NEW Research Explains 61% of Multiple Sclerosis Cases
The study suggested that low levels of sunlight could affect how your body responds to infection. Vitamin D deficiency could be another possible link.
BBC News reports:
"The researchers found that by just analyzing sunlight, they could explain 61 percent of the variation in the number of MS cases across England. However when they combined the effect of sunlight and glandular fever, 72 percent of the variation in MS cases could be explained."
Remember, when the American Cancer Society, or dermatologists, tell you that you should be avoiding the sun at all costs, they are dead wrong.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
I have been a renegade physician for over two decades now and when you are as far ahead of the conventional mode of thinking as I try to be, it takes five to 20 years for the "scientific" studies to confirm what I have been advising people to do all along.
I have seen this dozens of times now, and it is great when it occurs. Some of the more significant shifts that have occurred since I have been a renegade have been the widespread acceptance of vitamin D and omega-3 fats and the gradual recognition that the low fat diet approach is a disaster for most people as they typically replace fat with unhealthy carbs.
However there are some major battles that need to be won, like vaccine freedom, GMO elimination, and fluoride and mercury removal still have a ways to go before we see a major shift.
So let's examine the recent research which validates another long held position I have had.
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, degenerative disease of the nerves in your brain and spinal column, caused through a demyelization process. Myelin is the insulating, waxy substance around the nerves in your central nervous system, and when the myelin is damaged by an autoimmune disease or self-destructive process in your body, the function of those nerves deteriorate over time, resulting in a number of symptoms, including:
- Muscle weakness
- Imbalance, or loss of coordination
- Astigmatism and vision loss
MS may progress steadily, or acute attacks may be followed by a temporary remission of symptoms.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Viral Exposure Explain Vast Majority of MS Cases
A large number of studies have confirmed that your risk of MS increases the farther away you live from the equator. In fact, a lack of sunlight was identified as a risk factor for MS as early as 1922. Within the United States, your risk of developing MS roughly doubles if you spend your childhood—up to the age of 15—in northern states than if you live in the south.
Another previously established risk factor is the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), which causes glandular fever. Eleven years ago, German researchers demonstrated the association between EBV and MS, showing that in contrast to control populations, 100 percent of MS patients had antibodies against EBV. The authors suggested that EBV might play an indirect role in MS as an activator of the underlying disease process.
In the most recent study, published in the journal Neurology last month, researchers assessed the relationship between ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) exposure in British MS patients.
Using English national Hospital Episode Statistics, they obtained the prevalence of MS and infectious mononucleosis (caused by the Epstein-Barr virus) during the seven-year period from 1998 to 2005. The UVB intensity data was collected from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
After evaluating the relationships between these three variables: MS prevalence, Epstein-Barr virus prevalence, and UVB intensity, they found that UVB exposure alone could explain 61 percent of the variations of MS cases across England. When they combined UVB exposure and incidence of glandular fever, 72 percent of the variations could be explained.
"UVB exposure and infectious mononucleosis (IM) together can explain a substantial proportion of the variance of MS. The effect of UVB on generating vitamin D seems the most likely candidate for explaining its relationship with MS. There is a pressing need to investigate the role of vitamin D and EBV and how they might interact to influence MS risk to identify potential prevention strategies."
Vitamin D—An Essential Health Factor that Can No Longer Be Ignored
Previous studies have shown that vitamin D can positively affect MS by altering chemicals called cytokines, which modulate your immune system and can either fight or increase inflammation. Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your health in general is also one of the best preventive strategies against autoimmune diseases like MS -- getting enough regular sun exposure so your body can produce optimal amounts of vitamin D.
Studies have also found that increased dietary intake of vitamin D helps protect against the development of MS, so if you don't have access to regular sun exposure, or a safe tanning bed, you may want to seriously consider oral supplementation with vitamin D3.
One such study, published in 2004, found that women who took vitamin D-containing multivitamin supplements were 40 percent less likely to develop MS than women who did not supplement. Keep in mind that this study was based on FAR lower vitamin D dosages than what we now know are needed, so if you optimize your levels, you're likely to reduce your risk by far more than 40 percent…
There's simply no question that one of the most important physical steps you can take to control your health is to make sure your vitamin D levels are optimized to between 50-70 ng/ml.
Beware of Conventional MS Treatments
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a very serious illness, and I used to dread when people came to my office with MS because there really wasn't much I could do for them at the time. Things have changed since then, however. In researching a vast array of natural health therapies, I came to realize there are a number of different strategies available—the most important of which is optimizing your vitamin D levels.
Personally, I believe it's medical malpractice to treat someone with an autoimmune disease and not address and monitor their vitamin D levels.
If you go the conventional route, please beware that the routine treatment of MS includes a variety of very toxic and dangerous medications that in no way address the underlying cause of the disease. I strongly recommend avoiding these drugs, and if you're already on them, to wean yourself off, as they are some of the most toxic drugs used in the field of medicine.
These drugs include:
- Prednisone, a steroid hormone that can significantly impair your immune system, and cause diseases like osteoporosis and cataracts
- Interferon. This drug is quite deceptive, because even though it's a natural substance, it's typically given in a dose that shuts down your body's natural feedback loop. As a result, it tends to do more harm than good
The chance of going into remission with conventional treatments is close to zero. Your chances actually increase considerably when employing natural therapies, such as the ones discussed below.
