ALS Dietary Guidelines
|ALS Diet - Following a very specific ALS dietary regime, may be one of the most challenging aspects for many people with ALS. This is because the suggested dietary regime is quite different from what you may be used to - but extreme conditions require extreme measures. Below, we have listed what some nutritionists have put forward as the ideal diet for neurological disorders, to promote neuroprotection and encourage nerve repair.|
1. Eliminate all processed foods, all manufactured foods, and all foods with additives, such as artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.
One of the most dangerous food ingredients is monosodium glutamate (MSG). Dietary intake of MSG is associated with an increased risk of ALS, because ALS patients already have an excess of glutamate in their bodies.
There is a difference between naturally occuring L-glutamic acid that is found in many natural and unprocessed foods and processed free glutamic acid. L-glutamic acid is an amino acid that has a necessary function in the human body, and it will not typically cause any adverse reactions in people.
Manufactured free glutamic acid, on the other hand, is glutamic acid that has been freed from protein through a manufacturing process. It is a neurotoxin which can be very dangerous for those with neurological disorders and otherwise sensitive individuals.
There are over 40 ingredients in which MSG will be found.
Ingredients that often contain MSG or create it during processing include:
Label ingredients that always contain MSG include:
For a complete discussion of MSG, its neurotoxicity and which foods to avoid, go to - www.truthinlabeling.org.
There are so many foods that MSG is added to that it can be quite overwhelming. The basic rule of thumb is to avoid any and all processed foods as much as possible. Stick to organic fruits and vegetables, even organic meats and eggs. Avoid commercial salad dressings, soy sauce, whey protein powders (except non-denatured whey protein) and manufactured foods; basically, anything that comes out of a package.
Aspartate is another potent neurotoxin that should be avoided in neurological disorders. It is found in artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame and NutraSweet, and in many protein powders. Again, L-aspartate is a naturally occuring amino acid that is necessary for proper brain function. It is only in its adulterated state that is becomes a potent neurotoxin.
Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) was found in some studies to protect brain cells from glutamate and aspartate toxicity. The scientists who conducted these studies found that daily consumption of vitamin B12 was necessary to protect against neurotoxicity. The appropriate dose for ALS patients is 20 to 60 mg a day taken sublingually.
2. Eliminate all foods containing gluten from the diet.
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. Gliadin is a protein fraction of gluten. A study at the Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, England, found that 57% of their patients with undiagnosed neurological problems had antibodies to gliadin, and 16% of them had a disease called Celiac Sprue. This is well above the general population, where 20% have a gluten intolerance and 3% have Celiac Sprue.
It is interesting to note that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is derived from the protein gluten of sugar beets and wheat. Many people who are sensitive to MSG find that they are also gluten intolerant.
Gluten intolerance can result in both glucose intolerance and inflammation in the brain (Ann N Y Acad. Sci.2002 May;962:318-31). Inflammation in the brain is closely associated with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and dementia.
Gluten-free foods include rice, buckwheat, soy, potatoes, arrowroot, and corn. There are now gluten-free baked goods available in many grocery stores and health food stores, and they can also be found on-line.
3. Eliminate processed dairy foods from the diet.
Amazingly, many dairy products contain monosodium glutamate, or MSG. As you know by now, MSG is a potent neurotoxin. According to the Truth in Labeling Campaign, powdered milk contains MSG as a result of the way the product is manufactured.
This is a long and exhaustive list, those of you who do not have an actual allergy to casein (milk protein) and lactose (milk sugar), may be able to use raw unpasteurized dairy products. There are companies that sell these products on-line.
4. Eat alkaline foods as often as possible.
Alkaline foods are foods that create an alkaline residue; acidic foods create an acidic residue. Most fruits and vegetables are alkaline in nature, and most grains and meats are acidic. The importance of balancing your body's pH cannot be over-estimated. For more information on balancing your pH,
5. Eat lots of good oils.
"Good" oils are oils that are rich in omega 3 and omega 9 essential fatty acids. Good choices are cold-pressed olive oil, sesame oil, flax oil, or "Udo's Choice", a combination of several different oils that is available in health food stores.
6. Eat lots of nuts and seeds (except peanuts).
Peanuts are usually filled with mold and aflatoxins, and not recommended.
7. Eat seafood, with caution.
Fish is a wonderful source of DHA, which protects and nurtures the brain. However, seafood can be high in mercury, a potent neurotoxin. The safest fish at this time appear to be pacific wild salmon and tilapia.
8. Eliminate sugars from the diet.
There is a wonderful sweetener called xylitol that is chemically almost identical to sugar, but has none of sugar's harmful effects on the body. It looks and tastes just like regular sugar. Remember, you must avoid all chemical and artificial sweeteners. Instead use stevia, a natural herb, or xylitol. Both are widely available in health food stores or on-line.
The above suggested regimen is commonly known as the Paleolithic or "Stone Age" diet because it emphasizes good proteins and fats, and avoids carbohydrates and dairy products. It also avoids any processed foods, and emphasizes fresh, unadulterated foods as much as possible. This diet has been identified as one that can help quell inflammation and promote nerve repair in various neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases and disorders.
|Recommended: There is one thing we recommend for anyone who has symptoms of ALS, and that is to have a hair mineral analysis test done.|
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