Category Archives: Gluten-free

Complementary and Alternative Therapies for MS

Note: I grabbed this from the University of Maryland Medical Center website:

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

A comprehensive treatment plan for MS may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies.

Nutrition and Supplements

These nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:

  • Eliminate all suspected food allergens, including dairy, wheat (gluten), soy, chocolate, corn, preservatives, and food additives. Your health care provider may want to test you for food allergies.
  • Eat more antioxidant rich foods (such as green, leafy vegetables and peppers) and fruits (such as blueberries, tomatoes, and cherries).
  • Avoid refined foods, such as white breads, pastas, and sugar.
  • Eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold water fish, tofu (soy, if no allergy) or beans for protein.
  • Use healthy oils in foods, such as olive oil or vegetable oil.
  • Reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids, found in such commercially baked goods as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.
  • Avoid coffee and other stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Drink 6 – 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
  • Exercise moderately, if tolerated, at least 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.

You may address nutritional deficiencies with the following supplements:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, 1 – 2 capsules or 1 tbsp. of oil 1 – 2 times a day, to help decrease inflammation and improve immunity. Fish oils may increase bleeding in sensitive individuals, such as those taking blood thinning mediations (including aspirin).
  • Evening primrose oil (EPO), 500 mg – 8 grams daily, for symptoms of MS. Consult with your health care provider for the best dosage for your body. EPO may increase the blood thinning effects of certain medications, including Coumadin and aspirin. EPO may also interfere with certain antiseizure medications.
  • A multivitamin daily, containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, D, E, the B-vitamins and trace minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium.
  • Calcium (1,500 – 2,000 mg daily) and vitamin D supplement (1,000 IU daily), for support of muscle and skeletal weakness. Recently, low levels of vitamin D have been linked to MS.
  • Coenzyme Q10, 100 – 200 mg at bedtime, for antioxidant, immune, and muscular support.
  • N-acetyl cysteine, 200 mg daily, for antioxidant effects.
  • Acetyl-L-carnitine, 500 mg daily, for antioxidant and muscle protective activity.
  • Probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus), 5 – 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) a day, for maintenance of gastrointestinal and immune health. Some probiotic supplements may need refrigeration. Check the label carefully.
  • Grapefruit seed extract (Citrus paradisi), 100 mg capsule or 5 – 10 drops (in favorite beverage) 3 times daily, for antibacterial or antifungal activity and immunity.
  • L-theanine, 200 mg 1 – 3 times daily, for nervous system support.
  • Melatonin, 2 – 5 mg 1 hour before bedtime, for sleep and immune protection. Melatonin may interact with many medications, including sedatives, antidepressants, hormone medications, and others.


Herbs are generally a safe way to strengthen and tone the body’s systems. As with any therapy, you should speak with your health care provider before starting any treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 – 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 – 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 – 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.

  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) standardized extract, 40 – 80 mg 3 times daily, for antioxidant and immune support. Ginkgo supplements may increase bleeding in sensitive individuals, such as those taking blood thinning mediations (including aspirin).
  • Green tea (Camellia sinensis) standardized extract, 250 – 500 mg daily, for antioxidant and immune effects. Use caffeine free products. You may also prepare teas from the leaf of this herb.
  • Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) standardized extract, 100 – 600 mg daily, for antioxidant, antistress, and immune activity.
  • Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seed standardized extract, 80 – 160 mg 2 – 3 times daily, for detoxification support.
  • Bromelain (Ananus comosus) standardized, 40 mg 3 times daily, for pain and inflammation. Bromelain may increase the blood thinning effects of certain medications, such as Coumadin and aspirin.

Going Gluten-free

I remember writing this on Facebook, May 10, 2011: “I have officially been gluten-free for 14 hours (had a danish for breakfast – bad me). I guess that’s good, right? It’s kinda like quitting smoking. I feel I should have one of those timer things, showing how long I have successfully gone gluten-free. I really hope this improves my well-being and health.”

It’s actually not too bad if you go slow, meal by meal. I am trying not to overwhelm myself with thinking about cooking gluten-free just yet. So far I am just going with the basics and buying a few gluten-free snacks to help between the meals. I actually found a fabulously yummy double chocolate brownie cookie which rocks!

My suggestion is to keep it simple at first… I bought gluten-free white bread for my sandwiches, and I am eating that while I am playing around with the baking part. Also, potatoes and rice are gluten free… add some chicken and veggies and you’ve got a simple gluten-free dinner. Fruity Pebbles is Gluten-free, so now I have another breakfast choice along with my yummy banana bread. I love salads – and all I am giving up are my croutons. I just finally decided to get focused and go step-by-step, meal-by-meal… I just packed my lunch for work, and got to put potato chips (yes, lots of chips gluten-free! Yummy!) and yogurt in my bag.