Multiple Sclerosis: A Revival of Hope
by Jonathan V. Wright, MD©
reprinted from Nutrition and Healing newsletter
Imagine watching a woman with multiple sclerosis of
many years duration (who had previously needed a "walker" to help her
get around) walking unaided several times around a room at good speed,
and with no balance problems. Imagine listening to her say she’s sleeping
better, her energy is much improved, and that she’s able to think more
clearly. She attributes her dramatic improvement to the natural amino
acid derivative she’s been using for the previous two to three weeks.
Imagine hearing another woman, much more seriously afflicted, report
that she’s able to feed herself again, and that her friends and relatives
had all noticed her speech is easier to understand. Both of these improvements
occurred within a month of starting the "new" natural amino acid derivative.
Your editor has seen and listened to both these women
in just the last month. One of your editor's colleagues at Tahoma Clinic,
Dr. George Gillson, MD, PhD, reports that at first checkback (approximately
six weeks of treatment) for 19 individuals with multiple sclerosis,
eleven noted dramatic improvement, three reported one or more significant
improvements in symptoms, (including reduced numbness, better motor
control, improved speech, much better sleeping, and more energy), one
had no change, and four had no change associated with poor absorption
of the natural amino acid derivative, poor patch adhesion, or an interfering
The nurse responsible for the revival of the use of
the natural amino acid derivative (a now mostly symptom-free MS sufferer
herself) has collected verbal reports from over 200 individuals diagnosed
with "MS" who've used the natural amino acid derivative: 72% report
at least one significant improvement in symptoms, and some many more.
The Natural Amino Acid Derivative
The natural amino acid derivative is histamine, a very
small and simple molecule made by every human (and animal) body from
the naturally occurring (and conditionally essential) amino acid histidine.
Yes, that's the same histamine that most of us are told is the "bad
guy" of the allergy world, against which we're all urged to swallow
the latest patent (and prescription-only, until the patent expires)
"antihistamine" medication. Apparently, individuals with MS either don't
make enough histamine in their own bodies, or just need more. Perhaps
both. No one knows for certain.
Isn't it premature to be writing about symptom improvement
in MS based on verbal reports of only 200+ individuals, and only 10
reporting back so far to Tahoma Clinic? Results achieved with...of all
things...histamine? Isn't it all too new ....and perhaps wacky....to
get our hopes up? Please refer back to title of this report (A Revival
of Hope), and then let's travel back in time to St. Joseph's Hospital,
in Tacoma, Washington. The year is 1950; the reporter is Miriam Zeller
Gross, who published the article from which the following paragraphs
are excerpted from McCall's Magazine for December of that year.
"At St. Joseph's Hospital, multiple sclerosis is
being arrested in one victim in six. Others get blessed relief. Many
leave their beds for the first time in years. One man unable to move
so much as a toe for seven years walked again within a week after leaving
the hospital.....two patients....had been diagnosed as totally blind...Today
both enjoy normal vision. Most of the 100 patients with whom I talked
at the Clinic told stories that hold the drama of people suddenly reprieved
from a death sentence.
Take Mrs. Alice Meinert. This young mother was stricken
shortly after New Year's Day in 1947. By May, she could not get out
of bed. For a year she grew steadily worse. Her father heard about the
Clinic in Tacoma (not Tahoma Clinic, which was founded in 1973--ed.).
He urged that his daughter be sent there. But the attending physician
pooh-poohed the idea, and acting on his advice, Mrs. Meinert's husband
The father took legal action and gained custody of
his daughter – a step accomplished through the farseeing wisdom of Judge
Chester A. Batchelor of the King County Court, Seattle.
Four days after she reached the Tacoma clinic, Mrs.
Meinert took her first steps in more than a year. One week later she
walked from the house to the street and got into an automobile unaided.....her
condition has improved steadily. She does her own housework, looks after
her child, and appears in every way to be a well, happy woman."
Dr. Hinton Jonez
In 1946, Hinton Jonez, MD a Tacoma general practitioner,
was invited by the Sisters of St. Joseph's Hospital to open an MS clinic
in a hospital wing. The Sisters had observed improvements in several
individuals with MS hospitalized at St. Joseph's under Dr. Jonez’ care.
The had observed that the mainstay of Dr. Jonez' treatment was injectable
histamine, and knew that injectable histamine could cause adverse effects,
including severe headaches or stomach aches with considerable cramping
if injected at the wrong dose or speed of administration. There were
even reports of deaths from too much histamine injected too rapidly.
But Dr. Jonez' patients had had no such adverse effects, and all had
improved, so the Sisters were happy when Dr. Jonez volunteered to open
a clinic at St. Joseph's dedicated to the treatment of MS.
