A few months ago, a study made waves in the MS community. It was about how scientists at OHSU discovered how to regenerate myelin using a specific compound called sobetirome, which is used in thyroid hormone therapy (which actually hasn’t been used in people due to the side effects).
Researchers developed a new form of the compound that would get through the blood brain barrier and get to the central nervous system. Both patients and researchers were calling this discovery a total game changer, which makes sense. Currently there is no drug on the market that will repair myelin. Demyelinization is what is responsible for symptoms and disability with MS.
As glad as I am that researchers are looking at every possible avenue for the treatment of MS, I couldn’t help but think that re-myelinization is already available.
Oligodendrocytes are the cells responsible for producing myelin. They start to decline as you age, only producing myelin into your late 50s. But there are things you can do to help keep producing oligodendrocytes, and myelin.
Sleep: Sleep is a magical time when your body goes into repair mode. And repairing myelin during sleep is no different than anything else. Studies show that oligodendrocytes increase while you’re sleeping. Make sure to limit blue light in the evening, get direct sunlight in the morning and make your bedroom as dark as possible.
Eat Quality Fats: The tissue of the nervous system is made up of mostly saturated fats and cholesterol, with the highest cholesterol amount being found in myelin. Right alongside these, is DHA, which is needed for brain health and myelination. You’ll find all of these in animal fats and wild caught fish.
Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF): Imagine someone you know who is thriving at age 80 or 90, still active and sharp as a tack. They probably have elevated BDNF levels. BDNF is a protein that strengthens brain cells and increases the rate of myelinization. Increase your BDNF by exercising, getting deep sleep, having social connections, getting sunlight and meditating.
Exercise: Speaking of exercise, exercise is a powerhouse for MSers. Exercise has been shown to both improve myelin amounts while decreasing myelin loss, among all of the other benefits it has. Because of these two benefits, it has also been shown to decrease memory loss as well.
Watch your EMF exposure: Unless you’re taking steps to reduce your EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure, you’re getting bombarded with it left and right. WiFi is one of the major culprits here, since we always have it on, and it’s always around us. EMFs can be responsible for myelin deterioration. Try turning off your WiFi at night, or putting your phone on airplane mode or in another room.
These are just a small few of the ways you can start to repair and remyelinate your own myelin, right now! Without medications, but by using natural methods.