Q: I have MS and I've taken the medicine Copaxone. Last year, you said not to rev up my immune system with vitamins. Can you explain why and tell me what kinds of supplements are safe? - R.T., Decatur, Illinois
A: Imagine looking into the mirror, but instead of seeing your sweet self, you see a creepy robber and then start punching yourself, and it hurts. That's autoimmune disease - your immune system perceives its own tissue as an invader, then seeks to destroy it, little by little. With rheumatoid arthritis, the joints are primarily affected; with Hashimoto's, it's the thyroid; with MS, it's the brain and spinal cord nerves and so on.
Avoid high doses of vitamin C, beta carotene, cat's claw, echinacea, ginseng, among others. Why add fuel to the fire? Doing so may cause you to slip out of remission and into more misery. I think I heard someone just say, "Ah ha!"
Copaxone has become a popular prescription drug choice for MS sufferers because it seems to spark some relief in patients, plus it's side effects are reportedly less disabling. There are several other medications and your physician will know what's right for you.
I'll share some tips in the space provided, but there are so many other nutrients. Readers can subscribe to my weekly health newsletter for free (http://www.DearPharmacist.com">http://www.DearPharmacist.com) and I'll send you more information and dosages on every column I write. For now, consider a gluten-free diet and any of these nutrients:
DHA: A type of essential fatty acid found in fish oils that helps nourish nerve cells and balance angry inflammatory chemicals.
Vitamin D: The sunlight vitamin seems to help with MS.
Melatonin: It's your sleep hormone, and people with MS seem to lack it.
Methylcobalamin: It's a form of vitamin B12 that helps you remyelinate.
Padma Basic: This centuries-old formula was handed down from Tibet. It's sold without a prescription in the United States, but overseas, this is a drug called "Padma 28." It's all natural, with 20 herbs and spices that balance your immune system and squash inflammation. The nerd in me examined this one-of-a-kind blend of herbs which includes ginger, valerian, clove flower, resurrection lily, heartleaf and others. It helps autoimmune sufferers because it's "cooling" to an immune system that's on fire. It's also great for the blood circulation and heart and has well-designed clinical trials to back its use in atherosclerosis, angina and heart failure. Diseases that have names ending in "itis" are all inflammation states. Padma can help with any kind of "itis" like hepatitis, arthritis, thyroiditis, bronchitis and get this, it might stave off a root canal (pulpitis)! Yes, there's a study to prove it. Padma Basic is sold online at the website, http://www.econugenics.com">http://www.econugenics.com or by phone at (800) 308-5518. They even post their research for other scientific junkies like me.
Did You Know? Creams that contain vitamin K can lighten your dark circles under the eyes by strengthening capillary walls.
Suzy Cohen is the Author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions. For more information, visit http://www.DearPharmacist.com">http://www.DearPharmacist.com.