MS or multiple sclerosis has been one of the most dreaded of diseases because of the progressive, crippling disabilities it causes. Alternative medicine, however, is revealing new, effective alternative treatments and methods for the treatment and prevention of MS.
Most of the multiple sclerosis information here comes from two nationally-known M.D.s who specialize in alternative medicine--Robert Jay Rowen, M.D., who practices in Santa Rosa, California, and Jonathan Wright, M.D. who practices in Tacoma, Washington. Both are hands-on practitioners who actually see the results, on their patients, of the multiple sclerosis treatments they recommend. Subscribers to their print newsletters, like me, have password access to their searchable Web sites. You can subscribe to Dr. Rowen's newsletter at www.secondopinionnewsletter.com. You can subscribe to Dr. Wright's newsletter at www.wrightnewsletter.com.
As I come across other sources, I'll add them. Read the following info on multiple sclerosis and check with your doctor.
Always check with your doctor before trying anything you read here. Everyone is different, and what might be good for some people might be bad for you, considering your medical history and medications.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
One of the most promising new multiple sclerosis treatments is hypberbaric oxygen therapy. It may be the closest thing to a natural multiple sclerosis cure available.
Dr. Richard Neubauer of Ocean Medical Center (954-771-4000) near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is likely the world’s leading authority of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), says Robert Jay Rowen, M.D. Around 30 years ago, while treating a MS multiple sclerosis patient with HBOT for bone infection, he discovered that the patient's MS symptoms improved significantly. He continued to treat MS patients with HBOT and got significant improvements.
How does it work? Patients are put into a chamber where they are surrounded by oxygen under pressure. Diseased areas are oxygen deprived, and HBOT delivers healing oxygen to every part of the body, including the brain, which uses the oxygen to heal. This is a greatly simplified explanation; check with your doctor for details.
Although dead cells cannot be restored, damaged cells can; that's why it's important to get treatment as early as possible. Even so, damaged cells can hang on for years, and then be treated with HBOT for potential restoration.
Dr. Neubauer reports that 70-80 percent of his MS patients will have stabilization of the disease or improvement with HBOT, and only 20-30 percent will not respond and will continue to deteriorate as per the usual progression of the disease. This compares to 80 percent progressive deterioration with no treatment or with orthodox treatments.
Dr. Neubauer's results on this multiple sclerosis therapy are being validated in the United Kingdom, where thousands of patients are receiving HBOT treatment at over 100 locations.
There is always skepticism and sometimes even outright hostility to alternative treatments, however. In the early 1980s, the MS society paid a Dr. B. Fischer $250,000 to study and discredit HBOT as an alternative treatment for multiple sclerosis. Dr. Fischer's findings, however, were favorable to HBOT, and he had the integrity to publish them in the New England Journal of Medicine. As a result, he lost his job and his HBO chamber. Several other articles have attempted to debunk HBOT as a treatment for multiple sclerosis, but Dr. Niebauer says they have methodological flaws.
Here are some actual MS cases treated with HBOT and their results:
Sandra Perlin-Lecher, PhD had multiple sclerosis for 15 years before HBOT. She was in a wheelchair, with loss of bladder function and brainpower, unable to walk or feed herself. After HBOT, her bladder function "returned immediately," her "thought process cleared up," and some of her arm function returned.
Board-certified neurologist Dr. Barbara Nelson tells of a 24-year-old male patient totally incapacitated in a wheelchair.
Dr. Nelson was able to get him into a near remission with conventional techniques of the tiem (19800, but he went into rapid regression at age 37, following a time of stress. All of this regression completely reversed within 10 treatments of low pressure HBOT with Dr. Neubauer. He continues to take occasional treatments to maintain his health. Dr. Neubauer says he sees this kind of improvement on a regular basis.
Neubauer has found that relatively low pressure HBOT (1.3 to 1.5 atmospheres) works best. Higher pressures may not work at all, and the studies finding no positive effects are largely using the higher pressures. Treatment can occur in a medical office, or new portable home units are available. Dr. Rowen says that his HBO provider, Dr. Todd Kaufmann, can help those who want their own unit. Dr. Kaufmann's phone number is 800-635-4334.
