All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for January 2003

Current Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis

Curr Treat Options Neurol 2003 Jan;5(1):55-68
Bowling AC, Stewart TM.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program, Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, 701 East Hampden Avenue, #530, Englewood, CO 80110, USA.

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) appears to be high in the general population and in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

There are no diets or dietary supplements that are definitely effective in altering the disease course in MS.

However, diets and dietary supplements that increase the intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids may produce mildly beneficial effects.

Because these approaches are not definitely effective, they may be of limited interest to physicians and other conventional health providers.

In contrast, for patients with MS, these interventions may be of considerable interest, because they may be mildly effective and are inexpensive and relatively safe.

Vitamin D, ginkgo biloba, cannabinoids, and Padma 28 produce immunomodulatory actions and therapeutic effects in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

However, for these compounds, there are not enough clinical trial data or safety information to support their use as disease-modifying therapies.

The role of antioxidant compounds in MS is unclear.

There is no evidence that vitamin B(12) supplementation or gluten-free diets are effective MS therapies.

Conventional health providers can play an important role in the care of MS patients by being open to discuss CAM therapies and by providing objective MS-relevant CAM information.