Integrative Health Blog

Hope for Sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis: Reversing the Risk Factors

Posted by admin on Fri, Jan 13, 2012

Chas Gant  MD, PhD

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, severe, usually progressive, autoimmune, demyelinating, mildly inheritable disease of the central nervous system which many studies suggest is rapidly increasing in prevalence and incidence[1]. The earliest symptoms of MS include psychological distress, fatigue, numbness, impaired vision, loss of balance, weakness and even bladder dysfunction, and they usually begin in early adulthood. With conventional management of MS, these symptoms can wax and wane for up to 30 years, but in roughly 50% of all cases MS steadily progresses to severe disability and premature death killing about 3,000 Americans a year.  MS is named for the many scars it produces in the brain and spinal cord as white blood cells (T cells) attack the myelin insulation around neurons.  MS afflicts between 250,000 and 350,000 Americans per year.

Drug therapies can slow progression of MS but usually cannot put it into prolonged remission. The multiplicity of probable or proven risk factors - toxic (e.g., heavy metals), infectious (e.g., herpes), psycho-emotional, gastro-intestinal, allergic (e.g., gluten), lifestyle and nutritional - risk factors which undoubtedly worsen MS, and the power of integrative medicine to neutralize such causalities, should offer new hope for MS sufferers.  For example, long-term, hyperbaric oxygen therapy alone has been shown to slow or remit the disease[2],[3], and applying hyperbaric oxygen simultaneously with nutritional intravenous therapies (Relox therapy) is likely to accelerate healing of MS even more.

Advances in Functional Medicine and Genomics[4] should excite even more hope for those suffering from MS as well as their families, because now the unique, toxic, infectious, cognitive-emotional, gastro-intestinal, allergic, endocrine, lifestyle and nutritional risk factors in each individual can be sorted out. Through state-of-the-art, laboratory, diagnostic testing, Functional Medicine and Predictive Genomics allows clinicians and patients to co-design a long term recovery plan which focuses on the reversing the specific risk factors in each unique patient with MS.  By targeting treatment to specific risk factors, instead of guessing based on statistically possible factors or clinical hunches, a wide array of possible causative risk factors can be honed down to several likely candidates, thus saving money, lessening side effects and increasing efficacy.  If you would like more information on an Integrative and Functional Medicine approach to MS, contact us and/or read the Medline-published review by Dr. Parris Kidd[5].

[2] Fischer BH, Marks M, Reich T. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of multiple sclerosis. New Engl J Med 1983;308:181-186.

[3] Perrins DJD, James PB. Long-term study on hyperbaric oxygenation for multiple sclerosis. Bedford, United Kingdom: Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centers; 1996: website

[5] Parris M. Kidd, PhD (2001) Multiple Sclerosis, An Autoimmune Inflammatory Disease: Prospects for its Integrative ManagementAlternative Medicine Review, Volume 6, Number 6

Topics: functional medicine, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, multiple sclerosis