As with any immune system illness I believe OPTIMUM NUTRITION is essential to 'normalise' the immune function as best possible. In my experience with ms, the times that I am most prone to relapse are the times when my immune system is triggered fighting infectious agents (viruses or bacteria). At these times all my ms symptoms are exacerbated and I need to give my immune system the BEST CHANCE POSSIBLE of dealing with the problem and to promote a QUICK RECOVERY (I call this damage minimisation).
Don't worry if you actually start getting more colds when they start taking supplements. For some people the immune system appears to be over-active and so this is all part of the 'normalising' process. When I started this vitamin/supplement programme, I did actually feel worse for a couple of weeks before I began to feel the benefits. My body needed time to adjust to the new regime!
NUTRITION has become an IMPORTANT SURVIVAL TOOL! I may not be able to change the fact that I have ms, at least I know I can LEARN MANAGE IT BETTER. My biggest stumbling block is being prone to frequent UTI's (Urinary Tract Infections), and many times, try as I might, I simply cannot (yet!) avoid them, but what I can do is LISTEN to my body, diagnose the problem, get on-top of it as soon as possible and continue my search to overcome difficulty in the future.
I am still learning all the time and trying new vitamin combinations. The trick is to begin to FEEL what your body requires. It may be tempting to go mad but I believe too many vitamins could actually be damaging and just result in EXPENSIVE URINE (which could also irritate the bladder). I think there is a limit to what the body can absorb at one time and therefore would also recommend getting TIMED-RELEASE vitamins where possible.
FURTHER BOOKMARKS ON THIS PAGE
MY VITAMIN/SUPPLEMENT PROGRAMME- Read more about what I take at present & why?
OTHER VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS- Read more about other recommendations.
AVOIDING URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (UTI'S)-Read more about how I tackle UTI's.
WHAT I AM TAKING AT PRESENT & WHY?
B= Breakfast L=Lunch T=Tea
A good MULTIVITAMIN/MULTIMINERAL -(Timed Release) (B)
-to give my body a balanced formula of nutrients.
VITAMIN C (Timed Release)-with BIOFLAVANOIDS (100mg)- 1 000 or 2 000 a day (B, T)
Vitamin C is an antioxidant essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and the smooth running of many vital bodily systems.
SOYA LETHICIN (CHOLINE & INOSITOL) - 2 x 1200mg a day (B, T)
LECITHIN, is BRAIN NOURISHING FOOD. It also helps the body metabolise fats in the liver.
CALCIUM (800mg) /MAGNESIUM (400mg)/ BORON (3mg) (B, T)
Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth as well as for normal growth, heart and muscle activity, and for a healthy nervous system. Vitamin D is also needed for the proper absorption of Calcium. A Calcium supplement is essential to me because I have excluded dairy products from my diet, and because, having taken regular doses of cortisone steroids in the past, I am aware of the risk of developing Osteoporosis (Brittle Bones). Magnesium also helps utilise Calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals, and is vital to many bodily functions, including the maintenance of healthy bones, teeth, brain function, muscles, heart and nerves.
I am a great believer in how ANTI-OXIDANTS and BIOFLAVANOIDS , can help us manage the ms. They are thought to strengthen the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), the break-down of which has been shown to play a role in ms. I have read a lot about the benefits of taking GRAPE SEED EXTRACT (GSX) , a very powerful "SUPER ANTI-OXIDANT"(See Tim Stouts article ).
I started taking GSX in the form of SOOPERGRAPE since December 2000, which I stocked up on while I was over in the States! Daniel Gooch (See www.soopergrape.com) is dedicated to supplying GRAPE SEED EXTRACT to people with MS, as cheap as possible. His wife Robin has MS and this supplement is helping her. Daniel and Robin are a great couple, people you can really trust! This supplement which is not costing me the earth seems to be helping me stabilise MS.
