Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is characterized by destruction of the protective sheath — called the myelin sheath — around nerves in the brain and the spinal cord. As a result, the transmission of nerve impulses to other nerves, muscles, and vital organs is interrupted. This impaired nerve function translates into symptoms such as difficulty in walking, abnormal, “pins and needles” sensations throughout the body, pain and loss of vision due to inflammation of the optic nerve, tremors, paralysis and impaired thinking and memory. In addition, muscle wasting, bladder dysfunction, fatigue, osteoporosis and a host of other problems may develop either directly or indirectly due to this nerve damage.
Although there is a genetic predisposition toward Multiple Sclerosis — as proven in studies of twins — only a third of those that are genetically susceptible will get Multiple Sclerosis, indicating there is still an outside factor involved. MS is more common in those born and raised above the 37th parallel (a line extending from Newport News, VA to Santa Cruz, CA); however, if a person moves to an area of low risk (i.e. below the 40th parallel) prior to adolescence, they assume the lower risk of their new location. These last points support the idea of an environmental exposure link and possible vitamin D deficiency to the disease. It also appears in clusters including El Paso, Texas; De Pue, Illinois; and Galion, Ohio.
What is the Cause Multiple Sclerosis?
No definitive cause for Multiple Sclerosis currently exists. Heavy metals such as mercury and mycotoxins — chemicals made by fungi — are potential creators of Multiple Sclerosis and MS-like conditions. Myotoxins are found in grains that have been contaminated with fungi and mold. Antibiotics, such as penicillin and the cephalosporin drugs, are fungal metabolites- they are mycotoxins. Alcohol is a mycotoxin. Aflatoxin, the most carcinogenic substance on earth, is a mycotoxin. The most commonly contaminated crops are peanuts, corn, and wheat.
Some mycotoxins are produced in our body by the yeast in our intestines or vaginal tract. In one study, three women severely symptomatic for vaginal candidiasis were found to have vaginal fluid samples with significant levels of a mycotoxin called gliotoxin. From our environment, we can be exposed to mycotoxins through countless routes: ingestion, inhalation, skin contact, etc. The question is, once inside the body, can these mycotoxins damage nerves?
We already know that, in Multiple Sclerosis, there is a loss of molecules called sphingolipids from the white matter in the central nervous system. What is not well known is the fact that mycotoxins can actually disrupt sphingolipid biosynthesis. Specifically, gliotoxin, as we mentioned above, on a slightly larger scale can induce nerve cell death (apoptosis).
New research out of England has shown that low levels of sunlight coupled with glandular fever increased the incidience of MS by 61% and 72% respectively. MS affects about 100,000 people in the UK and is more common in the north of England than in the south.
There are also high levels of both vitamin D deficiency and Multiple Sclerosis in Scotland, where the MS Society is considering carrying out separate research on a possible link between the two. Around 10,500 people have MS in the country, the highest prevalence of the condition in the world.
Glutamate, Copper and Multiple Sclerosis
See the digram on Nutrition Genome to learn more how high glutamate and copper could be leading to multiple sclerosis. A genetic test through nutritiongenome.com can help determine if glutamate may be playing a role.
Dietary recommendations are geared toward a higher amount of healthy fats (olive oil and organic virgin coconut oil) and a lower amount of carbohydrates in the forms of grains, especially gluten. Eating organically is beyond important for this disorder, as conventional foods are often tainted with heavy metals. Avoid excess copper and zinc.
Taken daily, these important nutrients have a variety of benefits. Then can enhance neuron functioning, prevent free radical damage, improve circulation and increase oxygen.
Since people in the north get less sunlight, and therefore less vitamin D, it may help to take more of this vitamin. In fact, one study showed that up to 5,000 units of vitamin D, taken in combination with 16 mg per kilogram of body weight of calcium, and 10 mg. per kilogram of body weight of magnesium cut Multiple Sclerosis exacerbations in half.
UCI’s Dr. Michael Demetriou, Ani Grigorian and others found that oral N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), similar to glucosamine, inhibited the growth and function of abnormal T-cells that in MS incorrectly direct the immune system to attack and break down central nervous system tissue that insulates nerves. According to Dr. Demetriou, “This sugar-based supplement corrects a genetic defect that induces cells to attack the body in MS,” said Demetriou, associate professor of neurology and microbiology & molecular genetics, “making metabolic therapy a rational approach that differs significantly from currently available treatments.”
Deficiencies can create a disposition to developing MS
Extremely important for proper nerve function.
Plays a major role in GABA production, keeping glutamate from getting too high.
1. Holland, Dave MD. “Multiple Sclerosis: A Chronic Mycotoxicosis?” CTM and CTE Entry Page. Web. 12 Jan. 2009. http://www.campaignfortruth.com/Eclub/220903/multiplesclerosis1.htm.