Healing Multiple Sclerosis

A Survey of Nutritional Literature

Multiple sclerosis has nutritional causes and nutritional cures.

Originally published 1998


This article outlines information on multiple sclerosis (MS) that surfaced while doing literature research on nutrition and health. Many references are given. Check them out. Study them. There are two reasons. The first reason is to assure yourself that what is written here makes sense — or disprove it, if some of the information turns out to be wrong.

The second reason is that what I have put here is necessarily selective. There may be other pertinent information which I have neglected to include. There may be pertinent facts known only to you that are explored in material I have excluded. Reading the original sources could therefore produce new insights that result in even more advantageous approaches.

So, by all means, do the research. Consider this a starter package. The references tell where the information was found. The books and other sources are listed at the end. They contain the best explanations of the physiological biochemistry of nutrition that I have been able to find. I have pulled together diverse pieces from among them to produce a (hopefully coherent) picture of the disease, how it manifests, and most importantly, how it can be cured.

Some of the information presented here may conflict with advice you’re getting from your doctor. For the general rules that can help you resolve the conflicts, read Using Medical Practitioners Wisely.

What is MS?

“Yoga and MS”, by Loraine Despres. Yoga Journal, Aug 1997, p. 94.

  • Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s defense system attacks the myelin sheaths surrounding nerves. The sheaths play much the same role as insulation around an electrical wire. Without the myelin, the nerves begin to short out, blocking the pathways between the brain and the body.

Effects of Fasting

Fasting and Eating for Health, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
[Note: The one time fasting is not advisable is in cases of cancer. See Johanna Budwig for a better treatment of that condition.]

  • Fuhrman, p. 144..146
    Normally, the intricate activities of the immune system effectively distinguish between the body’s own cells and cellular debris and foreign infiltrators. In autoimmune disorders this recognition breaks down…When this occurs, the immune system generates antibodies against its own tissues, and begin to attack, inflame, and destroy itself.This miscommunication of the body’s internal defense structure happens for two reasons: one, because the cells may have been altered in some way that makes them appear foreign to immune recognition, and two, because some aspect controlling immune activity has gone awry.

    All cells have protein and lipid (fat) projections on their outer walls that serve as identifying markers to the immune system. Antibodies are designed so that they can….recognize recognize whether the cell looks normal or not. If…the immune markers tag this cell as abnormal, other, larger components of the immune system will be attracted to destroy the so-labeled body cell.

    Eventually, as waste accumulates in the cell, it overtaxes the cells detoxifying ability. More and more waste is then forced into the cellular wall, which will eventually mark the cell as aged and abnormal.

    Note: Reduced activity of the lymph system may be even more important in this regard. See Importance of the Lymph System, below.

    In Multiple Sclerosis, for example, part of the myelin sheath that protects nerves is attacked and destroyed. For some reason, these cells look abnormal to the immune system. In hemolytic anemia red blood cells are attacked and destroyed, and in Graves’ disease thyroid cells are attacked and stimulated, causing excessive secretion of thyroid hormone.

    In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks and inflames the joints. In psoriasis, the attack is directed against the skin, and in inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s) the digestive tract becomes the site of immune hyperactivity. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys.

    Note: In other words, genetic disposition may explain the site of the attack, but we are looking at a disturbance of the cell membrane as the probable underlying cause. But what causes the disturbance?

The View of a Two-Time Nobel Prize Winner

How to Live Longer and Feel Better, by Dr. Linus Pauling

  • Pauling, p. 206
    There is evidence that arthritis, rheumatism, and related diseases are often the result of nutritional deficiencies.

Autoimmune Disease Stems from Digestive Dysfunction

Fasting and Eating for Health, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

  • Fuhrman, p. 146..149
    When an antibody attaches itself to an offending substance, called the antigen, and antigen-antibody complex is formed….These complexes are present in the blood in increased quantities in individuals with autoimmune illnesses.The number one cause of this excessive immune complex formation is digestive tract malfunction, often called “the leaky gut syndrome”. It has been shown in scientific studies that many people with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases have increased intestinal tract permeability [references given]….autoimmune disease sufferers have an abnormality of the digestive tract that allows incompletely digested foodstuffs to pass through the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream.

