Multiple Sclerosis and Inflammation

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Multiple Sclerosis and Inflammation

Like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis (MS) has a strong link to inflammation.

In MS, the insulating membrane coating your nerve cells unravels because of ongoing inflammation.

This makes it difficult for nerve cells to send their signals.

Although the molecular cause of MS is unknown, scientists agree it’s a disease mainly driven by inflammation.

Like all inflammatory conditions, MS is characterized by an overproduction of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids.

The current leading treatment is weekly injections of beta-interferon, which is thought to act as an anti-inflammatory cytokine.

The thought behind this drug approach is it will prevent the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (like gamma-interferon), which will hopefully slow the progression of the disease.

Unfortunately, this extremely expensive drug approach is successful only about one-third of the time.

It’s used because it seems to be the only medical intervention available to MS patients.

High-dose fish oil, however, may hold far more promise as a non-pharmaceutical intervention for people with MS.

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory agents with the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier; what’s more, people with MS are known to have low levels of DHA in their brains.

It’s also known that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids prevent the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines like gamma-interferon (similar to the actions of beta-interferon).

This may explain why populations eating the most fish have the lowest rates of MS.

An intervention study of people with MS, however, is the only way to prove all these theories.

This study was performed recently in Norway in which people with MS were given high-dose fish oil supplements every day for 2 years and told to eat 3-4 fish meals per week, decrease their consumption of red meat, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

By the end of the first year, their average silent inflammation profile decreased from 6 to 1.5 (the level found in the Japanese population) and stayed at this lowered level throughout the following year.

The number of MS attacks these people experienced decreased by 90% in the first year.

After 2 years, their level of disability decreased by 25%, which means they actually regained a significant amount of mobility.

Since people with MS usually don’t get better with time, these published results are quite striking and may represent the first evidence that MS can be at least partially reversed.

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Have an awesome day!

(Based on Dr. Barry Sears’ “The Anti-Inflammation Zone”)

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Dick and Lenay

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