As I mentioned before, when I was first diagnosed with MG it took me a while to get my head around the consequences for my lifestyle (Thankfully I had some wonderful people around who helped me with that process)
What we found out online in those early, pre-consultant, days was highly scientific and therefore quite confusing for a person without a degree in medicine. We all know the danger of researching medical conditions online and MG is no different. Search for myasthenia gravis on google and you’re bombarded with doctor speak and rather disturbing images. I wanted to know about lifestyle factors – as far as I was concerned the doctors would take care of the medical side of business.
Most importantly, I was keen to learn how changes in my diet could positively affect the condition. I was looking for scientific studies about just that – unfortunately I found no such thing.
Online there is advice from dieticians, which focuses on eating foods that are easy for your body to process as it would already be working hard to deal with the medication and the symptoms. There was also a lot of advice about reducing fatigue when eating. This is an example – an article with tips about reducing risk when eating- as is this which talks a little too much about diarrhoea for my liking. You can imagine these both made terrifying reading for someone who only had issues with their eyes.
When digging a bit deeper, my research did reveal that quinine, found in tonic water, and low potassium levels can aggravate MG symptoms. I also found that to combat long term steroid use, you should ensure lots of calcium and vitamin d in your diet or via supplements.
Then I came across this advice from physician and author Dr. Andrew Weil’s website:
Reduce protein intake to 10% of total calories, no more milk and milk products, eat more fruits and vegetables, cut polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening etc, use extra-virgin olive oil instead, eat foods high in potassium and increase your omega-3, intake.
This advice is based on ridding your diet of foods that cause inflammation (animal protein, fats, milk products) and replacing them with foods that ease inflammation (omega 3 and fresh fruit and vegetables).
I also read in a website recommended by a kind reader that Dr Weil also suggests cutting down on gluten and wheat.
When I was first diagnosed, I decided to adapt my diet to make it gluten and wheat free. Sadly, I didn’t give this adaption a fair chance to work as other factors in my life, including drinking too much, smoking and not getting enough sleep, prevented it from doing the good that it may have.
Between then and now, my diet has been occasionally good and often atrocious. Since January, I’ve eaten healthier than ever before – cutting out the sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet focused on a 50% carb, 30% fat and 20% protein split. I’ve already dropped 0.7kg in 10 days and, most importantly, I’m feeling really strong.
As I’m only allowing myself to have very limited alcohol at present, I’ve long given up the cigarettes and my sleeping patterns are much healthier, I’ve decided the time is right to give Dr Weil’s diet a chance. It’s recommended to try the above approach for a month to see if there are any improvements in symptoms so I’ll keep the blog updated.