What is Multiple Sclerosis
"Multiple sclerosis is a disease that strikes the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord. These organs control the movements and functions of the entire body ... The nerves are surrounded by insulating matter called myelin -- a soft, white, fatty substance that forms a protective sheath for the nerves ... Multiple sclerosis is a disease where the myelin breaks down and ... can slow down or even block the flow of signals to and from the central nervous system to the rest of the body, impairing such functions as vision, strength, or coordination." (7) "In recent decades, investigators have been relentless in their search for understanding the causes of multiple sclerosis and the development of new treatment protocols aimed at throwing a stumbling block in its path. They have succeeded in ferreting out a great deal of information. Yet, many practitioners still catalog multiple sclerosis as a chronic disease for which there is no cure... Although there are no magic bullets for curing multiple sclerosis, it is now possible to aggressively -- and successfully -- treat the disease." (8)
What we know about MS...
"None of the currently used means of evaluating (the disease) measure a patient's initiative, determination, spirit, or drive -- all qualities which can transcend the patient's disability." (6)
"For reasons presently unknown (more on the causes of MS below) small patches on these myelin sheaths are attacked and stripped in a way that is roughly analogous to what happens when an electrician peels a small piece of plastic insulation off an electric wire. Soon thereafter star-shaped neuralgia cells known as oligodendrocytes and astrocytes arrive on the scene to repair the damaged sites, but during this rebuilding process they cause scar tissue, known as gliotic plaques, to form. These plaques become hard and sclerotic -- a sclerosis is a thickening or hardening of cellular tissue -- and then being to interfere with or obstruct the flow of nerve impulses that pass along the nerve cells. Normally, for example, nerve impulses travel along axonal pathways at around 225 miles an hour. When a section of myelin sheath is destroyed, however, nerve impulses are slowed down to half that speed or even less. This means that command messages sent, say, from the brain to the bladder telling the bladder to release urine do not arrive at their normal speed, and often become garbled or confused in the transmission. The bladder consequently, does not release its urine on cue, and an enlarged bladder with concomitant dribbling and incontinence results. If a scletotic plaque is small, about the size of a pinhole, the disturbances it produces may affect only a single function of the body. If large, an inch or longer, it may disturb several functions at once. If a plaque heals and then another forms elsewhere in the CNS (Central Nervous System), the type of symptom produced will change, along with its location in the body. If several plaques are active at the same time they will produce multiple disturbances." (9)
"Although multiple sclerosis is categorized as a neurological disease, it is also a disease of the immune system. For patients with multiple sclerosis, the immune system turns against the body instead of defending it -- thus putting multiple sclerosis in the broader category of autoimmune diseases... In the case of multiple sclerosis, myelin is clearly the target of the immune system's attack... In multiple sclerosis patients, all of the immune system's components are involved in one way or the other in this inadvertent attack on the brain's myelin. These components include B cells, T cells, macrophages, and all of the associated cytokines, the chemical mediators serving in this biological warfare... Many studies reveal a clear association between on particular cytokine, called tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and multiple sclerosis attacks. In a two-year study... Dr. Romain Hentges and his colleagues measured the levels of TNF in the cerebrospinial fluid and serum and correlated those levels with the way the disease progressed in each patient... published in the New England Journal of Medicine ... Why would patients with elevated TNF levels suffer more from multiple sclerosis attacks When your brain is working properly, the body's own blood-brain barrier -- the cellular and chemical guards that select which substances are granted permission to pass into the brain from the blood capillaries -- keeps out invaders. However, one function of the TNF cytokine is to create passages for other components of the immune system to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter into the battle zone, much the way army engineers build roads and bridges to allow further reserve troops to enter a war zone. Without the help of TNF, the hand-to-hand combatants of our immune system -- our microphages -- could never make it into the front line trenches of the brain. This breakdown of the blood-brain barrier is the first rung on the ladder to multiple sclerosis attacks, for it is followed by inflammation, the breakdown of myelin, and the formation of hard fibrous material (the scars or sclerosis) on nerve fibers." (8)
What Causes MS
There are many theories as to the cause of MS. This explains why practically all physicians in the U.S. currently attempt to simply mask patients' symptoms of the disorder with powerful drugs, as their only alternative. The problem with drug treatment of MS, however, are the frequent and dangerous side effects they produce. More on that in a moment. perhaps no other neurological disease has generated as large a literature and as many etiological theories explaining its possible cause as MS." (10)
