Alternative Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis ©

By David Steenblock, M.S., D.O.

This review is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for your physician's advice.

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Multiple Sclerosis is associated with viral infections, including Herpesvirus 6, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex, infectious mononucleosis, measles and mumps (especially after 15 years of age), Chlamydia, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Varicella zoster, retroviruses, and nidoviruses (42).

Medicinal Plants

Related Links

Research Abstracts

Neurology Links
Cerebral Palsy
Multiple Sclerosis

Immune Function
Heart Disease

Ecinacea purpurea and Panax ginseng significantly enhanced Natural Killer activity and antibody-dependent cellular immunity against human herpesvirus 6 infected cells (77b).


Reticulosa is a peptide-nucleic acid immunomodulator that boosts immune system activity in virally-infected patients (45). It has broad-spectrum antiviral activity that includes the stimulation of gamma interferon, interleukin-1, interleukin-6 and Tissue Necrosis Factor-alpha (32). In general, it appears free of side effects, is reasonably priced and often effective.


The antiviral drug acyclovir inhibits herpesvirus-6 infection and markedly reduces the frequency of disease exacerbations in patients with MS (42).

Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumber (Cucumaria japonica) (91) and coumarins from lemon peels (59) have been shown to have an inhibitory effect on Epstein-Barr virus.

Palm Oil

Gamma- and delta-tocotrienols derived from palm oil exhibit a strong activity against Epstein-Barr virus expression (27) and may be of benefit to MS patients.

Factors that Promote Remyelination

The Ciliary Neurotrophic Family :

CNTF, leukemia inhibitory factor, cardiotrophin-1, and oncostatin M have been shown to induce a strong promyelinating effect by promoting oligodendrocyte maturation, mediated through the 130 kDa glycoprotein receptor to the CNTF family (86).


T4 administration to experimental allergic encephalomyelitis animals resulted in an up-regulation of oligodendrocyte progenitors and mature oligodendrocytes in the spinal cord, ofactory bulb, and subventricular zone (11).


Ikehara reports that the success rate of bone marrow transplants in patients over 45 years of age is low, due to the aging of the thymus. BMT plus embryonal thymus grafts can be used to treat late-onset autoimmune disease in mice and can be a valuable strategy for treating older patients with various intractable diseases, including autoimmune diseases. (33). NatCell Thymus, a thymus extract providing a broad spectrum of thymic peptides ( is being used successfully to restore immune balance in patients with autoimmune disease who are not on immunesuppressants.

Adrenal Support:

Krenn presents a case of Adrenoleukodystrophy that mimicks the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Both conditions include lesions of the white matter which may be alleviated with adrenal support. (44). Adrenal insufficiency is present in 85% of the childhood cerebral forms and in about 70% of the adult forms of adrenoleukodystrophy (26) and may contribute to white matter lesions in multiple sclerosis as well. Since adrenal extracts may also promote corticosteroid-induced stem cell injury, products such the Atrium adrenal extracts should be used several weeks before stem cell therapy to strengthen the adrenal glands.


Mason writes that interleukin-1 beta promotes remyelination and CNS repair through inducing astrocyte and microglia-macrophage-derived insulin-like growth factor-1 (55).


Interleukin-10 was found to protect against oligodendroglial death evoked by lipopolysaccharide and interferon-gamma. IL-10 downregulates the function of inflammatory cells and promotes survival of progenitors and differentiated oligodendrocytes. (60).

Immunoglobulin Therapy:

High-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment is being used for inflammatory demyelinating disease. The treatment protects oligodendrocyte precursor cells and oligodendrocytes by inhibiting inflammatory mechanisms (85). Unfortunately, it has a high cost, needs to be given every three weeks and does not result in remissions.

Growth Factors

Glial Growth Factor :

Glial growth factor 2 (GGF2) is a neuronal signal that promotes the proliferation and survival of oligodendrocytes. Mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis were treated with recombinant human GGF2 during both acute and relapsing phases leading to increased remyelination, decreased symptom severity and statistically significant reductions in relapse rate (52).

Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor and Stem Cells:

Telomere length decreases with cell divisions and age, and at a crucial length, is associated with chromosomal instability and cell senescence. Telomerase is a reverse transcriptase enzyme that adds nucleotides to chromosomal ends. Resting haematopoietic stem cells retain low levels of telomerase and long telomeres. Chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation may lead to the accelerated shortening of telomere length. Szyper-Kravitz and associates found that granulocyte colony-stimulating factor upregulated telomerase activity in CD34+ hematopoietic cells (thereby lengthening the telemeres) and prevents telomere attrition after chemotherapy (88).

Uric Acid:

Uric acid suppresses the MS animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. In a study involving humans, the MS patients were found to have lower average serum uric acid levels than the controls. (17). Scott and associates showed that uric acid selectively inhibits peroxynitrite-mediated activity in multiple sclerosis and improves experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice (77).

Glatiramer acetate has been approved by the FDA for use in relapsing MS and may improve clinical symptoms by increasing uric acid levels. However, the drug can have adverse effects. Chlorella and/or Inosine may also be effective but with fewer side effects. High copper levels induce low levels of uric acid while also having a pro-inflammatory effect. Thus a low copper diet may be indicated. Vitamin B2 is a cofactor for xanthine oxidase, whose deficiency can also contribute to low uric acid levels (36).


Inosine is a precursor of uric acid. High levels of inosine given to 11 MS patients stopped the progression of disease in all of the patients and improved clinical symptoms in 3 of the patients (83).

Chen and associates found that the administration of inosine to rat models for experimental stroke resulted in significant axonal rewiring and improved motor function (15) and may therefore also improve axonal growth in MS patients. Further work concluded that the mode of inosine in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis was via its metabolism to uric acid (77).


This single cell fresh water detoxifying algae raises uric acid levels safely and consistently and should be considered by any person with MS.


Phosphocreatine increases ATP regeneration which is important in supporting remyelination by oligodendrocytes (78a).

Vitamin B12 Injections (Methylcobalamin rather than cyanocobalamin):

Cyanocobalamin activates glutamate receptors and promotes inflammation. Methylation is important in remyelination. Methyl donors include folate, betaine, methionne and S-adenosylmethionine. Vitamin B12 deficiencies are associated with demyelination and axonal degeneration (14a). Methylcobalamin improves evoked potentials and nerve regeneration (43a,44a).


Ginseng increases Nerve Growth Factor which stimulate the growth of new oligodendrocytes (34a).

Gingko biloba:

Gingko biloba contains factors that stimulate Glial Cell Line-derived Neurotropic Factor in astrocytes. However, Gingko may also inhibit cytochrome P450 metabolism of other medications.

Vitamin A:

Retinol levels for untreated relapsing-remitting (RR) MS patients was found to be lower than for patients with noninflammatory neurological disease (73a). All-trans-retinoic acid (in cod liver oil) increases Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor, important in oligodendrocyte maturation and myelin production (99a, 50a). Retinoic acid also promotes myelin immune defense (50a).

Moderate sunshine/vitamin D:

Vitamin D is associated with alleviating autoimmune disorders. Vitamin D stimulates Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor which protects thymocyte precursors and regulatory feedback mechanisms involved in thymocyte differentation and immune function (52a).

This information is presented for educational purposes only.

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