Nutrition Resource for Multiple Sclerosis

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Here are some vitamin supplements you may want to consider taking in general. Multiple Sclerosis is a very individual illness so each person will differ in nutritional deficiencies.

There is no substitute for having a personal consultation with a fully trained Nutitionalist or Health Practitioner.

Why take supplements?

They help you to:

Absorb nutrients from food.

Heal a leaky gut.

Strengthen the immune system, reduce


Strengthen the blood brain barrier.

Improve nerve signals.

Reduce fatigue and give you more energy.

What are the supplements for in MS?

The 3 Essential: Vitamin D, Calcium, and Magnesium

Vitamin D 4000 iu/day - Vitamin D could help reduce relapses and slow progression in MS, especially in northern latitudes where there is less sunlight.

Calcium 800mg/day - Vitamin D must be taken with both Calcium and Magnesium in approx equal amounts.

Magnesium 800 mg/day - Almost every metabolic system is dependant on magnesium. Helps produce cellular energy, needed for nerve impulse transmission. Also helps metabolise the B vitamins and essential fatty acids. A magnesium deficiency is a common finding in MS. Spasticity can often be traced to low levels of magnesium. This deficiency may be caused by a diet high in refined and processed foods and saturated fat, by bran added to the diet or diuretics.


Oils: EPO. Fish Oil, Flax oil

Evening Primrose Oil/Borage Oil 1-5g/day (1000- 5000mg/day) - A rich source of Essential Fatty Acids. High in Omega 6 (linoleic acid and GLA gammalinolenic acid). Helps regulate the immune system. GLA bypasses all the blocking agents in the metabolic conversion process of linolenic acid. It also has anti-viral properties. To work effectively oils with GLA should be taken with a low saturated fat diet and all the vitamins and minerals co-factors: B6, Vitamin C, zinc, magnesium. Also take with Vitamin E.

Fish and Fish Oil Supplements. 2-5 g/day - High in Omega 3 essential fatty acids- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Reduce the inflammatory response.

Needed for normal function of nervous system and production of myelin.

MS lowest where they eat lots of fish. Oily fish are best: mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon, tuna.

Seafood is good. Eat fish three times a week.

Fish Oil Supplements - Look out for ‘EPA’ and ‘DHA’ on the label, and amounts of each. Be careful of contaminants and toxins found in cod liver oil and other fish liver oils.


Flax Seed Oil - No more than 2 tablespoons/day Flax Seed Oil (also known as Linseed Oil) contains a good balance of both Omega-6 (20%) and Omega-3 (60%) - components of the nervous system, and needed for normal myelin. An alternative to fish oils if you are vegetarian.




Vitamin A - 5,000 - 10,000 iu/day - or eat liver once a week. Vitamin A helps rebuild a leaky gut.


The B Vitamins 100mg B Complex/day - The B vitamins work together. They are needed for:


The release of energy from food.

The normal functioning of the nerves and brain. Maintaining healthy skin, repair and maintenance of tissue.

The most important B vitamins for MS are: B12, B6, B1, B2, B3, B5, folic acid. B12 (cobalamin or methylcobalamin) 100 mcg/day. Needed for a healthy myelin sheath, nervous system and bone marrow. Lack of B12 can impair the processes of the immune system. People with MS may be deficient in B12 due to malabsorption in the gut or to a disorder in binding and/or transport of the vitamin.

Vitamin C 1g/day - Involved in at least 300 biochemical pathways in the body. Needed for a healthy immune system, repair of tissue and production of collagen. Take with bioflavanoids as they assist absorption.


Vitamin E 800iu/day - An antioxidant vitamin which helps protect cell membranes against free radical damage. Enhances immune response, slows down the degenerative process, regulates platelet aggregation. Vitamin E should always be taken with oil supplements such as evening primrose oil, fish oils and flax seed oil. If you eat more polyunsaturates, you need more vitamin E. Choose a natural form of Vitamin E as the potency is higher than in the synthetic form.


Mineral and Trace Elements

Zinc 50mg/day - Needed for body chemistry to property. Essential role in maintaining a healthy immune system and the metabolism of essential fatty acids. It also helps you cope with stress. Diets high in refined foods and junk food are low in Zinc. Certain foods, such as cows milk, cheese, coffee and bran can inhibit absorption. Also viral infections like glandular fever can cause a loss of zinc.

Copper 2mcg/day - Copper assists in the formation of haemoglobin and red blood cells by helping with iron absorption. It must be in the right balance with iron and zinc. Used with zinc, iron and B vitamins in the synthesis of phospholipids (long chain fatty acids) which are used in myelin formation.

Selenium 200mcg/day - Needed to make the important enzyme Glutathione Peroxidase, which helps fight against free radical and damage from lipid peroxidation. The prevalence of MS is inversely related to selenium levels in the soil. MS is high in a district of Finland called Ostrobothia where the selenium levels are low. The prevalence of MS is low in nearby Lapland, where the selenium levels are high.

