MS and Diet: Best Bet Diet and MS Recovery Diet

Patient Expert

Continuing our discussion of MS and Diet, today's topic surrounds the Best Bet Diet and the MS Recovery Diet.   Each feature the elimination of foods which may cause allergic reactions and adhering to more Paleolithic Diet.

DIRECT-MS and Best Bet Diet DIRECT-MS, short for** DIet REsearch into the Cause and Treatment of Multiple S** clerosis, is a charity which was formed in 1998 by families affected by MS.   After his son developed MS in 1995, Ashton Embry, Ph.D. delved into the scientific literature to find the most likely cause of MS and to develop an effective treatment for his son, the result being the Best Bet Diet.

DIRECT-MS has a large collection of Journal Articles where one could spend countless hours reading up on research and offers a downloadable Cookbook.

Best Bet Diet Nutritional Protocol: 1. Eat fruits and vegetables for carbohydrates and micro-nutrients
2. Eat fish and skinless breast of chicken and turkey, for protein
3. Eat extra virgin olive oil for fats
4. Avoid all dairy, grains (except rice), legumes
5. Avoid all allergenic foods, which are identified by skin and ELISA tests
6. Avoid all red meat and margarine

Daily Supplements: 1. Grape seed extract 2 capsules
2. Vitamin D3 2000 IU in summer and 4000 IU in winter
3. Calcium 1200 mg
4. Vitamin A 5000 IU
5. 10 grams salmon oil (3 grams of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids)
6. Vitamin B-complex 50 mg
6a. Folic Acid 1 g
7. Vitamin B-12 500 mcg
8. Vitamin C 1000 mg
9. Vitamin E 400 IU
10. Magnesium 600 mg
11. Zinc 25 mg
12. Copper 1-2 mg
13. Selenium 200 mcg
14. Manganese 20 mg
15. up to 5 g of evening primrose oil or borage oil
16. Acidophilus 4 capsules
17. Enzymes 4 capsules
18. Lecithin 500 - 1000 mg
19. Ginkgo biloba 120 mg
20. Co-enzyme Q10 60 mg

The Best Bet Diet Group The BBD support group is hosted by Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre, a charity in the United Kingdom.   This website contains a great deal of information regarding Ashton Embry and the Best Bet Diet, including a forum for patients on the diet who share support, information, and recipes with each other.   (Note: The website is currently under reconstruction as of August 24, 2009.)

Basically, Ashton Embry's Best Bet Diet (BBD) works on two fronts.

1. To stop, or at least restrict, the consumption of foods whose molecular structure is so similar to the myelin in our own bodies that they could ignite the autoimmunity process and cause an attack on the myelin in the CNS. These "suspect" foods are as follows with recommended replacements:

  • Dairy - Avoid all animal milks, and all butters, cheeses, and yoghurts made from them, and all products that contain them. Where appropriate, replace in the diet with rice milk or low fat coconut milk, both of which are widely available on the supermarket shelves these days.
  • Gluten - Avoid all wheat, rye and barley, and all products containing them. It is advised that oats are also avoided despite new research suggesting they contain no gluten. For our purposes, they are still regarded as a "modern" grain, added to the diet only in recent times, and the chances of avoiding autoimmune reactions is greater without them. These "suspect" grains are replaced in the diet with rice, corn, quinoa and a whole range of other grains/flours that are both gluten-free and widely available these days.
  • Legumes - Avoid all beans, peas and pulses, especially soya, and all products containing them. All other vegetables are allowed, in particular the green leafy ones, like spinach and broccoli that are high in omega 3 EFA.
  • Refined sugar is also avoided, wherever possible, because it can make the leaky gut worse and can also adversely affect the immune system. More acceptable alternative sweeteners are honey, maple syrup, fruit sugar (fructose) and stevia.
  • Eggs and Yeast are both allowed in limited quantities as long as the individual shows no specific allergic reaction to them.

In general, those following this approach enjoy a diet based primarily on the breast of chicken or turkey, fish, game meats and beef from cattle that have been fed exclusively on grass. The diet is also low in saturated fat and aims to achieve a far healthier balance of omega 6 - omega 3 fats than is normal in today's western society, where the condition is now rife.

Please note: As an additional precaution, it is suggested that the individual also has a ELISA blood test done to identify which, if any, foods have escaped across the leaky gut in the past. The argument goes that the individual's immune system will have created an lgG antibody, as part of its defense mechanism, the presence of which can be detected during the test, when presented with a sample of the same food. The assumption being that the individual may be hypersensitive to these foods and they may be contributing to the porous nature of the gut. It would seem sensible, as part of the overall strategy, to either avoid or reduce the intake of these foods in the diet, at least for a time, to give the leaky gut a chance to heal.

2. To take a range of supplements that can have a positive effect on each aspect of the disease process. In other words,

  • To reduce the risk of autoimmune reactions by "dampening down" the immune system. These include vitamin d3 (cholecalciferol), calcium, magnesium, omega 3 fish oil and vitamin E.
  • To help repair the leaky gut and prevent the escape of intact food proteins into the bloodstream in the first place. These include acidophilus, grape seed extract, fish oil and enzymes.
  • To strengthen and heal the blood brain barrier to prevent attacks on the myelin in the Central Nervous System. These include gingko biloba, grape seed extract, pycnogenol and co-enzyme QIO.

MS Recovery Diet The MS Recovery Diet: Identify and Avoid Foods that Activate Your Disease is written by Ann Sawyer and Judith Bachrach.   It is an easy-to-read book which combines combines elements of the Swank Diet with the Best Bet Diet.   Ann and Judi maintain blogs and a forum on their website.

About the Diet: Quick Reference

  • Suspect and investigate dairy, gluten containing grains, legumes, eggs and yeast as possible allergens and eliminate them from your diet.
  • Avoid all other allergenic foods which you have identified as triggers.
  • Limit saturated fats, processed sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Stop smoking.
  • Eat fish, skinless breast of chicken or turkey, wild game or other low fat animal meat, and nuts for protein, fruits and vegetables for carbohydrates and micronutrients. Also use oils such as flax seed, olive and sunflower which are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.
  • Limit use of NSAIDs and antacids. Use antibiotics judiciously. After use replace gut microbes with probiotics.
  • Chew your food thoroughly. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat a lot of flavonoid rich foods like blueberries and cherries.
  • Spend some time in the sun.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Exercise
  • Reduce stress.

Before beginning any specific diet or exercise program, please consult with your physician.