Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that we all know about, but…how many of us really know what it is or how it affects people with this diagnosis?
It is a disease of the central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord). The central nervous system cells are covered in a protective layer of fatty protein called the myelin sheath (a bit like the insulation on an electrical cable).
MS is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system gets confused and instead of attacking an infection or virus, it turns on itself and attacks this protective sheath. This process is called demyelination. The demyelination disrupts the ‘messages’ being transmitted from and to the brain, causing them to slow down, become distorted or not get through at all.
Approximately 100,000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis and there are roughly three times as many women with MS as men. MS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, although children and older adults can develop MS but this is less common.
Looking after yourself naturally can make a huge difference to your symptoms and help you to lead the life you want.
So what are the top things you can do if you are living with MS?
1 – Start taking vitamin D.
A lack of this vitamin may be a cause of MS. Studies show clusters of MS sufferers in areas around the world that lack consistent amounts of sunlight. Get a vitamin D test and boost your level with a good vitamin D3 supplement that also includes vitamin K2 to ensure its efficacy. The main source of vitamin D is the sun. Twenty minutes a day in the morning sun with plenty of skin showing will help, but if you have a deficiency, reverse it as soon as possible.
2 – Stop using the microwave.
Irradiated food isn’t healthy and it’s simple to live without!
3 – Eat organic foods and stay away from GMOs.
GMO stands for genetically modified organism. Over 50 countries worldwide can’t be wrong about banning GMO foods, so stay away.
4 – Eat plenty of good fats.
Avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds etc as they are rich in proteins and good omegas, which help to reduce inflammation and pain.
5 – Get tested for food sensitivities.
Some food allergies and sensitivities are known to make MS symptoms worse because the reaction they cause creates widespread inflammation throughout your body. Avoid toxic fizzy drinks and processed foods.
6 – Get a blood test.
Check your vitamin levels and heavy metal levels. Many MS sufferers are extremely low in several vitamins, and heavy metal toxicity can mimic many multiple sclerosis symptoms. Find out where your body stands in terms of these issues.
7 – Add tons of veggies to your diet.
Yes the green stuff! Spinach, kale, cucumbers, broccoli and cabbage offer MS patients a lot of phytonutrients that can benefit health.
8 – Start a massage protocol.
Massage will help stimulate lymphatic flow and circulation, increase joint flexibility and can even help with muscle spascity.
9 – Exercise.
Swimming, walking, biking, Pilates and yoga are all recommended. Lifting weights provides the most benefits to keep your muscles and core strong enough to support you. Staying strong is essential for both the mind and body.
10 – Raise your body’s pH with alkaline water.
The body functions at its best in an alkaline state. Water used to be neutral, but now it can lean more towards being acidic which can contributes to inflammation. Alkaline water helps decrease inflammation.
11 – Be careful with your bottled water.
Although it may be convenient, bottled water in low quality plastic bottles can be damaging. If plastic bottles have been sitting in heat and sun, this can cause leaching of chemicals (BPA) from the plastic. BPAs are known carcinogens that may cause cancer and other autoimmune challenges.
12 – Say no to aspartame and MSG.
It’s so important to read labels. You may be shocked, but aspartame and MSG are popping up in all kinds of foods, including gum, breads, cereals, canned goods, convenience foods and processed foods. Aspartame wasn’t made for human consumption, and toxicity from aspartame and MSG mimic many MS symptoms.
13 – Go gluten free or limit gluten consumption.
If you’re sensitive to gluten, it will cause widespread inflammation in the body.
14 – Laugh.
This is honestly one of the most important things you can do. Humour and laughter strengthen your immune system, boosts your energy, and protects you from the damage of stress. It decreases stress hormone levels, decreases pain and improves your mood.