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Top Labs To Run Bi-Annually On Your Patients Who Suffer From Multiple Sclerosis

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Top Labs To Run Bi-Annually On Your Patients Who Suffer From Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has an autoimmune component in which the person’s immune system progressively damages the protective sheath covering the nerves, resulting in nerve damage and neurological issues. This disease is the most common neurological condition affecting adults between the ages of 20 and 40, impacting around 1 million adults in the US. The experience of people living with MS varies from person to person, and some have temporary symptoms while others are long-lasting.  

Utilizing functional labs regularly for these patients can be part of a comprehensive care program to manage this condition and help reduce symptoms' onset and severity. Functional labs are a great tool that practitioners can use to detect triggers, risk factors, and other underlying factors contributing to the progression of MS. This approach enables the patients to be well-informed so customized preventative measures and treatment protocols can be put in place.


What is Multiple Sclerosis?

MS is considered a neurological condition in which the immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerves, called myelin sheath. The myelin sheath protects the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord. MS will also damage axons, the central nervous system (CNS) white matter, and nerve cell bodies in the gray matter. The cerebral cortex of the brain will shrink as this disease progresses. This condition is called multiple sclerosis because there are numerous sclerosed (scar tissue or plaque) areas in the nervous system due to the autoimmune response in the myelin sheath.

There are four types of MS based on progression. These four types include:

  • Relapsing-remitting MS in which people have 'attacks' of symptoms with remissions in between attacks. Remissions can last for weeks to years.
  • Secondary-progressive MS in which people will have an attack and disease progression, and symptoms continue at a steady rate.
  • Primary-progressive MS, a very rare type, in which people have progressing disease and worsening symptoms from the onset.
  • Progressive-relapsing MS is the rarest type, similar to primary-progressive MS, but with acute relapses.

MS affects people differently; some will have no disability, and others will have worsening symptoms with progressive disability. Many will have short-term symptoms with long-term disease regression when no symptoms exist. It's important to note that people with MS have a normal life expectancy as this disease is rarely fatal.

What Causes Multiple Sclerosis? 

The exact causes of MS are unknown at this time. However, evidence suggests that there are multiple environmental and biological factors that play a role in the development and severity of this condition. These factors include certain infections, nutritional factors, gene mutations, gut health, and toxin exposure.

Infections such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have been shown to initiate MS development later. Nutritional factors such as Vitamin D deficiencies are considered a risk factor due to it's influence on the immune system. Specific nutrients like B vitamins are needed for nerve health and are needed to make myelin. Gene mutations such as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genetic variants are considered another factor that influences MS onset. This genetic variant can increase susceptibility to MS by decreasing the body's detoxification ability and increasing homocysteine levels that damage individuals' nerves.

Another biological factor is an imbalanced microbiome and gut health. The imbalance of the microbiome can lead to inflammation and disrupted immune responses, which can play a role in the development of MS. Additionally, research indicates that environmental exposures to toxins, pollutants, and metals can promote autoimmune reactivity in diseases such as MS.

Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Symptoms of MS vary depending upon inflammation severity and location and extent of sclerosis in the brain or nervous system. The onset and duration also vary and are unpredictable in patients with MS. For some individuals, there may be a quick onset and short-term symptoms, while for others, symptoms may develop gradually and last for years.

Common symptoms during the early phase of MS include:

  • Vision issues
  • Eye pain
  • Muscle weakness, stiffness, and spasms
  • Numbness and tingling in extremities
  • Balance issues
  • Bladder incontinence
  • Dizziness

Common symptoms during later stages include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Impaired walking or standing due to muscle weakness
  • Partial paralysis
  • Fever
  • Nerve pain

What Are The Benefits of Regular Lab Testing For Patients With Multiple Sclerosis?

Regular lab testing can be beneficial to patients with MS as symptoms, attacks, and remissions all vary. These tests can provide them with guidance on decreasing factors that contribute to their symptoms, thus helping to reduce the onset and severity of symptoms. The results of the tests can provide insight into management and treatment strategies so these patients can go on with their daily activities that symptoms of MS often impede. Regular testing can enable practitioners to tailor their care strategies to promote optimal brain and nervous system function and support overall health in their patients who live with MS.

Top Labs To Run Bi-Annually On Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

The following is a list of the functional labs that clinicians often use for their MS patients:

Microbiome Analysis

Research shows that imbalances in the microbiome can lead to inflammation and immune dysregulation, triggering the onset of MS. Since inflammation also has a role in the severity of symptoms of MS patients, this test can be beneficial for patients with MS to decrease their inflammatory response. This microbiome test provides a comprehensive analysis of overall gut and microbiome health, providing practitioners with the ability to target treatment approaches to improve gut health, reduce inflammation, and modulate immune response in MS patients.

Total Tox-Burden

Studies reveal that pollutants and other toxic chemicals can trigger a rapid progression of autoimmune reactions in MS patients. This test is beneficial for patients who haven't had an environmental screening or for those who have and need ongoing monitoring of their exposure levels. It assesses toxins, pollutants, metals, and other chemicals that could worsen neurological symptoms in people with MS. The Total Tox-Burden test can measure levels of toxin exposure, guiding protocols to reduce toxin exposure.

Micronutrient Test

Nutrients such as vitamins B and D and deficiencies in these nutrients are linked to neurological dysfunction and are implicated in MS. The Micronutrient Test is a valuable test for MS patients because it examines all the key nutrients related to neurological function, including antioxidants and other nutrients crucial for optimal brain and nervous system functioning. The findings can help create tailored nutrition plans and recommend supplements to enhance nutrient levels in these patients.

Viral Screening

Viruses such as EBV have been shown to influence the development of MS. A viral screening is indicated in patients with MS as it identifies viral infections such as EBV and others that can cause neuroinflammatory reactions. Patients who have MS and have a history of EBV or other viral infections can benefit from a regular viral screening to assess if these viruses are contributing to their symptoms so proper treatments can be geared towards improving their immune response and decreasing the viral load.

MTHFR and Homocysteine

Although the MTHFR screening only needs to be completed once, it's important to mention it here. Testing for this genetic variation can point practitioners to monitor the homocysteine levels of their MS patients who also have an MTHFR gene mutation. This mutation can increase homocysteine levels, which can damage nerves, leading to increased symptoms. Regular monitoring of homocysteine can reduce the risk of nerve damage by ensuring protocols are in place to keep homocysteine levels stable.

Additional Labs to Check 

Other labs to consider include magnetic resonance imaging to visualize any sclerosis or plaques associated with MS. Doctors may order this test to examine the progression of this disease.



For patients with MS, their immune cells are mistakenly attacking their CNS, including the myelin sheath that protects their nerve cells. This autoimmune response causes damage to their nervous system and brain, creating sclerosis and symptoms such as balance issues, vision problems, or muscle weakness. For some individuals, they may have short-lived symptoms. For others, it may be more progressive and severe, with long-lasting consequences affecting their daily lives. Taking steps such as regular testing can help patients with MS manage their disease progression more effectively to improve their overall health outcomes and quality of life.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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