GeneFo, an MS patient community that provides support, advice, and clinical trial matching, recently co-hosted an online conference with Trent Austin, MD, who reviewed the most updated research and clinical evidence of natural substances – including medicinal mushrooms, vitamins, biotin and cannabinoids – to inform the public about the potential benefits of these natural resources to alleviate several symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS).
According to a press release provided to Multiple Sclerosis News Today, the use of medicinal mushrooms was the highlight of the lecture.
Medicinal mushrooms long have been used in Asia, but only now are gaining acceptance elsewhere. They are used for a number of health problems, including cancer and enhancement of the immune system. Until now, research concerning their specific use for MS has been limited, but two medicinal mushrooms have shown promising potential, according to GeneFo:
- Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) – this mushroom has been studied for its potential in treating neurological disorders, including damaged nerve cells. In a 2013 study, published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, it was suggested that, in animals, lion’s mane can trigger the production of myelin and boost nerve growth.
- Willow bracket (Phellinus igniarius) – this mushroom has been linked to suppression of demyelination and a decrease in the daily incidence rate of EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalitis; a frequently used animal model of MS). The Willow bracket mushroom seems to suppress the infiltration of several immune cells involved in MS, such as CD4+ T-cells and CD8+ T-cells, among others. The findings suggest this mushroom extract could have a high therapeutic potential for stopping MS progression, and were presented in a 2014 study published in BioMed Research International.
In regard to these medicinal mushrooms, Austin presented a case study of a 61-year-old man diagnosed with MS in 2009, who presented a rapid decline in cognition, energy, severe spasms, inability to walk for five years and no leg movement for two years. A protocol combining the two mushrooms mentioned above was introduced in this man’s treatment, with the following results:
- Within one month cognition and fatigue had improved and severe muscle spasms had almost disappeared.
- Within three months motion in the patient’s legs had been restored, he was able to initiate voluntary movement at the ankles, knees and hips and, alongside physical therapy, the he continued to improve. The patient slowly regained his ability to walk.
Pharmaceutical drugs are not always the best solution to every MS patient. Costs are increasingly high and side effects can be severe. Furthermore, most approved medications are used to slow disease progression, but they do not cure the condition.
Simultaneously, political and financial lobbying keeps natural treatments out of the spotlight and off the mainstream media channels, together with their documented relief of inflammatory processes, immune system enhancement, pain relief, etc.
Austin, a researcher and internist, is trying to raise awareness about the therapeutic potential of natural medicines, calling for both patients and clinicians to learn more about them in order to promote a less-expensive, less-toxic support to traditional MS drugs.
The full webinar is available here.