The National Multiple Sclerosis Society began in 1946 as the Association for Advancement of Research on Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month began in March 2003 as an effort to coordinate the fundraising and awareness raising activities of multiple MS -related groups. It is an important time to pause and support with our time and money, efforts to combat this potentially devastating disease.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that can cause weakness, fatigue, decreased balance, cognitive deficits and decreased vision. It is an auto immune disorder in which the lining of the nervous system of the brain and peripheral nerves are affected. Think of it as wiring losing it’s insulating sheath and nerves losing their ability to transmit electrical signals.
I am a great advocate of empowering patients to do as much of their can for themselves. One of the ways in which patients can help themselves is by adjusting their diet. This includes eating an overall healthy balanced diet and correcting vitamin deficiencies. Both probiotics and prebiotics however are essential. I have spoken of this before but the role of gut bacteria to our overall health cannot be overstated.
Our gut flora consist of countless micro-organisms that live in our intestines. We are truly “More them than us”. Unhealthy gut flora contributes to a wide range of immune disorders, including Multiple Sclerosis. Probiotics improve our gut flora and may strengthen our immune system.
Unsurprisingly, a primarily plant-based, high-fiber diet is the best. This consist of food such as colorful vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes. This diet will nourish your gut bacteria and have added positive effects. These include regular bowel movements with decreased transit time of your stool, and better weight management and blood pressure control.
Historically our hunter gatherer ancestors ate up to 200 different plant varieties. Currently the American diet, contains less than five plant varieties. This often includes potatoes which really shouldn’t count.
It always comes back to the fact that to be healthy you should eat primarily a plant-based diet containing multiple varieties of multiple colored foods. Avoid processed foods and concentrated sugars.