Could Food be Alternative Medicine for Multiple Sclerosis?
In 2000, Dr. Terry Wahls was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic disease for which there is no known cure. A physician, she sought out the best doctors and the latest drugs. But, her condition continued to decline. Once a Tai Kwon Do champion, she descended to a world of disability relegated to a tilt recline wheel chair on the verge of being bedridden.
In an effort to help herself, she turned to the research. She learned that brains afflicted with MS shrank over time. So every night she read the latest research about diseases in which the brain shrinks including Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. She learned that in each of these diseases, the Mitochondria do not work well. She found studies in mice that showed fish oil, creatine and co-enzyme Q 10 were beneficial. She extrapolated the doses for humans and used herself as a guinea pig.
Encouraged as her decline slowed, she continued to study brain cell biology. In medical school, she explains in the video below, she memorized countless reactions involving the mitochondria but she didn’t learn which vital compounds her body could manufacture and which she needed to consume.
Additional study led her to add B vitamins, sulfur and antioxidant supplements to her daily regiment. But, she concluded if she got the nutrients she was seeking from food she’d probably get many more “unidentified” nutrients that might be beneficial as well. She adopted an ancient hunter gather (or Paleo) diet of organic, local and fresh leaves, roots, berries, meats and fish. She was careful to include all the nutrients she needed for her brain cells and mitochondria.
Her diet included three cups of green leaves, three cups of sulfur rich vegetables (includes cabbage family of broccoli, cauliflower and kale and onions, mushrooms and asparagus), three cups of bright colors (ie peppers, carrots, beets, berries and brightly colored fruits) grass fed meats, organ meats, wild fish and seaweed.
Three months after adopting this diet she could walk between exam rooms using one cane, five months later she rode her bike for the first time in a decade and nine months later she rode 18 miles.
“These ancient peoples know more about eating for optimal health and vitality then we physicians and scientists.” She says. For more information, there are many books about ancient diets including The Paleo Diet or The Primal Blueprint.
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