Multiple Sclerosis

Lark Lands teaches an integrated approach to multiple sclerosis that is aimed at not only living better day to day by improving or eliminating common symptoms, but also at preventing to the greatest extent possible the long-term complications of the disease, or helping to reverse or slow progression of such problems where they already exist.

Multiple sclerosis is often very difficult to manage day to day because of the symptoms it causes. Over time, many people progress to a point of very serious illness. It is terribly important to work with a physician who is highly knowledgeable about the proper diagnosis of multiple sclerosis since many people are not properly diagnosed, especially in the early stages. Even with proper diagnosis, medical treatment is focused on a handful of drug therapies that may help with the disease but may also cause troubling side effects. Too often, even with medical therapies that help to prevent progression and reduce the likelihood of relapses and are less likely to cause side effects (such as copaxone), many troubling symptoms remain.

For the most effective approach to MS, it is clear that medical treatment should be combined with supplementation of the nutrients that are frequently deficient and the other alternative or complementary therapies that have been shown to be useful. With this combination it is possible to support the body in ways that help to counter all the miserable symptoms, and greatly improve quality of life. This type of integrated approach has been very successful for many people living with MS.

MS is caused by an autoimmune reaction that destroys the tissues that wrap around nerves (called the myelin sheath) in a process called demyelination. It can also damage the parts of nerves that send impulses out (the axons) and the brain. It can cause a wide variety of symptoms, depending on which nerve fibers are demyelinated. When the nerves that relate to sensory information are damaged, problems with sensations occur (vision problems; reduced sense of touch; pain, burning or numbness in hands, feet, or other parts of body). If nerve fibers that carry signals to muscles become demyelinated, problems with movement occur (difficulty walking, muscle weakness, tremors, coordination problems, clumsiness, muscle stiffness). Some people develop incontinence problems (difficulty controlling urination or bowel movements), while others develop constipation. Symptoms can wax and wane as the body works to repair the nerve damage (when there will be improvement), after which there is additional damage which is when the symptoms return. Symptoms sometimes worsen when people are exposed to high temperatures, such as in very warm weather, during a hot bath or shower, during a fever, or during high-intensity exercise that raises the body temperature. Many people also experience mental changes (memory problems, concentration difficulties, changes in cognitive function) and emotional problems (mood swings, depression, difficulty controlling emotions).

Lark focuses on approaches to addressing such symptoms in order to improve quality of life. Luckily, with appropriate medical treatment combined with the proper use of supplements and herbs many people can remarkably improve. In the many clients with MS with whom she has worked, there have often been big improvements in energy, reduction in incontinence problems, elimination of constipation, and substantial reduction in muscle problems, with increased strength and coordination. The result is a substantial improvement in the ability to carry out the normal activities of daily living, including walking, writing, exercising, and generally functioning in a way that allows a more normal life. Cognitive function (mental function) often improves, along with emotional well being.

People living with multiple sclerosis are often deficient in a number of very important nutrients and need higher than normal levels of certain nutrients to improve functioning. Without proper nutrient supplementation, deficiencies can leave the body vulnerable to damage that could have been prevented with optimal nutrient levels. Deficiencies can leave the body unable to repair itself. And deficiencies can lead to many troubling symptoms. In addition, because of the effects that the disease has on the body, many people will need much higher levels of certain nutrients, well beyond what would counter a simple deficiency state. Those higher levels may be crucial for protecting the body and helping to restore normal function.

It is important to provide a highly nutritious diet to help restore nutrient levels, increasing the intake of specific foods that may be useful as rich sources of nutrients. It is also crucial to address possible food allergies and problems with gluten sensitivity. Some people do much better with a gluten-free diet. Others will find that there are a number of foods to which they appear to have adverse reactions. Eliminating those foods may greatly reduce certain symptoms.

It is also very important to put together an individually designed nutrient supplementation protocol to optimize nutrient levels in the body. In particular, antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories are important to reduce the body damage that oxidative stress and inflammation cause with MS. Use of the vitamins that support nerve repair and regrowth is also very important. Included are B12 and other B vitamins, acetyl-carnitine, and fatty acids such as GLA and the omega-3’s from fish oil. Certain minerals are also frequently needed, especially magnesium to help reduce muscle stiffness and cramping, and help eliminate constipation. Vitamin D is also very important for addressing MS, with multiple studies showing the association between higher levels of D and lower incidence of MS. Dosing should be based on proper before and after testing. Depending on an individual’s particular symptoms and problems, other supplements may also be needed.

The combination of improved diet and nutrient supplementation with appropriate exercise, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and stress reduction will often counter symptoms and restore a much greater level of well being in people living with MS, while appropriate medical treatments help to slow disease progression.

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Lark Lands does over-the-phone individual health education consultations for those living with multiple sclerosis. The ultimate aim of doing the consults is to assist each person in creating and fine-tuning an individualized, integrated program based on each person’s particular needs, and ensure that each person has a full understanding of all the components of a comprehensive integrated approach to MS.

The intent of the consult is to help each person narrow down the flood of information that many people find online into a carefully designed program that is individualized specifically for them. Information will be provided on vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and other nutrients and herbs that can help the body counter the symptoms of the disease, and provide the base needed for long-term health and well being.

Based on the case history and other information given to her either in advance or during the consult, Lark will discuss with each person the components that should be considered for a total approach, including the nutrients and other therapeutics that might be appropriate for that person, whether the goal is addressing current problems or simply creating a long-term health plan, along with recommendations for discussions with the person’s physician about any drug or medical care issues. NOTE: no medical recommendations can or will be made. Those are appropriately obtained only from your physician.

Please see the “Consults” link for more information on how to arrange a personal consultation.