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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Science behind the headlines.

The one thing that drives me crazy is how media and internet news sites continually bungle the explanation of medical research to the public. One recent and very glaring example of this is the MEAT CAUSES CANCER news which seems to be confusing to many.

When I created the Endothelial Health Program for Jeff, I wrote that consumption of processed meats like sausage, bacon and hot dogs and red meat were not recommended for endothelial health, and to watch consumption.   Consumption of processed meats has been linked to MS progression, as well as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

We want a strong and healthy endothelial cell layer in our blood and lymph vessels, to allow for healthy blood flow, cerebral perfusion and a functioning immune system.  Here's more on your endothelium, for those new to this science:  http://ccsviinms.blogspot.com/2015/10/endo-what.html

Some chemical compounds damage this cellular layer and create disease.  One such damaging compound is N-nitroso.  Processed meats and red meat contain sodium nitrate and heme (iron from blood) which is then converted in our gut to N-nitroso.  This is the same reason why these foods are considered carcinogenic.  N-nitroso causes DNA alkylation and mutation of cells.   We find this dangerous compound in cigarette smoke, too.  It's not the meat, or the nitrates or the processing which are inherently bad, it's how our gut processes these foods.

Want to learn more about which foods you eat will create the most N-nitroso?  Here's a published database from Baylor University with list with quantification of dietary amounts. Sausage, lunch meats, smoked meats and bacon are highest on the scale.

If you think of our bodies as elegant machines which need a specialized fuel in order to run most efficiently, you can understand this rationale.  We want to eat foods which encourage endothelially derived nitric oxide (eNOS), our premium grade fuel--like fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, omega 3 fats.  But eating too much glucose, processed foods and transfats is like pouring sugar into the gas tank.  It changes the chemical composition of your fuel, and your engine won't run.

Here's more on this nasty chemical compound, N nitroso--which is found in some plastics, cigarette smoke, and yes....bacon.  Try to limit your exposure to it.

Here's an explanation of how red meat metabolizes into N-Nitroso.  It's the blood which gives red meat its color, and its risk.
Red meat contains more iron heme than white meat. The iron is easily nitrosylated and this facilitates the formation of endogenous nitroso-compounds (NOCs; ). Red meat intake shows indeed a dose–response relation with NOCs formation, whereas there is no such relation for white meat. NOCs are mutagenic: induce nitrosylation and DNA damage. Processed (nitrite-preserved) red meat increases the risk. Heterocyclic amines are formed during cooking of meat at high temperatures, but this is not specific for red meat ().

This DOES NOT mean eating meat causes cancer.  It means eating some meats (red and processed) raises your levels of bad fuel,  N-nitroso, which can cause disease.  We do not know how much N-nitroso it takes to create disease states, but we know there is a link, so watch your consumption.  Make sense?  Good!

Here's the complete Endothelial Health Program.
Guaranteed to get you running on the best endothelially derived nitric oxide (eNOS) fuel.  Premium grade nitric oxide.  Now, share this knowledge with your friends-- vegetarian and carnivores alike.

Be well!


  1. Hi Joan

    I have been studying Nutrition and Dietetics part time out of interest. In particular the effect of various diets on MS. I myself am 39 years old and had my first MS attack at the age of 11. There are some interesting studies showing ketosis has a beneficial effect on MS. That would be the opposite of what you say about eating processed meats and a link to MS progression. For the past 2 years my diet has consisted of 80% sausage, bacon, red meat, white meat and fish. Plus nuts and other high fat low carb foods. I avoid fruit and breads and high barb vegetables like potatoes like the plague. While in ketosis I have never felt more energetic or felt my MS symptoms less in my whole life. I didn't even know I could feel this good. Ive also lost a lot of weight and put on a lot of muscle thanks to the gym and the high protein.

    Just thought id mention it as something to consider :)

    1. Hey Sean, this is an old post but if you ever found an answer to this question anywhere? I have been also studying nutrition out of interest for years and found the most MS diets recommend predominantly plant-based plus seeds and nuts and then split off into the low-fat/grains group and the high-fat/low carb groups. The gluten and fat being main differences. I understand what people are saying about meat but our brains are made up of mostly fat and need good fats to function well. Keto has been proven neuro-protective. I'm curious as you are about the research/ feedback here.

    2. Hi Traci--Sean won't see your post, just me.
      The program I created with a Stanford University researcher considers vascular endothelial health and is neuroprotective. It it based on how healthy endothelial cells signal neuronal connections. It is different from other MS diets, in that it is based on how food and lifestyle impacts endothelial cell health. Saturated animal fats, dairy, sugar, and high sodium content processed foods all cause endothelial cell apoptosis, and deplete nitric oxide availability. This decreases cerebral perfusion, oxygenation and glucose delivery to the brain, allowing for neurodegeneration. But it takes more than nutrition--it is a complete lifestyle. I'll give you further links here:
      The Endothelial Health Program

  2. Hi Sean---I'm not writing about any particular diet, simply explaining how N-nitroso is formed in the gut when we consume processed meat, and why it is a known carcinogen--simply explaining the World Health Organization's recent research. I'm happy that you're doing well! You've had MS a long time, and have found something that works for you. All best, Joan