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Tag: NMO

NMO Diaries: A Fight MS with Food Case Study

This case study in the Fight MS with Food project actually focuses on NMO, a disease that is often mis-diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. Just like MS, NMO is an auto-immune disease that may respond to customized changes in dietary habits.

Erin, a 32-year old mother of a toddler, was diagnosed with NMO in 2009. When she came to me she reported: “I have the torch feeling really bad in my feet. Pins and Needles all the time in my hands, legs, and feet. Fatigue is everyday. Headaches come and go. Nausea comes and goes. Banding around my rib cage. Tremors off and on.”

She was also very distressed that she had gained 100 lbs since her diagnosis. At only 5’2″, there was no way to hide it and she simply felt lousy most of the time.

We started her off on an herbal parasite cleanse to level the playing field, so to speak, before analyzing her blood for inflammatory triggers with the MRT (Mediator Release Test) and analyzing her urine for the state of her digestive tract.

Erin will tell you that the first two weeks of the dietary program weren’t easy, but after five months, her diet has greatly expanded and her dietary choices have become part of her lifestyle rather than a “diet”.

Even better, following the LEAP diet gave her the energy to start living her life again. Instead of feeling chronically fatigued, she now has energy to work out 4-5 times each week and has dropped almost 60 lbs. (Adding the workouts boosted her weight loss trend from 2 lbs per week with the diet alone to 3 lbs per week on average.)

As for her NMO symptoms, they have subsided significantly. She now only has the pins and needles feeling when she has accidentally ingested something she shouldn’t have, and it works as an early warning system alerting her to retreat  to her original safe diet until the symptoms abate.

But you should hear about it in her own words. Erin keeps a blog at where she and several others journal their lives with NMO. She has posted a video describing her dietary journey through The Fight MS with Food project protocols.

Give it a listen. Hearing her life-changing progress brought tears to my eyes. You may find it inspiring.

Here is part one.

Click here to watch part two of Erin and her NMO diet.

Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) and Diet

I just returned from speaking about diet and nutrition at the 5th Annual Patient Day at the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation’s conference on NMO. Again, it was inspiring for me to meet and connect with the brave folks battling this rare autoimmune disease.

Us autoimmune disorders have to stick together! In fact, many with NMO were originally misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis before having NMO confirmed by an NMO antibody test. Since MS pharmaceutical therapies can actually harm those with NMO, it is worthwhile for those with questions to get the IgG blood test and find out for sure.

One of the common symptoms of NMO, along with optic neuritis; weakness, numbness or partial paralysis of limbs; or shooting or tingling pain in neck, back, or abdomen, is bowel and digestive tract distress.

If there’s any group of sufferers that is in dire need of dietary guidance, this is it!

My sessions focused on cleaning up your diet by avoiding toxins and contaminants in our food supply, including The Scary Seven and GMOs, and generalized advice on adopting an anti-inflammatory diet.

Any issue that has inflammation at the root will benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. Think about it: if you are inflamed –either internally or visibly– and you remove the stimuli that are found to cause you inflammation, then you will become less inflamed and will feel better.

Of course, the best anti-inflammatory diet is one that is custom-designed for your body using state-of-the-art scientific analysis of your blood (MRT) and urine (enzyme urinalysis). That’s what I do in my therapeutic dietary clinic with my clients all over the country.

I look forward to working with many more NMO patients in the future and helping them sort out the best anti-inflammatory diet approach for them.

The annual group photo of the NMO patients gathered in Los Angeles for the 5th NMO Patient Day hosted by the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation.


NMO is not MS

The 2012 class photo of NMO patients.

This week I was fortunate to be invited to speak at the Guthy-Jackson Foundation’s annual symposium on neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Originally known as Devic’s Disease, NMO is currently an incurable but treatable autoimmune disorder. The body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells, most commonly in the optic nerves and spinal cord. It can cause temporary or permanent blindness and/or paralysis, and may have periods of remission and relapse.

Me with Victoria Jackson at the NMO Symposium.

Often mis-diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis, far fewer people have been diagnosed with NMO. So few, in fact, that when Victoria Jackson and her husband Bill Guthy’s daughter was diagnosed with NMO five years ago, there was no information to be found anywhere on the internet about NMO. The Guthy-Jackson Foundation is dedicated to funding basic science research to find answers that will lead to the prevention, clinical treatment programs and a potential cure for Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) Spectrum Disease. Each year, the foundation brings together doctors, scientists, and researchers to exchange information and knowledge about NMO. On the symposium’s final day, NMO sufferers fly in from all over the USA and from seven other countries to participate in educational sessions and be part of the NMO community.

As with any other disorder, eating healthily can only help the body have more resources with which deal with the effects of a disease process. My general advice for healthy eating is to focus on real, whole foods rather than processed foods, and to eschew chemical additives in any form. These days, my advice includes avoiding GMO foods whenever possible.

I tip my hat to these brave folks fighting this rare disease.