Manganese 20 mg/day - Involved in the production of the enzyme Superoxide Dismutase - soaks up free radicals.

Antioxidants Combat free radicals - very reactive and unstable compounds which damage cell membranes. Free radicals are implicated in degenerative illnesses like MS.

Grape Seed Extract/Pycnogenol (super antioxidants), 2-4 capsules/day - Contain proanthrocyanidins (OPCs or PCOs) - up to 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E. Help deal with free radicals and strengthen the blood brain barrier. Bilberry extract is also very effective (possibly the most effective in strengthening the blood brain barrier).

Alpha-Lipoic Acid - 500mg/day (very expensive) - Alpha-lipoic acid is both water and fat soluble and it is the only antioxidant which has those properties. A very potent antioxidant which can travel across cell membranes so can scavenge free radicals both inside and outside cells.

Gingko Biloba 120mg/day - Helps maintain healthy peripheral circulation, including blood to the brain. Helps memory and cognitive functions. Helps keep blood vessels dilated, so allowing blood to flow more freely to the extremities, including the brain. Also works as an antioxidant and has positive effects on platelet function.

Glutathione Peroxidase - An antioxidant enzyme which helps protect all cells from free radical damage. It seems that people with MS have reduced activity of this enzyme.


Acidophilus 2-8 capsules/day depending on strength Living “friendly” intestinal bacteria - Helps restore or maintain the balance in favour of the healthy intestinal bacteria. Needed when there is an imbalance (or dysbiosis) in the digestive system. Help keep the potentially harmful micro-organisms (like candida) balanced with friendly micro-organisms. Leads to improved absorption of food and increased immune function.

Digestive Enzymes- 4-6 capsules/day - Enzymes are needed to digest food properly and for a multitude of metabolic functions. They turn the wheels of our body chemistry and make nutrients easier to absorb in the gut. If any digestive enzymes are lacking or not working effectively your body cannot use nutrients from food. Absorption of poorly digested food can lead to gut inflammation, leaky gut and food allergies. Food ferments in the gut causing gas, burning and bloating. Incompletely digested foods produce toxins, irritate the intestines, and enter the bloodstream. Over time this can lead to degenerative and/or autoimmune diseases. It is common for people with MS to have digestive problems. Poor digestion keeps the immune cells tied up in our gut, leaving us defenceless against virus, fungus, yeast, candida, and bacteria. So infections are more likely.

Neurotransmitters & Energy Releasers

Lecithin (also known as Phosphatidyl Choline) 500-1000mg/day - Helps in fat metabolism. A precursor of Acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitters needed for transmission of messages between brain cells.

Phosphatidyl Serine - Speeds up neurotransmitters.

Co-Enzyme Q10 - Helps release energy.

Enada - Also helps increase energy.

Amino Acids The building blocks of all proteins including all cell membranes, tissues, blood, lymph, enzymes and hormones, so are essential for good health. They come from good quality proteins such as fish and lean meat. Eight amino acids are essential because you cannot make them in your body but have to get them from foods. A lack of these essential aminos may be due to faulty digestion/absorption, which then disrupts metabolic processes creating general symptoms of weakness, fatigue and lethargy. At the Tahoma Clinic in Seattle it was found that in nearly 100% of MS cases the amino acid blood levels were abnormally low. Amino acid supplements can reduce weakness and fatigue. By improving metabolism they contribute to greater energy and well-being.

L-Glutamine 500mg/day - The most abundant amino acid in our bodies. Immune cells need glucose, but will only grow if they have glutamine too. L-Glutamine helps protect against a leaky gut, which is common in MS. Glutamine is the most important nutrient and fuel for the mucosal lining of the small intestine and the colon. The cells of the intestine or gut are the fasting growing cells in our bodies. They form a thin (one cell thick) barrier between the digestive tract and the rest of the body and have to be replenished constantly - gaps can open between these cells, resulting in a leaky gut. Glutamine also:

Reduces fatigue. It is important brain fuel.

Helps reduce cravings for sweets, chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs etc., this can help reduce hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).

Helps in the production of glutathione peroxidase, a key antioxidant enzyme.

Delivers nitrogen when it is needed to help build muscle tissue and removes nitrogen when there is acid build-up, helping detoxification. It also helps the liver rid the body of toxic substances.

Prevents muscle breakdown. When you are under stress, for instance through illness, surgery or an accident, glutamine is ‘robbed’ from lean muscle tissue to fuel the tissues of the intestines, liver and immune system. Muscle tissue is also used to make more glutamine; this causes muscle wasting.