Dr. Jonez had learned of injectable histamine treatment
for MS at a meeting of the American College of Allergy (now called the
American College of Allergy and Immunology) from the then-well-known
Bayard T. Horton, MD, of the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota). According
to Dr. Jonez, when discussing allergy and allergy treatment over dinner,
Dr. Horton had told him and a group of physicians: "Take multiple sclerosis.
There is good reason to believe it is an allergic condition."1
According to Dr. Jonez, Dr. Horton had explained that histamine gives
new life to MS victims much as fresh fighting troops revive an exhausted
army. "It's too early to say much" Dr. Horton told Dr. Jonez "but we
believe we are on the right track."2
Histamine for Allergies?
Some fifty or more years after Dr. Horton's time, we've
all been thoroughly convinced by the patent medicine companies propaganda
("advertising") that patented and formerly patented "antihistamines"
are the best way to combat allergy. Such was not the case in the 1940s.
Dr. Jonez explains3:
"Let me review some 1946 medical history.....the
antihistamine drugs were big news that year....pharmaceutical houses
worked night and day to rush the latest and most potent antihistaminic
drug to doctors and druggists....while most doctors dosed their patients
with antihistamines, Dr. Horton did the exact opposite. He administered
histamine. And he was getting results. Both allergic conditions and
an impressive array of illnesses were yielding to Dr. Horton's histamine
Mysterious, intolerable headaches disappeared. So
did the symptoms of Meniere's disease, characterized by progressive
deafness, previously relieved by highly delicate surgery. A host of
bizarre eye and ear conditions heretofore thought incurable had also
responded to histamine.
Horton's method was in a sense fighting fire with
fire, and based on the same line of reasoning as giving cowpox vaccinations
to fight smallpox....Instead of suppressing the action of histamine
by antihistaminics, he used histamine against histamine."
If these successes were achieved by a respected staff
member of the Mayo Clinic in the 1940s, why isn't histamine commonly
in use today against allergic diseases? The answers lie in the nature
of histamine itself, and in the nature of American medicine.
Histamine is a very "unstable" molecule; it "breaks
down" very rapidly. When given orally, it can cause considerable stomach
upset and cramping; when given too rapidly or in too great a quantity
by injection it can (as noted above) give very unpleasant effects. A
few people had actually died after being injected with too much histamine
too fast. But administering it properly, Dr. Horton reported that he
had given thousands of injections without a single ill effect. So why
didn't physicians learn and apply Dr. Horton's methods as Dr. Jonez
Histamine's biggest handicap is (and was) that as a
molecule produced in human bodies it isn't patentable. Patent medicine
(sometimes called "pharmaceutical") companies would not work "night
and day" to rush histamine...or news of its latest uses...to doctors
and druggists. And in the 1940s, as now, the vast majority of physicians
got most of their "new treatment" information from patent medicine companies.
Dr. Jonez First “Case”
Mrs. Johnston had suffered from MS for five years. She
was bedridden, unable to move her legs..She was going blind…and had
Dr. Jonez describes her response to histamine treatment:
"[Histamine*] was given slowly, carefully. All the
elaborate precautions Horton outlined were observed. He had said that
histamine had an unwarranted bad reputation because doctors...gave [it]
too rapidly, or used contaminated equipment. They failed to realize
that the fault lay in their own ineptness.....
A rosy glow spread over Mrs. Johnston's face, then
down her neck and gradually down the arms. “I feel better already” she
said. As the days went by, there was no doubt she was getting better…she
could swallow with ease for the first time in months. And to the amazement
of her eye specialist, her vision was back to normal…Less than six months
after her first dose of histamine, she was walking. Sensation had fully
returned to the legs that had appeared hopelessly paralyzed. It began
the evening her husband telephoned in great excitement: ‘She can wiggle
her toes!’…. The progress was steady. Soon she gave away the wheelchair.”4
Dr. Jonez goes on to explain that the natural course
of MS can include unexplained “spontaneous” remissions, sometimes of
long duration. As this was his first case, he couldn’t be certain that
the histamine injections had caused Mrs. Johnston’s improvement. However,
five years later, after administering some 150,000 doses and observing
the results, he wrote: “…histamine is the medication of first choice
in multiple sclerosis.”5
Dr. Jonez’ Clinic at St. Joseph’s
After obtaining space at St. Joseph’s, and with the
help of the sisters, Dr. Jonez added several features to the basic histamine
treatment. As Dr. Horton had told Dr. Jonez that MS was caused by allergy,
and since Dr. Jonez’ use of Dr. Horton’s histamine treatment for MS
had been successful in many cases, it’s understandable that Dr. Jonez
wrote (in a “professional report”): “At our clinic, complete allergy
management is the basis of therapy. On all of our patients, allergy
histories are taken and scratch tests [the best tests available at that
time – ed.] are made for sensitivities to foods, epidermals, molds,
fungi, pollens, and miscellaneous allergens.”6 On the basis
of these tests, diets and allergy desensitization programs were individualized
for each MS patient. Dr. Jonez emphasized the importance of allergy
control as well as histamine treatment: “Almost without exception, our
chronic, progressive [MS patients] suffered from food allergies.”7
He recounts the case of a patient: “…who was out of his wheelchair three
times and back again because he thought a small order of salmon and
spinach wouldn’t make any difference.”8
Physical therapy was another important part of Dr. Jonez’
program. The Sisters of St. Joseph’s helped him to make sure physical
therapy was done adequately and appropriately for each patient. For
patients whose muscles were twisted and contorted with MS spasm, Dr.