    Note: The chemically active portion of the intestinal walls are also composed of the essential fatty acids.

    Proteins in the foods are the chief culprits that can excite an abnormal immune response….If a piece of a partially digested protein, known as a peptide, is able to pass through the digestive tract by mistake, this peptide can and will excite the immune system to react against it.

    There is evidence that when peptides from animal proteins are absorbed, they not only can lead to the formation of antibodies against them, but also [the antibodies] can cross-react against human proteins in the body. This may be because animal meats have amino acid sequences that are similar to those found in human tissue. Plant peptides are less likely to cause this reaction.

    When the immune system views the animal peptides in the bloodstream and attempts to attack and destroy them, the antibodies created can continue to attack other body tissues later.

    Note: So a two-pronged plan of action is indicated. One prong is a vegetarian diet to remove the immediate cause of the immune response. The other prong is to attack the cause of the “leaky gut” by providing the right kinds of essential fatty acids (EFAs).

    Excess fat hinders immune function [reference given]. This impairment of the immune system by fats is one reason the present-day Western diet is associated with such a high rate of cancer and autoimmune disease.

    Note: Here he fails to distinguish between omega-3’s and omega-6’s, which are required for immune function, and the high levels of saturated fats, trans fats, and other bad fats in the modern industrial diet. He’s right about the deadly affect our diet is having on our civilization, though.

  • Fuhrman, p. 154..156
    Fasting is a remarkable anti-inflammatory intervention, more powerful than the strongest and most toxic drugs at reducing inflammation. It is a crucial management tool for the person suffering from autoimmunal disease and, when combined with appropriate dietary modifications, can induce a remission of symptoms.Over time, the markers of inflammation in the blood invariably fall as the fast progresses. For example, the erythrocite sedimentation rate (ESR) falls to about 5, well within the normal range.

    Note: As Dr. Fuhrman states elsewhere, extended fasting, especially in a condition of ill-health, should be supervised by a doctor who is experienced in the practice of supervising fasts. There are many important tests that help a qualified determine when a fast should continue and when it should end — and how it “feels” usually isn’t one. When it feels worst may be the time that healing is going on — or may be time to stop. When it feels ok, it may really be time to stop, or may be time to go on. When fasting to heal a serious condition, there is no substitute for competent, experienced supervision. (Chapter 9 contains technical details for the physician.)

    Fasting not only stops the input of all potential protein antigens and food-derived toxins, but also allows the digestive tract to rest and heal, restoring its structural integrity. After the fast, the system will not be as sensitive to potential food allergens.

    Note: I suspect this is more often true when, as Dr. Fuhrman often does, the patient is put on a very healthy diet for a few weeks or months before the fast, so that the requisite raw materials are present.

    Fasting has been shown…to enhance the ability of the immune system to fight infection. The studies done on fasting for autoimmune diseases have consistently shown multiple benefits to the arthritic, especially when combined with a dairy-free, vegetarian diet.

    Note: Cultured, raw dairy products such as those used by Johanna Budwig (Kwark), cottage cheese, and yogurt, may be the exception. Johanna points out that the sulfur-based proteins aid assimilation.

    Another important reason fasting is able to ameliorate the clinical manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis is that it alters the fatty acid composition of cellular membranes, taking away the important triggers to the autoimmune inflammatory proess. [italic mine] This positive effect of fasting has been studied and explained in detail in the scientific literature on fasting [reference given].

    • [Eric: There was also a study from the British medical journal, the Lancet:] Food was reintroduced after the fast very gradually, which is important in achieving consistent results in such patients. A “new” food item was introduced every second day. If a patient noticed an increase [in symptoms] within 48 hours, the item was omitted from the diet for at least seven days. If symptoms were exacerbated on reintroduction of this food, it was excluded from the diet for the rest of the study period.]
  • Fuhrman, p.168..171
    Superior Nutrition is Essential After the Fast
    Sometimes patients with severely leaky guts may have to avoid certain foods that may be perfectly find for another patient with the same illness….A review of the scientific literature regarding autoimmune disease and food allergy shows that patients consistently improve when care is taken to customize a diet through elimination of those foods that may be sensitizing for that individual. The improvement is often striking when the diet is designed for each patient [reference given].

