Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory, disease which progresses in stages and affects the central nervous system (CNS)- mainly of the brain and the spinal cord.
MS is understood to be an autoimmune disease, in which the body's own defense attacks the protective, insulating layer (myelin sheaths) of the nerve fibers. This leads to inflammatory-degenerative destruction (demyelination) of the central nervous system. As a result, the transducibility of stimulus is altered, which reduces the conductivity of the nerve cells. This damage manifests itself through an array of symptoms from trouble with sensation to paralysis.
In the course of this disease, "multiple" plaque-like or focal sclera (plural for ‘scar’) form at various locations over the entire central nervous system. In other words, connective tissue anywhere in the central nervous system can be hardened by many lesions of different sizes ("multiple sclerosis").
MS mostly affects people ranging from 20-40 years of age. Generally, the onset in women seems to manifest itself sooner than in men. In very rare cases, MS may be diagnosed in people under age 10. Incidents of the disease onset in the later years of life - approximately 60 years of age and up - are rare, but still not unheard of. Women are affected about 2 to 3 times more frequently than men. In approximately 15% of the known cases, familial clusters have been identified.
It is estimated that around 2.5 million people worldwide suffer from MS. In Central Europe, MS- in addition to epilepsy- is the most common inflammatory disease of the central nervous system.
The patterns of progression of MS vary extremely. Some experience long remission phases, with symptoms which are hardly recognizable over decades, while others suffer from progressive, highly-acute neurodegeneration, and, in extreme cases, complete disability or even death within a few years.
The disease onset may occur accompanied by either severe or subtle, barely perceptible symptoms. In the majority of cases, a weakness of the limbs typically initially becomes noticeable when the person is under strain. The muscular spasticity associated with MS predominantly begins in the legs. It may occur spontaneously or during voluntary movements. Along with the usual nervous system disorders (i.e. tingling, a feeling of “pins and needles”), sensitive dysfunctions may manifest themselves as burning pain or feelings of numbness.
The typical symptoms at the onset of MS disease include among others: visual impairments (blurred vision, lack of color recognition, seeing double), sensory issues, clumsiness (ataxia), and motor skill impairment ranging up to paralysis. Spastic paralysis, rapid fatigue, bladder dysfunction, tremors, and dizziness are also associated with the disease.
In addition, psychological symptoms such as depression and emotional instability may occur.
The symptoms occur in episodic stages in acute phases. When the inflammation subsides, symptoms typically disappear.
Autoimmune disorders arise from a dysfunction of the body’s immune system in which the regulatory mechanisms fail and the immune system targets the body’s own tissue. It is assumed that this occurs as a result of an infectious pathogen (virus or bacterium) which leads to a particulate antigen being present in the body which shares similarity with a native antigen. The immune system fails to differentiate between the two.
In the case of MS, the immune system mistakes components of the nerve myelin sheath (the lipid layer which insulates the nerve fibers so that the electrical impulses of the nerve cells may be propagated) for foreign antigens and attacks them, causing inflammation.
The destruction of these myelin sheaths and the swelling caused by the inflammation reduces the conductivity of the nerve cells. As a result, information can no longer be transmitted effectively along the nerve cells.
If the inflammatory process subside, partial remyelination is possible and symptoms may improve as a result. However, once the nerve fiber of a nerve cell (axon) has been destroyed, lesions form. In this case, a remission or reduction in symptoms is no longer possible.
Natural remedies and their effects
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids play essential roles in inflammatory processes in the body. The omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid, is used to produce various messenger substances in the body which promote inflammation. A fundamental strategy which could be applied here is to change the fatty acid composition consumed by preferring or avoiding certain foods. For instance, the nutritional recommendations for MS patients are based on the basic notion of reducing the consumption of foods which are rich in arachidonic and/or linoleic acid. These polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids play a central role in the inflammatory process and are the precursor substances for many inflammatory messenger substances in the body. Arachidonic acid is found in most animal products such as meat, sausage, fat dairy products such as cheese, cream, and butter, as well as in eggs. However, omega-6-containing plant-based oils, such as sunflower or safflower oil, also contain linoleic acid which can be used by the body for the synthesis of arachidonic acid.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids
It is vital to increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are an integral part of the myelin sheath of nerve fibers. In particular, the unsaturated fatty acid DHA forms an important basic building block of the cell membrane and is involved in the synthesis of nerve tissue.