I have also started taking the all sunshine VITAMIN D3 (I take 3000 IU a day) since January 2001. It has been known for at least 50 years that people in high latitudes face a 100 times greater risk of contracting the disease than people living at the equator. Ashton Embry www.direct-ms.org promotes the importance of taking Vitamin D (4000 IU) for people with MS as it moderates our immune system. I know how much better I am when the weather is sunny and so far this supplement appears to be doing me a lot of good.
DIGESTIVE ENZYMES (T)
Digestive enzymes aid with the complete digestion of foods.
EVENING PRIMROSE OIL-(source of GLA*) 2000mg a day (B, T)
FISH OIL- (source of EPA*) 1000mg (T)
*EFA's-ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS are required for the production hormone-like PROSTOGLANDINS, which PREVENT INFLAMMATION, ENHANCE the IMMUNE SYSTEM and BLOCK ALLERGIC responses, alongside a multitude of other VITAL bodily functions (see my Diet Page)
I get a B12 injection from my G.P. (100Omcg) every three months.
Vitamin B12 aids neurological disorders. Many people with ms are deficient in B12. (NB: B12 needs to be combined with Calcium for proper absorption.)
Please Email me and tell me what vitamins & supplements have helped you?
I DO NOT believe there is one miracle combination of vitamins and supplements that will make me better. However I do try different combinations at different times to discover which I best respond to. When I try a new product I test it out for at least a month and see how I FEEL while taking it. What I DON'T DO however, is keep adding supplement after supplement into my programme all at once. As I stated earlier not only would this be a waste of money, but also I believe it could be detrimental to the body.
VITAMIN E - 200IU (B)
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties (so protects the body against damage caused to cells by free-radicals) and may slow down the ageing process.
SELENIUM (100mg) (antioxidant) with Zinc (15mg) & Vitamins A (800mcg), C (90mg) & E (33.5mg) (L)
Selenium is a vital trace mineral with antioxidant properties, so protecting cells from damage by free radicals. It works best in conjunction with Vitamin E. It is necessary for fertility and growth and the production of prostoglandins as well as many other body functions. Due to depleted Selenium levels in the soil, and hence in the foods we eat, a supplement of this mineral recommended. ( NB: Vitamin C may interfere with the the Selenium absorption so where possible should be taken separately).
VITAMIN B12 - 1000ug Nuggets-sublingual nuggets (L).
I have taken PYCONOGENAL (Pine Bark Extract) in the past and I have also taken CO-ENZYME Q10 (Ubiquinone) - 30mg (essential for energy production). I have found both these ANTI-OXIDANTS to be beneficial and relatively inexpensive.
I did take a herbal supplement, BUTCHERS BROOM, for poor CIRCULATION and this proved very effective. I now rely on GARLIC which is also good for circulation. After having garlic I've noticed my legs feel a lot warmer!
I have also taken ECHINACEA drops (Echinachea Purpurea Tincture). This herbal root and leaf extract helps the body to resist colds & infections (and also kills Candida). So I usually take it in the months just before the season change (around September and April), when I am most susceptible to coming down with something. Like many others with ms I have spoken to, I get what we have named, 'Spring/Autumn Worsenings'. It is difficult to explain exactly why this occurs but it may be due to the chopping and changing weather? My body doesn't tolerate sudden temperature changes well, and this appears to lower my body's immunity?
I have tried ECHINACEA in capsule form but this seemed to do very little for me. Please NOTE that there are reports that the use of this herb with autoimmune system illnesses like multiple sclerosis may exacerbate the condition, so PLEASE use them with CAUTION. LISTEN to your body and how it FEELS!
I have also tried the supplement, CAPRYLIC ACID, an anti-fungal/bacterial, effective in treating CANDIDIASIS and this was helpful until I get a bad UTI's and ended up on the horrid vicious cycle of antibiotics and the frequent use of antibiotics in the Autumn of 2000, candida and MS. In 2001 I have managed to avoid this cycle and feel my gut is recovery well (see below).