Jonez prescribed injections of a powerful muscle relaxant to aid in
After five years, Dr. Jonez’ multiple sclerosis program
was so successful that the Sisters decided to erect a new clinic building,
to house what would be named St. Joseph Hospital Clinic for Demyelinating
Diseases. The official “groundbreaking” occurred on December 8, 1951,
with opening scheduled for August 15, 1952. Unfortunately, Dr. Horton
died, the Sisters could not find one physician on St. Joseph’s staff
willing to continue his program, and Dr. Jonez’ clinic and program at
St. Joseph’s in Tacoma came to an end.
Other Natural Treatments for MS
At the same time Dr. Jonez was working at St. Joseph’s,
another pioneer in effective natural MS treatment, Dr. Roy Swank, was
developing his MS diet while on the faculty of the University of Oregon
Health Sciences Center. Dr Swank’s diet is high in “unsaturated fatty
acids,” which have been found to aid MS when supplemented alone. Others
(including Dr. Jonez) were exploring the use of injectable vitamin B12,
as well as injectable adenosine monophosphate (AMP), a natural substance
made within every cell of our bodies. During the intervening years,
your editor (as well as others) have found that a large proportion of
individuals with MS have significant impairments of digestion and assimilation,
and that a unique herbal combination can have a significant effect in
MS treatment. I have, as well as other Tahoma Clinic physicians, observed
DHEA to be a small help for some individuals with MS. All of these valuable
natural treatments and aspects of MS will follow the description of
the “improved histamine,” Procarin, the invaluable contribution of Elaine
Elaine DeLack, MS, and Procarin9
Elaine developed her first symptoms of MS in 1985 while
living in Montana. While pregnant with her son, she developed intermittent
difficulty moving her left leg. After delivery, she had variable difficulty
moving her left arm and hand. In 1987, an MRI (magnetic resonance image)
showed what appeared to be MS lesions in her central nervous system;
a second MRI showed more lesions, and the “official diagnosis” of MS
was made in 1988.
She continued to worsen until “making dinner was a chore.”
Finally, she had her self-described “wake-up call”: a fall while carrying
her son, who required stitches for his cuts. She knew she needed more
help. She received a telephone call from a caring woman who advised
her to call Raymond Bjork, MD, a Montana physician, who advised her
to try injections of vitamin B12 and adenosine monophosphate (AMP).
She tried taking vitamin B12 by mouth; it didn’t help.
She moved with her family to the Seattle area in 1990.
She decided to take vitamin B12 by injection, along with AMP. She reports
“it really helped,” and that she could put herself into remission with
these natural substance injections.
In 1993, she finished work for her RN, which she had
started in Montana before taking “time out” to care for her children.
While working at her first job at a nursing home, she tried to convince
the attending physicians to use injections of vitamin B12 and AMP for
MS patients. Only one physician would listen; he had the injections
given to one of the nursing home residents suffering from MS, who strengthened
and went home. Despite this, none of the other physicians would consent
to try the injections for their MS patients, telling Elaine “there isn’t
So in 1994, she enrolled in a research methods course
at the Bothell campus of the University of Washington, determined to
find and develop research on injectable vitamin B12 and AMP. She found
research showing that histamine stimulated the production of the “intrinsic
factor” by the stomach. She knew that vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed
without “intrinsic factor,” and she recalled that vitamin B12 had not
worked for her when she swallowed it, but had been very helpful for
her when she injected it. She felt she had found key information. After
that, it seemed that in her research “everything led to histamine.”
She started giving herself histamine by injection and
with transdermal patches, but found the effects too transient. Further
research led her to other natural substances which would slow the body’s
breakdown of histamine. She found a combination which helped her eliminate
all her own MS symptoms. After first working with Judy Richardson, R.Ph.,
who helped develop the delivery system, she located George Ballasiotes,
R.Ph., and Jim Seymour, R.Ph., at Key Pharmacy, in Kent, Washington,
who helped compound and distribute the histamine combination (which
she named “Procarin”) more widely. She obtained a “use patent” for the
Procarin; in the course of the patent research she discovered the work
of Dr. Jonez. After she obtained her “use patent,” she formed a company,
and raised money for feasibility studies.