Sources: Second Opinion newsletter, the May 2003 issue and the June 2003 issue, by Robert Jay Rowen, M.D.
If you are a woman who has multiple sclerosis, you might also want to ask your doctor to check your levels of the three kinds of estrogen: estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Researchers have found that women with multiple sclerosis can be helped by alternative treatment with estriol.
It is well known that multiple sclerosis patients go into remission during pregnancy, but symptoms resume after childbirth. Some experts think that this effect is due to increased progesterone during pregnancy, which offsets estrogen. One group of researchers, however, wondered if the effect might be due to estriol instead of progesterone, so they treated 12 non-pregnant multiple sclerosis patients with estriol. The group of 12 was divided into relapsing-remitting MS or slowly progressive MS. This study began with six months of just observation--no treatment. Then there were six months of treatment with estriol, followed by six more months of just observation, and, finally, four months of estriol for the relapsing-remitting group only.
Although there were only small improvements in the slowly progressive group, there were significant improvements in the relapsing-remitting group. MS lesions decreased by 82 percent and the volume of those lesions decreased by 79 percent. When the women stopped the estriol, however, the number of lesions returned to pre-treatment levels. During the second period of treatment with estriol, the number of lesions decreased by 48 percent, with lesion volumes declining by 88 percent.
Jonathan Wright, M.D. says he has worked with some female multiple sclerosis patients, treating them with estriol, and they have gotten better. Estriol therapy is very safe, says Dr. Wright, and you might want to talk to your doctor about this alternative treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Source: Nutrition & Healing newsletter, June 2003, by Jonathan Wright, M.D.
Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D
One of the most interesting multiple sclerosis news stories is the seemingly direct correlation between risk levels for multiple sclerosis and blood levels of vitamin D.
Robert Jay Rowen, M.D., who has been looking at this for some time, says that the further away from the equator that you live, the higher your risk for MS. The high intensity sunlight at the equator provides high levels of vitamin D year round, while in northern climes, you get little or no vitamin D from sunlight during the winter months. This correlation has been known for years, yet no study was done to prove it.
Finally, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health checked blood samples from over seven million military personnel and focused on 315 definite cases of multiple sclerosis. What's important is that they found a 41% decrease in MS risk for every 50 nmol rise in serum (blood level) vitamin D. MS risk was highest in those with the lowest levels of vitamin D and lowest in those with the highest levels of vitamin D. Studying the samples taken before age 20, they also found that vitamin D deficiency during adolescence greatly increases risk for multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Rowen says that most doctors believe multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. Rowen, however, believes that MS is caused by an infection, and that vitamin D works against infection by strengthening the immune system.
A different 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supported blood levels of vitamin D at a minimum of 90 to 100 nmol to decrease risk of multiple sclerosis.
Although the NIH study authors admit that vitamin D supplements may be indicated, since half the white and two-thirds of the black U.S. population have have levels less than 70 nmol/L, they also say that "use of vitamin D supplements for MS prevention should not be undertaken until efficacy is proven."
Dr. Rowen, however, believes that many cases of multiple sclerosis could be prevented by taking vitamin D supplements, up to 5000 mg daily. No known toxicity exists at this level, he says. In fact, he recommends the 5000 mg supplement available from Healthy Resolve at 800-728-2288. Check with your doctor about this.
As a bonus, vitamin D is also known to prevent periodontal disease, works with calcium to prevent osteoporosis, and has other benefits related to hypertension and cancer.
Get Rid Of Aluminum
Newer research suggests a relationship between toxic metals and multiple sclerosis. Research at Keele University in England found that MS patients have very high levels of aluminum in their urine. Robert Rowen, M.D. suggests that if you have multiple sclerosis or any brain disease that you get tested for aluminum. He says a good test is a 500 mg injection of the aluminum-binding drug deferroxamine from your doctor. Then you collect your urine for 24 hours and have your doctor measure it for aluminum. Dr. Rowen says you can remove aluminum with silicon, a chelating nutrient. He likes BioSil (orthosilicic acid), and recommends six to 20 drops in half a glass of water once a day. You can find it on the Internet or maybe in your health food store.
