Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, degenerative disease of the nerves in the brain and spine. The disease causes the body to attack an insulating substance around nerve cells called myelin. When the myelin is damaged, the function of the nerves deteriorate, resulting in muscle weakness, imbalance or loss of coordination, vision loss, and tremors. Research is now showing that the disease can be reversed by adopting a paleolithic diet (primarily meat, veggies, and nuts), optimizing vitamin D levels, and avoiding artificial ingredients, especially aspartame.
It is now understood that environmental factors, especially diet, play a large role in the development of this degenerative disease. The Paleo Diet, consisting of organic, whole foods from grass-fed meats, vegetables, fermented foods, and nuts, is packed with nutrients that protect the nervous and immune systems. The Paleo Diet is high in B vitamins, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids (animal based EPA and DHA) that support mitochondrial function and myelin growth and repair.
What to add
Another vital nutrient, vitamin D, is critical not only to prevent heart disease, cancer, and other lifestyle diseases, but also for MS prevention and care. New research has shown that the birth month of a baby as well as the mother’s vitamin D levels are involved in the future risk of MS in the child. The study demonstrates that those who were born after the winter months in April or May were significantly more likely to have MS than those born after the sunny, summer months in October or November.
This study, in conjunction with many other studies that confirm the risk of MS decreases the closer you live to the equator (and vice versa), demonstrate a link between vitamin D levels and the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis. The mechanism behind vitamin D’s protective effects is related to its regulation of the chemical messengers, cytokines, which modulate the immune system and inflammation in the body.
What to remove
While supporting the body with all of these beneficial nutrients, it is equally important to remove artificial food additives, especially aspartame, from the diet. Aspartame is made up of aspartic acid and a phenylalanine molecule synthetically bonded with a methyl group. The methanol is what makes aspartame taste sweet. The bond holding the methyl group to phenylalanine breaks easily at temperatures higher than 85 degrees. Once separated, the methanol can travel inside any cell of the body. In some cells (like liver and heart cells), it can then broken down into formaldehyde, a toxin that can pass the blood-brain and placental barriers.
Alcohol dehydrogenase is an enzyme that converts methanol into formaldehyde in the cytoplasm of the cell. This can even happen next to the nucleus where the formaldehyde can easily damage DNA. Every animal has cell structures called peroxisomes that break down toxic molecules like formaldehyde, except for humans. In fact, only alcohol can prevent the metabolization of methanol, potentially being correlated with studies that demonstrate moderate alcohol consumption has beneficial health effects. Nonetheless, ingested aspartame results in toxic methanol and formaldehyde inside cells in the brain and throughout the body, causing destruction to the nervous system, brain tissue, and immune system.
All food additives, sweeteners, flavorings, preservatives, and colors have been linked with mental health and nervous system disorders like Multiple Sclerosis. Avoiding processed foods will help reduce your risk of disease. For those with MS, avoiding these toxic foods while eating paleolithic-type foods and getting extra vitamin D will help to prevent the development of the disease and allow the body to heal naturally.
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About the author:
Katherine Leonard is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for supporting people as they transform their lifestyles and focus on wellness. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Chicago and an MS in Holistic Nutrition from Hawthorn University. She is a certified First Line Therapy Lifestyle Educator and helps her clients regain their health by adopting a nourishing lifestyle. Katherine is a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and is in the process of becoming Board Certified (expected early 2013).
Katherine believes that optimal health is achieved through organic whole foods, a toxin-free environment, stress management, and physical activity. Her passion is to design personalized programs to help others live nourishing lifestyles.
For more information and to sign up for a complimentary 15-minute consultation, visit www.holistic-nourishment.com. Follow her on Facebook: facebook.com/HolisticNourishment Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhytoNutrition
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