Once again, she was frustrated by the unwillingness
of many doctors to consider using the Procarin. Even when nothing else
was working for their MS patients, they refused to try. Finally, she
located Dr. Daniel Nehls, a Tacoma neurosurgeon, who conducted a pilot
study with encouraging results.
Tahoma Clinic Gets Involved
In the 1980s, I read Dr. Jonez’ book and professional
paper, and spoke to a former patient of his, still “in remission.” Dr.
Jonez’ book “rang true,” and his former patient was convincing, so we
tried injectable histamine at Tahoma Clinic intermittently in the mid-1980s.
Unfortunately, we had no inpatient facility available for the slow,
continuous infusions mentioned by Dr. Jonez. Our patients didn’t have
enough results from the histamine infusions to continue, so we put the
project “on the shelf.” (We were having better results with the allergy
work advocated by Dr. Jonez, and other items.)
This summer, George and Jim from Key Pharmacy told Tahoma
Clinic physicians about their work with Elaine and Procarin, and about
Dr. Nehls’ pilot study. Fortunately, we were aware of Dr. Jonez’ prior
histamine work. Having worked with natural medicine since 1973, we knew
that Procarin had a very low potential for adverse effects, and that
the potential benefits for MS patients were enormous. We started to
work with it right away.
We designed standardized, simple to mark questionnaires
to be filled out “before” and “after” Procarin use, so we could keep
track of any changes, for better or worse. A few individuals with MS
were kind enough to keep daily journals; the following is excerpted
from one of these,10 a woman who started to apply Procarin
patches twice daily on July 16, 1999:
July 16: No reaction, no improvement
July 18: Getting out of wheelchair improving, less fatigue.
Able to feed myself, no tremors, able better to support
myself in bathroom. Bladder control improvement. Balance improving,
to stand longer, comprehension improvement. Didn’t need to take afternoon
July 19: Over-all I’m feeling better, thinking clearer.
Talked to relatives on the phone & they note a difference in speech
July 20: Getting out of wheelchair even better, can
stand for longer periods of time, went to P.T., & she noticed how
much stronger I was. Less swelling in ankles. Still feeling better.
July 21: Feeling stronger, more energy, thinking clearer.
Swelling still less in ankles.Standing longer. Less fatigue. Generally
July 22: Starting to build muscles in my legs (probably
July 23: Starting to get a better appetite. Feeling
less fatigue and feeling stronger.
July 24: Same.
July 25: Less numbness in hands and arms. Still don’t
take afternoon naps.
July 26: Noticed improvement in legs – getting stronger.
Can make “baby steps.” Not very much, but improving.
July 27: Went to my P.T. and actually walked with help
20 feet twice. Can move my left leg forward, but can’t on my right side.
Was transferring from wheelchair to P.T. table by myself.
July 28: Can stand up longer (hanging onto something).
Arms continue to get stronger.
July 29: Same.
July 30: Just keep feeling stronger. Can stand with
July 31: Just over-all feeling better.
August 1: Stayed up late with a relative last night.
Was not as tired. Didn’t have to take a nap. Actually took 3 small steps
hanging onto a bar.
August 2: Building muscles in arms and legs. Can stand
up straighter if I am hanging onto something or someone. Can look into
my husband’s eyes again!
August 3: Have less swelling in my feet and ankles,
but more in my right foot. Have more energy to do things around the
August 4: Building muscles in arms and legs.
August 5: Feeling stronger. A slight rash on my face.
Have had it before. Comes and goes.
August 6: Same.
August 7: Felt stronger. Still rash on my face.
August 8: Fatigued. Exercised a little more than I should
August 9: Rash still present.
August 10: Starting to itch at several sites across
chest and back. Still feeling stronger. I only seem to start itching
after the second patch comes off.
August 11: Used cortisone cream on the sites that itched
last night and that helped. Used it also on my face. Rash on my face
is practically gone. I am also getting out of my wheelchair better and
standing up straighter.
August 12: Took my first steps today!! Yeah! I had to
hold onto a bar in our bathroom, but I took 3 steps. Then I yelled for
my husband and made 3 steps forward and 3 back. Actually picked my feet
up off the ground. Feeling stronger.
August 13: Still can take a few steps. The rash on my
face is a lot better.
August 14: I noticed when I have the patches on, I don’t
itch. The 8 hours I have the patch off, I seem to start itching where
the previous patches have been.
