Lorenzo’s oil, essential oils, and diet
Greetings all, and welcome to the second of my blogs.
As I indicated in the previous post, when diagnosed last year as emphatically having MS it ended for me a 17 year stretch of misdiagnoses. I bear no animosity to the medical profession for that, as the conditions I presented with, to various doctors’ surgeries, over those years included conditions which mimicked MS – ciguatera (fish) poisoning was one, and chronic fatigue was another. The diagnosis of MS therefore, when it came, fell somewhere between an “aha” moment and a relief – and retrospectively explained a lot. Armed with a definitive diagnosis (and a culprit) I then undertook systematic and detailed research, as indeed I felt my life was riding on it, and I quickly realised I was serendipitously fortunate in that a lot had been written and published in that 17 year period on the role of diet (and good oils) in slowing the progress of the disease and in the replenishment of the myelin sheath.
I found in particular that Roy Swank in the USA and George Jelinek in Australia wrote in praise of Flaxseed oil and the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids and their highly therapeutic effects in treating MS, and I found that Judy Graham in the UK had additionally written about the efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil in her various books including one named “Evening Primrose Oil “ and the excellent “Multiple Sclerosis: A Self-Help Guide to Its Management”
It was against this background that I had a brain snap recently and thought “hmm, the Lorenzo story involved oil”, and I wondered if it also involved diet. So I did a Google search and found that it did. I still haven’t (mea culpa) as yet read the book or seen the “Lorenzo’s Oil” movie, but the story in my opinion is further compelling evidence of the connection between good oils (and diet) and a profoundly positive effect on the management of neurological and/or autoimmune conditions. Lorenzo Odone, the young man in question, had Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a genetic demyelinating disease … and in that regard – the erosion of myelin – there are strong parallels with MS, which is by far the most prevalent acquired demyelinating disease (but, humbly I add, not the worst). I’ve pulled up a number of “Lorenzo” sites … and the following are an indicative bunch. Note that Lorenzo’s parents (his mother has since died) set up the “myelin project” in his honour. Their website www.myelin.org gives a good overview of the aims of the project and demyelinating diseases generally. Some Lorenzo articles you might find worth reading are located at: BioEd Online, About.com: Rare Diseases and a recipe which includes a comment on MS is located here.
My blog however is not about Lorenzo’s oil, but rather is about the therapeutic effects of “good” oils on MS. If you’re interested I’d recommend you look at links on this webpage to George Jelinek and to Judy Graham for a discussion of oils. For my own part I take Evening Primrose Oil, Omega-3 fish oil and Flaxseed Oil on a daily basis … and subscribe to the view that they are very appropriately called the “essential” oils.
Finally I also raised the point above of “diet”. Lorenzo’s parents combined his oil intake with a low saturated fat diet. I cannot stress enough the importance of such a low fat diet (for MS and the replacement of myelin), and will be writing on this in subsequent blogs.
In the meantime, best wishes and thanks for reading
*Incidentally the movie Lorenzo’s Oil (starring Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon) was directed by Australian filmmaker George Miller (Babe, Happy Feet, Mad Max etc), who grew up in a country town not far from where I was raised. His interesting biography is worth reading. George and his twin brother John are physicians … and I suspect he was drawn to the Lorenzo’s Oil story as it combined his twin loves of medicine and cinema.