Multiple Sclerosis: Facts and Findings

Roughly 2.5 million people in the world have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), according to the World Health Organization. As stated in the Harvard Gazette, MS is a central nervous system disease, which can wreak havoc on an individual’s:

  •   muscle control
  •   strength
  •   vision
  •   balance
  •   feeling
  •   thinking

According to the National MS Society, a neurologist is usually the leading doctor who makes the diagnosis of MS and leads or refers other healthcare professionals in the effort to provide comfort, function, independence, health, and wellness to the patient.

MS works as an autoimmune disease

The immune system normally uses inflammatory cells to protect people from bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections. But, in the case of autoimmune diseases, instead of protecting, they attack healthy tissue.

Scientists and researchers are continuously seeking connections between genetic and environmental factors and the risks of developing MS.  Environmental research often seeks what factors may cause an increase or decline of symptoms.

Two interesting studies were completed on the effects of high salt intake and vitamin D deficiency.


Of Mice and Men 

Mice and MenA study was performed by Dr. David Hafler, a professor of neurology and immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, which reflected that giving mice a high-salt diet caused the rodents to produce a type of infection-fighting cell that is closely associated with autoimmune diseases. The mice on salt diets developed a severe form of multiple sclerosis, called autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

Hafler’s study help explain how “helper” T-cells can drive autoimmune diseases by creating inflammation. Salt seems to cause enzymes to stimulate the creation of the helper T-cells, escalating the immune response, as reported in Health Day 03-06-2013. as reported in Health Day 03-06-2013.

But can we translate these findings to be true of men? Stay tuned…

According to Reuters, Hafler now has permission to test this on humans with MS by reducing their salt intake.  Although it may be years before anything is proven, Hafler said, “If I had MS, I would think very much about not eating processed foods and really cutting down my salt intake.”



The “Sunshine Vitamin”    sunshineIn our ever-increasing controlled temperature environments and heavy use of sunscreen, when we do venture outdoors, our modern population is strikingly Vitamin D deficient.

According to the Harvard Gazette, January 2014, researchers analyzed data from 465 MS patients from 18 European countries, Israel, and Canada who, in 2002 and 2003, enrolled in the BENEFIT (Betaseron in Newly Emerging Multiple Sclerosis for Initial Treatment) trial in which they found the benefits of adequate vitamin D levels in early stage MS patients to patients who were Vitamin D deficient included:

  •          57 percent lower rate of new brain lesions
  •          57 percent lower relapse rate
  •          25 percent lower yearly increase in lesion volume
  •          Lower loss in brain volume

The results suggest that vitamin D has a strong protective effect on the disease process underlying MS, the researchers said.

In support of these findings, the National MS Society reports that MS is known to occur more frequently in areas that are farther from the equator.


  • Harvard Gazette January 20, 2014
  • Health Day 03-06-2013
Skip to content