The omega-3 fatty acid EPA also plays a crucial role. It serves as the basis for the production of so-called eicosanoids. These hormone-like substances are responsible for the regulation of innumerable functions in the body. They have the ability to regulate the immune system and contribute to a reduction of inflammation.
A long-term and adequate intake of EPA and DHA can, therefore, help to slow the course of the disease and reduce the rate of relapse.
High-quality, natural, gently pressed oils are the most suitable sources of healthy fatty acids. A variety of healthy fatty acids when taken in in special combinations can have positive effects on the disease pattern of MS and its symptoms. As Dr. Johanna Budwig stated in her 1979 book “Fettfibel”:
"The electromotive force of the [...] highly unsaturated fatty acids, biologically driven by the accompanying substances of the oils in whole oil compositions, is necessary in people to uphold membrane function in its entirety." "These whole oils [...] are essential for biological existence today, essential to being human."
During her lifetime, Dr. Johanna Budwig tirelessly reiterated that she knew of no other oil which possessed the same beneficial effects on health as flax seed oil- which is made up of nearly 70% omega-3 fatty acids. For this reason, she set strict quality standards for the production of flax seed oil. It is paramount to ensure that the electron richness of the flax seed oil is preserved, thus, conserving its intense beneficial effects for the human organism.
Today we know that there are still a number of other important fatty acids from natural oils which in the case of some diseases can be indispensable for the health of our cells when consumed in specific in combinations. They support the basic regulatory processes and, thus, overall cell health in the whole body. By restoring the health of our cells, the medications prescribed to patients suffering from these diseases are biologically supported and can achieve their maximum effects.
People suffering from MS benefit from the special combination of alpha-linolenic and stearidonic acid with their cell-building effects. At the same time, DHA supports the function of nerve cells and, in combination with gamma-linolenic acid, is important for regulating inflammation. In addition, patients should also ensure that they receive a sufficient supply of natural antioxidants, such as betacarotene and tocotrienols.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
ALA is a key component in the development of cell membranes. For example, the ALA contained in flax seed oil is an important constituent of nerve cells. It is the basis for the fluidity, flexibility, and activity of our cell membranes.
Among the sources with the highest ALA content is flax seed oil. During her lifetime, Dr. Johanna Budwig tirelessly reiterated that she knew of no other oil capable of having the same beneficial effects on health as flax seed oil. This is precisely why she has placed great demands on the quality of the flax seed oil.
Hemp oil can also have a significant ALA content. In addition, hemp oil contains valuable stearidonic acid. To some extent, the body can synthesize other omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, from it as well as from ALA. However, the conversion of DHA from ALA and stearidonic acid yield only small amounts. Therefore, a supplement should be taken in addition to daily diet. DHA-containing algae oil can be used as an herbal, unencumbered source.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
DHA constitutes an important basic building block for cell membranes, particularly those in the nerve and brain cells. An adequate supply of DHA is necessary in order for nerve cells to communicate. From DHA, the body can also synthesize certain tissue hormones that control inflammatory responses in the body.
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
Another powerful substance for mitigating inflammatory reactions is gamma-linolenic acid. GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid and occurs naturally in a significant amount in borage seed oil. This particular fatty acid protects the nervous system of MS patients through its anti-inflammatory effects.
Nutrition & Co.
Interestingly, multiple sclerosis occurs with varying frequency around the world. In highly industrialized countries about one in 1,000 people are affected. In less developed regions of the world- where the population still eats a more basic, natural diet- the disease is extremely rare. This supports the assumption that diet has an influence on the disease incident rate of MS.