August 15: Still generally feeling better every day.
Getting stronger and can exercise longer.
August 16: Didn’t itch at all last night. I have also
been eating better. More fish and poultry. I have always eaten fruits
and vegetables, just more now.
August 17: Same.
August 18: I have been waking up around 2 AM for the
last few nights very hot and sweaty. Almost like having “hot flashes.”
Went to have my hair done and normally I am exhausted by the time we
get home. I wasn’t [exhausted] today. I have new hair growth that is
not coming in gray, but my natural hair color.
August 19: Able to do more exercises.
August 20: Same.
August 21: Basically the same. Got up early and could
do it. Getting out a lot more and feeling like I can.
August 22: Not really feeling tired after yesterday’s
August 23: Same.
August 24: Still exercising. Feeling stronger.
August 25: Same; still less swelling in my ankles.
(As noted above, of the first ten “return visits” to
Tahoma Clinic by Procarin-aided MS, seven showed at least one significant
improvement. Three did not; it may be co-incidental, but all three non-responders
were taking Baclofen, a “muscle spasm blocking” patent medication. But
whether the Baclofen interfered with Procarin or not, Procarin is not
expected to help 100%.)
How Does Procarin (and Histamine) Work Against MS?
Dr. Jonez was convinced that MS was a manifestation
of allergy. As noted above, his opinion was based on the work of Mayo
Clinic physician Bayard T. Horton, MD, as well as on the opinion of
Foster Kennedy, MD, Professor of Neurology at Cornell University Medical
School, whom Jonez describes as “one of the great neurologists of our
day.”11 He quotes Dr. Kennedy: “I have finally reached the
conclusion that multiple sclerosis cannot be explained on any other
basis [but allergy].”12 Jonez adopted and extended Horton’s
histamine treatment for allergy, focusing it on MS with considerable
success (as well as safety). As noted above, he also recommended complete
allergy evaluation and treatment, with histamine a major tool.
However, Jonez also points out that histamine is a potent
blood vessel dilator. He quotes two other histamine-employing MS researchers,
who wrote that the basic therapy for MS “calls for continued vasodilation
of the vessels of the nervous system, as well as for the prevention
of spasm. Both these measures should be enforced for 24 hours a day.
A [histamine]-free interval of even a few minutes would suffice for
an attack.”13 According to this theory, histamine reverses
the blood vessel spasm (of unknown cause) associated with MS, restoring
normal blood flow to the affected tissue, thus promoting healing.
Elaine DeLack has a different point of view.14
Based on her research (she cites the Journal of Neuroscience Research;
Archives of Neurology; Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior; Journal
of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine; Annals of Neurology; Journal of
Neurochemistry) she writes: “I believe that MS is a result of
an infectious agent, very possibly a provirus, that attacks [histamine]
producing cell bodies in the central nervous system…. Proviruses, or
slow viruses, sit dormant in a cell until a stressor causes them to
become active, and they begin to trick the cell into reproducing [the
virus]. The [histamine] producing cells become busy making the virus
rather than [histamine] and a person starts to experience symptoms of
MS due to the lack of [histamine] being produced. Eventually the [histamine]-producing
cell body becomes so full of the virus that it explodes dumping the
virus and the cell contents (which we call enzymes that the cell is
normally intended to make), into the blood and spinal fluid. This results
in an increased level of [histamine], which in turn stimulates the making
of the component that maintains the myelin. This results in a decrease
of MS symptoms and a person goes into remission. But many of the dumped
viruses from the damaged [histamine] producing cells are able to invade
more [histamine] producing cells. The virus in these newly invaded cells
remain dormant until once again a stressor triggers the virus to become
active and the above cycle is repeated. This is what I believe happens
during the Remissive-Relapsing stage of MS. Once the [histamine] producing
cells have been depleted to the point that the body can no longer produce
enough [histamine] to maintain the myelin as well as the many other
functions it is involved in, the MS symptoms begin to worsen steadily.
This I believe is the stage that is called Secondary Progressive MS.
I believe that Chronic Progressive MS happens when a person experiences
a severe attack on these [histamine] producing cells and because of
the number of [histamine] producing cells being destroyed, the person
experiences a rapid steady decline with no remissions – all due to the
deficient level of [histamine].”
No one knows whether Dr. Jonez’ theories or Elaine DeLack’s
theories of how histamine works against MS are true in the whole or
in part. Ultimately, this is very important, but for MS sufferers, the
most important questions are: Can histamine (as Procarin) lessen my
symptoms? Is it safe? Although more work is needed, it appears that
the answer is yes.
