Welcome! This blog contains research & information on lifestyle, nutrition and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of the endothelium and heart-brain connection. This blog is informative only--all medical decisions should be discussed with your own physicians.

The posts are searchable---simply type in your topic of interest in the search box at the top left.

Almost all of MS research is initiated and funded by pharmaceutical companies. This maintains the EAE mouse model and the auto-immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 20 billion dollar a year MS treatment industry. But as we learn more about slowed blood flow, gray matter atrophy, and environmental links to MS progression and disability--all things the current drugs do not address--we're discovering more about how to help those with MS.

To learn how this journey began, read my first post from August, 2009. Be well! Joan

Friday, March 27, 2015

Changing the things we can change

It's springtime.  Hopefully, you're beginning to notice the change of season where you live.  Days are a bit longer, temperatures are rising, the sun is more visible.  Buds appear on trees and flowers, chirping birds return to nest, colors become more vibrant.  The air is scented with blossoms, people smile more,  take off the layers of clothing, say hello.  It just feels like a fresh start.

Springtime always brings a sense of new beginnings for me.  Much more so than New Year's resolutions, in springtime I find myself resolving to move more, eat better, take care of myself with more regularity.  I also find myself willingly cleaning out the garage and closets.  There's a reason why we call it spring cleaning, right?  Who wants to do that in the winter?  I open up windows, crank the tunes, and get rid of the clutter.  As the season changes, so do we.  Change is good.

The "serenity prayer" is all about change.  It is attributed to American theologian Rienhold Neibuhr and has become familiar to most of us.  Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs use it.  The prayer contains the following lines, which have become a mantra and daily meditation for me, as I pull weeds, garden or walk the dog.

Give me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed,
The courage to change what can be changed,
and the wisdom to know the one from the other.

We all know that there are certain things we simply can't change.  Like how tall we are, who are parents are, and what happened in the past.  I can't change the fact that my son is getting older and living on his own now.  My nest is empty,  and that's a reality.  But I can choose how I respond to the quieter house and my pangs of missing my son.  I can turn it into gratitude, for the fact he is becoming the responsible adult I've always longed for him to be.   We all have the ability to change how we perceive today and our own personal challenges.  How we view about the past, how we relate to our family and others.  And how we take care of ourselves.

More and more researchers are publishing on the fact that MS is a disease which is greatly affected by "environmental factors".  This is just the scientific way of saying "how we live."  This doesn't mean that people give themselves MS according to their lifestyle.  Absolutely not.  I really want to reiterate this.  You don't give yourself MS.   This is not about blaming.  There are genetic factors we do not yet fully understand, which cannot be changed.

But this new resarch DOES mean that changing the things you can may help you feel better, slow progression, and in some instances, reverse MS damage.  Environmental factors can really make a difference.

Recent research also shows that people with MS have much higher levels of endothelial dysfunction than normal people.  Just a scientific way of saying that there are blood markers which show that the cells lining the blood vessels in people with MS are damaged and dying, and are not allowing blood to flow in a normal, healthy way.

So, why does endothelial dysfunction matter in MS?  It's been linked to slower cerebral blood flow (called hypoperfusion) and less oxygen feeding the brain.  Endothelial dysfunction causes damage to the central nervous system.

We need healthy endothelial cells to regulate healthy blood flow to the brain.

Here's a list of things that, in most instances, can be changed, to help endothelial cells heal and increase cerebral blood flow.  Please read this list and take it in without feeling accused.  Take it in as it is intended, in a nurturing,  (OK, maybe a bit nagging), yet encouraging way.

1. Exercise.  Moving the body creates "shear stress' by making the heart pump blood more strongly.  This flow over endothelial cells heals them.  Inactivity kills endothelial cells.  Whatever you can do, just do it!

2. Keeping extra weight off.  Obesity is linked to endothelial dysfunction and less cerebral bloodflow.

3. Reducing stress.  Cortisol is a known endothelial cell destroyer.

4. Reducing intake of simple sugars and glucose.  Sugar kills endothelial cells.

5.  Increasing UV rays exposure and vitamin D levels.

6.  Increasing nutrients from plants.  This will increase antioxidants and phytonutrients, which heal endothelial cells.

7.  Quitting smoking.  Cigarette smoke destroys endothelial cells.

It's not a coicidence that all of these environmental factors which harm endothelial cells are also linked to faster progression of MS.  And these are the environmental factors most mentioned in recent MS studies.

Are there things on this list you can change?
Please share with me in the comments---I want to know and maybe encourage you.

Happy Spring cleaning.  
For your closets, and your endothelium and your mind!   :)



  1. 6 Bis, Aumentare nutrienti già Metabolizzati a monte , come micro polvere da osso seppia, da gusci di Crostacei, da gusci di Ostriche fino alle Telline delle spiagge sabbiose, Perle di Ostriche e Coralli, tutti di origine marina , contenenti Tutti i Minerali e, Oligo Elementi , detti tracce di Minerali,Vitamine e Aminoacidi , perché tutto lo apparato digerente mal funzionante e, quindi, i fitonutrienti ed antiossidanti delle piante, pochissimo assimilabili !

  2. Very PROUD indeed of Dr Zamboni winning a GOLD medal for his works on MS