How Terry Wahls Reversed Her Own Multiple Sclerosis

University of Iowa medical school professor Dr. Terry Wahls suffered multiple sclerosis so severe that over the years she became wheelchair-bound as the disease progressed. Despite the receiving top notch mainstream medical care, she saw what she enjoyed in her life slipping away from her due to worsening symptoms. She realized what her doctors had to offer her was inadequate to even stabilize her declining health and far from enough to reverse the damage to her body. She needed better options and needed them soon.

She began to do a lot of reading about research on neurodegenerative diseases, hoping to find some clues on what she herself could do to reverse her declining health. One thing she noticed that is common to many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, and many chronic fatigue and pain diseases such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome is the poor health of the mitochondria. Mitochondria are tiny little biochemical power plants that reside in each human cell numbering from about two to 1500 per cell, depending upon the cell type. They provide around 95% of the available energy used by cells to perform their normal functions. Energy-intensive cell types such as those in the brain, heart, kidney, and liver tend to have more mitochondria to keep them running than cells that don’t need as much energy to perform their functions.

In the scientific community focused on slowing and reversing aging processors, the mitochondrial theory of aging has wide acceptance as one of the key elements in aging and chronic diseases of aging. This theory attempts to explain many aging and disease processes by focusing on how health worsens markedly as people suffer increasing levels of damage to their mitochondria, a decline in the numbers of mitochondria in their cells, and impairment of their mitochondrial functionality due to biochemical dysfunction such as shortage of critical nutrients.

Wahls reasoned that taking steps to support her mitochondria could be a key to halting and perhaps reversing the decline of her health. At first, Wahls tried to simply add a few supplements that are well known to support mitochondrial health including fish oil, creatine, and CoQ10 to her daily regimen. She found that this seemed to slow the progression of MS, but did not reverse it for her.

Encouraged, she continued to do more reading on the latest biomedical research. And what she found is that many people with neurodegenerative and other chronic diseases are lacking in many other important nutrients in their diets. After creating a new diet for herself focused on improving her mitochondrial health, her MS began to reverse. She reasons that science has yet to identify probably hundreds and even thousands of nutrients found in the healthy nutrient-rich foods she advocates and therefore a good diet is important as today’s nutritional supplements are not enough to overcome the impact of poor diet.

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Over the course of a couple of years, her diet had amazing results for her. She went from being stuck in her wheelchair to being able to walk, run, and even ride a horse again.

If you’re suffering from MS or other chronic disease or simply want to improve your chances for a long healthy life, I’d encourage you to watch the following video presentation on her experience and findings.

TEDxIowaCity – Dr. Terry Wahls – Minding Your Mitochondria

Wahls believes her recovery was due in large part to eating a mitochondria-supporting diet discussed in the video. She also believes that neuromuscular electrical stimulation treatment was instrumental in her recovery.

In 2010, Wahls published a book Minding My Mitochondria: How I Overcame Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Got Out of My Wheelchair that has been received well by many people suffering from chronic illnesses involving mitochondrial dysfunction. Wahls is currently in the finishing stages on a second book about her findings and experience that includes some differences from the diet plan suggested in her first book, particularly in the area of fats and the “paleo diet” that she has found to be beneficial to her.

There’s an excellent in-depth review of Minding My Mitochondria that is worth reading. It was written by a chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis) patient who has summarized many of the most important points of the book and points to a number of other good informational resources.

Wahls has also published an informative briefing on the connection between diet and disease and suggestions on diet changes that she recommends. You can find the PDF file for it at Your DNA Is Not Your Destiny.

For more on Terry Wahls and her story, visit the following web sites:

University of Iowa Clinical Professor Terry Wahls, M.D.

The Wahls Protocol: Defeating Progressive MS Without Drugs

Dr. Terry Wahls on Facebook

The Wahls Foundation: About Dr. Terry Wahls

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