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Acta Clin Croat. 2013 Dec;52(4):464-71.

The role of complementary and alternative medicine in therapy of multiple sclerosis.


The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines complementary and alternative medicine as a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disabling disease of the central nervous system that affects people during early adulthood. In spite of many approved medications, the treatment options in MS are limited. Many people with MS explore complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments to help control their MS and treat their symptoms. Surveys suggest that up to 70% of people with MS have tried one or more CAM treatment for their MS. People with MS using CAM generally report deriving some benefit from therapies. The CAM therapies most frequently used include diet, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. The therapies with highest potential among CAM therapies that warrant further investigation are low-fat diet, omega-3 fatty acids, lipoic acid, and vitamin D supplementation as potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective agents in both relapsing and progressive forms of MS. There are very limited researches evaluating the safety and efficacy of CAM in MS. However, in recent years, the USA National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society have been actively supporting the researches in this very important area.

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