Doctor Reverses MS in 9 Months by Eating These Specific Foods

By Dr. Mercola
Published: 12/23/2011

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, degenerative disease of the nerves in your brain and spinal column, caused through a demyelization process.

Myelin is the insulating, waxy substance around the nerves in your central nervous system.

When the myelin is damaged by an autoimmune disease or self-destructive process in your body, the function of those nerves deteriorate over time, resulting in a number of symptoms, including:

MS may progress steadily, or acute attacks may be followed by a temporary remission of symptoms.

In the video above, Dr. Terry Wahls tells the inspiring story of how she reversed multiple sclerosis after seven years of deterioration on the best conventional treatments available -- simply by changing her diet!

Nutrition for Your Brain and Central Nervous System

Through her research into MS, Dr. Wahls discovered that, for some unknown reason, in addition to the commonly known symptoms, MS patients' brains also tend to shrink. This roused her curiosity, and led her to research other diseases that have similar brain shrinkage, namely Huntington's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease. One common denominator is poorly functioning mitochondria. Mitochondria are like little 'batteries' in your cells that manage the energy supply to the cell, and unless you consume the correct nutrients, eventual mitochondrial malfunction is the obvious result.

She discovered that three nutrients in particular are essential for proper mitochondrial function:

Just by adding those three to her diet, her decline began to slow. But she wasn't improving, so she continued sleuthing through the medical research in search for an answer. When she discovered the Institute for Functional Medicine, Dr. Wahl began to find more clues.

As mentioned earlier, myelin is an insulating, waxy substance that sheathes the nerves in your central nervous system. Your myelin also needs specific nutrients to function properly, such as:

Furthermore, the neurotransmitters in your brain need sulfur and B6 for optimal functioning. Eventually, Dr. Wahls designed her own eating plan, based on the nutrients she now knew she needed for optimal mitochondrial-, myelin-, and neurotransmitter function, because while your body can create some nutrients, others must be provided through your diet.

A Paleo Diet Success Story

The majority of Americans eat high amounts of processed foods, which are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, grains, and harmful chemical additives of all kinds, such as MSG, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Unfortunately, this kind of diet is a near-foolproof prescription for chronic disease… Not only are you getting lots of what you don't need, you're quite simply not getting enough real nutrients!

While two-thirds of American adults are now either overweight or obese, many if not most of them are also, simultaneously, malnourished.

According to the graph shown during Dr. Wahls speech, less than half of all Americans get enough vitamin B6 and magnesium in their diet. More than 70 percent do not get sufficient amounts of iodine, and a whopping 80 percent do not get enough omega-3 fat from their diet. This, by the way, is why animal-based omega-3 is one of the few supplements I recommend to virtually everyone.  In comparison, ancient peoples and natives around the world who have not significantly altered their diet over time, consume anywhere between two-fold to 10-fold the amount of today's recommended daily allowances (RDA) of nutrients!

Dr. Wahls altered her diet to reflect the Paleo-style diet of the hunter-gatherers of old as follows:

She eliminated processed foods, grains, and starches (which includes potatoes and corn). Amazingly, she began to notice significant improvement in just three months, and at the nine-month mark of her new diet, she was able to go on an 18-mile bike ride! This is astounding when you consider that over the past seven years her condition had deteriorated to the point that she had to sit in a reclined zero-gravity chair and could only walk short distances using two canes.

That is the power of nutrition!

I'd like to add a few suggestions though. Two factors in particular that can have a profound impact are vitamin D and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Vitamin D deficiency can play an important role in MS, and aspartame toxicity has been known to mimic diseases such as MS, so addressing these two items should be at the top of your list—in addition to improving your diet, of course; not in lieu of dietary changes.

The Links Between Lack of Sun Exposure, Epstein-Barr Virus, and MS

Optimizing your vitamin D levels, which is one of the best things you can do for your health in general, is also one of the best preventive strategies against autoimmune diseases like MS.

A large number of studies have confirmed that your risk of MS increases the farther away you live from the equator. In fact, a lack of sunlight was identified as a risk factor for MS as early as 1922. Within the United States, your risk of developing MS roughly doubles if you spend your childhood—up to the age of 15—in northern states than if you live in the south.

Another previously established risk factor is the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes glandular fever. Over a decade ago, German researchers demonstrated the association between EBV and MS, showing that in contrast to control populations, 100 percent of MS patients had antibodies against EBV! The authors suggested that EBV might play an indirect role in MS as an activator of the underlying disease process.

