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Multiple sclerosis: Alpha-lipoic acid slows down course

Multiple sclerosis: Alpha-lipoic acid slows down course

Alpha lipoic acid is an endogenous substance with an antioxidant effect. For a very long time, Alpha Lipoic Acid has also been available as a dietary supplement in the trade. Due to its chelating properties, it is suitable for the detoxification of heavy metals. The alpha-lipoic acid is also successfully used for the prophylaxis and therapy of diabetic neuropathies. Studies from June 2017 show that alpha-lipoic acid also appears to be helpful in multiple sclerosis and can slow its progression and improve symptoms if used for long periods.

Alpha lipoic acid slows down multiple sclerosis

In a randomized double-blind pilot study of Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland, Oregon, researchers around Dr. Rebecca Spain states that alpha-lipoic acid, an over-the-counter antioxidant, can slow the progression of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). Their study results were published in June 2017 in the journal Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation released.

Participants had taken 1,200 mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily for two years. The researchers then found that in patients suffering from SPMS, a form of multiple sclerosis, brain atrophy was significantly reduced compared to the placebo group.

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Multiple sclerosis - Three forms

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system during which the protective sheaths (myelin sheath) of the nerves are attacked during autoimmune processes. The signal transmission between the brain and spinal cord is disturbed and it comes to a variety of symptoms, such. Weakness, difficulty walking or numbness and tingling sensations.

More than 2.3 million people worldwide are said to be affected by MS. There are three types of MS:

Relapsing MS (RRMS for relapsing remitting MS) is the most common form. Here the patient repeatedly experiences relapses, in which the illness blossoms. Relapses can last up to several days. Subsequently, it comes to symptom-free phases in which the symptoms of the previous push back again. However, it is often the case that the consequences of the relapses do not completely recede during the course of the disease.

The majority of patients who have RRMS eventually develop an SPMS, an MS-form that progresses continuously. The nerve damage and nerve loss are becoming more and more massive, the symptoms are getting stronger, while the symptom-free phases are becoming ever rarer.

In the third MS form of primary progressive MS (PPMS), which is rather rare and affects only 10 to 15 percent of MS patients, it comes from the beginning to a continuously progressive course - without relapses and without symptom-free phases. The clinical picture is deteriorating rapidly.

The better the recovery after attacks succeeds, the more promising the prognosis

The conventional medicine currently has no curative MS therapies, but is always developing new drugs to slow the course of MS at least. The goal is to

  • to extend the remission-free phases as much as possible,
  • to achieve a full recovery after a boost and
  • delay the time when the RRMS transitions into an SPMS.

Because you know that an RRMS transitions into an SPMS later (or not at all), the more fully those affected can recover after the spurts. It is therefore important to find measures that can promote and support the rebuilding of destroyed myelin sheaths and nerve repair procedures after a spurt.

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New MS drug: ocrelizumab (OcrevusTM)

On March 28, 2017, the drug Ocrevus was in the US in an accelerated approval processTM (Ocrelizumab) approved by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche. For the first time, it will not only be a drug for those affected by the RRMS, but also for patients with progressive forms, according to Billy Dunn, head of the Department of Drugs Against Neurological Diseases at the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration).

The effectiveness of OcrevusTM was shown in two clinical trials involving a total of 1,656 participants and over a two-year period. In both studies Ocrevus was comparedTM with another MS drug (RebifÂź) and with a placebo supplement. In both studies, the OcrevusTMPatients had fewer relapses and experienced less exacerbation of their complaints than in the RebifÂź group.

The side effects of ocrelizumab

This is OcrevusTM an agent that must be administered by infusion at an interval of two weeks (the first two doses), then at intervals of six months by healthcare professionals. Beforehand, the patient must be informed about risks and side effects. At OcrevusTM - an immunosuppressive drug - include the following:

Itching, rashes, hives, redness, low blood pressure, swelling in the throat, nausea, dizziness, fever, tiredness, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. In addition, Ocrevus hadTMPatients in the admission studies suffered more frequently from respiratory infections than the control groups. Also for malignant cancers, the risk increases with OcrevusTM, especially for breast cancer.

Undesirable reactions to the drug appear to be so common that it is recommended to inject cortisone before the infusion to reduce the immune system and antihistamines to prevent allergic reactions. However, despite these measures in the studies mentioned in 34 to 40 percent of the participants had side effects.

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Ocrelizumab: deaths in arthritis patients

It may be due to this less than optimal profile of the agent that OcrevusTM has not yet been approved in the EU (as at 4.7.2017). Or because it was originally intended as a drug for arthritis and lupus. However, the test series was stopped after several patients had died from infections - said Hoffmann-La Roche to the Basler Zeitung on 8.3.2010. However, the public did not learn details about this. Arthritis patients came for OcrevusTM so no longer in question. In MS patients, however, the drug was further tested.

Low-toxicity and yet effective alternatives to OcrevusTMAnyway, RebifÂź & Co. would be more than welcome. The alpha-lipoic acid mentioned at the beginning could, according to Dr. med. Spain should be such an alternative and allow effective therapy with SPMS.

Alpha lipoic acid: the effect in multiple sclerosis

The more neurons are lost in the course of MS, the more pronounced is the brain loss - and this in turn is a marker for the further course of MS. Exactly this brain loss is to stop the alpha-lipoic acid.

To Dr. Spains study involved 51 adults between the ages of 40 and 70 years. They all had an SPMS diagnosis. Twenty-seven of the participants received 1,200 mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily for two years. The remaining 24 participants received a placebo preparation.

The alpha-lipoic acid proved to be safe and well tolerated. Only gastrointestinal complaints occasionally occurred. In the alpha-lipoic acid group there were fewer falls compared to the placebo group. Also, this group achieved better run times, so could move better and safer than the placebo group.

Alpha lipoic acid reduces brain loss in MS

In addition, MRI scans were used to examine the subjects' brain volume before the study, after one year, and at the end of the study. It was found that the alpha-lipoic acid group had an average 68 percent reduction in brain shrinkage compared to the placebo group. The team of scientists around Dr. Spain emphasized that OcrevusTM could only reduce brain atrophy by 18 percent.

In order to be able to collect more data for the future treatment with alpha-lipoic acid, further clinical studies are currently in the planning phase that will start this year.

More information about naturopathic measures in MS and possible causes of MS can be found here:

  • Vitamin D in multiple sclerosis
  • Five vital substances in multiple sclerosis
  • Multiple sclerosis due to vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy?
  • In multiple sclerosis, no gluten is better
  • Multiple sclerosis- Is a sick bowel the cause?
  • Autoimmune diseases due to diseased intestinal flora
  • Amalgam and multiple sclerosis

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