"Despite considerable research, there are still many questions about MS... Most current work, however, suggests immune or 'host' disturbances" (your body is the "host" and to "strengthen the immune system" and "enhance resistance" is "like turning on the lights, turning off the dissonant music, and saying, 'Okay, disease, your party is over. Get out of here.'"). (11) "Although multiple sclerosis is categorized as a neurological disease, it is also a disease of the immune system." (8) "We do know that it is an acquired disease... And fortunately, it is not contagious." (7)
MS Symptoms and Signs
"There are three types of multiple sclerosis. The first, and most common, is the 'relapse-remitting' form of the disease, where an attack with full-blown symptoms is followed by a period of remission when the body returns to its former state or to a slightly worsened state. In some individuals, however, the disease can take a more chronic, progressive path with very few instances of remission. Rarer still is the case of the 'galloping' multiple sclerosis, where the disease moves quickly through the body and causes rapid debilitation." (8) "Symptoms of MS vary greatly. They may include tingling sensations, numbness, slurred speech, dizziness, blurred or double vision, muscle weakness, poor coordination, tremor, unusual fatigue, muscle tightness or spasticity, problems with bladder, bowel or sexual function, and paralysis. Occasionally there may be mental changes such as forgetfulness or confusion, and rarely, people have seizures. These symptoms may occur in any combination, may come and go, and may vary from very mild to very severe." (12)
"As you read the list of MS symptoms and signs, do not be dismayed. Keep in mind that no two patients have the same symptoms in the same way. MS attacks fall into four patterns that simplify the description of the disorder..." (7)
The four areas of the central nervous system that correlate with the symptoms and signs of MS are depicted and listed in accordance with the order of frequency of occurrence of attacks: (1) Spinal Cord, 42%; (2) Brain Stem and Cerebellum, 38%; (3) Optic Nerve, 17%; (4) Cerebrum, 3%. (7)
Living with Multiple Sclerosis
"The public image of MS is overly negative. MS is commonly associated with people in wheelchairs since those are the easily recognizable cases. The facts, however, reveal that most MS patients do not require wheelchairs. Many are only mildly incapacitated, and there are others who have no physically disabling symptoms at all. These people are often lost to medical follow-up, and their mild cases are not reflected adequately by statistics. You will no doubt hear stories of people suffering the most severe cases of MS. Try to avoid making comparisons between yourself and other MS patients; every case is unique and unpredictable." (10)
"Why are multiple sclerosis attacks often linked to stress... According to researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health, immune cytokines not only activate immune function when you're under stress, they also recruit the neurotransmitters essential in modulating your immune response and activating behaviors that may be important during injury or inflammation... In patients with multiple sclerosis, stress unleashes destructive immune processes from their normal regulatory constraints... a multiple sclerosis attack is often preceded by a stressful life event... A number of researchers have examined the lives of multiple sclerosis patients and discovered relationships between the disease and emotional stress." (8)
Common Treatment and Associated Risks
For years the symptoms of multiple sclerosis have been treated with powerful drugs as their only alternative. The problem with drug treatment, however, are the frequent and dangerous side effects they produce. "Corticosteroids such as prednisone taken by mouth or methylprednisolone given intravenously for short periods to relive acute symptoms have been the main form of therapy for decades. Although corticosteroids may shorten the duration of the attacks, they don't stop progressive disability over the long term. The benefits of corticosteroids my be offset by the many potential side effects they cause with long-term use -- increased susceptibility to infection, diabetes, weight gain, fatigue, osteoporosis (fragile bones), and ulcers. Other immunosuppressive therapies, such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, and total lymphoid irradiation, haven't proved helpful and can cause significant complications." (13) "These drugs have side effects that range from the annoying to the downright dangerous -- each year, thousands of people die from the adverse effects of both the anti-inflammatories and steroids." (14)
ABC News "20/20" reported the dangers of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories included in the video report: Orudis, Aleve, Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Bayer, ibuprofen, naproxen, Nuprin, aspirin) and interviewed Dr. Lee Simon, Associate professor of Medicine at Harvard's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Simon stated, "public ignorance about NSAIDs and stomach ulcers leads to an estimated 75,000 hospitalizations and approximately 7,600 deaths in this country every year." (15)
All of this information may sound discouraging, however, it needn't be. The good news is this: Masquelier's Original OpCs is an approach that is totally safe to use, employing a 100% non-toxic and natural -- and powerfully effective -- nutritional method. It involves the use of an antioxidant nutritional compound from France that has produced stunning health results across Europe for over a decade, and that many progressive doctors are now beginning to recommend here in the United States and Canada. This compound is a patented extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and grape seeds (U.S. patent Number 4,698,360). In an easy to swallow tablet form, Masquelier's Original OpCs has been hailed by researchers as the most potent, natural antioxidant compound ever discovered.