Source; Special report: Health Dispatches and Late-Breaking Cures, 2006, by Robert Jay Rowen, M.D.
Researchers from Children's Hospital in Boston found that vitamin B3 can significantly reduce nerve damage in patients with multiple sclerosis. Experiments with mice showed that B3 protected their nerves from degeneration. Treatment with B3 even showed benefits in the chronic progressive phase of the disease. In mice, B3 appeared to protect nerves that had already lost their protective covering of myelin.
There have been no human trials yet, but B3 is a safe dietary supplement. Check with your doctor about whether it's right for you.
Source: Health E-Tips, January 10, 2007, from Jonathan Wright, M.D. . Sign up for free Health E-Tips at www.wrightnewsletter.com
Note that Robert Jay Rowen, M.D. recommends high doses of vitamins B1, B6, and B12 by injection, available from an integrative physician, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Check with your doctor.
In Tacoma, Washington, a dentist, Farrand Robson, DDS, is producing major relief for a variety of major health problems with a dental splint that enhances breathing and thus increases the body's intake of life-giving oxygen. Patients with sleep apnea, hypertension, back pain, fibromyalgia, TMJ, thoracic outlet syndrome and even multiple sclerosis symptoms have responded to this treatment. A 46-year-old contractor with visual field loss, leg numbness, leg pain, "walking like a drunk," and more, was sent to a neurologist, who found MS lesions in the white matter of his brain. He went to a prominent specialist in multiple sclerosis. Heavy doses of steroids damaged his retina, leaving him unable to read. He could not crush a potato chip in his left hand. He considered suicide because of his total physical disablement.
His wife, who had been helped by Dr. Robson for her neck pain, urged him to see the dentist. When the splint was placed in his mouth, he was immediately able to reach 170 pounds pressure on a grip meter. His vision improved immediately, although he also needed surgery for additional improvement.
Dr. Rowen wonderts if multiple sclerosis could be more than white matter lesions damaging the brain, as is now thought. Why is it, he wonders, that brain lesions are poorly correlated with MS symptoms and why do lesions suddenly come and go?
Dr. Rowen himself was treated by Dr. Robson for long-term upper back tension. X-rays showed an abnormal reversal in his neck curve that, he says, was protecting his airway. The x-ray also showed an obliterated disc at C6-7. After treatment, the C6-7 disc could be seen and the abnormal curve partially corrected itself. As a result, the one-half inch of height loss he had noticed was restored. You can find out if there's a dentist in your area by calling Dr. Robson at 1-800-977-1945, or if you are in the Tacoma, Washington area, call 253-272-8651.
Source: Second Opinion newsletter, February 2004, by Robert Jay Rowen, M.D.
EPL Essential Phospholipids
Eating the wrong fats can damage your brain, says Robert Jay Rowen, M.D., while eating the right fats can provide benefits to your brain.
These good fats are called essential phospholipids, or EPL, and they carry an essential fatty acid that can actually replace the bad fats you've been storing. Therefore, EPLs not only stop disease; in some cases they can reverse it. Diseases that benefit from EPLs include multiple sclerosis, ALS, autism, Parkinson's Disease and more.
For example, an MS patient named Rebecca had to use a cane to walk due to a spastic right leg. Her symptoms had waxed and waned since her diagnosis in 1998. Her integrative physicians gave her glutathione intravenously and she had moderate improvement. As soon as Rebecca started the EPLs, in a special protocol, her gait normalized. She now needs only monthly maintenance.
The special protocol was developed by Dr. Patricia Kane. It's called the PK Protocol, after Dr. Kane's intravenous EPL treatment.
You can take EPL orally, but your stomach breaks down some of the ingredients essential to the treatment's success. Dr. Rowen says that: "While oral EPL supplements have tremendous benefits, especially in prevention and daily treatment, they simply don’t work as fast as intravenous EPL. And that’s where Dr. Kane’s protocol has pushed EPL treatment into a new dimension."