What About Drugs?

Fasting and Eating for Health, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

  • Fuhrman, p.170..171
    The greatest enemy to healing is the well-meaning physician who initially starts the patient with autoimmune disease on powerful drugs. Treatments build complications and prolong the illness so the sufferer now has multiple reasons for systemic toxicity.Many of the people who are taking multiple medications when they first seek my services cannot be placed on a fast initially. First, we must decrease their dependency on medication. Tapering medications such as prednisone may take weeks while they are improving from the dietary change. We utilize the fast at a later stage when they can more comfortably stop their medications.

    Sometimes I recommend natural anti-inflammatory substances, which do not have the same toxicity as drugs, to help us taper off the medication. These natural anti-inflammatories include fish oils, borage oil, and flax oil, taken either alone or in combination, to help lessen the need for more toxic drugs.

    Note: It may be starting to become apparent that these natural anti-inflammatories should be prescribed routinely, to provide the essential materials for rebuilding cell membranes, especially the myelin sheath and the digestive membranes.

    If the fast is followed by a low-protein, natural food, vegetarian diet and the individual avoids irritating foods that have been found to cause the immune system to overreact, he or she can be forever cured of the autoimmune illness. [italic mine] Fasting is the starting point.

What is Myelin Made Of?

Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill. Udo Erasmus.

  • Erasmus, p. 427 (Glossary)
    …myelin…is the insulation of nerves in the central nervous system.
  • Erasmus, p. 213
    Membranes….contain between 20 and 80% phospholipids.Note: A phospholipid is a set of three fatty acids (lipids) anchored by a phosphorous group. This is the structure that is responsible for the chemical activity of the cell membrane. The phosphorous group is water-soluble, so it sits in the cell. The lipids are not water-soluble, so they all orient away from the cell, causing the phospholipids to line up in neat rows.

    Our nerve cell membranes (myelin sheath) contain 80% phospholipids and only 20% proteins.

    Note: So high-quality essential fatty acids are critical for healthy nervous system function.

  • Erasmus, p. 117
    In recent years, a preparation of 20% erucic acid [found in canola and rapeseed oils] and 80% oleic acids [olive oil], called Lorenzo’s Oil, has been used to treat…ALD, in which a buildup of very long-chain fatty acids (C22 to C28) destroys the white matter (myelin) in the brain.[His footnote:] There is some evidence that Omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in ALD. Since most people’s diets lack them, they should be incorporated into diets as a matter of course.

Importance of Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s

The Facts About Fats, John Finnegan

  • Finnegan, p. 49..51
    Dr. Budwig….discovered that healthy people contained ample amounts of the essential fatty acids and sulfur-rich proteins in their blood and tissues, whereas people with illnesses were deficient in these vital lipoprotein substances. She also discovered that these lipoproteins [lipo- = lipid (fat) + protein] play a critical part in the many key biochemical processes. They are an essential component in the body’s oxygen-transport mechanisms and in the creation of hemoglobin. They are also the main substance used to build the membranes in each and every cell, [italics mine] and, as such, enhance our bodies’ ability to resist and fight disease-causing viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and parasites.She searched for the best sources of complete protein and Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids….She fed patients mixtures of one hundred grams of skim milk with forty grams of flax seed oil [mostly Omega-3] and twenty five grams of milk. (She now uses low-fat cultured cottage cheese instead of skim milk.) Within days, their energy began to return, their skin color improved, and they began to gain weight….Their body temperatures rose as their metabolism increased.

