You’ve seen it, you’ve watched it, and you’ve made a publicized video date with Mr. Ice Bucket. In my many years of using social media, I have never seen such a rampant sweep of anything dominate the digital world like I have with the ice bucket challenge. During the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, millions of people started talking about ALS. I would like to keep the conversation going to increase understanding of the disease.
Initially, I thought the entire ice bucket challenge was dumb. I ignored it for the first 10-15 times that it crossed my screen. I didn’t know what ALS was and I didn’t know how it correlated with pouring a bucket of ice water on someone’s head. I soon realized that this craze was not going away. It was actually growing stronger and beginning to include all of my friends and family members.
The statistics showed up and the donations were skyrocketing. The challenge fooled me. It showed that there are enough giving people in this world to actually donate to the cause in addition (or in place of) dumping buckets of water over their head.
Now that this challenge was taking up some pretty large real estate in my head, I began researching more into ALS. That was the point of the whole craze, wasn’t it? What I found was horrifying. What a dismal, debilitating and puzzling disease.
What Is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or otherwise known as Lou Gehrigs Disease)
- A progressive neuro-degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body.
- The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
- ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and approximately 20,000 Americans can have the disease at any given time (although this number fluctuates). For unknown reasons, military veterans are approximately twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease than the general public. (source)
What Causes ALS?
Researchers admit ALS is inherited in 5 to 10 percent of cases, while the rest have no known cause. It remains that there are still a lot of unknowns with ALS, but holistic practitioners have determined several facts about the disease when looking at the body and its needs.
- Malnourishment – When the muscles do not receive the nourishment they need, they waste away. As the muscles degenerate, it leads to scarring or hardening of the spinal cord, disabling the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles. (Source)
- Toxins – In addition to malnourished muscles, other factors thought to contribute to ALS include environmental toxins, including aluminum, mercury, and lead.
- Gene mutation – Various genetic mutations can lead to inherited ALS, which causes nearly the same symptoms as the noninherited form.
- Chemical imbalance – People with ALS generally have higher than normal levels of glutamate, a chemical messenger in the brain, around the nerve cells in their spinal fluid. Too much glutamate is known to be toxic to some nerve cells.
- Disorganized immune response – Sometimes a person’s immune system begins attacking some of his or her body’s own normal cells, which may lead to the death of nerve cells.
- Protein mishandling – Mishandled proteins within the nerve cells may lead to a gradual accumulation of abnormal forms of these proteins in the cells, destroying the nerve cells. (source)
Early Signs and Symptoms of ALS
- Difficulty walking or doing your normal daily activities
- Tripping and falling
- Weakness in your leg, feet or ankles
- Hand weakness or clumsiness
- Slurred speech or trouble swallowing
- Muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue
- Difficulty holding your head up or keeping good posture
ALS often starts in the hands, feet or limbs, and then spreads to other parts of your body. As the disease advances and nerve cells are destroyed, your muscles progressively weaken. This eventually affects chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing. ALS doesn’t usually affect your bowel or bladder control, your senses or your thinking ability. It’s possible to remain actively involved with your family and friends.
Natural Ways To Improve ALS Symptoms
Disclosure: I’m not a doctor and am not giving medical advice. This post is for informational purposes only. Please always consult your doctor or holistic practitioner before starting or stopping any health regimen. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for keeping Naturally Nicole running!
ALS plays a rapid part in degenerating the muscles and nerve cells. Vitamin C not only strengthens the immune system, it also strengthens deteriorating connective tissue. Vitamin C is also instrumental in detoxifying the body. The brand I recommend is Nutrigold Vitamin C.
Calcium and Magnesium
Most ALS patients have been found to have excessive amounts of aluminum and mercury in their bodies. They have also been found to have very low concentrations of calcium and magnesium, essential minerals. These minerals help to stabilize these high levels. For magnesium, I would go with Innate Response . For calcium, I recommend Garden of Life Vitamin Code
Herbs can be powerful in aiding in multiple medicinal purposes. Specific herbs that are known to counteract sclerosis are Cayenne, Ginger, Cinnamon, Periwinkle, Butcher’s Broom, Manjistha, Chaparral, Goldenseal Root, and Comfrey Root. There are also herbs that aid specifically in nerve repair: Lady’s Slipper, Kava Kava, Valerian Root, Cinnamon, Chamomile, Blue Vervain, and Passionflower.
Spirulina and Chlorella
The GREENS of life! These powerful entities have proven to be helpful in multiple facets of human health, mainly focusing on repairing damaged cells, nerves and muscle tissue. The chlorella tabs we use are from Raw Food World. We take them daily.
I have blogged about alkalinity before and I am passionate on what it can do for the body. I have said before that disease cannot survive well at all in a very alkaline body. That includes any sickness, cancer or ailment you may have. Those with ALS are known to have very acidic PH levels. A great read to start your alkalizing journey is The pH Miracle. A strict alkaline diet would necessitate eating a mostly raw diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, preferably organic. All meats, dairy products, refined grains, starches, and unhealthy oils should be eliminated, along with processed foods, junk foods, and fast foods. It may not sound fun or appetizing, but it could save your body and is worth its weight in gold.
Creatine has shown to be effective in increasing strength in those suffering from neuromuscular disorders.
Acupuncture has been known to benefit nervous system function.
Physical therapy keeps the muscles and bones active and as strong as possible
Overall, more research needs to be done on ALS so less people suffer from its debilitating symptoms. If it takes a Facebook event as silly as the Ice Bucket Challenge to bring more awareness to this important topic, then I fully support the chaos. Do you know someone who suffers from ALS? Have they ever tried any of these natural treatment options? Tell me all about over on my Facebook page!
Love & Light,