Hi Crispy and all,
Just wanted to share that I have been following the Swank diet for about a year now. I had a relapse a year ago, which led to my clinically definite MS diagnosis. I found the Swank Foundation website and others (Paleo diet), but chose to go Swank. Although there are no double-blind studies on the matter, I believed enough research linked to general health topics which are related to MS did exist, with reagard to specific aspects of the Swank diet. I realized that my diet was very low in the essential fatty acids and decided to follow the Swank diet.
What do we know about MS? (Or perhaps I should say, "What do we think we know about MS?")
There appears to be a cardiovascular component, where something that shouldn't crosses the blood/brain barrier. Vitamin C and E at the levels of supplementation on the Swank diet and taken together have been shown to strengthen the cardiovascular system and also to help prevent Alzheimer's. (Would this cardiovascular strenghtening help ammeliorate the problems that appear to let something cross the blood/brain barrier? Perhaps.) The C and E supplementation interest me a lot and I believe have proven beneficial effects in areas that could be related to MS.
The Cod Liver Oil and salmon content of the diet would help create and maintain a healthy balance of Omega 3s and 6s as would the elimination of saturated fats. The elimination of excess saturated fats would be generally helpful. Myelin is made of fat and Swank believed there would be a lipid metabolism problem associated with MS. There is a current study on lipid metabolism in MS. In addition, A daily multi-vitamin and Cod Liver Oil dose gives us a generous amount of vitamin D. There are recent studies of links between vitamin D and the development of MS. In addition, there are many thoughts about deficiencies of vitamin D or the essential fatty acids and the development of many "modern" or immunological diseases.
There are some studies I have come across of death rates for people with MS who had high saturated fat consumption compared to those with lower saturated fat consumption. I find this information compelling.
Aside from the specifics of the Swank diet, I have read about the anti-oxidants. I think they are being shown to have a health-protective effect. I have added high anti-oxidant foods to my diet. For example, I eat blueberries and berries almost every day.
No, I would agree that no diet has been scientifically proven to help MS. Still, taking in what I can gather, I see that there are dietary choices I can make that will help me in general and possibly more specifically with the MS. Will I wiggle the health margins in my favor by making these changes over time? I can't be entirely sure, but I am betting on it.
If nothing else, despite my reduced mobility and lack of ability to exercise, I have lost 55 lbs. in a year, following diet alone. I was overweight when I had my attack last year. Now I am not. I don't have the cravings I used to have. I feel healthy (despite the bum leg, which, is slowly coming around). People tell me I look great. People tell me my skin and hair look great and even glow. (Gotta be that fish oil...
I cannot say that the Swank diet is for everyone. I cannot say it has been definitively proven to help with the MS. All I can say is that I'm glad I found it and I enjoy the benefical results that are obvious to me.
Also, as for following it, I have not yet cooked from the cookbook section of the book. I just selct Swank friendly foods. I have found the diet to be a modification and not a big food-preparation change.
Anwyay, I've rambled enough. For those of you interested in further information, check out the Swank Foundation website.
Here's wishing you good luck, good health, and happy eating!