    Of course, the flax seed oil / cottage cheese recipe was only part of her therapeutic program. She also put people on a high quality diet consisting entirely of organic foods, including buckwheat, potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, rainbow trout, fresh-pressed organic fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas, and plenty of flax seed meal. She advised them to use additional amounts of sunflower, thistle, walnut, pumpkin seed, and other oils, which provide a complement of the Omega-6 fatty acids. Finally she had people massage their bodies with a special blend of oils several times a week.

    The skin has been shown to absorb oils readily, which may be especially beneficial when digestion is impaired.

    She has many other interesting insights, such as the postulate that the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats are high electron donors which release energy, directly feeding the heart muscle and all the cells in the body. Most of her books are published only in German and have not yet been translated. The best explanations of her research are presented in How to Fight Cancer and Win, by William Fischer, and Fats and Oils, by Udo Erasmus, both published by Alive Books.

Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill. Udo Erasmus.

  • Erasmus, p. 47..51
    Overall, EFAs are involved with producing life energy in our body from food substances, and moving that energy throughout our systems. They govern growth, vitality, and mental state. They hook up oxygen, electron transport, and energy in the process of oxidation….[They] are thought to be involved, in ways not well understood, with the transfer of oxygen in our lungs…through capillary walls…across the membranes of our red blood cells to hemoglobin, which then carries oxygen to all our cells. At the cell end, they apparently help transport oxygen … to precise locations in our mitochondria which use it in oxidation reactions to produce energy.EFAs are part of all cell membranes….they are involved in the traffic of substances in and out of our cells via protein channels, pumps, and other special mechanisms.

    EFAs are precursors to prostaglandins [the “eicosanoid” substances that Barry Sears was going on about], three families of short-lived hormone-like substances that regulate many functions of the cells in all tissues on a moment-to-moment basis.

Flax Oil as a True Aid, Johanna Budwig

  • Budwig, p.33
    Electrons have a great affinity for oxygen — they love it….They attract oxygen and stimulate our breathing — our entire being.Note: This explains how it is that the skin breathes. (Literally. If the skin is painted over, you die within minutes.)

    The destruction of the light, activating, electron oxidation system is the reason behind preserving process that treat food to make it last longer, and change the nature of fats so they can be stored for years….Testing on animals and humans has shown that when these preserved [refined] fats, poor in electrons, are ingested, animals and humans eat six times their normal amount of food.

    Note: Food spoiling and going rancid is oxidation — combining with oxygen.

  • Budwig, p. 22
    Animals which have been fed with solidified fats or saturated, inert fats, eat six times as much fat and six times as much food.Note: The reason is that no fat is “pure”. All are some mixture of polyunsaturates and saturated fatty acids. A “saturated” has a low level of polyunsaturates, needed for brain, nervous system, hormones, cell membranes, and hemoglobin function. In short, they are critical, so the body just keeps eating until the required amount is supplied.
  • Budwig, p. 31
    The lipotropic protein connections, e.g. Cystein, as they are found in Quark, cottage cheese, or nuts are able to make water-soluble the biologically highly-unsaturated vegetable oils in seed oils.Note: Sulfur-based proteins found in cultured milk products (ideally not pasteurized) and cabbage-family vegetables, including garlic and onions. Also eggs. The result of this may be either to improve digestibility, or provide the EFAs that the proteins need once to function after they are ingested, or both.
  • Finnegan, p. 49
    The Cherokee Indians were the first people known to have developed a special lipoprotein (oil-protein) food, combining flax seed oil, cultured cottage cheese, honey, and pumpkin to heal degenerative diseases and build up strength and muscle tissue.
  • Budwig, p. 32
    …discovered the original birthplace of the electrons in seed oils to be the sun.
  • Budwig, p. 38..40
    The human who eats refined foodstuffs or food which lacks electrons, not only cuts off his oxygen enough to suffocate himself, he also cuts himself off from the effects of the sun.A Swede has proved that no brain function can take place at all without threefold unsaturated fats [omega-3’s]. The same applies to nerve functions, and for regeneration within the muscle after strenuous physical activity, in the so-called oxidative recovery phase during sleep. This process requires the highly unsaturated, particularly electron-rich fatty acids [omega-3’s] in flax seed oil.
  • Budwig, p.54..55
    All the vital functions are closely connected with membrane functions. The exchange of electrons, the distribution of energy in the whole organism is dependent on these membrane functions — in the nerve pathways, the brain, in every organ…
  • Erasmus, p. 45..46
    EFAs absorb sunlight. Their absorption of light energy increases about a thousandfold their ability to react with oxygen. This makes them very chemically active, indeed [reference given].Because of their special arrangement, electrons involved in the double bond of essential fatty acids can be induced to become loose and move as so-called delocalized pi-electrons that resemble clouds floating along the fatty acid chain [an electron cloud].