Procarin (and Histamine): Facts and Observations
It’s obvious that Procarin (histamine and natural substances
which slow histamine breakdown and release) isn’t a cure for MS, but
a replacement therapy, much like insulin for type 1 diabetes,
or natural hormone replacement therapy. As such it needs to be used
continuously and indefinitely (when effective) to maintain symptom relief.
Dr. Jonez wrote: “Our best results were obtained among
those able to take the largest amounts of histamine. Blondes and redheads
are watched with particular care. They seldom tolerate as heavy doses
of histamine as those with darker coloring.”15 He also wrote:
“histamine must be given constantly and in tolerance doses.”16
He concluded a professional paper as follows: “After treating over 1500
patients…it is our opinion that much can be done for sufferers of multiple
sclerosis. Early diagnosis and treatment result in a great possibility
of bringing about a remission and the retarding or arresting of the
disease…. Treatment as outlined does not cure, but it does arrest symptoms
a great many times…. By this regimen we have made ambulatory or wheelchair
cases out of bedfast ones. Also, we have taken wheelchair cases and
made them ambulatory. Still others become symptom-free and remained
so without an exacerbation up to periods of over five years.”17
Elaine DeLack notes a paradox: The effect of the histamine
in Procarin is completely negated by “H2 blocker” patent medications
(medications which block the action of histamine at “H2” receptors).
These include Zantac, Tagamet, and other “acid-blocker” medications.
However, “antihistamines” found in “cold remedies” (such as Benadryl)
do not interfere with the histamine in Procarin, and in fact can be
used to treat the occasional skin rash associated with its use. Elaine
and her husband Marvin have also noted an apparent association between
lack of response to Procarin and “heat-insensitive” MS; most individuals
with MS are very sensitive to heat, and report their symptoms worsen
with “heat stress.”
The “patch” technology for Procarin is still evolving.
Instructions for use must be followed carefully for the Procarin to
be absorbed properly and do its job. Individualization of both patches
and dose is sometimes necessary.
Presently, the prevailing price for one month’s supply
of Procarin is $249. However, as more and more of the over-1000 compounding
pharmacies start offering it, the price may well decline.
Other Worthwhile “Natural” MS Therapies: Diet
Dr. Roy Swank, now-retired Professor of Neurology at
the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, recommended a diet
low in saturated fat (20 grams daily or less) with added “unsaturated”
fatty acids including cod liver oil and vegetable oils. The “Swank Diet”
eliminated margarine, “shortenings,” and hydrogenated (partially or
otherwise) vegetable oils. Very long-term follow-up (in some cases over
30 years) showed that individuals who followed the diet closely had
significantly less deterioration as compared with those who didn’t follow
the diet. Notably, the death rate was 31% among those who had followed
the diet, and 80% among those who hadn’t. Individuals with the least
disability at the start of the study did best: 95% of that group remained
only mildly disabled for approximately 30 years.18,19 Given
these statistics, the “Swank Diet” (modified to eliminate all food additives,
preservatives, colorings, and artificial flavorings, all “refined flour”
and sugar, and completely individualized for food allergy) is always
recommended for MS sufferers at Tahoma Clinic.
As noted above, Dr. Jonez believed and observed that
food allergy could have a significant impact on MS. Dr. Jonez certainly
wasn’t alone. One study reported that in fifteen individuals with MS,
symptoms could be completely controlled or improved by avoidance of
allergenic foods, house dust, or tobacco.20 Other researchers
reported that 31% of 49 MS sufferers improved when they avoided allergenic
foods. When they re-introduced these foods, symptoms frequently worsened.22
Both myself and my colleague Alan R. Gaby, MD, (former co-editor of
this newsletter) have worked with individuals whose MS was greatly improved
by food allergy avoidance.23
Impairment of Digestion and Assimilation
Even if the very best, individualized diet is strictly
followed, it won’t help as much as it might if it isn’t optimally digested
and absorbed. At Tahoma Clinic, individuals with MS are always evaluated
for digestive impairment. A large majority are found to have either
gastric hypochlorhydria (low production of stomach acid) and/or “pancreatic
exocrine insufficiency” (lack of sufficient pancreatic digestive enzymes
to optimally digest food fiber, fats and oils, or proteins). Stomach
tests are performed as “gastric analysis by radiotelemetry.”24
Pancreatic function is assessed in a much more “low-tech” fashion, by
direct microscopic observation of a specially-stained stool specimen,
along with a “steatocrit” (a determination of the percent undigested
fat in a stool specimen). Supplementation of betaine hydrochloride with
pepsin with meals and/or pancreatic enzymes (“pancreatin”) after meals
is recommended for any individual whose tests are abnormal.
