March is Multiple Sclerosis, MS, awareness month. Are you familiar with Multiple Sclerosis? MS is an immune-mediated response in which the person's own body is abnormally attacking the central nervous system (brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord). Nerves contain a protective coating known as myelin. For some unknown reason, the body's immune system will start attacking the myelin and nerves within the CNS. This immune response creates scarring which gives the disease its name Sclerosis. Once the nerves are attacked it creates interference between nerve signaling thus creating the symptoms of MS (1). Each person that presents with MS has a unique set of symptoms. Conventional medicine does not have a cure for MS, therefore they manage the symptoms with prescription drugs.
Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Numbness & Tingling in face, body, arms, and legs
Dizziness & Vertigo
Naturopathic Medicine for Multiple Sclerosis
People that have been diagnosed with MS often have several specialists because the symptoms cross many systems within the body. One specialty that is often not discussed is Naturopathic Medicine. Naturopathic medicine utilizes a holistic approach to treat the patient while looking for the root cause.
Dr. Julie George focuses her Spokane Valley practice on naturopathic principles and environmental medicine. The Mulitple Sclerosis Society states on their website, "The cause of MS is still unknown – scientists believe the disease is triggered by an as-yet-unidentified environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond(1)." Therefore, Dr. Julie George believes that people with MS should be seeing doctors that focus on environmental medicine. No matter what stage of MS someone is in it is a great idea to integrate care with naturopathic medicine to optimize your body's ability to heal.
Nutrition & GI Health
Having a healthy digestive system and microbiome influence your overall immune system. When someone has been diagnosed with MS, we believe it is important to utilize specific testing for GI health using leaders in the industry like Genova Diagnostics, Cyrex Laboratories, and Doctors Data. We also know that special diets have made huge impacts on patients with MS. Dr. Terry Wahls and her research team have done studies on adding nutritional dietary changes with neuromuscular electrical stimulation therapy which produced positive conclusions (2). Optimizing nutrition can be of huge significance alone.
We believe that knowing your methylation cycle is important for optimizing your supplement protocols and detoxification pathways. We believe that this allows for us to individualize your treatment protocols specific to you.
It is common to find certain viruses in MS Patients. Lyme's disease is also commonly found in MS patients. We believe that MS patients should test for Lymes and co-infectors with the leading testing company IgeneX. Bacterial and Parasite infections can also be found in MS patients.
Knowing your environmental health history and the possible toxins you were exposed to can help with restoring your health. Eliminating as many exogenous chemicals from your life is important. Exploring your toxic profiles, heavy metals, and mycotoxin levels may help. We utilize Doctors Data, Genova Diagnostics, and other leading laboratories to obtain this information.
It is important to find stress-reducing practices that can become a habit. Stress can initiate immune flares. In addition, to lifestyle habits, we can explore your cortisol/adrenal health with specialty testing.
At Rivercreek Wellness we optimize your nutrition with dietary changes and professional strength supplements, we provide advanced and standardized laboratory testing, and educate on lifestyle habits. Dr. Julie George prefers to work with MS patients monthly. We also feel that it is important to integrate your care with leading conventional MS specialists.
Family History of Multiple Sclerosis
Do you have a family history of Multiple Sclerosis? Having a family history of MS is reported in 20% of MS patients. There is a 2% risk of developing MS if a first-degree relative has the diagnosis (3). Therefore, Dr. Julie George believes that being proactive with preventative medicine is much needed. We have access to several scientific medical tests that can be beneficial to your health.
Learning your single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within your genes can be revolutionary to your current and future health. We all have SNPs. Being able to influence our genes expression is going to revolutionize healthcare. This allows us to optimize our nutrition as well.
Cyrex Laboratories has an autoimmune panel that determines your susceptibility to autoimmune diseases 5-10 years prior to a diagnosis. When we determine that your body is already having immune reactions we are prompted to make major changes to your lifestyle.
We can not avoid toxins, they are everywhere. However, we can try to eliminate as many toxins from our lifestyle as possible. We have the availability for testing heavy metals, solvents, glyphosates, parabens, phthalates, and many more. Eliminating toxins from your body requires working with a doctor that is trained in environmental medicine.
1. National Mulitple Sclerosis Society. https://www.nationalmssociety.org
2. Reese, D., Shivapour, E.T., Wahls, T.L., Dudley-Javoroski, S.D., Shields, R. (2009). Neuromuscular electrical stimulation and dietary interventions to reduce oxidative stress in a secondary progressive multiple sclerosis patient leads to marked gains in function: a case report. Retrieved from https://terrywahls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Case-Report-Neuromuscular-electrical-stimulation-and-dietary-interventions-to-reduce-oxidative-stress-in-a-secondary-progressive-MS-patient-leads-to-functional-gains.pdf.
3. Murray, J. T., Pryse-Phillips, W., Noble, J. (Ed.) Greene, H. L. II (Ed.), Levinson, W. (Ed.), Modest, G.A. (Ed.), Murlow, C.D. (Ed.), Scherger, J.E. (Ed.), Young, M.J. (Ed.). (2001). Textbook of Primary Care Medicine (Third Edition). Chapter 171 Multiple Sclerosis (pp.1623-1629). ST. Louis, MO: Mosby.