    EFAs can form phase boundary potentials, like charges of static electricity….These charges produce measurable bio-electric currents, like the zap when static electricity discharges, which are important in nerve, muscle, heart, and membrane functions.

The Fats in the Modern Industrial Diet are Deadly

Fats That Can Save Your Life, by Dr. Erdmann

  • Dr. Erdmann gives truly hair-raising accounts of the high-heat processing that accompanies hydrogenation and commercial refining methods. His short book effectively details the harm done to the EFAs in the process. See pages 66..70 (refining) and 76..79 (hydrogenation).Note: Even “cold pressed” oils are usually refined and then steam distilled at temperatures in excess of 500 degrees to extend their shelf life!
  • Erdmann, p. 32..33
    Essential fatty acids such ad LA (omega-6) and LNA (omega-3) perform a variety of basic and crucial functions in the body. They accomplish these thanks to two main characteristics: double-bonding and a kinked configuration [CIS configuration — as in rounded — think of CIS-TURN (cistern)]. Trans fatty acids, while possessing the same number of double bonds, are not kinked [as in straight — think of rapid TRANSit]. This is a feature that the body is unable to distinguish. [Italics mine] These unkinked molecules compete with their cis counterparts and are therefore incorporated into the vast diversity of chemical structures without possessing the necessary reactive properties to perform the functions for which they have been designated.Imagine the damage if these chemicals replaced the kinked essential fatty acids in the brain. The behavioral difficulties that may result from the brain messages being poorly transmitted may lead to depression, anxiety, and even more profound forms of mental abnormality, not to mention motor disorders such as a lack of physical coordination.

    Trans fatty acids are almost unknown in nature. They occur only when the triumphant technological wizardry of modern food processing technology is unleashed on the essential fatty acids, particularly when enormous physical pressures and temperatures are brought to bear…

Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, by Udo Erasmus.

  • Erasmus, p. 88
    The fatty acid composition of our diet was changed [as a result of commercial processing methods introduced during the industrial revolution]. Oils low in EFAs became the standard items on the shelves in our grocery stores.[As a result of industrialized processing] we obtained oils altered by heat and chemicals. Natural nutrients in oils were converted into substances deterimental to our health: trans– fatty acids, polymers, cyclic compounds, aldehydes, ketones, epoxides, hydroperoxides, and other compounds that have not yet been identified. Many of these are toxic and detrimental to our body and our health even in small quantities (see Chapter 19, Other Toxic Products). The processes used to refine oils produce dozens of different new substances by random processes that cannot be controlled.

    Note: In contrast, Erasmus gives diagrams for all of the naturally occurring EFAs in just 2 pages at the beginning of his book. It is remarkable that these are virtually the only configurations that occur in nature. Erwin Shrodinger’s wonderful book, What is Life, discusses the quantum physics whereby entirely new compounds can be produced when the threshold energy required to create a change is exceeded with sufficient heat, pressure, or radioactive bombardment (p. 53..55)

  • Erasmus, p.109: Holes in membranes
    Trans– fatty acids change the permeability of cell membranes. They impair the protective barrier around cells, which is vital for keeping cells alive and healthy. This means that some molecules that would ordinarily be kept out of cells can now get in, while some molecules which would ordinarily remain in our cells can now get out. Cell vitality would then diminish. Also, allergic reactions may result, and immune function may be impaired.Note: This is one of many effects of trans fatty acids given on pp. 108-110
  • Erasmus, p. 111
    Our body’s ability to break down altered fatty acids is limited…When our intake exceeds our limit, disease begins to manifest, because the body attempts to use altered molecules for vital structures and functions.

