In the wake of celebrity TV star and music manager Jack Osbourne – son of famed musician Ozzy Osbourne – recently receiving a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis, the world has once again grown curious of what exactly the condition is and how it affects the body. And perhaps of equal importance is whether or not a person can better manage MS through their diet and fitness regimen.
Osbourne, 26, is trying to deal positively with MS, which is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the body’s central nervous system. MS has been known to cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, extreme fatigue, numbness, paralysis, blindness, memory loss and more. And because of the volatility of the condition, these symptoms can remain permanent or may come and go.
In addition to proper diet and digestion, one of the most crucial areas of the body an MS patient can focus on to better manage the condition is the myelin sheathe of nerve fibers, because it is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Some of the foods experts claim can trigger MS-symptoms include dairy, grains containing gluten, legumes eggs and yeast. According to authors of the MS Recovery Diet, it’s possible to identify other foods that may cause and/or lessen MS symptoms, and then find ways to customize a patient’s diet to avoid worsening the condition.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, (NMSS) it’s extremely important that those with MS take care of their health. This implemented through a well-balanced, carefully-planned diet. As a general rule, MS specialists recommend that patients follow a low-fat, high fiber diet to better manage their condition.
Diet, however, is not a cure for MS alone and hardly a common treatment. In fact, NMSS doesn’t promote the treatment of MS through diet alone because none of the proposed ‘miracle diets’ have any evidence of effectiveness. Furthermore, some diets may be harmful and potentially toxic if they include too much of certain vitamins or exclude important nutrients. One approach they do give credit to, however, is a diet low in saturated fats, supplemented by omega 3 and omega 6 as it’s been found to provide small but noticeable benefits.
While exercise isn’t viewed as a way to necessarily counteract MS, it is recommended to help manage weight, increase endurance, energy, flexibility, and strength, and improve mobility. However, because MS symptoms can cause fatigue, poor balance, weakness and muscle spasms, sticking with stationary equipment – such as a stationary bike as opposed to a regular bike – is a better approach since it’s more stable and provides better support for safety reasons.
So while diet and exercise are important factors in controlling MS, those diagnosed should always consult a doctor to go about a proper treatment plan.
June 19th, 2012