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Ashton Embry, PhD of Direct-MS introduced the "Best Bet Diet" in 1996 as a means of treating multiple sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease where the immune cells of the body attack myelin, the fatty sheath surrounding nerve structures in the brain and spinal cord, leading to damage of the brain.
The Best Bet Diet assumes that leaky gut syndrome causes this attack on the myelin. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the gut becomes porous due to low amounts of stomach acid, causing undigested food protein to escape into the bloodstream. The immune system creates antibodies against such invading protein. Such food proteins however resemble the proteins in myelin, and as such, the antibodies attack the myelin along with the food proteins. The Best Bet Diet prescribes dietary interventions to heal the leaky gut. Apart from such a leaky gut syndrome diet, the Best Bet Diet also eliminates food proteins that mimic the proteins found in myelin.
Image Credit: flickr.com/Conor O'Neill (modified)
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Foods to Avoid
One approach of the Best Bet Diet is avoiding foods with proteins that resemble the proteins found in myelin, to enable the immune system to identify foreign proteins from “home” proteins of the central nervous system.
The Best Bet Diet recommends total avoidance of hypersensitive foods such as:
- dairy products such as animal milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and any products that contain such substances
- grains such as wheat, rye, and barley containing gluten, and all other products with gluten
- legumes such as beans, peas, peanuts, soybeans, and soy products
The diet also recommends limiting consumption of eggs and yeast.
The Best Bet Diet also recommends avoidance of refined sugar owing to its general inflammatory properties, and suggests honey, maple syrup, and stevia as alternative sweeteners.
The Best Bet Diet limits the daily intake of saturated fat to 15 grams, and this virtually eliminates red meat and dark meat from chicken, turkey and other animals from the best bet diet.
The diet also place restriction on consumption of monosaturated oils such as extra virgin olive oil and polyunsaturated oils such as unrefined sunflower and safflower oil to 60 grams a day and strives to achieve a healthy omega 6 omega 3 fatty acid balance.
Besides such general restrictions, the Best Bet Diet also recommends ELISA blood test and skin allergy test to identify the type of foods that may have escaped across the “leaky gut,” and avoid such foods.
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Apart from regulating food, the Best Bet Diet also recommends daily consumption of up to 17 recommended vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements
- grape, pycnogenol, or bilberry seed extract: 300 mg
- cod liver oil: 2 grams, for 5,000 IU vitamin A and 400 IU vitamin D
- salmon oil: 4 grams
- B-50 complex pills: 2 pills a day
- B-12: 100 mcg
- vitamin C: 3 grams
- vitamin E: 800 IU
- calcium: 1500 mg
- magnesium: 750 mg, to maintain a Calcium: Magnesium ratio of 2:1
- zinc: 25 mg
- copper: 2 mg
- selenium: 50 mcg
- evening primrose oil or borage oil: 5 grams
- flax oil: 10 grams
- acidophilus: 4 capsules
- enzymes: 6 capsules
- lecithin: 2400 mg
The recommend restraining factors in consumption of any or all such supplementations is hypersensitivity to any supplementation, such as flax, and budgetary considerations.
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Following the food restrictions means that the Best Bet Diet is a diet that dominates in skinless breast of chicken or turkey, fish, game meats and beef from grass fed cattle for proteins, and fruits and vegetables for carbohydrates. Such a diet forms the core of healthy eating in its own right.
The Best Bet Diet is a MS recovery diet but does not claim to “cure” multiple sclerosis. It only claims to slow progression of the disability and lower the chances of premature death arising from such condition. Many people who have tried this diet feel better and have had fewer relapses. The Best Bet Diet however remains unproven by any formal research.
Please note that this article does not constitute medical advice. Please discuss dietary restrictions and supplementation with a registered medical practitioner. Some supplementations may affect medications.
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Embry, Ashton F. “Multiple Sclerosis - Best Bet Treatment.” http://www.direct-ms.org/bestbet.html.%20Retrieved%2011%20January%202011.