professor Dr. Masquelier named the OpC mixture "pYCNOGENol" from the Greek "pYCNO" meaning to "thicken or condense," "GEN" meaning "to generate" and "ol" from their chemical name. United States patent 4,698,360:
"The invention provides a method for preventing and fighting the harmful biological effects of free radicals in the organism of warm blooded animals and more especially human beings, namely cerebral involution, hypoxia following atherosclerosis, cardiac or cerebral infarction, tumour promotion, inflammation, ischaemia, alterations of the synovial liquid, collagen degradation, among others. The method consists in administering to said animals and especially to human beings an amount, efficient against said effects, of a plant extract with a proanthocyanidins content which has a radical scavenger effect, the extract being in the form of a medicament and coming more especially from the bark of conifers." (1)
This patented compound is not a drug and is now readily available in the U.S. without a prescription. Moreover, it is far less costly than traditional drug therapy. It is as safe to use as vitamin C. However, as an antioxidant supplement, it is actually 20 times more powerful than vitamin C, and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E. "As an antioxidant, pYCNOGENol, is a blend of special bioflavonoids, reduces free-radical-caused tissue damage many times more effectively than vitamin E, potentiates the health-giving effects of vitamin C, and protects brain and nerve tissue with its nearly unique ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier." (11)
"Diseases positively Affected by OpCs: Here is a list of diseases positively affected by OpCs: Allergies, Atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's, Bruising, Cancer, Diabetes, High blood cholesterol, High blood pressure, Inflammation, Multiple Sclerosis, parkinson's disease, Stroke, Varicose veins, and Viral infections." (16)
"Still, this information will be new to many, including health professionals. We mentioned that the pace of antioxidant research is quickening, but it hasn't been an easy accomplishment. In the 1970s, whenever one of your authors described the health benefits of antioxidants, medical professionals would scoff at the idea that so many conditions could be alleviated or prevented with antioxidants. The health professionals did not understand how free radicals attacked the body to cause or be involved with nearly eighty diseases. Nor did they understand how antioxidant nutrients protected against free-radical damage. Without this knowledge, it was impossible for them to understand how antioxidants protected us from so many different diseases. Thus the typical reaction was disbelief and ridicule. Fortunately, through the years many research reports appeared in medical as well as scientific journals. Now cardiologists, oncologists and many other medical specialists and health professionals understand how one group of nutrients can protect us against so many different - and seemingly unrelated - diseases." (12)
What is the cause of Multiple Sclerosis
There are many theories as to the cause of MS: 1. MS and the weakened immune system
"Although multiple sclerosis is categorized as a neurological disease, it is also a disease of the immune system. For patients with multiple sclerosis, the immune system turns against the body instead of defending it -- thus putting multiple sclerosis in the broader category of autoimmune diseases" (8) "Making a great leap in 15 frenzied years, researchers have discovered a link... these diseases all involve an out-of-control immune system, where the body begins destroying its own health cells. These 'autoimmune' diseases (and the estimated number of people afflicted in the U.S.) are... Multiple Sclerosis (350,000)" (19) "Kai Wucherpfennig, M.D., ph.D., and Jack Strominger, M.D. from Harvard University, report in the March 10 issue of Cell that immune system cells from people with multiple sclerosis (MS) can react against both myelin from the central nervous system and against several common viruses and a common bacterium. Dr. Wucherpfennig, a Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, says, 'This could be an important clue about what triggers multiple sclerosis.'" (20)
Masquelier's Original OpCs for Healthy
Immune System Function:
"Researchers found out that... even when the immune system was barely working, pYCNOGENol brought it back. Research in this direction may be very significant for those interested in the AIDS virus." (16) "Natural killer cell cytotoxicity was increased with pYCNOGENol treatment... pycnogenol acts as a free radical scavenger, lowers histamine levels, and protects against vascular permeability... important in protecting and modulating immune systems... "Immune cell activity could be restored or increased with pycnogenol. White blood cells increased with pycnogenol treatment." (17)