MSM Stands for methyl sulphonyl methane. Sulphur is essential to life. It helps repair the damaged tissue membranes, is anti-inflammatory, helps reduce pain, is anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and reduce scar tissue. Sulphur regulates the sodium potassium pump in the cells. This process removes toxins from cells, reduces inflammation, and promotes healing. Helps strengthen gut lining. Helps in myelin repair, relieves muscle cramps and constipation.



The above is based on Brian’s paper published on the Best Bet Diet webpage.

The rationale is based on recommendations by Dr. Ashton Embry in Canada.

Additional material from the A-Z of Complementary Therapies for MS, by Judy Graham with Frances Pulling, published by the MSRC £12.50. Also 'Multiple Sclerosis - The Self Help Guide' by Judy Graham (Thorsons).

Subscribers to New Pathways Magazine can get a 10% discount on all the supplements mentioned from:


Optimum Nutrition Company (ONC)

PO Box 88

Bracknell RG12 1JF

Tel: 01344-301 344

Quote: ref ZZ MSRC

New Pathways subscriber's can get a discount of up to 25% from the Nutri Centre, depending on the product ordered, by quoting MSRC when calling. Please use the special discount line of 08456 027197 and if you experience any problems please ask to speak to Charlene.


The Nutri Centre

7 Park Crescent

London W1B 1PF

Do you take other supplements?

If you take other, or additional supplements, please let us know what they are and what they do for you?



Ambrotose is the only product that contains the 8 saccharides, known as Glyconutrients, that make up our outer cell surface. This product from Mannatach is proving beneficial with a variety of conditions including Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, inflammation, recovery from viral infections, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

For all of history, food has provided these building blocks. But scientists are still learning the functions that specific nutritional food components play in this process. As recently as this century benefits of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytochemicals were discovered.

While all of these nutritional substances are important to our health, Mannatech believe that, by far, the newest and most exciting scientific advance is the discovery of an additional function carbohydrates play in human health-in addition to providing simple energy. This discovery is about the function of plant-based glyconutrients in cell-to-cell communication.

Healthy bodies are comprised of many components working together in sophisticated harmony, and must have accurate internal communication to function correctly. In its most basic form, this communication occurs at the cellular level.

To maintain a healthy body, cells must "talk" to other cells. Their "language" is one of touch written in saccharides on cell surfaces. These simple sugars combine with other molecules to make glycoforms such as glycoproteins when joined with protein or glycolipids when joined with fats. Of the 200 monosaccharides that occur naturally in plants, 8 have been discovered to be components in cell surface glycoforms.

Like thousands of different "keys" projecting from the cell surface, they will either "unlock" the required functions of the adjoining cell or not. If the right keys are available, the body functions smoothly. If not, it doesn't. Only two of the eight are commonly found in foods we eat. Our diets have changed in response to demands for quicker, cheaper methods of mass-producing food. Consequently, we are not eating foods that once supplied a greater variety of these sugars.

While the body has the capacity to manufacture all of these monosaccharides from common sugars like glucose found in the diet, the conversion process is complicated, requiring energy and time as well as numerous enzymes and vitamins.

Viruses can also interfere with our bodies' ability to make the conversions. People who are ill or who have inborn errors of metabolism are especially vulnerable to a breakdown in the process. Whenever these necessary monosaccharides cannot be made, communication is slowed or impaired as a result.

Ambrotose complex, Mannatech's unique patent - pending glyconutrient, is a blend of specific plant-derived carbohydrates that contain monosaccharides necessary for cell-to-cell communication and glycosylation which is essential for hormone and energy production.

NB: The info above is taken from the Mannatech webpage, the company that produce and sell this supplement. We cannot say whether this supplement is beneficial in treating MS or not.

To purchase Ambrotose simply visit Mannatech's site.


Herbal Product Kalawalla is apparently being used by some people for MS. It is claimed to work as a natural immunomodulator with proven immunomodulating effect. It is a 100% natural product with no known toxic side effects.It claims to increase lymphocyte levels and strengthen the immune system.

Kalawalla is made from Polypodium leucotomos, a fern plant which grows exclusively in the jungles and rainforests of Honduras.The ancient Mayans used Polypodium leucotomos as part of their daily diet in the form of tea as a blood purifier. They attributed healing properties to the drink and up until today the drink is popular in Honduran tradition.

Europeans have used Polypodium leucotomos extract for over 10 years as part of an overall health program to maintain their immune system at its strongest. It has mostly been used to treat vitiligo and other skin conditions.

Vitiligo is an immune system disorder affecting the skin, which has patches of no pigment and ordinary pigment, a bit like a piebald pony.

Kalawalla is obtainable from Organic Hope in the USA at and in the UK from Althealth at

© Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre


Related Items

MSM (supplement)

Combating Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue

Complementary And Other Therapies


Diet And Nutrition In MS

Dr Bob Lawrence's Advice

Drug Treatments

Exercise and Physiotherapy

MS Health Tips

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