The Facts About Fats, by John Finnegan.

  • Finnegan, p. 41
    When looked at through a microscope, a hydrogenated fat molecule looks very much like a plastic molecule….Lipid chemists actually talk about plasticizing oils.Note: Margarine is a partially hydrogenated fat. Partially hydrogenated fats are found in many commercially processed foods.

Udo’s Prognosis

Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, by Udo Erasmus.

  • Erasmus, p. 375
    Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is fatty degeneration. In one study, people who got MS were eating diets high in white bread, biscuits, cheese, pies, and prepared foods. None ate liver and only 2 out of 67 ate fish and fresh green vegetables more than once a month. In places where essential fatty acid (EFA) consumption is high, multiple sclerosis is rare. People with MS use essential fatty acids to arrest or slow the deterioration of nerve fibers that slowly destroys their nervous systems. After diagnosis, the sooner the treatment with EFAs and diet begins, the better for the sufferer.MS has been successfully treated with whole foods diets (fresh vegetables and whole grains) with the addition of fresh, unrefined sunflower and/or flax oils. Evening Primrose oil (refined) has also been used. Unrefined safflower and sesame oils should work. The key criterion is that the oils are fresh and unrefined. Nutrient enrichment and supplementation are also helpful. Anecdotal evidence exists for the regeneration of nerves by octacosanol, a 28-carbon alcohol present in wheat germ oil.

    Fresh juices, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and balanced supplements will also help.

Sources of Fats

EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids, aka Healthy Fats, omega-3 and omega-6)

  • Seeds:
    Watermelon and grape seeds are great.
    Pumpkin seeds
    FENNEL SEEDS!!?? (Chewable??) Free!! Everywhere!!
    Melon seeds dry out too fast.
    Orange?? (haven’t tried them yet)
    NOT apple seeds (due to trace amounts of arsenic)
  • Flax meal (great balanced source of omega-3’s and omega-6’s, plus phytochemicals and soluble fiber)
  • Unrefined nut and seed oils from the health food store
    Borage seed oil is high in GLA.
    Hemp oil has a good ratio of omega-6 to omega-3’s (approx. 3:1), as do soybean, walnut, and wheat germ oil — if you can find them unrefined.
  • Cod liver oil (high in EPA and omega-3’s)
  • Cod liver?? beef liver?? (I don’t know about these. It seems likely, though.)
  • Free range egg yolks
    Contains lecithin = omega-3 + omega-6 = choline precursor = brain food
    Plus omega-3s and omega-6’s, but only if free range
    Only applies to “free range” eggs — hens are free to peck bugs and plants that have omega-3’s, because its not in commercial feeds (goes rancid too fast).
  • Fish (especially raw fish, or steamed)
  • Nuts?? (I’m still looking for definitive info on roasting nuts (heat kills EFAs) vs. raw nuts (contain enzyme inhibitors). One source suggested soaking for half an hour first to deactivate the enzymes. Another suggested soaking overnight. If its not too much of a hassle, that’s a great way to go.

TFAs (“Trans Fats” plus other Transformed, Transmuted, Transmogrified, Trampled and Tortured fats)

  • Margarine (unless non-hydrogenated)
  • Partially hydrogenated oils
  • Shortening
  • Deep fried foods
  • Commercially refined oils (all, including “Extra virgin” unless explicitly stated to be unrefined)
  • Mayonnaise (recipe = 2 cups oil to 2 egg whites)

How Long Does The Diet Approach Take?

Optimal Sports Nutrition, by Dr. Michael Colgan (and/or How to Live Longer and Feel Better, by Dr. Linus Pauling)

  • Major portions of the body are rebuilt in 2 to 4 months. All of the soft tissues in the body recycle every two years.
  • So very noticeable results should be achievable, realistically, in a 4-month to 2-year time period.