How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis Without Dangerous Drugs
Many of the recommended strategies for MS are identical to the general-health principles I've been teaching for years, but a few stand out as being specifically applicable to the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as MS.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels – This is an essential step, and while the optimal level for general health lies between 50-70 ng/ml, when treating diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or autoimmune diseases, your level should ideally be somewhere between 70-100 ng/ml. The preferred method to raise (and maintain) your vitamin D levels is by regularly exposing large amounts of your skin to sunshine, or by using a safe tanning bed. If neither is available, you can use an oral supplement of vitamin D3.
Keep in mind that the daily recommended allowance (RDA) is woefully inadequate! Depending on your situation, you may need anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 IU's a day… As a general guideline, vitamin D experts recommend taking 35 IU's per pound per day. However, you must get your vitamin D level tested prior to starting, and regularly thereafter, to evaluate the success of the dose you're taking. This is the only way to determine the ideal dosage, as it's highly individual and dependent on a variety of factors.
- Optimize your essential fat intake – Secondly, you need to make sure you're getting a good supply of animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. You also need to avoid damaged, processed fats found in most all processed foods. Especially damaging are the omega-6 fats found in soy-, canola-, and corn oil. These are usually highly oxidized and also contain trans fats and cyclic fats that imbed themselves into your cell membranes, distorting the cellular functions.
- Eliminate sugar, particularly fructose – Another crucial element is to eliminate as much sugar and fructose as possible from your diet. Cutting out processed foods and sweetened beverages will go a long way to reduce excess fructose, in addition to eliminating the majority of damaging fats in your diet. You simply must keep your daily total fructose intake below 25 grams.
If you haven't yet grasped the toxic nature and profound health dangers of fructose, now's the time to get with it. Sugar can contribute to the development of a number of autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis. It also increases uric acid levels, which leads to chronic, low-level inflammation, which has far-reaching consequences for your health.
- Eliminate pasteurized milk and dairy—This is another critical element. Studies have shown that cow's milk consumption is correlated with MS prevalence (Neuroepidemiology 1992;11:304-12, and Neuroepidemiology 1993;12:15-27).
- Avoid aspartame or commercial fruit juices. Aspartame rapidly metabolizes to methanol a potent neurotoxin. Additionally fruits and vegetables are also loaded with methanol but when they are consumed fresh it is bound to pectin and your body does not have the enzymes to break it down. However when fruits and vegetables are processed and put into glass jars or cans the methanol dissociates and can be liberated in high quantities.
- Eat plenty of raw food – This is an important principle for optimal health that I normally recommend for everyone. However, I've found that for people with severe autoimmune disease, it's even more important. Some of the most dramatic improvements we've seen in patients using nutritional changes have come about as the result of eating their food raw instead of cooked. That includes free-range organic eggs and high-quality, organic meats as well.
- Tailor your diet to your nutritional type-- Without out a doubt, Nutritional Typing™ has been the most profound nutritional intervention I have ever seen, and physicians are now starting to use nutritional typing in the treatment of many serious diseases, particularly cancer. Dr. Burzynski and Dr. Gonzalez are just two pioneering doctors making use of this powerful strategy in their cancer protocols.
This is helpful for nearly all diseases but particularly for MS. I never really started seeing dramatic improvements in the MS patients our clinic was caring for until we aggressively implement NT. I've now made it as easy and as affordable as humanly possible for everyone to take advantage of this exceptional tool, by offering the full online nutritional typing test for FREE.
- Check your iron levels-- Excess iron can cause damage to the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels as well as create massive amounts of free radicals. It can also damage your DNA. Therefore, if you have MS it is very important to check your blood for iron overload, a process that is easily done through a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Below 20, you are iron deficient, and above 80, you have an iron surplus. Ferritin levels can go really high. I've seen levels over 1,000, but anything over 80 is likely going to be a problem. The ideal range is between 40-60 ng/ml.
If you find that your iron levels are high, simply donate your blood. Normally a person would require 1-3 blood draws per year, up to as many as one per month if your system can tolerate it, until your ferritin levels have been sufficiently lowered.
- Low-dose Naltrexone and alpha lipoic acid – One of the newer treatment strategies for MS is low dose Naltrexone (LDN), along with alpha lipoic acid. Naltrexone (generic name) is a pharmacologically active opioid antagonist, conventionally used to treat drug- and alcohol addiction – normally at doses of 50mg to 300mg. As such, it's been an FDA approved drug for over two decades.
However, at very low dosages (3 to 4.5 mg), naltrexone has immunomodulating properties that may be able to successfully treat cancer malignancies and a wide range of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis. As explained on the informative website www.lowdosenaltrexone.org, when you take LDN at bedtime -- which blocks your opioid receptors for a few hours in the middle of the night -- it is believed to up-regulate vital elements of your immune system by increasing your body's production of metenkephalin and endorphins (your natural opioids), hence improving immune function.
Dr. Bert Berkson is an expert on this regimen. For more information about his findings and successes using this combination, please review this previous article.
- Mercury detox – Mercury is clearly a neurotoxic poison that should be avoided, so avoiding eating fish and refusing or removing mercury dental amalgams are also important aspects. Certain supplements can also help eliminate mercury from your system, such as chlorella, and OSR (Oxidative Stress Reliever) developed by Dr. Boyd Haley.
- Address early childhood emotional traumas—Last but certainly not least, in my experience with MS patients, there is nearly always a precipitating traumatic emotional event that causes your immune system to crash, leading to the disease. Just as vitamin D deficiency seems to be present in most cases of autoimmune disease, there is also typically an emotional element involved. More often than not, some form of hidden emotional wound can be found in patients suffering with autoimmune diseases like MS.
Typically, this wounding occurred at a very young age, almost always before the age of seven; typically before the age of five. Issues related to this event need to be addressed by using an effective energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), but only with the help of an experienced practitioner.
May 17, 2011