Paleo Plan

Multiple Sclerosis and Paleo – Does It Help?

This is a great, and sort of near to my heart question about multiple sclerosis from a concerned mother.

Hello Neely,

My 37 yr old daughter was just told she has MS.

We are so very concerned. She has some vision loss, neck pain and has been dizzy for years with out any relief from many doctors.

I found the paleo plan on the recommended MS site. It talked about being anti inflammatory for arthritis and MS relapses.

What is your experience with MS patients and this plan? Any info would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Virginia

 

Hi Virginia,

I want to start by saying that I’ve been to doctors twice to get MRIs because they thought I had multiple sclerosis, too. The first time, I was dizzy for 2 years about a decade ago. Then I lost some vision in my left eye for many months. Both times they didn’t find any evidence in my brain for what they’ve dubbed the incurable MS, and neither time did any of those doctors help me with my symptoms. They did absolutely nothing for me, and frankly, they insulted me more than they helped.

They questioned the validity of my symptoms, charged me hundreds of dollars to “verify” that I indeed had vision loss. I remember one time being told, “Wait here,” by a doctor who’d just told me, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. I’ve never seen this before.” After over an hour in his office alone and very scared, I had to get up and leave without any further contact with the doctor and see myself out. All those experiences with the medical world were frustrating. They made me lose faith in doctors. I hope your daughter’s doctors are not the same.

The only thing that ever helped me – and it has helped a lot – is diet. Going partially blind (it was a flashing in my eye that was obstructing my vision) prompted my journey into healthy eating, actually, which eventually led me to Paleo. Paleo makes me feel better than any other way of eating that I’ve tried. Over time, figuring out what foods my body liked and didn’t like, everything has subsided. I occasionally see flashes of light in my eyes, but I’m fine in general, and I haven’t been dizzy in many years (knock on wood). I, like your daughter, also have neck and other joint issues, but now I know that  if I avoid certain foods, I have way less pain. Beyond food, I recently sought the help of a naturopathic doctor, who actually helped me by putting me on supplements that keep all of these things at bay even further.

I’m definitely not the only person who has had success with neurological symptoms using food as my medicine. Make sure you look up Dr. Terry Wahl’s story on google. She is a doctor who had crippling MS and practically healed herself completely with Paleo. And beyond my own story and Terry Wahl’s story, I’ve consulted with, corresponded with, and heard of many people who’ve had success with their autoimmune disease on Paleo.

After all, autoimmunity starts in the gut. When you eat foods that break down your gut lining (grains, pasteurized dairy, seed oils, etc.), larger food particles start to enter your blood stream. Your immune system doesn’t like that and starts attacking those particles and causing all kinds of weird symptoms in people. Some of those food particles look a lot like the cells of your own body (thyroid, small intestine, other organ cells), so over time your immune system gets really overworked and confused and begins to attack THOSE cells – your own body’s cells. In other words, autoimmunity. So if you remove those offending foods and you heal your gut, your immune system starts to calm down and not react to every little thing, including your own body’s cells.

So. I STRONGLY encourage your daughter to go Paleo and see a naturopath. I hope my story will give her some hope that she’s not doomed to feel worse and worse for the rest of her life. There’s a very good chance that if she makes some changes to her diet, even if they’re slow but sure changes, she will start feeling much better, and begin to live a very full life again.

Kindly,

Neely

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13 Comments

  1. I absolutely second that recommendation. I’ve been living the paleo good life for about a year….. Ever since my diagnosis of MS after being in a flare up for about 4 months of vision problems and everything from tingling to excruciating pain in all of my limbs. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been and I have the proof of seeing improvements on my MRI. I am so grateful I got on this path and I actually wrote a blog post for Robb Wolf’s website. Love his book! Here is my story and MRI pics. http://robbwolf.com/2013/11/04/diagnosed-ms-stronger-healthier-ever/

  2. This story makes me happy. I spent almost a year in fear of MS… Neurological symptoms, tingling, muscle spasms, etc. etc. Hundreds of dollars, nailbiting fear, specialists and an MRI later I was diagnosed with Benign Fasciculation Syndrome, not MS. Oh and I also have autoimmune thyroiditis. Doctors have been f-all help but were happy to take my money.

    Have been eating largely Paleo for months now and reducing stress (which was a major cause of all my problems) and my symptoms are nearly zero now! Cannot stress it enough; DIET IS THE CAUSE AND SOLUTION!

    Wishing you and your daughter all the best with the new journey.

