Monday, January 21, 2008

Pharmaceuticals and Nutrition - Must MS Patients Choose One Over the Other?

In response to my post, The Value of Money or the Value of Health..., a fellow MSer from Toronto left an interesting comment regarding the use of diet to 'treat' her multiple sclerosis. She referenced a presentation given in Alberta last October by DIRECT-MS, Diet Research into the Cause and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, which also supports The Best Bet Diet.

Orla Hegarty is "40 years old and has had a passion for cooking since she was able to whip up her first batch of cookies at the age of 10 or so. She published her first recipe in 1977 at this same age. She blames it all on Laura Ingalls Wilder." Orla blogs at Great Mastications and provides recipes which are diary-free, gluten-free, legume-free, and tomato-free. Her recipes look pretty tasty and you should check them out.

Orla makes the point that her choice of treatment costs considerably less than the $21,000 per year that prescription Copaxone costs. Personally, I do not believe that the use of appropriate pharmaceuticals must be divorced from the use of diet to help control MS symptoms. And I am a little sad that MSers who choose a diet-only approach feel the need to carry a chip on their shoulder when it comes to the skepticism of an MS Cause or Cure found in nutrition from the evidence-based medical community.

Orla also says..."Patient advocacy is a moot [sic] point when it comes to patients choosing diet modifications." I believe that patient advocacy can be executed in a wide variety of situations. Perhaps there is a need to increase the availability of high-quality, fresh foods in urban areas without access to locally grown foodstuffs. Or why ARE so many processed foods, made to be tasty by substances such as high-fructose corn syrup or partially-hydrogenated oils, available at such cheap prices? Could there be a need to eliminate or limit federal farm subsidies which distort nutritional incentives? Just some thoughts.

Namaste to you, Orla, and thank you for visiting.


  1. My family is part of the Shaklee products and when I was younger, I used to work for GNC.

    I have many books about nutrition, especially for MS.


  2. I am with you all the way, Lisa. My life mantra is 'balance in all things'. As a PWMS, I aim to take a balanced attitude to both nutrition and prescription drug use. I also believe life is for living in the sense that worrying about every morsel that enters my mouth would drive me bananas! Maybe my health suffers for this - maybe not. But it is my balanced choice.

  3. "Balance in all things" - a great way to view life.

    Thanks you guys for all the support. As I commented on one of Diane's posts, To E or Not to E..., I've had relatives who believed strongly in the value of vitamins/minerals and nutrition. If what you eat effects your symptomes, then avoiding those items is a wise decision. For me, I can't eat bakery chocolate chip cookies because they turn my hands into puffy paws. However, homemade cookies are fine and I can choose to make them if desired.

    Jim - I think my greatgrandfather enjoyed Shaklee products, as I know my grandparents do now.