A new study suggests we might do this to our bodies: return to pre-MS.
The Reset-Our-Body-to-Before-MS Study
In May of 2016 a study considered this question. Will a diet regimen significantly impact autoimmune diseases?
(http://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2016/05/31/reverse-ms-dieting-new-report-states/, http://www.wsj.com/articles/could-extremely-low-calorie-diets-help-some-illnesses-1465840207, http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(16)30576-9.) [Note: The authors of the study emphasize: (1) this is not a substitute for medication, (2) always check with a medical professional before trying.]
Mice were infected with autoimmune disease, similar to MS. Then they were put on a 21-day experiment—3 days of low calories, followed by 4 days of regular intake—over the period of 3 weeks.
The results were not just hopeful, they were astounding.
1. For all of the mice symptoms were reduced.
2. For 20% of them all symptoms disappeared!
The results are worth reading in more detail:
- Reduced Disease Severity of Disease Symptoms
- Reduced Infiltration of Immune Cells to the Spinal Cord
- Increased the Number of Naive Cells (This means cells without MS markers or memory)
- Reduced the Level and Reactivity of Established Autoimmune Cells
- Stimulated Remyelination [my bold—this is unusual, maybe unheard of!]
What about humans?
This plan was tried in a pilot study on 60 people with Relapsing MS. The regimen was changed: 1 week of a diet low in calories (300 to 400) followed by 6 months of another diet. The control group did nothing different, no low calorie, no particular diet.
- People who did the semi-fast followed by Mediterranean diet showed most improvement in symptoms.
- For every participant the regimen they followed was found to be completely safe.
Is it better to fast for a long time instead of a few days?
That isn’t how it works. The primary author of the study, Vance Longo of the University of Southern California, said: “Periodic fasting shows the most promise in getting rid of bad cells and making good ones for regeneration” (http://www.wsj.com/articles/could-extremely-low-calorie-diets-help-some-illnesses-1465840207).
The authors stress that this is not about a continual low calorie (400 calories) diet plan. They believe that this worked for the mice because it is a continual changing of diet—from a few days very low to a few days normal—changing all of the time. [The suggestion is that this will also help ameliorate the negative effects of chemo (https://www.elsevier.com/connect/fasting-may-protect-against-immune-related-effects-of-chemotherapy-and-aging).]
Will it work on someone else, like me?
I want to give it 3 weeks and see what happens. My question: will symptoms be lessened—or even disappear?
- Regimen—Instead of trying a week of 400 calories followed by 6 months of Mediterranean, I will try the regimen for three weeks, more as it was first designed, changing often, and I will tweak the diet: 3 days low calorie followed by 4 days Paleo/Mediterranean plan.
- The mice showed change after 14 days. I will expect to not see any changes until 14 days.
- The mice probably only had the autoimmune disease for a little while before starting the regimen. I have had MS symptoms for 18 years, and have been diagnosed for five years. I will be surprised if 3 weeks of this regimen resets my body to pre-MS.
* * * * *
We are at a greatly different time with MS than 18 years ago when my symptoms first appeared. The number of medications, their effectiveness, the fewer side effects, the other approaches to symptom reduction—these things have increased exponentially.
This study suggests a regimen—that is radical and cheap and easy—to reset our bodies to pre-MS.
Today is day 3 of this plan. I’ll check back in three weeks from now!