Terry Wahls, a doctor, used to run marathons and climb mountains in Nepal. She earned a black belt in tae kwon do and competed multiple times in the American Birkebeiner 54-kilometer cross-country ski marathon. Then she developed multiple sclerosis (MS). By 2000, the disease had spread. Within two years, she could no longer play soccer with her kids. By fall 2003, walking from room to room for her hospital rounds exhausted her and, by summer 2004, her back and stomach muscles had weakened so much that she needed a tilt/recline wheelchair. The disability slowly progressed, despite increasingly aggressive therapy. By 2007, she spent most of her time lying in a zero-gravity chair. She was 52.
Conventional medicine was failing her, a doctor. As she was heading toward a bedridden life, she began researching and experimenting on herself. She not only arrested her disease but achieved a dramatic restoration of her health—all through diet. Long after she managed to cure herself, a scientific study on the MS, published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, has found that better diet helps MS patients have less disability and fewer symptoms than people whose diet is less healthy. This is the conclusion of a study.
The author of the study Kathryn C Fitzgerald, ScD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology has been quoted as saying that “People with MS often ask if there is anything they can do to delay or avoid disability, and many people want to know if their diet can play a role, but there have been few studies investigating this... While this study does not determine whether a healthy lifestyle reduces MS symptoms or whether having severe symptoms makes it harder for people to engage in a healthy lifestyle, it provides evidence for the link between the two.” The study covered 6,989 people.
Healthy diet was defined as eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and less sugar from desserts and sweetened beverages and less red meat and processed meat. The study divided participants were into five groups based on how healthy their diet was. Researchers also assessed whether participants had an overall healthy lifestyle which was defined as having a normal weight, regular physical activity and not smoking.
People in the group with the healthiest diet were 20% less likely to have more severe physical disability than people in the group with the least healthy diet. The results were true even after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect disability, such as age and how long they had MS. Individuals with the healthiest diets also were also around 20% less likely to have more severe depression.
However, there are big differences between Dr Wahls’ diet and what was tracked by the study. Dr Wahls advocates a particular kind of diet (“Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine”) in her book The Wahls Protocol. The study claims to have studied the benefits of “diets that have been touted in self-help books and websites as beneficial for people with MS, such as the Wahls’ diet” but found that overall, “past or current use of these diets was associated with modestly reduced risk of increased disability.” Wahls Diet seems to have helped hundreds of MS patients. She suggests having three cups each of leafy greens vegetables, deeply coloured and sulphur-rich vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, radishes and so on, having wild-caught fish and grass-fed meat and avoiding gluten and dairy and.
This is the basic diet which gets progressively restricted over the weeks. Read the book in case you are dealing with an auto-immune disease.