When it comes how people approach their health, it is not one size fits all. Each person has to find what works best for them. For me, I choose to follow a more natural holistic approach, including regular excerise, stress management, a balanced diet, and supplements to specifically treat my MS as well as my overall health as a 43 year old woman. Before I got involved with my health, nutrition, and supplementation, I found most of it very complicated. So I am going to summarize the supplements most recommended by medical professionals, the ones I take specifically, and why they are important.
1. VITAMIN D (more than just sunshine)
Studies show that MS cases cluster at extreme northern and southern latitudes. This led to speculation that sunlight conferred protection against autoimmunity. In fact, several studies have now confirmed a of high-dose vitamin D in MS. 10,000 IU per day seems safe for most people, but those considering higher doses should do so under the supervision of a health practitioner. I take 5,000 IU daily
2.OMEGA FATTY ACIDS (Not all fish oil is created equally)
There’s strong scientific rationale for neuro-protection by EPA and, especially, DHA. The success of the various MS diets might be due, at least in part, to swapping out “bad” hydrogenated fats for healhy omega 3’s from cod liver oil (rich in D, too) and fish. It can also help with depression, which can affect as many as 50% of people with MS.
3. PYCNOGENOL: (My MS Miracle)
Another star player in the antioxidant constellation is pycnogenol, a potent extract of pine bark, rich in proanthocyanidins. In trials with MS patients, pycnogenol has demonstrated a profound anti-inflammatory effect. In the UK (where natural options are more supported) there has been huge success with patients regaining mobility.
5. BIOTIN: Known for its role in supporting nail, skin and hair health, biotin is now being investigated as a potential drug for the most resistant form of MS—progressive MS. But the dosage used is far higher than available in conventional supplements—300 milligrams per day and more. When used at these levels, biotin requires physician supervision, because high blood levels can lead to misleading blood test results.
6. COQ10: Since mitochondrial energy deficits may underlie neurological impairments in MS, CoEnzyme Q10 is a logical candidate for MS support. A recent double-blind placebo controlled trial examined the effect of high-dose CoQ10 (500 mg per day) on fatigue and depression in MS patients. After 12 weeks, significant improvements were seen.
7. VITAMIN B3: Another pathway that supports energy production in the brain is via NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). Thus vitamin B3—nicotinamide—is essential for mitochondrial function. I choose a B-complex to include the other B's that he support my energy and feeling of well being.
8. Probiotics: According to mounting research evidence, a distinct gut-brain connection is at the root of many neurological disorders from autism to Alzheimer’s Disease. A recent study indeed confirms that probiotic administration can ease the symptoms of MS.
Medical Director at NYU Langone Medical Center, Dr. Steven Lamm, on Health and the benefits of using Pycnogenol.