Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, progressive disease where the sheath surrounding the nerve cells in the brain disrupts communication between the body and the brain. The immune system turns on itself and begins to attack the nerve cells, progressively weakening the signals they send. Thankfully there are multiple sclerosis natural treatments that may work for you.
Finding multiple sclerosis natural treatments
Just under 200,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis every year. Some patients may have extreme symptoms that worsen rapidly, while others have few symptoms that are mild. Treatments for multiple sclerosis generally include immunosuppressants to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis. Many patients find that multiple sclerosis natural treatments are the key to managing symptoms and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.
1. Take the sunshine vitamin
Some studies have pointed to vitamin D deficiency as a primary predictor of multiple sclerosis and its speed of progression. More people are spending more time indoors, which means the natural source of vitamin D is often not enough. If you can, spend at least 20 minutes outside with your skin exposed to the light. If this is not possible, make sure you are getting your recommended daily allowance of vitamin D through food or supplements.
2. Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet
Omega-3 fatty acids help protect brain health and are a multiple sclerosis natural treatment option that can help not only treat symptoms but also to slow the progression of the disease. Omega-3s can be found in flaxseeds and fatty, cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel but can also be taken in therapeutic doses at up to three grams daily.
3. Get a regular massage
In addition to its stress-relieving benefits, massage stimulates blood flow and increases circulation in the lymphatic system. This helps to keep the immune system healthy.
4. Go green
Add more leafy green vegetables – kale, spinach, Swiss chard – to your diet. These vegetables offer tons of nutrients that can be utilized in the body.
5. As much as possible, eliminate processed foods
When we consume processed foods, our bodies have to work hard to separate nutrition from additives, preservatives, and chemicals used to turn whole foods into convenience foods. In addition, processed foods are loaded with fat, sugar, and salt that the body simply does not need. Eliminating processed foods and eating whole foods can help maintain a healthy weight while providing all the nutrition needed to support a healthy immune system.
Yes, exercise is a crucial multiple sclerosis natural treatment. As the disease progresses, muscles may begin to atrophy from disuse. The brain struggles to send movement signals to keep them engaged. In the early stages of multiple sclerosis, weight lifting to build muscles and yoga or tai chi to maintain balance and stability are important parts of treatment. Full-body exercise like elliptical exercise and swimming are also a great way to stay strong.
7. Stay alkaline
Acidic water (and beverages that are acidic like juices and soda) contribute to inflammation in the body. Raise your pH level by consuming alkaline water to decrease inflammation.
8. Eliminate inflammation-causing foods
This can be different for different people. Common inflammation-causing foods include gluten, dairy, and sugar. These are the biggest culprits, but some people also find inflammation is caused by red meat, preservatives (nitrates, sulfites, etc.), fried foods (excessive oil), and artificial sweeteners.
9. Add anti-inflammatory foods
Anti-inflammatory foods are those foods that work to decrease or eliminate inflammation in the body. This can be an easy and delicious multiple sclerosis natural treatment! Add spices like ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon to your menu and eat plenty of whole grains and healthy fats (nuts, olive oil, etc.) every day!
10. Supplement with cranberry
Urinary symptoms can especially affect women with multiple sclerosis. Supplementing with cranberry can keep the urinary tract healthy and help to prevent urinary tract infection, one of the more common complications of multiple sclerosis.
11. Try acupuncture
Chinese medicine believes that acupuncture and its needle insertion points can help the body heal itself. This multiple sclerosis natural treatment has a very low risk for side effects and has been shown to be helpful for lower back pain that may be a side effect of multiple sclerosis.
12. Lower your body temperature
One of the primary (and most uncomfortable) symptoms of multiple sclerosis is the body’s inability to deal with heat. Drinking cold beverages and keeping the air conditioning on (or opening a window in the cooler months) can help keep you cool. If overheating is a big problem, cooling vests can also help. The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America may provide cooling vests for you if you qualify.
13. Put some thought into it
Meditation may not make the symptoms of multiple sclerosis go away, but this easy, risk-free natural treatment may help you change the way you think about them. Stress relief and a lowered perception of pain are just two of the benefits of meditation.
14. Change your life
A multiple sclerosis diagnosis can be life-changing – in a good way. While no one would wish to be forced to change their lifestyle due to a progressive illness, this can be a prime opportunity to quit smoking, eat better, exercise more, and cut back on drinking. These lifestyle changes will increase overall health and wellness. They can also give you a sense of well-being that you may not have had before your diagnosis. Now is the time to get the whole family involved in making healthy changes.
As always, before making any diet, exercise, or supplementation changes, talk to your doctor to see what’s right for you. If you or a family member are living with multiple sclerosis, what natural treatments have worked for you?