"As a dietary supplement, it acts both as an antioxidant and an immune system booster... studies at the University of Arizona showed that pYCNOGENol has the power to maintain healthy immune system function by restoring cytokine imbalances and increasing white blood cell activity." (8) "pycnogenol also strengthens immunity by protecting the existing immune components from their own chemicals. White blood cells use free radicals to destroy bacteria. When white blood cells over-produce free radicals, white blood cells start to commit suicide. pycnogenol allows the bacteria to be killed while standing by to protect the white blood cells against any excess of free radicals." (18) "pYCNOGENol has been shown to critically influence the functions of inflammatory and immune cells." (ref. 4)
MS and the Blood Brain Barrier
"How did the white blood cells get to the myelin in order to attack - to begin with!" "This breakdown of the blood-brain barrier is the first rung on the ladder to multiple sclerosis attacks, for it is followed by inflammation, the breakdown of myelin, and the formation of hard fibrous material (the scars or sclerosis) on nerve fibers." (8) "Our research very much support the theory that the mechanism for destruction in MS is associated with free radicals. Our works show that antioxidants should be tried for MS." (21) "In short, then, patients with multiple sclerosis may suffer from increased lipid oxidation that is potentially damaging to the myelin sheath so essential to conducting messages along nerve cells. Basically, free radicals amplify injury to myelin by disrupting its fatty acid components. From this, we conclude that incorporating antioxidant supplements into the diet as a way of preventing lipid oxidation is a key step to protecting against multiple sclerosis attacks." (8)
Masquelier's Original OpCs and
the Blood Brain Barrier
Masquelier's Original OpCs is proven to "readily cross the blood brain barrier to directly protect brain cells." (22) "As an antioxidant, pYCNOGENol, a blend of special bioflavonoids, reduces free-radical-caused tissue damage many times more effectively than vitamin E, potentiates the health-giving effects of vitamin C, and protects brain and nerve tissue with its nearly unique ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier." (23) "pYCNOGENol is a complex of powerful antioxidant nutrients that are patented for use to scavenge free radicals." (22)
Help for Inflammation
"The principle drugs used to treat acute exacerbations are those having major anti-inflammatory properties. All of the above mentioned drugs (i.e. certain drugs used to reduce inflammation) have possible side effects." (24) "pYCNOGENol also inhibits histamine release, which further reduces inflammation." (22) "pycnogenol inhibits inflammation in a dose-dependent manner." (25)
"I did a thorough search in the medical literature. I discovered that there had been studies on it in France, Germany, and Italy, where laboratory research had been performed to observe how pycnogenol performed on cells in a test tube, along with animal experiments. So confident were the Europeans of their test results that they were using it in three different ways: as an antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory, and an allergy medication." (4)
One Woman writes...
"I currently have no symptoms of MS, I have my eyesight (which had residual damage due to repeated bouts of ON) return to my eyesight of preMS days. My balance has returned. I can run, skip, do cartwheels (something I have been unable to do since my daughter was born back in 1990). I can reach into my purse with my right hand and know what I am touching without even looking! I can go out into the heat, I can live like a person without MS but with the knowledge and appreciation of how being healthy is the greatest wealth a person can obtain next to the love of a spouse and child... I'm sure the other vitamins are helping with my health but none can compare to the (Masquelier's OpCs)... I may always have MS but I have never felt healthier or happier in my entire life. It's like being given a second chance and this time I'll be fully alert to everything going on around me. I'd like to be able to pass on this knowledge to everyone affected by MS. Let them try for themselves and possibly enjoy a similar experience."
Also, Masquelier's OpCs gives CFS "a jump start"
"Dr. Anthony W. Martin, D.C., ph.D., of Timmins, Ontario, says that pycnogenol is of particular benefit to patients suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). 'I started treating CFS in 1985, but it wasn't until pycnogenol that I was able to help these patients.' he says. Dr. Martin says that he typically recommends that his CFS patients -- some of whom have included professional hockey and baseball players -- adopt a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, and supplement with a therapeutic dose of 200 mg to 400 mg of pycnogenol daily. 'I can get a decrease in most CFS symptoms in three to six weeks,' he says. 'pycnogenol seems to give these people a jump start.'" (26)
"a patented peak performance nutrient. It is among the best new weapons I use in my program to maintain overall good health for longer and longer periods of time." - Steven Lamm, M.D. (4)
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