MS, Diet, Supplements, and What I Eat for Dinner
Last updated: December 2021
Folks, there has been a lot of talk about diet and what kind is most beneficial for those with multiple sclerosis.
In part I of this series, I will discuss some factors that complicate how my body handles food, and the effect of taking some dietary supplements. In part II, I will share what I eat in detail and what has led me to choose what passes my lips. With me so far? Great! First up is a list of factors that challenge my digestion.
The gift that keeps on giving
I will assume that many of you have comorbidities like I do. I do live with multiple sclerosis. But I also live with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), degenerative spine disease (herniated discs stenosis, etc), rhino allergies, recently-diagnosed severe sleep apnea, silent migraines, not-so-silent migraines, eczema of unknown origin and hot flashes associated with postmenopause.
I also play a host of things that are idiopathic, idiotic, pathological, psychological, or psychedelic if I use a black light and 'play that funky music, white boy'. In fact, it seems that I collect new syndromes with each passing year.
I prefer to think that it is a privilege of having lived long enough to grow old, knock wood. Such privilege brings challenges, one being how my digestive system struggles to absorb even the most nutritionally dense foods. I have been trying popular supplements to help the process.
Trying all the probiotics...
It would be wrong to assume that my choices are based on the recommendations of “experts” whose infomercials tout superfood supplements. I am not a fad fan. I successfully circumvented the acai berry craze, after all.
However, my medical team has urged me to jump on the probiotics bandwagon, as there is solid science behind maintaining a healthy balance of gut flora as a way to manage autoimmune diseases and IBS. It looks good on paper, but, to date, all the strains of good bacteria I’ve tried have done nothing to return my digestion to some version of normal.
Only a yeast probiotic called saccharomyces boulardii stops my chronic diarrhea, and only for a day or two. My new PCP wanted me to try Align, which contains bifidobacterium longum, a good bacterial strain recommended specifically for digestive issues like IBS, plus Citrucel for fiber.
I have tried fiber supplements and high-fiber vegetables for years, and they have either done nothing or caused more problems. However, I showed good faith and tried these just in case they helped. Alas, three weeks in, they too have no effect.
What has helped you?
As of this writing in November 2021, I am finishing up Citrucel and Align, and will not replace them with other probiotics and fiber supplements. Once again my experience with these supplements supports my efforts to continue treating the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation only.
I hope the descriptions of my comorbidities and experience with supplements were of some value to you. If they hit a familiar chord or raise some questions for you, please respond in the comments section below. I would love to know what you have tried and whether it has helped you!
In part II of this series on MS, diet, supplements, and what I eat for dinner, I will focus solely on what I eat in detail along with some nutritional facts, how I prepare them, and why I choose them. Hope you will take a look, compare and contrast my diet with your own, and share, share, share with this community!
What does advocacy mean to you as someone living with multiple sclerosis? Please select all that apply: