.
The exact cause for MS is still unknown.
Researchers have discovered that one or more substances produced by a certain type of immune cells may be involved in the progression of multiple sclerosis.
Cytoxic T cells, also known as CD8+ T cells, are white blood cells that normally are in the body’s arsenal to fight disease.
Scientists strongly suspect that CD8+ T cells, whose job is to kill other cells, play an important role in the myelin-damage of multiple sclerosis. However the mechanism of how CD8+T cells actually contribute to regulating an immune response is still poorly understood.
Data from epidemiological studies suggest that exposure to an infectious agent may be involved in causing MS.
One of the leading theories behind multiple sclerosis is a viral infection. White blood cells with receptors for both virus and nerve proteins may assault nerves after fighting an infection.
Increased antibodies to many different viruses have been found in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of people with MS.
Viral infection could leave most people without any lasting effects but trigger autoimmunity in genetically predisposed individuals.
Some viruses are known to have a long latency period between time of infection and appearance of clinical symptoms, as is thought to be the case in MS.
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), which infects up to 95 % of the human population worldwide, has been repeatedly associated with multiple sclerosis through epidemiological and serological studies but direct proof of its involvement is missing.
EBV is present in brain lesions of patients with multiple sclerosis. Measles virus, herpes virus (HHV-6), rubella (or German measles) virus, have also been reported to be associated with MS.
A research published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology in 2011 suggested that people who are exposed to low levels of sunlight coupled with a history of having a common virus known as mononucleosis (EBV) may be at greater odds of developing MS than those without the virus.
Cigarette smokers are at higher risk of developing MS. Patients with multiple sclerosis who smoke also appear to experience a more rapid progression of their disease.
How MS Is Diagnosed
Brain scans can reveal inflammation and scarring but it is not clear how early these changes might occur in the disease and whether they accurately reflect ongoing damage.
A simple eye test may offer a fast and easy way to monitor patients with multiple sclerosis.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a scan that measures the thickness of nerve fibres housed in the retina at the back of the eye.
Unlike nerve cells in the rest of the brain the nerve cells in the retina are bare with no myelin coat. Experts suspect that this means the nerves here will show the earliest signs of MS damage.
The conventional treatment plan for MS includes extremely toxic medications, such as prednisone and interferon.
Prednisone, a steroid hormone that can significantly impair your immune system and cause diseases like osteoporosis and cataracts
Interferon is given to decrease white matter lesions and the frequency and severity of attacks. It is typically given in a dose that shuts down your body’s natural feedback loop. As a result, it tends to do more harm than good.
The Power Of Nutrition
- Have your vitamins D levels tested with Emed Vitamin D Levels Test.
Make sure your vitamin D levels are between 70-100 ng/ml when treating autoimmune diseases.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels with BioCeuticals D3 Drops Forte is one of the best preventive strategies against MS.
Get your level measured regularly to determine if you need to take more or less than the general recommendation to stay within the optimal range.
- Omega 3 EFAs are essential to nerve structure and function.
Emed Essential Fatty Acids test will tell you what your levels are, and what they should be.
- CoQ10 has a neuroprotective effect.
It provides antioxidant protection and supports cellular energy production to reduce fatigue.
Find out what your levels are with the Emed Co Enzyme Q10 Level Test.
Take the BioCeuticals Ubiquinol BioActive as it provides the active form of coenzyme Q10 which is shown to have higher bioavailability.
- Phosphatidylserine is a structural component of cell membranes and will contribute both to improved repair and function of the neurones damaged in MS.
- Eliminate processed foods and sugars (especially fructose), grains and starches. Sugar can contribute to the development of a number of autoimmune diseases. It also increases uric acid levels, which leads to chronic, low-level inflammation.
- Eliminate dairy from your diet. Studies have shown that cow’s milk consumption is correlated with MS prevalence.
- Eat more antioxidant rich foods (such as green, leafy vegetables and peppers) and fruits (such as blueberries, tomatoes, and cherries).
- Check for mercury toxicity with the Emed Hair Mineral Analysis Test. Mercury is neurotoxic.
- Quit smoking!
L. Levin, et al. Multiple Sclerosis and Epstein-Barr Virus, JAMA 2003; 289(12):1533-1536., doi:10.1001/jama.289.12.1533, http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=196214
Ramagopalan, S.V., Handel, A.E., Giovannoni, G., Siegel, S., Ebers, G.C., MD, FMedSci, Chaplin, G. Relationship of UV exposure to prevalence of multiple sclerosis in England. Neurology, April 19, 2011; Pages: 1410-1414