Multiple Sclerosis, Part I
Jane was 24, and had always been in good overall health. She was lactose intolerant, or at least sensitive enough to dairy products that she didn't eat them. She had a two year old running around and had just had her second baby. And she was terrified.
"I was told I have MS.," she said. Imagine hearing that, at her age, with two babies no less.
"I've been having numbness in some of my fingers. My muscles will twitch and I get these weird feelings in my face. My GP told me that it might just be calcium deficiency, since I don't eat dairy products and have formed and nursed two children. So he gave me a calcium supplement to take."
"And?" I asked.
"It didn't seem to help, so he sent me to a neurologist. The neurologist heard the symptoms and then and there said that I have multiple sclerosis."
I could see her eyes reddening and some tears forming.
"What am I going to do? What will happen to my kids? Can you do anything for me?" she said.
Now there's three good questions. I wasn't sure about any of them, but like a good one-trick pony, I began with what I always say.
"It can't hurt to take a look and see," I said. "Now what about that calcium supplement? How much are you taking?"
"About 1,000 milligrams a day," she answered. "I have the bottle with me."
That amount is close to the RDA, and actually exceeds it if you allow for some calcium in her foods. It was time to open my paisley bag, so to speak, and try to overturn Murphy's Law. I read the entire label.
"OK, how many of these tablets do you take each day?" I asked.
"Three," Jane said.
"Well, to begin with, the label says that it takes six tablets to make1,200 milligrams. You are getting 600 milligrams."
"Mmm," she said.
"On top of that, you'd think that each tablet therefore supplies 200 milligrams of calcium but it doesn't. This is a calcium chelate, which is a good form to take all right, but in this instance they weighed the entire compound, not just the calcium it gives you. That's sort of like weighing the corn, the water and the can. We want just the net weight. It is called the weight of elemental calcium in this case. That's only about a quarter of the label claim."
"Isn't that misleading people?" she wondered.
the consumer always has to read all the
label, especially the side part with the smaller numbers. This section, right
here," I said, pointing it out on the bottle.
"So I need more," she said.
"Maybe, yes. And there is little harm, if any, in trying more. Nobody dies of calcium overdose."
"What about stones: gallstones, kidney stones, like that?" she asked.
"Gallstones are cholesterol stones and have nothing to do with calcium. Kidney stones are caused by a deficiency of calcium, not an excess. Most nutrition texts still get that one wrong, but they'll come around eventually. Excess calcium is simply not absorbed. And you are certainly not getting an excess."
"How much was I getting?" she said.
"Let's see: each tablet provided about 50 milligrams of actual elemental calcium, and you were taking three. A hundred and fifty milligrams; not nearly enough to make a difference. You'd probably want to try a whole lot more, and this will sound kind of silly. With these tablets, we're talking at least twenty."
"A day?" she exclaimed. "Twenty calcium tablets a day?
"Well, yes. That would give you about 1,000 milligrams, plus what you might pick up in your diet from green leafy vegetables, beans, tofu, sardine bones, whatever. That's not even a megadose. Several thousand milligrams of calcium have been given, and very safely too, in some studies. The biggest side effect of three thousand milligrams a day appears to be less colon cancer."
"Less colon cancer? That's not much of a problem," she said.
"You will also want to divide the dose. Your body absorbs calcium passively, and can't take in much at any one time. Take it all through the day, as often as humanly possible. Its a nuisance, I know, but you'll get more for your money."
So off she went, with equal parts hope and skepticism.
A little over two weeks later I heard from Jane again.
"They're gone!" she said. "My symptoms are gone!" What a happy voice on the phone that was, let me tell you. "The neurologist was wrong: it wasn't MS. at all!"
I silently thought to myself, what a moron that "specialist" was, who had to be so fast with the big diagnosis. Even if a patient clearly did have MS. you'd want to break the news a hell of a lot more gently than he did. But he never did any tests. The GP was smarter: he at least considered the less spectacular, less traumatic, and more likely possibility that her diet had something to do with it. His only mistake was not having sufficient nutrition experience to know how to tailor the dose to deliver the calcium Jane's body was really demanding.
Americans generally do what their doctor tells them without many questions. I suggest they question their doctor extensively, and not necessarily do what he says. Then consult an alternative practitioner for a really different second opinion.
And if someone
truly does have multiple sclerosis? The answer is, and it is a remarkably
good answer, follow the MS protocol of Frederick Robert Klenner, MD as
described in Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C, edited by
Why a large variety of nutrients? Because there is no such thing as monotherapy with nutrition. "One drug, one disease" is a failed legend of the drug doctor. People often ask me, "What is this vitamin good for?" My answer is, "Everything." They give me "the look," but it's true nevertheless. All vitamins are important. Which wheel on your car can you do without? Which wing on an airplane can you afford to leave behind?
Why large quantities of nutrients? Because that's what does the job. You don't take the amount that you think should work; you take the amount that gets results. The first rule of building a brick wall is that you have got to have enough bricks. A sick body has exaggeratedly high needs for many vitamins. You can either meet that need, or whine about why you didn't.
