By: Dr. Deneb Bates
Dietary supplements can support the general and neurological health of people with Multiple Sclerosis, as well as manage symptoms and minimize side-effects from medications. Although supplements are generally easy to get over the counter or at health food stores, just because it says “natural” doesn’t mean it is safe for everyone, especially if you have Multiple Sclerosis.
People with MS should be cautious of supplements that are known to “stimulate” the immune system, as this could potentially increase the immune response in a way that may be bad for MS. Examples of supplements that generally should not be used by patients with MS are echinacea, astragalus, immune stimulating mushrooms, and melatonin, as well as large doses some common nutrients such as zinc, selenium, and vitamin B6.
MS is a very heterogeneous disease, and the supplemental needs for people with MS are individual. People with MS may benefit from supplementing with high quality fish oil, a balanced B-complex vitamin, a calcium/magnesium supplement, and individualized doses of vitamin D to maintain optimal blood levels. A qualified naturopathic or integrative doctor can further evaluate your particular needs and determine an individualized plan to best support your health.