The PK protocol involves infusions of EPL in a branded product called LipoStabil, available from Germany. The treatment replaces the bad fats in your membranes with good essential fatty acids, creating younger,healthier membranes. First is the EPL (lipid exchange) infusion, which involves drawing up LipoStabil into a syringe. Then the therapist draws a few ccs of blood into the syringe and mixes it with the LipoStabil. And she slowly injects the mixture back into your body. She then gives an infusion of Leucovorin (a special type of folate), which is crucial for your DNA function and repair.
Finally, she administers up to 2,000 mg of glutathione by IV push (over 5-10 minutes). Glutathione is your body’s premier detoxifier.
Dr. Rowen usually recommends doing the PK protocol immediately following an oxidation treatment (like HBOT, described above) and then following the PK protocol with chelation. Each program must be tailor made for the individual. It’s vitally important to replenish your minerals and balance your intake of fatty acids. Often Dr. Kane will measure the fatty acids in your red cells. Then, she can adjust your intake of omega-3s and omega-6s to bring them back into balance.
Dr. Kane has trained scores of physicians in her methods. You or your physician can contact her Haverford Wellness Center in Philadelphia, PA at 610-924-0600 for training courses, physician referrals, or treatment.
I have just scratched the surface of this lengthy article. If you or a loved one has a brain disease, I recommend you get a copy of this newsletter. See www.secondopinionnewsletter.com for contact information.
Source: Second Opinion newsletter, May 2006, by Robert Jay Rowen, M.D.
Lyme Disease And Other Pathogens As Causes of Multiple Sclerosis
An interesting question: Is multiple sclerosis a unique disease, deserving the unique label "multiple sclerosis" or is it simply a set of symptoms that may have a number of different causes and different labels? For example, people who are being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinsons and other brain diseases may actually have Lyme disease, because the symptoms may be similar. In fact, the symptoms of Lyme disease are associated with over 300 different medical conditions, including MS, ALS, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Bell's Palsy, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and many more.
In 1995, Lida Mattman, PhD was researching the Lyme connection to other chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. She found that 43 of 47 chronically ill patients cultured tested positive for Bb (the abbreviation of Lyme disease’s scientific name), while 22 of 23 controls cultured tested negative. Since 1999, Mattman’s testing has shown Lyme in 100 percent of samples from chronic illness. For instance, Dr. Mattman has confirmed the presence of Bb in 100 percent of eight Parkinson’s cases, 41 cases of MS, 21 cases of ALS, and all tested cases of Alzheimer’s disease.
In 1996, Sue Massie developed scary symptoms, such as severe pain in her big toe, headaches, sinus infections, fatigue, and brain fog. She was disoriented and sensitive to light and noise. She had stiff neck, joint pain, dyslexia, and hallucinations. In 1999, she developed rapid onset of paralysis from the neck down.
She remembered a tick bite, but without the bulls-eye rash characteristic of Lyme disease. On her test for Lyme disease, she had only one of the required five bands that constitute a positive test, so she did not have a positive test by conventional standards.
Taking no chances, she went on antibiotics and natural cleansing. She mostly recovered, although she is still weak sometimes.
Here's something you probably didn't know: Lyme disease may be contagious. Sue's husband and four of her five children also had it, all of them with terrible symptoms. Conventional medicine believes only tick bites spread Lyme, but Dr. Rowen says he has found live Lyme spirochetes in mosquitoes, fleas, semen, vaginal secretions, urine and tears.
Lyme Disease may be difficult to diagnose because testing is inconclusive, due to the bug's ability to evade the body's immune system. The conventional antibody tests, which are based on immune response, can produce a false negative. The patient may have Lyme disease, even though the test says no. Lyme can hide out for long periods of time, producing baffling symptoms. It is also hard to kill. Most antibiotics kill organisms by destroying their cell walls, but Lyme doesn't have a cell wall. Only certain antibiotics are effective on Lyme.
