10 Things You Should Know About MS

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

4.  Watch What You Eat

MS absolutely changes what you can and should eat. Although a healthy diet helps everyone, this is especially true for those who suffer from MS. Because most people with MS become super sensitive to fats, sodium, caffeine, preservatives, and other unhealthy foods and additives, their diets tend to go to extremes. Too many MS sufferers listen to chit-chat on the Internet about eating this or not eating that in order to ease their symptoms, and this is not always in their best interest. Avoiding all dairy or gluten or any other food simply because someone says it worked for them is no guarantee that it will work for you or that it is even safe for you.

A prime example is one discussion on a particular MS website where the subject was caffeine. Although some people found that caffeine or caffeinated drinks such as coffee made their symptoms much worse, there were quite a few people who found that drinking a few cups of coffee over the course of a day helped relieve their symptoms.  Food affects everyone on an individual basis, and there is no “perfect” diet for MS. There is only the perfect diet for you. Eat as healthy and naturally as you can and forget about the fads.


5. Get Your Vitamin D On

Your body must have vitamin D to fight osteoporosis, a common complication of this MS, as well as absorb calcium and to reduce your symptoms. Too many people with MS live their lives inside the house and only see sunlight through a window. Studies show that most people with MS are deficient in vitamin D. If you truly can’t get out in the sun, then you will need vitamin D and vitamin K supplements. Speak to your doctor about the right dosage for you. In the March 2014 journal JAMA Neurology, a study was published showing that for those in the early stages of MS, those who had higher levels of vitamin D in their blood had slower progression of this disease over the next five years than those who had low vitamin D levels.


6.  Think Cranberry

Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry extract supplements can help prevent those oh-so-common urinary tract infections that seem to plague women with MS. Cranberries contain a compound that prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, so it is flushed out of the body. This is more important than just avoiding a painful UTI episode. For MS sufferers, a UTI can worsen underlying neurological problems, according to doctors at the Colorado Neurological Institute. If you have, for example, mild leg weakness, a UTI can trigger significant leg weakness in a matter of days. Of course, if you already have a UTI, cranberry juice won’t help you. Take your course of antibiotics, and then start drinking pure cranberry juice or taking extracts to prevent another episode.


7.  Consider Ginkgo

There have been recent studies which show that ginkgo biloba can help with those feelings of fatigue. However, you absolutely must speak to your doctor before trying ginkgo, especially if you are taking other medications such as blood thinners. Gingko can cause serious drug interactions and thins your blood, so you should review all of your medications with your doctor and talk to them to see if adding ginkgo biloba to your life is right for you.

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