But why try to cure with nutrition? Well, why not? Must a cure be medical for it to be any good? There is no medical cure for MS; if there were, you would have heard about it. I say, if one doctor's black bag is empty it does not necessarily follow that all other doctors' black bags are. Go where you can get the outcome you need. The first rule of fishing is to put your hook in the water, for that is where the fish are.
I've just given you
your first semester's education in heresy. People go to health heretics not
because they are stupid, but because nothing else worked, and counterculture
healing often does. And, despite the huge shadow of monopolistic medicine,
the cartel comprising pharmacy, government, hospitals, insurance and health
education, we still live in a more or less free-market economy. Honest
businesses that don't provide good return to the consumer fail, unless
political influence subsidizes them (which explains the continued existence
of the medical and dietetic professions). This is
So when I tell you that Frederick Robert Klenner, MD was curing multiple sclerosis back in the 1950's and '60's, you would not easily believe me. And who in their right mind would? A MS patient in a wheelchair, perhaps. Like the one who was wheeled into my office one day by his private RN.
I shared the details of Dr. Klenner's protocol with them. They went home and did it. It worked. In little over two weeks, the man was out of his wheelchair, walking with a walker or cane. It was beautiful to see.
What did they do? Read the Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C and you will find out precisely what they did. Why did it work? Because Dr. Klenner's experience in treating MS taught him to understand it as a vitamin deficiency disease.
Let's consider just one lone nutrient, thiamin, vitamin B-1 and one oddball disease, beriberi. Beriberi has been a problem for centuries in impoverished countries. It is a disease of the peripheral nervous system. Beriberi, a description of nutritional exhaustion, literally means "I can't, I can't." It results in pain (neuritis) and paralysis, swelling and anemia, decreased liver function and wasting away. Note, please, the wide variety of symptoms.
No drug on earth, then or now, can cure it. Then and now, it was known to have something to do with poor diet. But the question for centuries was, what exactly causes it?
In 1897, a prison doctor named Christiaan Eijkman first cured beriberi. Many of his prisoners had the disease. They were fed a diet of primarily polished (milled or white) rice, the stuff Americans eat to this day. Eijkman fed the prison diet to chickens and observed them to have the same beriberi symptoms. He then fed the sick chickens unmilled natural (brown) rice. The birds were cured. He tried whole brown rice on the prisoners, and they were cured. Completely. No drug had done that; it took brown rice, and something special in that unprocessed rice.
In 1911, Casmir Funk, a Polish chemist
Between 1909 and 1916, the Philippines-based American R. R. Williams began curing beriberi in young children with outstanding success. The rice polishings he used were thereafter called vitamin B (for beriberi?) and thought to provide a single essential chemical. Today known to be a team of vitamins, the B-complex, (along with vitamin C) are all water soluble, indispensable, and generally not stored by the body.
Thiamine proved to be the cure, and the only cure, for beriberi. It is designated vitamin B1. (One of its parts is a thiazole ring, and it is a vitamin, hence the name.) Thiamin is activated by thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) to form a coenzyme needed in glucose oxidation to either get energy from glucose or to produce storage fat (lipogenesis). Without thiamin, these do not occur. At all. Hence, the fatigue and wasting away of beriberi. The mineral magnesium is another essential cofactor in this process.
Thiamin is not stored in tissues. You need it every moment of every day, and it plays a crucial role in carbohydrate metabolism, pregnancy, lactation, and muscular activity. Less well known is that more thiamin is needed in tissues during fevers.
Continued deficiency of thiamin is very grave. Unchecked, beriberi is fatal. But a long-standing inadequate, marginal, or minimal thiamin supply may cause severe neurological effects, most significantly nerve irritation, diminished reflex response, prickly or deadening sensations, pain, damage to or degeneration of myelin sheaths the fatty nerve cell insulation material, and ultimately paralysis. Dr. Klenner, aware that this could well describe multiple sclerosis, went to work trying megadoses of thiamin. On the principle that it takes a lot of water to put out a well-established fire, Klenner ignored the US RDA of one to two milligrams per day and gave MS sufferers one or two thousand milligrams of thiamin a day. He administered other vitamin megadoses as well. Patients improved.
That book again? Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C.
It is available without a prescription.
In fact, it is available online without charge.
READ DR. KLENNER'S CLINICAL GUIDE FOR FREE
Many readers have long been hunting for copies of this amazingly valuable and relatively rare 68-page book. Your wishes have been answered. Dr. Klenner's Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C is now posted in its entirety at http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm
The multiple sclerosis protocol takes up about five pages.
An important paper by Dr. Klenner on the nutritional treatment of neurological diseases is posted at http://www.tldp.com/issue/11_00/klenner.htm Similar information is also included in Dr. Klenner’s megavitamin protocol for M.S., published in "Treating Multiple Sclerosis Nutritionally," Cancer Control Journal 2:3, pp 16-20.
Copyright 2008, 2005 and previous years Andrew W. Saul.
Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )
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