While doctors and scientists have known about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for over 130 years, its exact causes are not known. The disease manifests in a number of ways, usually including declining vision, clumsiness, tremors, numbness, and/or bowel dysfunction. The variety of symptoms are a result of the fact that the disease slowly unravels the body’s ability to accurately communicate with the brain and spinal cord.
Your Diet and Multiple Sclerosis
The exact triggers of MS are still not known, but it is suggested that genetic factors interact with environmental factors in early youth to trigger the disease in some way. There is no known way to prevent MS, but some recent studies suggest that your diet can correlate with your relative risk of suffering from MS. Women who took vitamin D supplements were shown to be 40 percent less likely to contract MS–but the study could not decisively conclude that vitamin D reduced the risk of MS.
If you are diagnosed with MS, your diet can influence the course of the disease. Since a full third of MS patients can hold off major disability and still work up to fifteen years after diagnosis, there are factors that can slow its progress. Eating a diet with a proper balance of foods as recommended by the USDA food pyramid is wise, and B vitamins can help bolster your nervous system.
A common symptom in late-stage MS is difficulty swallowing. This can seriously impact your diet, but can be easily mitigated. First, avoid crumbling foods that make choking easy. Second, don’t be afraid to blend drinks. The thicker a drink is, the easier it is to swallow, and supplements that come in powdered form (to be made into shakes) can be a great way to keep up a healthy diet.