A Summary of the “Yoga Cure”

“Yoga and MS”, by Loraine Despres. Yoga Journal, Aug 1997, p. 94.

  • Forty years ago, yoga teacher Eric Small was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis [at the age of 21]. Today he’s a vibrant testament to yoga’s power to alleviate this often crippling disease. [He sure looks great in the photos. Vibrant, alive, and completely healthy.]
  • He heard about an experimental cure in Scotland that included glandular shots and a special diet of grains and oil. (He stopped in London on the way there and never made it, but the Scottish approach has potential value, too.)
  • Inspired by a Yoga practitioner, he adopted a vegetarian diet and began practicing Yoga in a heated pool.
  • Since people dealing with MS are warned not to get overheated, Small believes yoga and swimming go hand in hand — swimming cools the body and yoga calms the nervous system. His doctors encouraged swimming, but he didn’t have the strength. He discovered he could do modified yoga in the pool, built up his strength, and found he was able to swim again.

Why the “Yoga Cure” Worked

  • Effect of a Vegetarian Diet<
    • Vegetarian diet = low saturated fat, more polyunsaturates
      = healthy myelin sheaths
      = reduced “leaky gut” = fewer incompletely digested fats & proteins absorbed
    • Vegetarian diet = no animal proteins = no incompletely digested proteins
  • Effect of the Yoga Exercises
    • Muscle-squeezing makes lymph system function (see The Importance of the Lymph System, below)
    • Lidell, Sivananda Companion to Yoga, p. 184
      Inverted postures help return blood flow through veins and lymph system function. [Diagram only shows veins, but valves are same as those shown for lymph system in the physiology books. The same principles apply.]Note: So it seems the result of the “Yoga Cure” was half-Yoga (lymph system function) and half-vegetarian diet. Both halves would seem to be important.

The Importance of the Lymph System

Structure and Function of the Human Body and The Human Body in Health and Disease:

  • Lymph nodes are vital to immune system function.
    A lot of the immune action goes on at the lymph nodes, when proteins are processed on their way back to the bloodstream.
  • Removes discarded proteins (these do NOT return via the blood stream, but via the lymph system).
  • Transports all but the simplest fats from the digestive tract to the bloodstream
  • Manufactures immune-system cells from bone marrow’s “stem cells” in the lymph nodes.
  • Muscle contraction squeezes the lymph vessels, pushing the lymph past one-way valves in the vessels
  • Cell membranes overlap to form another kind of “valve”. Under pressure, lymph fluid pushes through the membranes to the lymph vessel.


  • Lymph system requires activity for efficient operation — a sedentary life causes a “backlog”.
    That’s because the heart is not pushing the lymph, muscle contractions are.
  • Requires polyunsaturates for the overlapping cells to be flexible.
    Saturates and cholesterol give cell membranes their rigidity. Polyunsaturates (EFAs) give membranes flexibility. The body keeps a tight balance between the two. (Udo Erasmus). If cells get too stiff as a result of too few EFAs, its going to be harder to push open the lymph valves. Result: clogging.
  • When things get “backed up”, it could result in the kind of corrupted cell membranes Fuhrman wrote about.
  • If lymph flow is not occurring, for whatever reason, then fat absorption may be impaired, making it harder to acquire good EFAs even when present in the diet.
  • The Yoga postures provide both a muscle-squeezing effect (with minimal muscular stress) and inverted postures that allow the lymph to drain from the legs and lower trunk. Both of these factors aid and abet lymph flow.

Biological Mechanisms: Prostaglandins and Eicosanoids

Enter the Zone, by Barry Sears

  • Sears, pg. 184
    “All autoimmune diseases…can be seen as diseases that result from an imbalance of eicosanoids.” [“eye-cah-sah-noids”]Note: This raises the question, what caused the imbalance??

    “Numerous clinical studies have shown that dietary supplementation with activated essential fatty acids—GLA and EPA, either singly or in combination—reduces arthritic pain and inflammation.

