Dr Terry Wahls – Providing New Hope for MS Sufferers
Every so often a real good news story comes along, and this is one such story, especially as it concerns hope for MS sufferers.
Dr Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa, and she was diagnosed with the progressive form of the debilitating neurological disease MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in 2000. Through intensive reading and research, Dr Wahls discovered the Wahl’s Protocol – how certain foods can help improve brain function in some people. Dr Wahls says following a clinically proven dietary protocol specially designed to nourish brain and mitochondrial health may turn the traditionally acknowledged pathway of Multiple Sclerosis on its head, and provides new hope for some sufferers. Dr Wahls not only managed to slow down the decline in her cognitive functions due to MS symptoms, she actually reversed some of her symptoms. Dr Walhs is in Australia this April to share how she reversed her own physical and cognitive symptoms through ‘intensive nutrition’ at the 6th Annual BioCeuticals Symposium. We were lucky enough to be able to interview Dr Wahls during her visit. Here is what she had to say.
Your story is quite remarkable. What were your first thoughts when you were diagnosed with MS? How was your mindset?
“I was 45 years old when I was diagnosed with MS. It was terrifying when I was first diagnosed. I had 2 children aged 8 and 5, and I wanted not to become disabled, and a burden to my family.” Being a professor of medicine, Dr Wahls did extensive reading and discovered MS was a progressive disease, with over half of all sufferers becoming disabled – the news was not good. Despite taking the medication as prescribed by her primary health carer, over the next seven years Dr Wahls health continued to decline, resulting in Dr Wahls being confined to a wheelchair only three years after her diagnosis. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.
Many people believe MS is a degenerative disease from which there is no recovery. What led you to believe recovery was possible?
Initially, Dr Wahls was not hoping for recovery. “I accepted that the functions once lost, would never return. What I wanted to do was slow the decline of the functions that were still there”. Dr Wahls took things one day at a time, and gradually slowed, then stopped the decline in functions, before finally actually reversing functions that had been lost to MS, and she was able to ride a bike to work (a year since she started her groundbreaking studies into complementary medicine, and the results of functional supplements and foods on mitochondrial function). This level of recovery was beyond anything Dr Wahls had expected when she embarked on her reading and research.
A clinical trial study conducted by Dr Wahls has shown some sufferers have recovered some walking ability, and another clinical study is underway now (due to complete in 2020 with the findings to be published in 2021). Whilst recovery after following the Wahl Protocol is not guaranteed, the trials have showed meaningful clinical improvement where decline has been slowed, stopped, and even reversed in some sufferers. Using the trials to understand what is happening to MS when these changes occur, Dr Wahls is hoping to bring hope to MS sufferers that some decline can be controlled, reducing the need for medication, via health controlling behaviours.
What is the Wahls Protocol diet? How has this improved your quality of life and functionality?
“The diet is relatively simple, and is based on giving up sugar and flour based products, and loading up on vegetables and protein”. Eliminating processed foods, such as fast foods, pastas, desserts, and replacing these with multiple serves of vegetables (up to 9 serves a day depending on your own size – taller people need more serves), and 2 palm sizes serves of protein via meat, fish or poultry is the key to the Wahls Protocol diet (if you are a vegetarian, there are non-meat alternatives). Dr. Wahls adopted the nutrient-rich paleo diet, gradually refining and integrating it into a regimen of neuromuscular stimulation. Dr Walhs has written a book about the protocol, and the ideas behind the diet. For more information, or to order the book, click here to visit the booktopia site in Australia, or go direct to the Dr Terry Wahls website which ships to Australia. Dr Walhs credits the diet as being the basis for the improvement in her health, by improving autoimmune and brain function.
You have found many supplements to be of benefit in reducing fatigue and pain. Which have proven to be the most effective? Are there other diseases this could help with?
If you are feeling even generally unwell, it is important to have your vitamin levels checked. “Vitamin D is a very important vitamin, and it is one in which many people are deficient. In The Wahls Protocol, there is a listing of recommended vitamin levels – look at these, and have your levels checked by a health practitioner if you are concerned”. Whilst being deficient in vitamins may not cause an illness, building your levels up to healthy levels may help improve some symptoms. Improving vitamin levels (through food or supplements) has helped some patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupis, Brain Fog, and Chronic Pain, to name a few. It is important to consult a doctor to see if your levels are low, and this may help.
Apart from the Wahls diet and supplements, what else would you recommend, or say to anyone who has just been diagnosed with MS?
Firstly, it can be a very frightening time. “I recommend a visit to terrywahls.com, to learn about what is under your control, and what is not, to reduce the probability of suffering severe pain.” Work with your primary care physician to see if any part of The Wahls Protocol may be of assistance. It doesn’t work for everybody, but it may help some. Stay positive, and don’t fear the unknown. Read up as much as you can, so you know what to expect, and can discuss this, and any concerns, with your doctor.
You also have a book called The Wahls Protocol – Cooking for Life. Do you have a recipe you’d like to share?
This is a super simple recipe, and one that helps get an easy extra serve of fruit and vegetables into your diet.
2 Cups of Chopped Parsley (leave the stems on – they add extra vitamins)
1 Cup of Green Grapes
1 Cup of Ice
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Cup of Water, Almond Milk, or Coconut Milk, as you prefer
Combine all ingredients in a Blender or Food Processor, and blend until everything is smooth.
It is important to note that Dr Wahls does not advocate following The Wahls Protocol to the exclusion of conventional medicine. It is important if you suspect you have MS or any other chronic disease, or have recently been diagnosed, that you consult your health care practitioner/doctor, and have proper health checks, and a treatment plan.
Beauty Over 40 brings this article to you as a story that may be of use to some sufferers. It does not promise to cure all symptoms, nor may it work for all sufferers. The information in this article was provided via an interview with Dr Terry Wahls, and from the terrywahls.com website.