In one recent study, published in the journal Neurology, researchers assessed the relationship between ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) exposure in British MS patients.

Using English national Hospital Episode Statistics, they obtained the prevalence of MS and infectious mononucleosis (caused by the Epstein-Barr virus) during the seven-year period from 1998 to 2005. The UVB intensity data was collected from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration. After evaluating the relationships between these three variables: MS prevalence, Epstein-Barr virus prevalence, and UVB intensity, they found that UVB exposure alone could explain 61 percent of the variations of MS cases across England.

When they combined UVB exposure and incidence of glandular fever, 72 percent of the variations could be explained.

The authors concluded that:

"UVB exposure and infectious mononucleosis (IM) together can explain a substantial proportion of the variance of MS. The effect of UVB on generating vitamin D seems the most likely candidate for explaining its relationship with MS. There is a pressing need to investigate the role of vitamin D and EBV and how they might interact to influence MS risk to identify potential prevention strategies."

Guidelines for Optimizing Your Vitamin D Levels

Ideally, you'll want to optimize your vitamin D levels by getting regular sun exposure (either outdoors or using a safe tanning bed) as your skin also creates vitamin D sulfate, which is water soluble and can travel freely throughout your body. As Dr. Wahls mentions, sulfur is one of the essential nutrients missing in MS, and according to research by Dr. Stephanie Seneff, vitamin D supplements are unlikely to provide the identical benefits that you get when exposing large amounts of skin to the sun, as oral vitamin D supplements are unsulfated. 

Still, studies using oral vitamin D supplements have had positive results, so if you don't have access to regular sun exposure, taking a supplement would definitely be wise. One such study, published in 2004, found that women who took vitamin D-containing multivitamin supplements were 40 percent less likely to develop MS than women who did not supplement. Keep in mind that this study was based on FAR lower vitamin D dosages than what we now know are needed, so if you optimize your levels, you're likely to reduce your risk by more than 40 percent…

From my point of view, there's simply no question that one of the most important physical steps you can take to control your health is to make sure your vitamin D levels are optimized to between 50-70 ng/ml year-round for general health, and between 70-100 ng/ml when treating autoimmune diseases such as MS, heart disease, or cancer.

As for dosage, if you're taking an oral supplement, it's important to understand that there's no dosage at which "magic" happens. The most important factor is your serum level, so you'll want to 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. That said, based on the most recent research by GrassrootsHealth—an organization that has greatly contributed to the current knowledge on vitamin D through their D* Action Study—it appears as though most adults need about 8,000 IU's of vitamin D a day.

The Dangers of Aspartame

According to some experts, such as Dr. Russell Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, the damage caused by ingesting excessive amounts of aspartic acid from aspartame can cause serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.

Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound to proteins) it significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate.

Dr. Wahls mentions the importance of antioxidants for proper cell- and brain function. The aspartate and glutamate in aspartame have the opposite impact. Too much aspartate or glutamate in your brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. This is why aspartate and glutamate are referred to as "excitotoxins," as they "excite" or stimulate your neural cells to death. Aspartame also rapidly metabolizes to methanol, another potent neurotoxin.

Aspartame toxicity often reveals itself through central nervous system disorders and compromised immunity, and can mimic the symptoms of and/or worsen several diseases that fall into these broad categories.

Multiple sclerosis

Parkinson's disease

Alzheimer's disease

Fibromyalgia

Arthritis

Multiple chemical sensitivity

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Attention deficit disorder

Panic disorder

Depression and other psychological disorders

Lupus

Diabetes and diabetic complications

Birth defects

Lymphoma

Lyme disease

Hypothyroidism

How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis Without Dangerous Drugs

The conventional treatment plan for MS includes extremely toxic medications, such as:

It is my strong recommendation to not use these drugs, as they are some of the most toxic drugs used in the field of medicine. Dr. Wahls is a poster-child for the complete lack of benefit gleaned from such drug treatments, and the profound healing that can be achieved using nutrition, and her dietary recommendations are spot-on.

Below is a summary of my lifestyle recommendations for MS. Many are identical to the general-health principles I've been teaching for years, but a few stand out as being specifically applicable to the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as MS.

If you haven't yet grasped the toxic nature and profound health dangers of fructose, now's the time to get with it. Sugar can contribute to the development of a number of autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis. It also increases uric acid levels, which leads to chronic, low-level inflammation, which has far-reaching consequences for your health.

Source:  The Paleo Diet