  3. Hi Neely,
    I hope you are well. So appreciated your response to Virginia. If you happen to have the note I wrote you regarding my personal experience with MS and Paleo over a year ago, please feel free to share with Virginia. I have been on Paleo for two full years now and I am truly a changed person. I have (and I quote) “lived” with this disease for 25 years, but I really only started LIVING with the disease two years ago. Dr. Terry Wahl’s video propelled me to start educating myself, which led me to Paleo Plan and the challenge which has now become my life. Nutrition is the key- the missing piece of the puzzle. Without reservation I can say that following the autoimmune protocol, taking appropriate supplements, eating organic, real food and eliminating all grains, refined sugars, beans, etc. has saved me from spiraling downhill any further in all areas of my health. What started with Paleo and has progressed into a passion for all things health and wellness has given me my life back. MS IS manageable. I am working on making it reversible!! Well wishes to Virginia’s daughter.

  4. I know this article is about MS, but does anyone if Paleo can help tinnitus?

  5. One of my late, but probably greatest mentors was nutritionist Robert Crayhon. He introduced me, as well as many other health practitioners, to the Paleo concept back in the 90s. It was eye opening to say the least — and that is after studying at Bastyr University for 3 years. Thank you Robert! One of the things I especially remember him saying was, “If someone has an autoimmune disease, they should be plopped down in the forest to forage for their food (Basically removed from any kind of food production processes). They should only eat what can be picked, harvested, hunted, or fished.” Wise words, I am glad the greater community is catching up to his supreme knowledge.

  6. Since going gluten free, then eventually Paleo, my Alopecia Universalis has gone into almost full remission and getting better each day!

  7. Elizabeth

    This is such malarkey. I was the poster child of a healthy life-style: no red meats, at least 8 glasses of water each day, no processed foods, virtually no sugar (and NEVER artificial sweeteners),lots of vegetables, never set foot in a McDonalds (or Burger King or the rest of those places), I’ve had a total of one Coke in my life, lots of daily exercise and never smoked. I even floss twice a day. Every report that came out on healthy lifestyles, I was already doing. And voila! I was diagnosed with MS. Perhaps for someone who had previously had an unhealthy lifestyle, this kind of diet might be an improvement. For me, it didn’t work to prevent MS, so why would it work to abate it? I no longer believe in the modern myth that we can eat and exercise our way to good health. That notion carries a heavy dose of “blame the patient” and I’m sick and tired of the sanctimony. It is not our fault that we are sick. Period.

    • Elizabeth – I am sorry to hear about your MS – I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. However, I’m wondering if you’re saying you had a “healthy” diet in that you were still eating “healthy” whole grains, pasteurized low fat dairy products, legumes, and seed oils, just as all the reports on healthy lifestyles suggested? Because if you were, then in my opinion, that’s not healthy, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to explain in this article. Those things can make you very sick and very inflamed, thus my adherence to Paleo. I don’t agree with your assertion that “it is not our fault that we are sick. Period,” and I think a lot of people would take offense to that. Oftentimes it IS the patient’s own doing that they are sick. I think we are just taught the wrong things by our big pharma/big agriculture-influenced government organizations, so it’s easy to do things the wrong way without even knowing you’re doing anything wrong. I hope you give Paleo a try – it might change your life.

  8. sehrish baloch

    @Elizabeth, sounds like you were still eating whole grains and processed oils which lead to a leaky gut which lead to autoimmune disease. Cutting out red meat isnt healthy, we need it and we need fat to survive and to absorb fat soluble vitamins. I dont know what “healthy” is for you but the FDA’s version of high grains and low fat dietnis what makes us so sick. Id also ask you if youre a bignstressor and how your sleep cycles were?

  9. I have secondary progressive MS and I am in a scooter due to poor leg functions. I am seriously considering trying the paleo diet but it seems overwhelming and I don’t know how to begin- any suggestions. Once I start the diet, how long will it usually take to see improvements?

    • Donna – You could use our meal plan at http://www.paleoplan.com/paleo-meal-plans to get started on Paleo without having to do much thinking. I’ve seen people have reduction of symptoms within a couple days with MS, but everyone is different. Good luck!

  10. Thanks and I will let you know how things work out.

  11. I was diagnosed with ms about three months ago and heard a healthy diet will help reduce my symptoms. Not really sure about a cure though. I knew it was time to take action so I started the Paleo plan two weeks ago. I can’t tell if this meal plan will be successful and help my balance and leg stiffness and strength although, I will continue with the regiment. I wish all who suffer from neurological illnesses the best. Its really frustrating! I used to run four times a week, was an advanced mountain biker and expert skier. Nowadays I don’t want to put forth the effort. This disease has made it impossible to perform at the levels I was used to and that is depressing. I hope the Paleo plan gets me skiing the slopes, mountain biking with my friends and running with my kids again. Any advice or words of wisdom?

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