Another 'gem' I have started taking recently is MSM (Sulphur) and it is working wonders for me. I have felt stronger, much more functional and am walking better, and I know that this supplement is really helping me! Hair Mineral Analysis (April 2001) has shown that I am low in Sulphur and also quite high in Mercury so this all adds up (as Sulphur will also help detoxify my body of the Mercury). I am also taking a chelated MANGANESE supplement and extra MANGNESIUM CITRATE as Hair Mineral Analysis has shown deficiency in these minerals. People with MS are often deficient in Magnesium and Manganese is helpful to balance!
Please Email me and tell me what vitamins & supplements have helped you?
(my biggest STUMBLING BLOCK)
GARLIC CONCENTRATE CAPSULES (ODOURLESS) - (Equiv. 3000mg fresh garlic bulb) or the REAL STUFF! I have found that garlic helps me to avoid anti-biotics as it contains an antimicrobial agent known as ALLICIN (which gives it it's pungent smell!). It also helps me to ward off colds and other infections as it boosts the immune system so I now make GARLIC an essential part of my diet. GARLIC also inhibits yeast (CANDIDA) infections. For more information visit (The Garlic Information Centre.)
CRANBERRY CONCENTRATE CAPSULES- 300mg- Cranberry has been proven to help treat UTI's. However I avoid drinking Cranberry juice because of the high sugar content. I have taken the capsules but I'm not sure as to how much they have helped me personally.
GRAPE FRUIT SEED EXTRACT (GFSE)- (Citricidal Liquid Concentrate)- This liquid antibacterial, taken in water, tastes very bitter but I have found it very effective in flushing out UTI's. 10-15 drops can be taken 3X a day. GFSE also is effective in treating CANDIDA.
I also make sure I drink lots of WATER, avoid drinking too much FRUIT JUICE (which can irritate the bladder), have the occasional drink of LEMON BARLEY WATER and often take EXTRA VITAMIN C (shown to help treat UTI's)
If the UTI has got very bad, I have to take ANTIBIOTICS to get on top of it as quickly as possible. After a course of these tablets I make sure I take PROBIOTICS (ACIDOPHILUS). Antibiotics not only fight the infection but also kill off the friendly beneficial bacteria (lactobacilli, bifidobacteria) and so can upset the bodies natural defences. This can lead to the growth of 'unfriendly' bacteria, yeast, and molds, like CANDIDA. (causing THRUSH, INFECTIONS, FATIGUE, BLOATING, and ALLERGIES etc.) ACIDOPHILUS can be taken to REPLEMISH the GUT FLORA, and re-dress the balance.
In 2001 I have managed to avoid bad UTI's by relying on CRANBERRY and ALOE VERA JUICE! I am determined from now on to avoid the vicious cycle of the frequent use of antibiotics which simply make me more prone to further UTI's and mess up the healthy flora in the gut leaving me wide open to attacks of MS and very ill and anxious.
I am also treating the CANDIDA condition I have (shown up from stool tests) through the supplements (GOLDEN SEAL ROOT& raw GARLIC) and an anti-candida diet. I am also having COLON THERAPY (June 2001) and boy was I clogged up! Although after the sessions I feel very washed out (both literally and figuratively), the day after I am fine and subsequently have been feeling less bloated, less fatigued and more flexible and healthy. I would recommend a session of Colonic Irrigation to anyone who suffers fatigue, candida, or constipation. Avoiding UTI's, antibiotics and healing candida and the gut is my focus from now on. I know this is the path to follow to my goals of stability, even better health, greater strength and improved mobility!!
I AM NOT A TRAINED NUTRITIONIST. ALL THE ABOVE INFORMATION HAS COME EITHER FROM BOOKS/ARTICLES I HAVE READ OR VITAMINS/SUPPLEMENTS PRESCRIBED FOR ME PERSONALLY BY A TRAINED NUTRITION CONSULTANT. AS EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT I BELIEVE EACH INDIVIDUAL MUST WORK OUT WHAT VITAMINS/SUPPLEMENTS THEIR BODY NEEDS. PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT I DO NOT ADVOCATE TAKING MORE THE RDA (RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE) OF ANY VITAMIN, WITHOUT SEEKING PROFESSIONAL ADVISE FIRST.