I like science. I like the scientific process. The scientific method. I even went out and got a degree in Biology, even though my heart was in my music, but music doesn’t always pay the bills. I like the idea of noticing something that causes us to ask a question, form a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and develop a theory. I love randomized, double blinded studies with placebos to help come up with answers. Scientific evidence.
There is scientific evidence, and there is anecdotal evidence.
No doubt, you’ve heard of various diets, supplements, treatments, etc., that claim to “cure” MS. These wonderful ideas have helped some PwMS. There are some supplements that have gone through randomized double blinded studies, and MS specialists are wise to these studies, and recommend things like Acetyl L-Carnitine (an amino acid, easily acquired over the counter) to help with fatigue.
Here on the forum, we’ve bandied around diet ideas, and the consensus is that diet has not been scientifically proven to “cure” MS. There is only anecdotal evidence that diet helps MS.
A few names that pop up around here are Swank, George Jelinek, and Terry Wahls. The diet books, TED talks, foundations, etc., have made a few folks quite a little fistful of $$$. Personally, I have a problem with those who use their successes to make $$$. I’ll read their blogs, listen to their talks, and mostly take it all with a grain of salt.
A handful of my live MS support group went Paleo after seeing Dr. Wahls’ TED talk, last November. They’re having small, but noticeable success with it. But they still have MS, and they still range from unaided walking to using wheelchairs. The ones who use assistive devices (canes, crutches, scooters, wheelchairs) still use them.
I got curious one day in March, while riding the train through California’s Central Valley with my sister. We noticed my fatigue became really pronounced after she and I shared a cookie. I had seen Dr. Wahls’ TED talk, and when I got home, I started researching Paleo diets. A couple of sites left an impression on me. One is Mark’s Daily Apple, the other is Whole 9 (and Whole 30). These guys make $$$ by selling books and supplements, too. There’s some real science behind the diet, too. Anyway, I took the plunge and started eating like a cavewoman!
This wasn’t at all difficult for me to do. I have a grass-fed rancher 7 miles from the house who raises grass-fed beef, lamb, and pork. I’m surrounded by organic farms, and our two local farmers markets sell produce grown within a 15 mile radius of the market. Giving up grains wasn’t a problem, in fact, I don’t even miss them. I don’t miss sugar, flour or dairy (some Paleo circles say dairy is fine) I’m roughly 90% Paleo, allowing myself 2 “cheater” meals/week.
The first week was kind of rough, and my fatigue levels went through the roof. I read that this is often the case when Paleo is first started. Once I got over this hurdle, I swear, my energy improved a bit. I still hit the wall with fatigue a couple of times a day, but it wasn’t quite as intense. April was one of the best months I’d had in 2 years. May, well, not so much. My fatigue has been significant. The best thing I CAN say for the diet, though, is that my digestion has never been better, I’ve lost 10 lbs, and I’m eating amazing, local food. For these two last reasons alone, I’m going to continue my personal experiment, and make my own anecdotal evidence.
I still love the scientific method, but I also keep an open mind regarding alternative therapies, such as diet, Yoga, Tai Chi, Acupuncture, and Homeopathy. If alternative therapies work for you as an individual, I say, more power to you. Please share your thoughts and successes with us.