Did you know that women with multiple sclerosis (MS) actually have lower relapse rates in the third trimester of pregnancy than before they got pregnant? It's true - and it shows us a novel way to treat MS.
Many women find the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy to be one of the hardest parts of the experience. But for some women with MS, the hormonal increases can actually offer some significant relief. In fact, they are approximately 70% less likely to have an MS relapse during their third trimester compared to when they're not pregnant.
This caught the attention of some researchers at UCLA. They wanted to find out what role hormones can play in disease progression, particularly for people with multiple sclerosis. So they have been investigating the role that estrogen, which increases dramatically in pregnancy, plays in MS. It turns out that during pregnancy, the body makes a unique form of estrogen that seems to offer special protection to MS patients. The researchers are now trying to figure out how it works - and how to recreate it.
In mice studies, they've found that estrogen turns on a protein called estrogen receptor beta (ERb). This protein then helps protect the brain from the inflammatory damage that destroys myelin sheaths (a hallmark of MS). It seems that ERb affects not only immune cells but also oligodendrocyte cells, which are responsible for making the myelin sheaths.
Since drug companies usually focus on just one cell type at a time, this complementary effect helps to explain why estrogen works better than the drugs. The researchers are now trying to develop a compound that will act similarly to the estrogen and affect both the oligodendrocytes and immune cells, not just one or the other.
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I think these findings are interesting and are certainly a good reminder of just how powerful our hormones can be. But I don't think the researchers need to spend their time trying to recreate this hormone found only in pregnant women. That's because it's possible to send MS patients into remission without it.
In the past, I've told you about Dr. Vincenzo Simonetti. He's an Italian doctor who has found an incredibly safe and effective way to treat MS. He's been able to stop disease progression in 100% of his patients - and send 90% into complete remission within three months.
Dr. Simonetti does this through a special type of ozone therapy. After just 6 to 12 weeks of twice-weekly treatments, symptoms typically disappear, so he weans the patient off the treatment altogether. This therapy works by increasing cytochrome c oxidase activity in the brain, which is essential to myelin production and maintenance. Thanks to the ozone treatment, the brain begins to rebuild the myelin sheaths.
The downside is that you'll need to give up milk and gluten. But women who experienced relief during pregnancy and want to recapture it are no stranger to cutting out certain foods! Dr. Simonetti also puts his patients through a detoxification process to rid their bodies of heavy metals, especially mercury. The regimen can be strict, but his patients find that following his protocol is worth it. If you have MS, you should absolutely talk to your doctor about Dr. Simonetti's ozone therapy protocol. You can find a doctor trained in this approach at aaot.us.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD