Multiple Sclerosis/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic neurological autoimmune condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. The immune system mistakenly attacks the protective coating surrounding the nerves, known as myelin, slowing down the body’s method of communication. Nerves are important network that allows your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. When the timing of important messages slows down, the body cannot properly react in time. Once the myelin coating your nerves is damaged, your body begins to lose control over muscle function, vision, balance, and the ability to feel various sensations.
In Functional Medicine, the objective is to understand what the root of the disregulation is and then support re-establishing health. The causes can be many. Functional medicine looks for possible causes in our physical environment and our history such as foods, toxins, medication, and genetics. Unlike standard medicine, the psychosocial causes are also taken into account. These causes include adverse childhood experiences (ACE), the stress of your mother during pregnancy, toxic relationships, work environment, grief and loss, coping skills, and lack of close community and support systems.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Autoimmune processes have been identified as a potential factor in the development of ALS. Individuals with ALS are frequently malnourished and may have reduced energy and nutrient intakes. An elevated energy expenditure which is seen in about half of patients with ALS may also contribute to negative energy balance and weight loss. Individuals who have a lower weight prior to diagnosis or experience significant weight loss and reduction in lean mass may have a poorer prognosis. Thus, maintaining adequate nutrition to preserve body weight and muscle mass may be important treatment considerations in ALS.
Furthermore, targeted correction of environmental imbalances may have additional impact on the natural history of this near universally fatal illness. The clinical framework that combines diet and lifestyle factors with correction of environmental factors to impact chronic disease is a functional medicine approach.
Approximately 5 to 10% of ALS cases are directly inherited from the parents with the remaining 90 to 95% considered sporadic. In the sporadic cases, there appears to be a complex interaction between environment and genes that contributes to the development of ALS, severity of symptoms at initial diagnosis, and speed of decline. For this reason we utilize specific genetic testing to help eliminate these factors.