Multiple Sclerosis, An Autoimmune Inflammatory Disease: Prospects for its Integrative Management
Abstract Multiple sclerosis (MS) is aptly named for the many scars it produces in the brain and spinal cord. A sometimes fatal, often debilitating disease, MS features autoimmune inflammatory attack against the myelin insulation of neurons. Thymus derived (T) cells sensitized against myelin self-antigens secrete tumor necrosis factor, cytokines, prostaglandins, and other inflammatory mediators that strip away the myelin and sometimes destroy the axons. Familial and twin inheritance studies indicate MS is mildly heritable. No single MS locus has been identified, but an HLA haplotype has been implicated. Unique geographic distribution of the disease is best attributed to some combination of vitamin D abnormality and dietary patterns. No pharmaceutical or other therapies exist that confer prolonged remission on MS, and obvious interrelationships between toxic, infectious, and dietary factors make a persuasive case for integrative management. The time-proven MS diet meticulously keeps saturated fats low, includes three fish meals per week, and eliminates allergenic foods. Dietary supplementation for MS minimally requires potent vitamin supplementation, along with the thiol antioxidants, the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and adaptogenic phytonutrients. Gut malabsorption and dysbiosis can be corrected using digestive enzymes and probiotics. Long-term hyperbaric oxygen therapy can slow or remit the disease. Transdermal histamine offers promise, and adenosine monophosphate may sometimes benefit. Chronic viruses and other infectious load must be aggressively treated and exercise should maintain muscle tone and balance. Early intervention with integrative modalities has the potential to make MS a truly manageable disease.