A balanced, whole food diet can have positive effects on the illness. Though appropriate dietary adjustments, the aim is to support physical activity, improve metabolic conditions, and stabilize the immune system. MS patients should focus on eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. The consumption of carbohydrates which are quickly available and meat should be reduced. By making these changes, inflammatory and oxidation-promoting processes can be reduced. A predominantly lacto-vegetarian diet reduces the increase in inflammatory substances in the body.
Take good care of your digestive tract!
Whether our cells actually benefit from the food we consume each day, depends largely on our intestinal health. The decisive factor is our intestines’ ability to absorb the nutrients that we eat. Dr. Johanna Budwig, thus, recommended daily consumption of fresh sauerkraut juice or sour milk to maintain our intestines and their intestinal flora. Furthermore, the regular consumption of dietary fiber plays an important role in healthy bowel function. Therefore, an integral part our daily diet should include 1-2 tablespoons of shredded and fortified flax seed, blended into a Budwig cream, made of quark and flax seed oil, or in Muttersaft (pure, unfiltered, unsweetened first-press juice of a fruit or berry) such as Fermentgold.
First and foremost, any existing deficiency in healthy, polyunsaturated fatty acids should be compensated. At the same time, unhealthy fats such as trans fats or an excess of omega-6 fatty acids should be avoided. It is of vital importance to incorporate beneficial long-chain fatty acids such as ALA into a varied, balanced, lacto-vegetarian diet made up of wholefoods. Similarly to how Dr. Johanna Budwig envisioned nutrition should be when she developed her oil-protein diet. Particular attention should be paid to the quality of the selected of fatty sources. Only in this way - as Dr. Johanna Budwig reiterated again and again – are the cells able to come into the whole benefit of the full electron richness of the oils. Great importance must be attached to the selection of the seed, the crop rotation, the pressing process, as well as to any further processing. For this reason, Dr. Johanna Budwig defined and recorded strict quality standards. For the extraction, she developed a very gentle pressing process, the "Original Dr. Budwig pressing method" – which is still used under the name today.
People afflicted with MS should strictly adhere to the guidelines laid out by the oil-protein diet.
A smooth start
Before beginning the oil-protein diet, one should allow a few days to prepare for the dietary transition. This takes some of the shock off of the digestive tract and prepares the body for the change of diet beforehand. During these 2-3 days, 200 - 250 g of shredded flax seed should be mixed into Fermentgold or other freshly squeezed juices and consumed throughout the day.
Compensating for a deficiency
When someone becomes ill, any existing dietary deficiency – especially one pertaining to essential, polyunsaturated fatty acids - should be compensated. It is important to integrate beneficial fatty acids into a varied, balanced, lacto-vegetarian wholefood diet. Just as Dr. Johanna Budwig’s designed her concept of the oil-protein diet. People in poor health should follow the regulatory guidelines of the oil-protein. Only then can their cells and, thus, the person as a whole restore order in vital cellular processes and become healthy again. If you have any questions about the implementation of the oil-protein diet, please do not hesitate to call to the Dr. Budwig Foundation’s helpline or contact an experienced Dr. Budwig consultant.
Dr. Budwig consultant
The Dr. Johanna Budwig Foundation is committed to supporting those in suffering from ailments to their health. In the spirit of this commitment, we are happy to recommend qualified "Dr. recommend "Budwig consultants, who have been trained in the implementation of the oil-protein diet. Currently, we are working on setting up a corresponding nationwide network.
Important note: Dr. Johanna Budwig had no doubt that many modern ailments could be treated with her oil-protein diet. The Dr. Johanna Budwig Foundation has made it its mission to supplement her work with modern, intensively reviewed scientific findings. These are vital issues too serious for false hopes. Therefore, we find it very important to emphasize: While there are primary scientific findings which indicate that the oil-protein diet may support- under certain circumstances – medical treatments, diet alone cannot replace proper medical treatment. We distance ourselves from promises of false miracles.