The good news is that there is now a newer test for Lyme disease that is virtually 100 percent accurate. Dr. Joanne Whitaker, a specialist in infectious diseases, developed that test. Dr. Whitaker’s lab can be reached on the Internet at www.bowen.org or at 727-937-9077.
Two years after Dr. Rowen reported the information above in his newsletter, he came out with an update indicating that the Lyme bug is not the only microorgansim that can cause chronic inflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. The reason these discoveries are happening so slowly is that again, these are "stealth" bugs that hide from your immune system and from tests based on immune responses.
More good news: This class of sneaky bugs can be killed by certain antibiotics, such as Minocycline and Vibramycin. Ask your doctor about these tests and treatments and if these multiple sclerosis medications could work for you.
Sources: Second Opinion newsletter: November 2003, December 2003, June 2005, by Robert Jay Rowen, M.D.
Procarin is a histamine combined with a natural amino. It's available as a skin patch from a compounding pharmacy. Jonathan Wright, M.D. reports that at his Tahoma Clinic, 67% of multiple sclerosis patients treated with Procarin report at least one significant improvement in symptoms. More details on Procarin. You are likely to find a doctor who will prescribe it through the American College for Advancement in Medicine at (800) 532-3688.
Calcium aminoethylphosphate, also known as CaEAP, is an injectable supplement that causes improvement in most of the multiple sclerosis patients who take it. Of 293 people surveyed who tried it, 235 noticed improvement on an average of 13 out of 36 symptoms.
As to the most often improved symptoms, 162 experienced less numbness, 142 felt less fatigue, 130 experienced an improvement in balance, and 119 reported easier in walking. Overall, 71 percent of those surveyed rated themselves as being "stabilized" or "mildly to markedly" improved. On the other hand, 99 individuals reported deterioration in one to 10 symptoms and 24 reported it in more than 11 symptoms. (These statistics include individuals who experienced improvements in some areas but deterioration in others.)
Statistics from a subgroup of 117 individuals with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis were also reported. Ninety-five of those individuals reported 13 or more symptoms that improved while 53 reported seven or more symptoms that deteriorated. (Once again, some reported both.)
Check with a physician skilled in alternative medicine about this.
Adaptrin used to be known as Padma 28, before the FDA suppressed it (although there were no complaints about it). It's a Tibetan mixture of 22 herbs and other ingredients.
In a study, 100 individuals with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis were randomly assigned to a treatment group for treatment with Padma 28 and to a control group, which got symptomatic treatment only. Various percentages of the treatment group improved for a variety of symptoms. None of the control group improved. For example, 41 percent of the Padma 28 group had improvement in visual symptoms. For more details, see this lengthy article on alternative treatments for multiple sclerosis also referenced above, which describes a variety of multiple sclerosis treatments, such as the Swank Diet, DHEA, injectable adenosine monophosphate (AMP), injectable vitamin B12, food allergies, and much more.
You can also find out more on the Internet by typing "adaptrin multiple sclerosis" (without the quotes) into your favorite search box.
Source: Nutrition and Healing newsletter, October 1999, by Jonathan Wright, M.D.
Because Robert Jay Rowen, M.D. believes multiple sclerosis is at least related to infection or may even be caused by infection, he recommends antibiotic therapy, such as Vibramycin, since some cases of multiple sclerosis may include infection in the brain.
Low-Dose Naltrexone LDN for Multiple Sclerosis
Peter H. Gott, M.D., printed a letter from a reader who has relapsing/remitting MS in his syndicated column on March 15, 2009. The reader used low-dose naltrexone (LDN) and "experienced improvement."
The reader said it's a low-cost pill, but it can be difficult to get because it has to be compounded, and also neurologists are hesitant to prescribe it for MS because there have been no clinical studies on it.
She said she now had a renowned neurologist who is supportive of LDN therapy for MS. Her general practitioner, who originally prescribed it for her, told her she should write Dr. Gott so that others could learn about it.