    • [Eric: GLA and EPA are derivatives of the essential fatty acids. GLA is found in borage seed oil, EPA in cod liver oil. An impaired system may have difficulty converting the omega-3 EFAs into EPA, and the omega-6 EFAs into GLA, so either or both of these can be a useful supplement for a disease condition. They are the eicosanoid precursors.]

“If you get positive results with supplements of activated essential fatty acids, that’s a strong indication that a Zone-favorable diet (designed to maintain a favorable balance of eicosanoids) would do the job just as well or better….A Zone-favorable diet should be the first line of defense…”

    • [Eric: A Zone-favorable diet balances proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, using complex carbohydrates and high quality fats.(See references for a summary.) Unfortunately, the book gives only a very short paragraph on the importance of using high quality fats — a point which is overshadowed by the remainder of the book.The question remains: What initiated the condition in the first place?]
  • Sears, pg. 185-186
    “You can view Multiple Sclerosis as arthritis inside the central nervous system. To treat a disease of the central nervous system, a drug must be able to reach the brain. Anti-inflammatory drugs can’t do that because they’re water-soluble, and the brain has unique membranes, known as the blood-brain barrier, that prevents virtually all water soluble drugs from entering.””Essential fatty acids and eicosanoids are fats. They have no trouble at all getting through the blood-brain barrier.”

    “If MS results from inflammation of the myelin sheath, you’d think it would be possible to reduce the inflammation by reducing the amount of pro-inflammatory (bad) eicosanoids while simultaneously increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory (good) eicosanoids.

    “This is exactly what happens with MS patients on a Zone-favorable diet….one of the immediate benefits is a significant reduction in fatigue.

    • [Eric: In other words, high-quality EFAs, complex carbs, and balanced protein intake will work where drugs will fail.]
  • Sears, pg. 186-187
    “…recent research shows that chronic progressive MS patients have higher levels of PGE2 in their blood….Also, just prior to MS attacks, levels of PGE2 are elevated. Other research has shown increased levels of leukotrienes in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients. Since PGE2 and leukotrienes are pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, any reduction in their levels would be consistent with the benefits reported by patients following a Zone-favorable diet.””Over the past thirty years, the work of Roy Swank has indicated that a diet low in saturated fat is beneficial to MS patients.”

    • [Eric: This interesting fact begins to get at the heart of the issue. It may be simply that the lymph vessel transport mechanism from the digestive tract to the bloodstream is no longer overwhelmed by saturated-fat passengers, so it actually has room to carry unsaturated fats (EFAs).]

Gluten as a Trigger for Autoimmune Disorders

In the DVD, Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance, Dr. O’Bryan identifies gluten as a potential trigger for virtually every autoimmune disease there is. It may not be the trigger in any given case, but when it is a trigger, that’s worth nothing. And a simple blood test and saliva test are all it takes to find out.

And even if it gluten itself isn’t the trigger, is undoubtedly a contributiing factor in those who are gluten-intolerant:

  • Gluten is a long molecule found in wheat, rye, and barley that resists breaking down when digested.
  • People with very active immune systems (who would ordinarily be the healthest among us) are the most likely to have a problem.
  • Those immune systems react to the gluten molecule as a “foreign invader”, and gear up to fight it off.
  • In the process, bits of the intestinal wall are worn away.
  • Were it a rare occurence, the damage would not be a problem. The cells grow back.
  • But when you effectively posion yourself with every meal, day after day, for years, the intestinal wall grows very thin.
  • When you combine the thinning of the intestinal wall with the loss of cell wall integrity produced by partially hydrogenated oils, the result is a “leaky gut”.
  • Foreign substances entering through the holes in the intestinal lining can then provoke any number of autoimmune diseases.

For more on those subjects, see What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils? and What’s Wrong with Wheat?




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    1. What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils? | Treelight.com June 3, 2017 (5:42 pm)

      […] Partially hydrogenated oils will not only kill you in the long term by producing diseases like multiple sclerosis and allergies that lead to arthritis, but in the meantime they will make you fat! (See Healing Multiple Sclerosis.) […]

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