At least one research paper has reported poor digestion
and absorption in a large proportion of individuals with MS. Quoting
from the abstract to this paper: “Malabsorption tests were studied in
52 patients with multiple sclerosis. The stools were examined microscopically
for fat and undigested meat fibers and were found to be abnormal in
41.6 and 40.9% respectively [pancreatic exocrine insufficiency – ed].
Abnormally low five hour excretion of d-xylose [another test of malabsorption
– ed] was demonstrated in 26.6% of cases. Malabsorption of vitamin B12
was found in 11.9% of cases….25 Unfortunately, no one has
published data on the prevalence of gastric hypochlorhydria in MS; in
practice, Tahoma Clinic has found well over 50%.
Essential Fatty Acids
Dr. Swank’s diet emphasized high levels of essential
fatty acids. A “meta-analysis” (combined statistical evaluation) of
three MS research trials (not done by Dr. Swank) concluded that supplementation
of essential fatty acids (in this case, sunflower oil) was associated
with longer remissions and less severe exacerbations (worsenings).26
Instead of routinely recommending sunflower oil, we prefer to
monitor “red cell membrane essential fatty acids” (a blood test), and
recommend “omega-3,” “omega-6,” and “omega-9” unsaturated fatty acids
in quantities to keep the “omega-3/omega-6 ratio” tipped in favor of
the “omega-3” oils. Although this is done for MS on purely theoretical
grounds (at this time) the reason is that omega-3 fatty acids are thought
to generally suppress inflammation and an over-active immune system,
while the omega-6 fatty acids generally are thought to do the opposite.
Injectable Vitamin B12
As noted above, Elaine DeLack’s personal experience
was that ingested vitamin B12 didn’t help her symptoms; injectable vitamin
B12 did help. Dr Jonez reported that injectable vitamin B12 helped his
patients with MS. An early report in the AMA Journal told of
improvement in neurologic function in individuals with MS receiving
vitamin B12 injections.27 Much more recently, Japanese researchers
reported more frequent improvements in both visual and brainstem auditory
evoked potentials in individuals with MS receiving vitamin B12 injections
(the methylcobalamin form of vitamin B12) during the treatment period
than during the pretreatment period.28 Perhaps the positive
responses to injectable vitamin B12 may be explained by one researcher’s
statement that “…vitamin B12 is required for the formation of myelin”
[myelin is the “nerve insulation” destroyed in MS sufferers – ed].29
At Tahoma Clinic, self-injection (or injection by a family member) of
vitamin B12 is always recommended; the large majority who try it report
Injectable Adenosine Monophosphate
Adenosine monophosphate (AMP) is an immediate precursor
of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an important “energy molecule” in every
cell in our bodies. Since most (nearly 90% by one estimate) AMP is transformed
into ATP, and AMP is considerably less expensive, AMP is usually used.
However, Dr. Jonez was given a supply of injectable ATP (by the Anhauser-Busch
company!) and wrote: “…we used [injectable ATP] on 224 patients…. The
most noticeable improvement has been in bladder symptoms. The patients
have been relieved of incontinence, urgency and frequency of urination,
and most patients have spoken of being able to enjoy more refreshing
sleep. Several have gained better muscle co-ordination and balance in
walking. Several have discarded their canes….”30
In one study, sixteen individuals with severe MS disability
were give AMP injections for six to ten months. Very significant improvements
were noted in endurance and bladder malfunction.31 In another
study of 26 MS afflicted individuals, two were reported to have had
“complete and lasting relief of all symptoms and signs,” eleven were
reported to have “moderate but definite and useful improvement,” four
had “slight but definite improvement,” eight had “slight but variable
improvement but not maintained,” and one had no change.32
An intriguing interconnection: Examination of a table of “biochemical
pathways” reveals that AMP is a precursor of histidine and histamine,
as well as ATP.
When given intravenously, AMP can easily cause tranisent
faintness, chest constriction, and shortness of breath. For this reason,
at Tahoma Clinic we recommend intramuscular injection, which rarely
causes these unwanted effects.
Adaptrin (Padma 28)
Adaptrin is an herbal mixture originating in Tibet.
Previously known as “Padma-28,” it was suppressed by the Food and Drug
Administration (despite no complaints or safety concerns). It is now
available through a different supplier who wisely makes no statements
about what it might be used for. In Padma 28/Adaptrin, twenty-two ingredients
are combined in a specific order.
In a study of 100 individuals with chronic progressive
multiple sclerosis, some were randomly assigned to treatment with Padma
28 (2 tablets 3 times daily) for one year, and others to a control group
treated only symptomatically; 44% of those taking Padma 28 experienced
improvement, including improved general condition, increased muscular
strength, or improvement or disappearance of disorders affecting sphincters.