Dr. Gott replied in his column that according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (www.nationalmssociety.org), two human studies have been completed on low-dose naltrexone for MS. One study showed "significant improvement in fatigue and depression in those suffering from the primary-progressive type of MS." Common side effects were sleep disturbances, urinary tract infections, mild agitation and transient liver enzyme increases.
The other study showed improvement in self-reported cognitive function, mental health and pain. No impact was seen on physical aspects, such as visual function, fatigue, sexual satisfaction or bowel and bladder control. The only side effect in this study was vivid dreaming during the first week of treatment.
Dr. Gott cautions that the studies were small and further research is needed, but that "...it does appear that LDN treatment is potentially beneficial with few side effects."
MS and CCSVIA kind of surgery often called "the liberation procedure" or "CCSVI treatment" is giving new hope to a specific category of MS patients. Some of these patients have regained almost total control of the functions they lost due to multiple sclerosis. In Tampa, Florida, at the Mofitt Cancer Center, Dr. Bulent Arslan reports that between 70 and 80 percent of patients show improvement after treatment.
Although the amount of improvement varies, some of his patients have been able to stop using wheelchairs and walk without a walker. Others can feed themselves again or regain control of their bowels and bladder.
The category of MS patients most likely to benefit have "CCSVI" or "chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency," a condition caused by blockages or malformations the obstruct the drainage of blood from the brain. The "backpressure" causes "microhemorrhages" that allow damaging substances to cross the brain-blood barrier, causing inflammation and destruction of myelin, the protective sheathing of the nerves.
Potential CCSVI MS patients need to have tests to see if they have this condition. If they do, this MS "liberation treatment" involves a kind of angioplasty, threading a catheter up through a vein and using a ballon to clear the blockages.
It isn’t a cure. Angioplasty is not a permanent solution, because whatever caused the blockages is likely to still exist, and those blockages may return. Based on the continuing work of Dr. Paolo Zamboni, a vascular surgeon who pioneered the procedure, about 47% experience "re-stenosis" within 18 months of the original procedure, which may need to be repeated.
Thousands of CCSVI treatments have been performed worldwide. For more information and technical details about "the liberation procedure," see the newsletter Alternatives, September 2011, by Dr. David Williams, medical researcher. Find out more about Dr. Williams and the newsletter at drdavidwilliams.com.
Special MS DietA woman named Dana LaMonica got rid of her multiple sclerosis symptoms with a special diet, according to an article in Spry, a color tabloid that is inserted in newspapers. They have a Web site at spryliving.com.
In the late 1990s, at age 39, Dana began have blurred vision in one eye. Her leg dragged as she walked. An MRI brought the alarming diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Urged to to try chemotherapy, sometimes used for aggressive MS, she balked. With the consent of her doctor, and a promise to try chemotherapy if it didn't work, she tried the diet described in a book, The Gold Coast Cure.
After some time on the diet, which prohibited white flour, sugar and hydrogenated fats, her symptoms began to wane. Eventually, another MRI showed her brain was completely clear of the lesions seen on the previous scan.
For more details, and to read the entire article, go to www.spryliving.com and search on "dana lamonica."
An MS diet by Roy Swank, M.D., of Oregon Health Sciences University recommends 15 grams or less of saturated fat daily, including eggs, poultry and low fat dairy, and one teaspoon daily of cod liver oil. Most of his patients on this diet saw little or no progression of their MS symptoms. See www.SwankMSDiet.org for more details.
Licensed naturopathic doctor Mark Stengler recommends a high-potency multiviamin, vitamin D (see above), Fish oil, vitamin B-12, mixed vitamin E complex, full-spectrum digestive enzyme with earch meal, GLA: 300 to 500 mg daily, DHEA and/or ashwaganda for adrenal support, tests for toxic metals and hormones, and more. See his Bottom Line Natural Healing newsletter, October 2011, for more details.
The content of Alternative Medicine Digest is presented for general informational purposes only, and you should review it with your doctor before taking any action with regard to your health care. The information on alternative medicine at this site is not presented as advice or recommendation, nor is it intended to treat or cure any disease or disorder, nor to substitute for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by your M.D. or other medical professional. See our Medical Disclaimer.