Going Herbal: Vitamins and Supplements for Multiple Sclerosis?

The early signs of multiple sclerosis may be subtle and nonspecific, such as fatigue or vision or balance disturbances. Unfortunately, one of the most common diagnoses is that a patient has “multiple sclerosis” when in fact they have a different problem entirely.

It is particularly important to employ a correct diagnosis to differentiate between problems that will resolve on their own and those which require medical intervention. Making this determination requires not only an accurate historical account from you about what happened but also sufficient expertise on the part of your doctor (neurologist).

Just like there are many types of headaches (tension, migraine, cluster), there are many diseases that can mimic MS: Lyme disease; Lupus; Cogan’s syndrome; Metabolic Syndrome, etc.

The following are common signs that are frequently attributed to multiple sclerosis when they are in fact due to another condition: paresthesias (tingling or numbness), oscillopsia (a shaking of vision while moving the head from side to side- which can be caused by problems with the inner ear), diplopia (double vision) and gait ataxia/instability.

Hearing loss in MS patients is very often misdiagnosed as well, due to the severe impact it can have on the quality of life. It must be remembered that hearing loss isn’t just about being unable to hear sounds but also understanding what is being said. These two components are just as important in communication as tone of voice and body language (if not more).

The reason why diagnosing multiple sclerosis can be complicated is because of its remitting- relapsing-remitting nature. “Remission” is defined as a partial or complete disappearance of the signs and symptoms of a disorder, such as multiple sclerosis.

When patients experience these so-called “remissions”, they feel better and assume that their problem has been resolved completely. Unfortunately, this is most often not the case! The disease continues to progress silently until the next relapse occurs. This means that there may be no identifiable deficits during periods where someone feels well but they are still acquiring new damage nonetheless.

Supplements to avoid with multiple sclerosis:

multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that leads to the problem of demyelination of the central nervous system. It occurs because of the damage or destruction of the myelin sheath. Myelin sheath is a group of white matter cells that are found in our central nervous system, present between two neurons. These cells are responsible for producing a low-resistance pathway for axon’s impulse conduction so that signals can travel quickly from one neuron to another.

Thus it provides quick reaction time to any nerve impulse traveling along the tract. Damage or demyelination leads to slowing down this transmission and hence multiple sclerosis symptoms like spasticity, weakness, etc occur. This article mainly focuses on various supplements which you should avoid if you have multiple sclerosis.

1. Avonex medication:

Avonex is a humanized monoclonal antibody of interferon beta 1a which is used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. However, in some individuals, it causes the problem of severe joint pain.

Generally, it occurs due to an increase in uric acid level or formation of crystals in joint cartilage tissues, leading to inflammation and arthritis-type symptoms. So if you are taking Avonex then consult with your doctor about this before starting any supplement because this supplement may worsen your arthritis condition in certain individuals. Moreover, if you have taken the injection form so consult with your doctor before changing to tablet form because the injection form can be directly injected into muscle tissue while the tablet has to be swallowed.

2. supplements containing n-acetyl cysteine:

n-acetyl cysteine is a dietary supplement that is used for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, liver and kidney diseases, biliary cirrhosis, etc. It works by reducing inflammation and damaging free radicals within the body. However, it has been studied that this supplement causes worsening of multiple sclerosis symptoms like mood swings, depression, etc in certain individuals leading to severe fatigue, weakness, and paralysis.

If you have taken these supplements then avoid taking them because the increased formation of peroxynitrite may worsen your condition further increasing inflammation levels in your body. Moreover, if you are already taking these supplements then seek consultation with your doctor regarding their safety during multiple sclerosis treatment. Because peroxynitrite formation may worsen your problem.

3. supplements containing folic acid: 

folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that is used for the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis and other conditions like anemia, asthma, etc. However, it has been reported that if you are taking this supplement then its combination with some drugs can increase the risk of several types of cancer in certain individuals leading to severe side effects.

So avoid taking these supplements if you have a high risk or history of cancer because peroxynitrite formation due to reduced glutathione levels may increase cancer risks further by producing free radicals in the body. Moreover, consult with your doctor before starting any dietary supplement during multiple sclerosis therapy because they must be prescribed only when needed.

4. supplement containing niacin:

niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that is used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and high cholesterol levels. However, in some individuals, it causes severe skin problems like rashes, etc. So consult with your doctor before starting any niacin-containing supplement during multiple sclerosis therapy because they may cause severe side effects further increasing your disease condition or worsening your problem.

Moreover, taking this supplement increases the risk of swelling, rash, rapid heartbeat, etc leading to severe side effects so avoid taking it if you are already suffering from a similar type of symptoms then consult with your doctor immediately before starting this dietary supplement.

5. supplements containing vitamin B1:

Vitamin b1 is a water-soluble vitamin which the deficiency of this vitamin can cause seizures, irritability, vomiting, psychosis, etc. it has also been reported that in some individuals the combination of this supplement with certain drugs may increase the risk of seizures.

So avoid taking these supplements if you are having a history or current symptoms related to seizures in your past life because peroxynitrite formation due to low glutathione levels may worsen your condition further increasing chances of developing seizures. Moreover, seek consultation with your doctor before starting any type of dietary supplement containing Vitamin b1 during multiple sclerosis therapy because they must be prescribed only when needed.

6. supplements containing magnesium:

magnesium is an important nutrient required by our body for good health. However, some people have reported that they feel severe side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc while taking these magnesium supplements for treatment of multiple sclerosis and other conditions.

So avoid taking magnesium-containing dietary supplements during your therapy because it may increase seizure risk in some individuals. Moreover, consult with your doctor before starting any type of magnesium-containing supplement during multiple sclerosis therapy because they must be prescribed only when needed.

7. supplements containing vitamin A :

vitamin a is an important nutrient required by our body for good health. However, it has been reported that if you are already suffering from osteoporosis or thyroid problems then its long-term use may worsen the existing problem further increasing the risk of developing different types of problems. Moreover, it has also been reported that in some individuals its combination with certain medicines may increase the risk of birth defects and osteoporosis.

So avoid taking this supplement containing vitamin a during multiple sclerosis therapy because it may worsen your problem, increase side effects further leading to severe adverse effects. Moreover, seek consultation with your doctor before starting any type of dietary supplement containing vitamin a during your therapy because they must be prescribed only when needed.

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