Decrease in paresis33 (paralysis/spasticity) was observed
in 36%. In those with initially abnormal visual evoked potentials, 41%
had improvement or normalization. Patients with both recurrent attacks
and slowly progressive multiple sclerosis both improved, although the
frequency of improvement was higher (55%) in the former group than in
the latter (33%). No side effects were reported. None of the patients
in the control group improved; 40% had deterioration in their condition.33
Although there have been as yet no publications concerning
DHEA treatment of MS, Tahoma Clinic physicians have found it useful.
DHEA levels are always measured prior to treatment, and are very frequently
found low in individuals with MS. Supplementing with physiologic quantities
of DHEA frequently results in reports of increased strength in individuals
supplemented with DHEA.
Elaine DeLack’s revival of Jonez’ (and Horton’s) histamine
treatment of MS and her improvement of it as Procarin is a very significant
breakthrough in the care of MS-afflicted individuals. Procarin has made
effective histamine treatment easily possible on an outpatient, at-home
basis, with enormously more convenience and considerably less cost than
in-hospital, continuous intravenous or intramuscular histamine treatment.
Combined with a “natural-food” Swank diet individually modified for
food allergy, detection of and compensation for defects of digestion
and assimilation, essential fatty acid supplementation, injectable vitamin
B12 and adenosine monophosphate (AMP), and supplementation of Adaptrin
and DHEA, Procarin gives us not only a revival of hope, but a much improved
chance of making a very real improvement in symptoms of individuals
suffering from multiple sclerosis.
1. Jonez HD, My Fight to Conquer Multiple Sclerosis,
Julian Meissner, New York, 1952, page 24
2. ibid, page 25
3. ibid, pages 21-22
4. ibid, page 34
5. ibid, page 48
6. Jonez HD, Management of Multiple Sclerosis, Postgrad
7. Jonez HD, My Fight To Conquer Multiple Sclerosis,
op cit, page 50
8. ibid, page 51
9. This section, personal communication, Elaine DeLack,
10. Data on file, Tahoma Clinic
11. Jonez HD, My Fight To Conquer Multiple Sclerosis,
op. cit., page 25
12. ibid, page 26
13. Jonez HD, Management of Multiple Sclerosis, op.
cit. Page 420, citing Brickner RM and Franklin CR, Visible retinal artery
spasm associated with multiple sclerosis, Arch Neurol Psych 1944;51:573,
and Franklin CR and Brickner RM, Vasospasm associated with multiple
sclerosis, Arch Neurol Psych 1947;48:125
14. DeLack E, unpublished paper
15. Jonez HD, My Fight To Conquer Multiple Sclerosis,
op cit, pages 42-43
16. ibid, page 47
17. Jonez HD, Management of multiple sclerosis, op cit,
18. Swank RL et al. Effect of low saturated fat diet
in early and late cases of multiple sclerosis, Lancet 1990;336:37-39
19. Swank RL Multiple sclerosis: fat-oil relationship.
20. Meyer MG et al. Is multiple sclerosis a manifestation
of idioblaptic allergy? Psych Quarterly 1954;28:57-71
22. Ehrenthal OF et al. Role of food allergy in multiple
sclerosis. Neurology 1952; 2:412-426
23. Wright JV Gaby AR. Multiple sclerosis and Multiple
sclerosis commentary, Nutrition and Healing Newsletter 1997;4(9):1-7
[Publishers Management Corporation, Box 84909, Phoenix, Arizona, 85071
24. Andres MR Bingham JR. Tubeless gastric analysis
with a radio-telemetering pill [Heidelberg capsule]. Can Med Assoc
25. Gupta JK et al. Multiple sclerosis and malabsorption.
Am J Gastroent 1977;68:560-565
26. Dworkin RH. Linoleic acid and multiple sclerosis:
a re-analysis of three double-blind trials. Neurology 1984;34:1441-1445
27. Anonymous. Vitamin B12 in multiple sclerosis. JAMA
28. Kira J Tobimatsu S Goto I. Vitamin B12 metabolism
and massive dose methyl vitamin B12 therapy in Japanese patients with
multiple sclerosis. Int Med 1994;33:82-86
29. Sandyk R Awerebuch GI. Vitamin B12 and its relationship
to age of onset of multiple sclerosis Int J Neuroscience 1993;71:93-99
30. Jonez HD My fight to conquer multiple sclerosis,
op cit, page 213
31. Lowry ML Moore RW Caillet R. Adenosine-5-monophosphate
in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Am J Med Sci 1953;226:73-83
32. Shapiro A. Effects of muscle adenylic acid in multiple
sclerosis. Ann NY Acad Sci 1954;58:633-644
33. Korwin-Piotrowska T et al. Experience of Padma 28
in multiple sclerosis. Phytother Res 1992;6:133-136