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Beyond Suppression: A Naturopathic Approach To Healing From Multiple Sclerosis

August 18, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 77

Nerves are like wires. They conduct an electrical signal from one area of the body to another. Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an autoimmune condition where the person's immune system is making antibodies that are attacking the myelin cover of nerve cells. Progressive damage to the nerves affects their ability to conduct signals resulting in a number of possible symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the arms, legs, or face, loss of sensation, weakness or clumsiness of the legs or hands, slight stiffness and easily fatiguing legs, burning electric pains, partial loss of vision, eye pain, urinary incontinence, dizziness, and depression. Symptoms tend to be exacerbated by heat and initially the symptoms come and go. As this can occur for a few years, many people try to ignore it until the dis-ease process progresses and the symptoms become constant.

MS affects roughly 1 in 700 in the United States. It is more common in Caucasian women, but does affect men as well. The symptoms of MS typically begin between ages 20-40.

One approach to treatment is to block and suppress the immune system from producing antibodies while palliating the symptoms of nerve damage. The naturopathic approach to treatment goes a step further and pursues the reasons why the immune system is imbalanced and attacking the body. Because there are various possibilities for this, the circumstances of each person's case needs to be individually considered.

Gluten and other food sensitivities are very common in people with MS. Over 80% of the immune system lines the digestive tract. Eating foods we are sensitive to leads to a chronically over stimulated immune system increasing the likelihood of producing auto-antibodies. Gluten is especially a problem because of its affinity for the nervous system. Food sensitivity lab tests can be done to determine if this is a contributing factor for a person with MS.

Vitamin D and sunlight play a role in the development of MS. The prevalence of MS decreases as we move closer to the equator. It does not occur near the equator. Where a person grew up is also significant. Spending the first 15 years of life near the equator than moving to a more northern latitude seems to be protective, but the opposite is not the case.

Eating fish and omega 3 essential fatty acid intake are a factor as well. MS is not common in coastal communities that eat a lot of fish. Omega 3 EFA's, which wild caught fish are high in, are anti-inflammatory, balance immune function, and support the health of the nervous system. The myelin cover on nerves is mostly made of fats. Eating too much of the wrong types of fats promotes inflammation, an over active immune system, and decreased nerve health.

Multiple Sclerosis can be a debilitating condition. In addition to what was highlighted above, there are many possible contributing factors that need to be evaluated by your doctor. There are treatment options in addition to palliating symptoms and slowing the progression of the dis-ease process. If you are experiencing symptoms, do not wait to see a doctor.

Dr. Lou Walters is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Montana practicing at The Source Wellness Center. He earned his doctorate degree at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), where he graduated summa cum laude. Dr. Walters is certified in homeopathy from the New England School of Homeopathy and Applied Kinesiology from the International College of Applied Kinesiology.

Source: EzineArticles
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