Food, Big Pharma & Multiple Sclerosis

Photo by Orcearo | Envato Elements

A Lucrative Market

MS means big money. Over one million people have MS in the United States and over 2.3 million globally.

“Although we don’t understand the causes of MS we do have some components of the jigsaw puzzle.”

The name of the disease translates as a description of the symptoms: hardening of the tissue or multiple scars. In a case of profound miscommunication, the immune system, our protector, attacks the central nervous system, mistaking the myelin sheaths that wrap around our nerves as a kind of virus.

The Case of Copaxone™

One of the more recent MS drugs, glatiramer acetate, is the generic name for Copaxone™ and is made by Teva Pharmaceuticals. It is commonly prescribed for people with relapsing-remitting conditions, the most common, and the usual precursor to more serious debilitation. In Australia, the drug costs over $1,000 for one month’s prescription, most of which is borne by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Food and Lifestyle Treatments

At the same time, that big pharma chases the next treatment, and organizations like the MS Research Association (MSRA) conduct studies looking for the cause and cure of MS, a wave of medical practitioners and scientists are taking a different approach.

Dairy — A No-Go

Among the ‘health food’ myths is Milk. Long-held for its high calcium properties, dairy is thought to be a likely suspect in the case of MS attacks.

Vegan and Vegetarianism

Jelinek’s recommendation? A low-fat vegan lifestyle with seafood, exercise, and meditation.

Nutrition — The Building Block

Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Iowa, Dr. Terry Wahls, also broke ranks when she found that the best disease-modifying drugs available were having no impact on her disease progression.

“Physicians like myself were very much in love with drugs, diets, and devices and we knew very little about nutrition or how to create real health,” she says in a video for Ancestral Health Symposium.

“In medical school, I had to memorise countless reactions involving my mitochondria. What I didn’t learn and wasn’t taught were what substrates my cells could make and what substrates I had to eat for those reactions to happen properly,” says Wahls. “To repair myelin, what your brain needs is vitamin B1, which is thiamine, B9, which is folate, B12, which is cobalamin, omega-3 fatty acids… and iodine.”

Different For Everyone

I have had MS since 1998. Having random elements of disability on an unpredictable basis is not really my thing. Playing the sympathy card doesn’t interest me either. I grew up with a stressed GP for a father and my first big word was hypochondriac.

Mind and Body Connections

Many people, including Wahls and Jelinek, talk about the mind-body connection and the importance of daily meditation.

Freelance writer. Composer of short fiction. Novelist.

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